Friday, July 19, 2013

I'm Sensitive, You're Not

It's so easy for someone who is not extra sensitive to scold someone who is, "Come on, don't be a baby," or, "You're no fun!" But what they don't understand is how real and often debilitating being a sensitive person can be. And people with Aspergers tend to be extra sensitive in all types of ways, but everyone is different.

For me, one of my sensitivities is harsh sunlight. I love summer, I love the sun, but you won't find me outside on a very bright and hot day. Even after a short time in the sun, my skin can burn; or if not showing visible signs of a sunburn, I can feel it burn. The bright sunlight can also get to me after a while. So if I don't want to go for a walk, go to the beach, or go to some outdoor function in the middle of the day, trust me, I shouldn't do it. But I love doing things in the evening, or late at night.

The same sort of thing for very bright indoor lighting—I don't like it! Harsh florescent lights hurt my eyes and make it difficult to see after a while. I can also get a headache/migraine. 

Similarly, loud sounds can affect me. But it all depends on what they are. Some sounds are OK. Hey, I play drums! But others are not. And to complicate things further, some things are OK one day and not the next. I can't help it, that's the way it is. I do know that if I'm tired, I will be more sensitive to things. 

But there is a plus side to this hypersensitivity. I get more out of the things that I really love, because my senses totally take them in. The music that I love, I really love, and will listen to over and over. The same with foods I love. I bet they taste even better for me than for you. Scents, yes, I love certain smells and like to smell them. Same with touch and sight. The things I love, I always want more of. And the things I don't love, I avoid as much as possible. 

So if you know an Aspie with a sensitivity, instead of scolding them for it, try to understand what it's like for them. It's hard wired into their brains and nervous systems, so they can't "help it," or change it.

~ MB

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