Saturday, 6 September 2008

Constant over-stimulation numbs me, but I would not want you any other way

One of the more enduring symptoms of Asperger Syndrome (AS) are issues with external stimulus. Common problems revolve around noise, touch, the feeling of clothes on your body. Again every person with AS suffers in their own unique way and there is a collective pool of sensory issues we all dip our toes in. My major issues revolve around temperature and sound.

Going back even earlier than my insomnia, a bad reaction to heat is probably the only AS-related thing I've ever heard my parents tell me about when I was younger. Apparently from baby onward I have always hated the heat and hated being in the sun. I'd cry like the baby I was until taken into the shade. This particular symptom seems to have forked into issues with both heat and cold. I appear to be almost impervious to cold, it nears superhero proportions…as if I have a secret Fortress of Solitude, carved from ice somewhere in the Antarctic. No matter how low the temperature gets I never seem to feel it. I can walk around in a gale, the rain or a blizzard and not feel its effects. This in itself is not a problem for me, far from it. It makes "heating" my flat cheaper at least. However every Superman has his kryptonite…

I can't stand the heat. And when I say heat, I mean normal temperatures. It doesn't take much to get me hot and flustered, and when I get hot I sweat buckets. Walking is especially bad for me. When I have to walk somewhere I'm fine on the way, taking advantage of the breeze as I make progress, but as soon as I stop I suddenly overheat and drip sweat. I mean it drips off my nose, runs down my face, drips down the back of my neck.

The worst scenarios are having to go to a shop, and stuff like that. It's not that great when you get to the counter looking like you've ran a marathon. Haircuts are especially embarrassing. It's bad enough when your face is running in sweat, but when someone else has to cut your hair at the same time it's a bit grim. What I tend to do is walk to the hairdresser then wait outside until my core temperate balances out a little and the worst over the sweats is over and mopped up.

Other bad situations are coming out of a shower. I stay soaking for ages…I can dry the shower off but the water is just replaced by a thick coating of sweat pouring down my body as I sit in front of a fan trying to get my body temperature down. In the summer I try and offset this a little by turning the shower cold for a few minutes before I step out of it. I let the cold water crash against the top of my head and carom down my limbs to the gutter below. Also physical activity…even as small as doing the washing up or the vacuuming is again enough to have it dripping off my face.

I have a very minor issue with clothes, I'm not a fan of layers and that includes jackets or anything worn over a T-shirt, but that might be linked with my attempts to not overheat. I'll cover sound in a future post.


Beastinblack said...

im always at war with my co workers regarding tthe air con. i dont mind the cold, i even ride my motorbike in sub zero temperatures!

Anonymous said...

Nice Tool reference by the way.