This year has and continues to be one of my worst mental health years so far.
New parts of the beast have risen up and I am feeling worn from fighting.
I have started experiencing a lot of sensory overload around visual and audible stimuli. The most uncomfortable thing currently is the overwhelming pervasiveness of pointed, sharp or thin objects. I can only truly describe it as similar to the instinctive flinch after being hit in the eye by a fishing rod or the edge of an umbrella. Except for me, it could be the pen that the person across the room is holding at a particular orientation to me, the height of a coffee table or overhead cabinets, or being at certain orientations to my friends’ laptop screens. Sometimes I have to shield my eyes from particular trucks and cars while I’m driving. Sometimes I physically duck when driving past certain structures. Every day it exhausts me, and of current, there is no consistent safe space to be away from it. I end the day exhausted, drained, aching physically. I feel an uncomfortable presence of my bedside table: the perfect height to be as invasive as possible to my visual field. I grind my teeth while I sleep. I wake up sore, and the cycle repeats.
I have also begun to notice an increase in something that I know has been around for a while: feeling sensitive to sound. Particularly when there are a number of different sounds all at different levels and different directions. When the sound is homogeneous, it is better, except for certain pitches. Sometimes it feels like they are echoing into my ears. Sometimes it physically hurts my ears at a level that everyone around me seems totally fine with. Watching TV with subtitles is preferred, and I take the earlier exit off the expressway when I’m driving because the wind on the car at high speeds is super unsettling.
I have had very obvious panic attacks in front of my friends now, in front of my peers at uni. It scares me because I used to have it somewhat confined. I used to be able to hold it in until I got home and collapsed. Now that is not so.
What am I doing to improve the current situation?
I am seeing a new psychologist, one who I actually trust, both for me to share with her but also to have a high sense of confidence in her professional abilities.
I am purchasing a weighted blanket and a bean bag as suggested by an OT who specialises in sensory modulation. The bean bag is for a thing called bean bag tapping, which is a way to stimulate the proprioceptive sensory system.
I am being more open with my friends with what feels uncomfortable to me. This has been so difficult because of how irrational I know my reactions are to certain stimuli.
A massive thank you to all those who have brought me through this year so far. Thank you for your kindness and understanding. Thank you for your love.
I do not see the reasons that you give me so much kindness, but I will absolutely return it all the same xo