Saturday, 10 May 2014

Sensory Deprivation

When I was in high school I came across a book in the library quite by accident. I borrowed this book, it was called 'Wise Highs' by Alex J. Packer. It changed my life. I remember looking through it and coming across a section on sensory deprivation. I was intensely drawn to the idea of sensory deprivation. I longed to try it out, but did not have a wardrobe big enough and I couldn't figure out how else to do it with privacy with the rest of my family around. I put it away in my mind to refer to when I had a chance to try it out. Fast forward a couple of years and I'm in my first year of University. I'd left home for the first time. I was struggling to cope with all the changes, struggling to adapt and manage on my own. I had recently moved out of an abusive boarding situation into a house with other women my own age. The room I rented had a big roomy wardrobe. I remembered reading about sensory deprivation from 'Wise Highs,' and decided to set up the wardrobe as a sensory deprivation space. I got excited because now I was finally able to try it out for myself. I set myself up in my wardrobe with pillows, blankets and ear plugs. I forgot the world exists. I let go of everything. I let my mind drift and dream. It was a relief to hear and see nothing. To escape from the busyness of the world. It was very peaceful and calm. I stayed in my sensory deprivation space for a decent amount of time. I can't remember exactly how long. I emerged feeling peaceful and ready to face the world again.

Since that first time of trying sensory deprivation, I have set myself up a sensory deprivation chamber using various wardrobes wherever I have lived. I craved it. I longed for it. Since my diagnosis of Autism and fully understanding of myself, using sensory deprivation makes so much sense. I instinctively knew what I needed before I understood (I knew I was different, I just had no idea why) my neurology and did what was best for me. It helped me cope and face the world again many times. I am so grateful that I accidentally found 'Wise Highs' in my high school library all those years ago. I have now bought myself a copy of the book as it has other great stress relieving ideas.

I forgot all about sensory deprivation and the book after I became a mother. My mind became scattered and I regressed. I experienced burnout.
I am slowly regaining my sense of self and embracing who I am. I am starting to cope better, I am remembering things I used to do before I became a mother. I remembered my 'Wise highs,' book. I did remember a couple of years ago that I used to do sensory deprivation but I didn't fully comprehend it and couldn't bring it to the fore front of my mind in order to actually do it. I was too burnt out and inert then.
This afternoon after a busy week I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and overstimulated. I was trying to talk, trying to figure out what to do next, and I just couldn't do or speak that easily or well. Words were hard to get out. My husband Atrus could see I was struggling. He suggested I go and have some down time. I went and listened to a guided relaxation exercise which helped me feel a bit calmer but I could still hear a lot of noises over the top of the recording. I was anxious and stressed. I tried deep and slow breathing to calm my racing heart. I could not slow it down. I finished the relaxation exercise only mildly calmer than I when began.

While I was listening to the guided relaxation, I suddenly remembered doing sensory deprivation and my Wise Highs book. Soon after I had finished listening to my relaxation exercise, I looked through the book case for the book. I found it easily, thankfully. I read the section on sensory deprivation. I decided that I needed to set myself up a sensory deprivation space in our walk-in wardrobe, which I proceeded to do. I used my ear plugs, sleep mask, blankets and a pillow. I lay down, focusing on slowing my breathing and racing heart. It was so calm and peaceful. It was a relief to be free of the majority of noise and light. I let go. I rested. I forgot about time, expectations and responsibilities. Soon my heart stopped racing and I felt calm. I emerged 30 minutes or so later, feeling much better and able to cope better for the rest of the day. I am going to continue to use sensory deprivation regularly to help me cope with life stresses and wind down.

No comments:

Post a Comment