Tag Archives: coping strategies for sensory overload

Two-track writing

When writing about an experience or event in my diary, I sometimes write about it twice, so there is one version from an objectively descriptive (outward-oriented) perspective, and one version from a personal, introspective perspective.


Analogy: an experience has many layers, that can be explored separately – just like musical tracks in a music editor

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Parties & Irrelevant Pity

Recently* my husband and I were invited to dinner by someone from Church. Also invited was the pastor and another pastor, who are my husband’s hunting buddies, and their wives.

old clipart of dinner party around a table, to pairs, man raising to toast, black and white drawing

I don’t usually* go to dinners because of my noise sensitivity and to be honest, even without that problem I doubt I would attend many dinners because I’m not really into the social side either, such as mingling with other wives and chatting about random topics. Dinners are ‘just not my cup of tea’ as I explain to some people.

In this case, however, the dinner was held very nearby where we live … just a few houses down on our street, and that made it harder to make a socially acceptable excuse.

The pastor tried to persuade me to come to the dinner, even if just briefly, so I could entertain the other pastor’s wife or something like that. Now, that isn’t a good role to put me in in any case. Out of all forced conversations I can think of, expected wife-chatting is one of the most awkward, and with the noise level there was likely to be in there (I have been there before) that wouldn’t work at all, not even for 10 minutes as he suggested. So I politely maintained my “No Thanks”.

Dinner Day

The day of the dinner came, and it happened that I wasn’t working at that time. I work variable hours, and I didn’t have to go that evening.

The pastor dropped by our house and asked again if I was working and asked me to come. I politely declined, but started to feel quite guilty about it. While my husband dressed up and walked the few steps down to the dinner, I just relaxed at home, increasingly conscious about the fact that it does not look right in the eyes of the community. However, I trust my husband to explain so nobody would take it personal.

When my husband came back from the dinner later in the evening, he said that it had been very noisy, a bit too much even for him. The host has a high pitched voice which she uses eagerly for melodramatic effects, and I would have hated it, he said.

So I ended up being perfectly happy with my decision to stay home, where I had enjoyed myself with undisrupted computer time.

‘So Sorry for You’…

Come Sunday, I met the dinner host in Church, and she said that she felt so sorry for me. My husband had explained to her that I couldn’t come to the dinner because of my over-sensitivity to noise, and she assumed that I must have felt terribly lonely and left out.

She made a comforting face expression and spiced her words with high pitched (ouch!) empathetic vocal sounds, and wanted to give me a hug. I froze in my position where I stood, awkward and hard faced of discomfort, just wanting to shield myself against the intrusive emotional drama that was coming at me. And unwarranted hugs! No thanks!


clipart of depressed black cat sitting at a table with a portion of spaghetti

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that people are inclusive and care about others’ feelings. It feels much better to not be at a party when invited than when not invited (as in “we don’t think you are worthy of our company”). It is just the parties and dinners themselves I’d rather be without, and I am fine without being there.
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Coping Tools for Non-verbal Aspects of a Business Meeting in a Cafe

Non-verbal aspects of a meeting, revisited.

This post focuses on the non-verbal aspects of Yesterday’s meeting and follows up on Non-verbal communication in a business meeting.


artified image of 2 business meeting in a cafe

Meetings are hard, but Yesterday’s* meeting went well and didn’t leave me totally drained. This is a recall of was different from usual, as I am analysing and adding the factors to my mind’s toolbox of coping strategies.

The context for Yesterday’s meeting

Yesterday*, the last thing in the world I wanted was the meeting. Tired, mildly depressed, and feeling so very unready for talk, interaction and the role as professional service provider.

The math circuits of my brain don’t have a fail-safe mode and tend to freeze when I feel stressed, nervous, tired or overloaded with impacts. I knew I had to suggest and guide about how to set the shipping calculations so it would work for all products (I had calculated some suggestions from home, but they were likely to be adjusted). So I worried whether I was able to operate my calculator in an IQ>70 manner.

Mind freeze was a problem in the meeting, but it was mild and (hopefully) invisible. My notebook where I wrote the numbers down to handle them reminded of an anthill – every number was on the move and relentlessly crossed path with other numbers. However after a while, after realising that I in any case seemed to understand the logic better than the client, I relaxed and the details came into place.
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