Sunday, October 26, 2008


I found myself having to explain what a crowd meant to me. A friend is inviting me to his Halloween party and I want to go if I finish my costume. However, if I am having an overstim-rific day, I'll have to decline.

He explained that there would only be about ten people, including me. That is when I realized that my view of "crowd" and his didn't match. Every person I am near has a smell, a voice, and actions. That is a lot of input! I do best in crowds of four. Or fewer. Fewer is best. Two is nice.

I don't think that NTs are very aware of their senses unless something is overwhelming. They don't recognize everyone's scent, but are certainly aware if someone has a very strong scent. They are aware that everyone has a voice, but they are able to block out the ones they aren't actively listening to.

Filters are something almost entirely lacking in autistics. Being able to block out one sense, or part of one sense, is something akin to magic to me. I cannot imagine how it works or how it would feel to do it. What do you see and hear if you are randomly blocking stuff? How does it work? Don't you miss out on things?

It's a great mystery to me. Probably as much a mystery as how I manage without any filters is to NTs. They would need the inverse of a sensory deprivation tank to understand it!


Wifezilla said...

"What do you see and hear if you are randomly blocking stuff? How does it work? Don't you miss out on things?"

Not sure. It seems to come with the basic "NT Software Package", but being ADD, mine is a bit glitchy :D

I do think a deprivation tank would be a good way for me to understand...but then again, I would probably get bored in 3 seconds and then fall asleep...

Abifae said...

I would love to sleep in a sleep dep tank!!

The other night I dreamt I was asleep and I had such a good sleep... then I woke up and I was so tired...

Andy said...

I do miss out on things. I have to concentrate in order not to. People get mad at me, actually, because when I'm reading a book or watching a movie or something, I can't hear them if they're trying to talk to me. I've found that I can pay attention to physical sensations still though, which is why I like to read in my bedroom... I can feel the air moving when someone opens the door, and since it's quieter, when someone talks it sounds louder, and sometimes it's loud enough to get my attention.

Abifae said...

yes, i've experienced that before when i focus in on one sense i miss out on things from the other senses. or when i'm overloaded i pick up the other senses but cannot translate it into anything that makes sense.

Andy said...

Actually, thinking more after reading more of your posts, I realized that this whole filters vs. no filters is one of the problems I have. When I'm calm, I'm like any other NT. In certain situations, the filters come down, maybe not all the way, but enough. When I'm around someone I don't know, I notice every muscle twitch, every smell, every sound, every single modulation in their words. I get overwhelmed, and that's when I get a panic attack. I don't know how to deal with things when my filters go down. It's a nightmare to me. The idea of having to deal with that constantly... my brain wants to freeze up just thinking about it. Of course, the only way to cope is to constantly go through it... which is really hard to force oneself to do if you don't have to. Making myself do that would be like if I tried to tell you that you couldn't wear tennis shoes on a friday. There's no good reason for it, and a million reasons against it.

One of these days though, I'll figure out how to get what I need to get through an attack without it affecting me for literally days afterwards, and I can push against it harder.

Abifae said...

yeh, i have found the only way to learn to deal with it is to throw myself into it over and over again until i find a way through it.

my version of most therapy is "toss them into the deep end and see if they swim" or, the way i most often phrase it "toss yourself off a cliff and see if you sprout wings". *laughing*

but, yeh, that twitchy omigod i'm going to die if the world doesn't stop attacking me feeling is how i pretty much ALWAYS am if i do anything because of the overstim.

eventually i have noticed i'm not dead yet so while it feels like it is going to destroy me, it only actually hurts a lot. so that's not so bad. >.>

that's mostly not so bad. lol. but i'm scared SO OFTEN that i have to just say "so i'm scared. yep. here i am scared again" and just ignore it.

it does have the very little negative effect that i don't have much common sense about what actually IS dangerous because i am too used to ignoring fear, but better than not forcing myself out of the house :)