I accidently came across the picture above on shutterstock. My first reaction was: ‘that’s gross!’, followed by a shiver. A normal reaction for someone with autism. In our household we don’t use aftershaves, parfumes or deodorants. Fortunately everyone in our household thinks this is gross. So body odours smell better? Yes!
Unless someone has stuffed him/herself with non-natural food and this is coming out again through the pores. Their hypersensitivity is quite specific for autistic people. But where is the crux of the matter? And how to deal with this?
Our senses are very sensitive. This is a physical manifestation of the hypersensitivity of our nature. Everything about us mirrors delicacy and detail. The word ‘delicate’ might surprise you, because it seemed to contradict the way in which we speak out sometimes. But… we notice everything! With our senses. These are our tools and these tools are very advanced and finely tuned… in a society where disharmony is prevalent. Our tools sometimes flip because of that. Like they’re a mechanical scale with a coverage of 500 grams, that you suddenly overload with 3 kg…
Smells, sounds, images, tastes.. We have an eye for harmonious detail. The odour of aftershave is too intense, however the odour of freshly mown grass is delicious, mmmm. The difference? Guess..?
The difference is in it being natural or not. Synthetic is gross.
We can easily take odours, tastes, colours and noises… Even up to many decibels… As long as they are harmony with nature.
Not too long ago I went to a musical with my partner, in which the musical chaos of the seventies was expressed. I could only take it for 10 minutes with my hands on my ears, after which we sneaked out of the back door and felt very relieved. Whereas another concert could be a very engaging experience. We need seats in the middle of the space though, so the sound comes in from both sides in similar intensity. This is how sensitive our ears are!
How to live with this?
Start off with not seeing it as a problem, because this will make you resist anything that comes in through your senses and is too much, and this will make you tired of your own resistance against those stimuli. See your sensitivity truly like an advanced, finely tuned machine that is magnificent and beautiful! And can be used for many beautiful things. However(!), it needs your care. You need to let it cool down, clean it and keep it clean, and recalibrate it by tuning into yourself in your own time and space. You need sufficient amounts of ‘me-time’. Circulation of energy.
Don’t let your senses become numb in spaces without any stimulation, use them and enjoy them, but also make a meter that will tell you when the machine needs some maintenance. And you’re the one to provide the maintenance.