(Tampa, FL, USA)
Hello. I'm a 26 year old female and have been dealing with this the majority of my life. I find that I experience senses much more severely than other people. Music has to be at specific levels for certain activities, and not on if I need to critically think. I cannot eat spicy or heavily seasoned foods because it overwhelms me. In crowds or at parties or even hanging out with friends, if there is too much happening I begin to feel distressed, sort of overwhelmed and untidy in my brain because I cannot process everything happening at the same time. I often have to excuse myself or take breaks to be able to continue.
I've adapted a lot over the years, I don't often put myself in situations where I will become overloaded anymore. Most of my favorite foods/drinks are of the plain or vanilla variety. Like the checklist above, I do not accept people touching me, people yelling or causing loud noises in my presence. I often find comfort in fidgeting with items, twirling or braiding my hair, and tucking myself under several heavy blankets.
While I do feel this is burdensome in some points of my life, I also feel as though it has given me something. I perceive life around me to be more intense, more beautiful, more hurtful, and in some way I am more present. I am acutely aware of colors, soft noises, the way wind touches the skin, I am in this way more attuned to my surroundings.