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Autism: Glasses, Contacts, Hot Water, and other Sensory Issues

08 Sep

It seems autumn has come early this year, as did the summer, spring, and winter before it. The weather has been cooler, and the leaves already started turning by the 1st of September.

I like the autumn – sweaters, tea, quilts, fires in the fireplace, pumpkins… there is so much I love about the fall. It also means shorter days, dying plants, and thoughts of winter. This time of year leaves me feeling comforted, yet reflective of times past.

It is now Saturday, September 5.  I have been writing ahead because, well, I am compulsive that way.  I have to be early for every appointment.  I was always 20-30 minutes early for my shift at work.  I get things done early.  I don’t like the stress of pushing myself to be on time, so I do everything early.

Today I am still feeling exhausted. It is hard to get anything done when feeling this way. A lot of it likely has to do with how much visiting we have done in the past week. We still have one house guest, which is still nice, but with that the phone rings more often (and I have to answer it, where I would normally let it go to answering) more conversations, more card games, more thoughts of others… I am tired, even though I like having him here.

Part of the reason that I am feeling tired is that I have not been wearing my glasses or contacts for a large part of the day. Glasses, with the pressure on my head, the lack of focus in switching from things near to things farther away, the rims getting in the way of my line of vision… glasses give me headaches, make me tired, and leave me feeling dizzy. I don’t like them.

I wear gas permeable contact lenses, and while they felt like torture getting used to them for the first few weeks, I do like them a lot better than the bi-weekly disposable lenses I had before. They are clearer than glasses can be (due to my astigmatism) and I am able to focus both near and far (which I can’t do either with glasses or soft contacts.) They don’t have rims to interfere with my line of sight… mostly I like them.

However if my eyes are tired or sore, as they have been this week, or if a piece of dust gets in them, they are very uncomfortable. I also have to wear them for at least a few hours every day in order to avoid having to go through the painful adjustment period again. That is not true of soft contacts, or glasses.

The last several days, though, while I have been wearing my contacts in the evenings while I have been visiting with people, I have been avoiding wearing either my glasses or my contacts. This means anything far away is blurry, and I spend all of my time focusing on things that are close to me. Even my computer is somewhat blurry, though it is not that far away. This also makes me tired.

It is hard to come up with a solution to eye correction when I have so many sensory issues that come with my Autism. I guess if I could afford it, laser eye surgery might help with the issue, but it doesn’t always work, and the thought scares me. I wish there were another solution to my eyesight issues.

Anyway, being so tired again makes it hard to motivate myself. I tend to get stuck on things, like researching nothing on the internet. I didn’t get any cleaning done today. I can’t even gather enough energy to care. It took me most of the day to talk myself into having a shower, even though I was pretty sure it would help me to feel better.

Once I got in the shower, though… I am so thankful to have hot water come so quickly out of the tap. Especially in the cooler months of the year, and on days like today. Once I got in the shower, and had that hot water flowing over me, it felt so good I didn’t want to get out.

There are advantages to being so sensitive to my environment. While this can often cause pain where others are oblivious or only slightly discomforted, it can also cause almost euphoric waves of pleasure – like standing in a hot shower on a cool day, lying under my weighted blanket and feeling anchored to my bed, or smelling my vanilla scented candle and having shivers go up and down my back… some things almost make the rest of it worth it.

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