Colour Sensitivity – Me and My White Kitchen!

Luca Cooking

We have lived in our house for 20 years and in that time we have never had a new kitchen. Our kitchen was a sort of yellowy cream yellowing with age with wood trim, slightly pinky walls and a very geometric patterned floor in reds and browns. I know – it doesn’t sound to good does it?! But you just get used to these things.

When I tried to cook in our kitchen I felt a strange sensation in my legs, a bit like I was being pulled down into a swamp.  And I would feel less and less energy in myself until I would feel like screaming and giving up. Often I wouldn’t finish cooking a meal. My husband would have to come and rescue me! And then I would get very cross if people weren’t appreciative of my efforts because I had suffered so much to do it.

Now I know – I was feeling a sensitivity to the geometric pattern on the floor and the dark brown colour of our gas hob.

When I tried to wash up in our kitchen I would feel a jangly sensation in my body. I would also go very hot, would feel achy and my face would always itch. I tried using washing up liquid without perfume but it didn’t help.

Now I know – I was sensitive to the grey colour of the stainless steel sink and also to the finish of the stainless steel itself. When light falls on stainless steel especially brushed steel it moves in a certain way creating rings and lines that were giving me a feeling of unease.

When I tried to eat in our kitchen I couldn’t taste my food. I would keep saying to my baker husband “Are you sure you put salt in the bread?” because I just couldn’t taste it. I would choose sweet things sometimes just because I could taste them better.

Now I know – Firstly I was sensitive to the blue light in our fridge so even looking for food in the fridge made me feel unwell and much colder than would be normal for a person to feel with the fridge open. Next I was sensitive to the appearance of the colours of some of the packaging under the poor lighting of our kitchen. Next I was sensitive to the orange pine colour of our kitchen table. And finally I was sensitive to the green rim of our Denby pottery plates. No wonder I couldn’t taste my food!

Solution

We finally have our new kitchen. It is not all clinical white as that would be too cold and not good for us at all. We have light ivory cupboard doors that have a certain warmth. We have surf white work surfaces which make every coloured package on the top appear more to their true colour. We have a white composite sink and white tap. We have a white glass splashback and upstand and a white glass hob and white oven.  All the whites are slightly different – a little blue, a little green here and there – but I like this. Our floor will be a polished concrete effect vinyl and our walls F & B All White paint. Our lights are all dimmable.

Yes, it does look cool (!) but more importantly it feels amazing. I fully interact with the kitchen, happily going in the cupboards and drawers, using the sink and the hob etc. Whereas my kitchen used to repel me, now it it draws me in and hugs me. I feel very alive and I tend to do things more slowly than I used to as this feeling of calm overtakes me. I no longer rush to get out of my kitchen. I relish the time I spend in there and look forward to it taking me on many happy cooking journeys.

My son (11) who takes sensitivity to a whole new level and literally would spend no time in our kitchen and not even eat with us now goes in there and dances around happily wanting to learn to cook and do everything himself. It is the most amazing thing to see.

So . . . how do you feel in your kitchen? Is it helping you to nourish yourself or hampering you?

To read more about mine and my son’s experiences of colour sensitivity please see my book:-

I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair – The Relationship Between Sensory Processing Difficulties and Colour Sensitivity

 

 

 

 

Colour Sensitivity – Light watcher Forecast – 9th Dec 2018

child praying

The light is more blue than usual for December.

You may be feeling:

Very single minded, a bit detached, a bit lonely, a bit flitty in your thinking.

Suggestions:

Find meaningful ways to connect with others and let you voice out – what you really think and feel. Follow the thread of your thoughts and ideas and see what wonderful place they lead you to.

Sensory Processing Difficulties – The Healing Power of the Big Picture.

download

Today we went for a walk with our ten year old son. We went to a beautiful park where there were walk ways and water and ducks and lots of lovely places to scoot. I was in a very ‘connecting’ mood and pretty happy as long as everyone was living on a feeling level!

We were just on our way back to the car when we discovered a new piece of path. There were brick walls either side and it was like an old railway embankment. The walls weren’t straight though. They were leaning backwards at about a 10 degree angle. As soon as I stepped onto this path. I felt discomfort. Where had my happy, secure feelings gone? I told myself it was just a bit of new path – something to get excited by, not scared of. However the feelings continued. I just didn’t like the brick walls. I think it was the angle that disturbed me. My brain just couldn’t seem to process what my eyes were seeing. My chest felt tight and my energy felt displaced. I really didn’t want to continue but my son was so happy scooting and my husband so happy exploring that I did. The only way out at the end of the path was a gate to a very busy road so we turned round and came back. This time I didn’t look at the walls. I just looked at the ground in front of me and although I felt restricted, I felt so much better.

Now at home writing this 2 hours later I am still processing my experience of the walls. When I was there my chest was tight. When I was driving home the tightness moved to my lower back. Now it is as if the feeling is trying to move out through my hips.

5 Minutes Later . . .

Amazingly when I looked for pictures to go with this post and I found the one above, the pain cleared from my hips and I felt I could breathe again.  Part of me didn’t want to look at the picture but part of me found it healing. it was somehow a relief to see the big picture of the sloping wall. I could now see at as part of the overall environment that it is rooted in. My brain at last could make sense of what my eyes had seen and my body could relax.

Thought . . .

We can spend a lot time focusing on every little detail of our life and trying to make it whole. However when we see the big picture we can relax and trust that although the details don’t seem to add up, wholeness can still be present.

So . . . wholeness isn’t dependent on every little detail being correct Keep looking at the big picture and a feeling a wholeness may surprise you!

New Book on Colour Sensitivity “I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair!”

Hi everyone,

I have been investigating the relationship between light/colour sensitivity and sensory processing disorder.

My son and I both have an usual experience of seeing the coloured light waves in the atmosphere and we both have sensory processing disorder.  The way we see light affects our perception of colour and can give us multiple nervous system symptoms. By understanding what we see we are able to minimise unpleasant symptoms and better enjoy our relationship with light.

I have put all our experiences and insights into my new book ” I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair!” I hope you find it helpful.

Red Chair Image

Click to Buy at Amazon – paperback 

Click here to buy for kindle

 

Being Highly Sensitive – When Everything is Too Much!

 

hiding from glare

There are times when the only thing that resonates with you comes from you. On those days everything around you feels too much for you.

Today everything around me is too much and if I was to describe the ‘too much’ I would have to relive it and that would be TOO much!

This is how it is being Highly Sensitive. Some people call it a disorder or a disease. For me it has become a way of life. 🙂

Highly Sensitive People – An Appearance of Anxiety – A Confession!

 

fright 2

How frustrating it must be for people who aren’t highly sensitive to watch and try to interpret the behaviours of the highly sensitive!

My husband and I are always having a discussion about when is anxiety really anxiety when it comes to high sensitivity.

To discuss this here lets first define anxiety

A definition I found:-

“a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”

I would add that when we are anxious we experience physiological changes in our bodies causing us to feel and think in a certain way.

A Story

The other day we took our son aplaca walking.  I knew I was allergic to horses so don’t go horse riding but I thought I would test out alpacas to see if I was ok with them.  I felt pretty good walking them so assumed I had no serious allergy. Then when we went back to the farm to return the alpacas, there was a horse standing between me and the alpaca enclosure! My first thought was “Oh if I get near the horse, it will nullify my alpaca allergy test.”  So I stopped in my tracks and expressed my concern. I didn’t feel I had much time so I knew I would need to send some anxiety signals to people. This is quite simple. I just make my movements jerky and my eyes big. Inside I was as calm as a cucumber but nobody knew! Having deliberately moved 4 paces back from the horse I then calmly suggested to my husband he go and enjoy his cup of tea while I sit in the car.

I often use this anxiety signal trick. I use it when my husband says he is going to clean the bathroom sink with caustic soda! He says it has no smell but he clearly doesn’t have my brain! I have to alert him quickly that there is a problem and get him to take it seriously. My son uses this trick and probably learnt it from me. If a window is open and my son feels a fly may come in, he feels he has very little time to get the desired result of me closing the window. He has to react now and it has to be dramatic. “Oh no, the window – close it!” he squeals at the top of his voice. Or “Just get that crust off my plate!” He knows the crust won’t hurt him but something about it makes him uncomfortable so he has to send a signal.  I know essentially he is calm because two seconds later he is smiling and chatty.

So my secret is out!! Me and my son turn up the drama deliberately to get our needs met. I don’t think this is dishonest though. It comes from a place of desperation, a sense of knowing just how hard it is for us to live in the world with all the sensory stimuli around us. And it saves us lots of explanations and lots of words and lots of time.

So next time you see a highly sensitive person seemingly over-react,  look deep into their soul. Are they really anxious or are they just sending an anxiety signal to get the help they need?

 

Sensory Processing Disorder – The Prayer of The Highly Sensitive Child

Dear Mr God:  About My Heart

middle-back

My heart feels a bit empty sometimes. I can feel disappointed with myself. Life feels difficult and I seem to make other people’s lives difficult too. I am worried sometimes that I am not good enough and although I try my best I am scared that what I do – things like writing and drawing – may not be okay. I compare myself to other people a lot and often think that they are better than me. Please help me realise that I am good enough. Help me to receive praise and to let it into my heart. I think  that love is enough and that you just love me for who I am. I really like to give too. Giving makes me feel really good in my heart. Please give me ideas about how I can open up my big heart and give the love that is inside of me to my family, community and the wider world. 

Dear Mr God: About My Arms and Hands 

armsSometimes when I don’t have enough cuddles or spend enough time with special people my arms feel empty. Please teach me about intimacy and how closeness is so important. As I get older  I may not want so many cuddles but I know I will still like touch. Please help my Mum/Dad to remember to play wrestling with me and give me high fives. Hold me when I am sad and I don’t have anyone else to cuddle me. I want to be able to sleep by myself but please help Mum/Dad to understand that sometimes I need to feel  close to them to be able to relax enough to sleep. Show them how much I need to feel my connection with them as I feel my connection with you. 

Please help me to be ‘hands on’ with things. I know I am a bit cautious and sometimes hold back from playing with sand or paint or water but really I know that I need it and that it is one important way that I connect with the world. I don’t like touching all things but some things feel so good to me – the smooth bark on a tree, Mum’s furry coat, making dough, laying down in a grassy field. Help me work out what I like and what I don’t like and then me and Mum/Dad can really enjoy the things I like together. 

Dear Mr God: About My Shoulders

upper backMy shoulders feel a bit tight sometimes especially when I have been told off. Please help Mum/Dad to be gentle with me even when I have done something to displease them. When I get upset I feel so bad in my body and don’t feel I can breathe properly. It would help if they could use a gentle voice and not look scary even when they are not pleased with something I have done. Please teach me that I need a lot of support and help and that this is okay. 

 

Dear Mr God: About My Throat

throatSometimes my voice feels blocked. I know I have a big voice but I can’t seem to find it. I don’t like listening to other people that much. It just feels too much and that I can’t hear myself think and I can’t hear my own voice. I like it when I am the teacher and when I am the leader. Then I suddenly feel better and my voice gets bigger and I feel happier. I know I am a child so I can’t always teach and lead but if I can do it sometimes it helps. Please help Mum/Dad to have ideas for how I can teach and lead sometimes.

Please help me see that it is okay to ask for what I need. When we are out please help my Mum/Dad to be my advocate and tell other people that I am sensitive and sometimes need special things or to be treated in a particular way. Please also teach me to speak up for myself so I can become an advocate for other highly sensitive people.

Dear Mr God: About My Head and Neck 

headI don’t know yet really who I am like other children don’t know but sometimes I think I see clues about who I am. Please help Mum/Dad to listen when I try to tell them who I think I am and please help me find who I am and then equip me to be fully myself. 

 

 

 

Dear Mr God: About My Feet

feetMy feet feel stuck sometimes and like they don’t know what to do. They have no life in them. And then at other times I feel like I am not really on the ground – like my feet aren’t really contacting the ground at all. I want to feel like I am here on the earth and that I am safe. Please help Mum/Dad teach me about love because surely that is the biggest thing that we can experience. Help them teach me that my feet are rooted in love and about joy and peace too because these are my heart song. I live to feel love and joy and peace and so want other people to experience that too. I like mindfulness, and meditating is okay but really I want to know that I am always okay to be in the world. When I am meditating sometimes I feel I am in a blank space and I don’t like that. And then when I finish meditating I have to come back to the world which is funny as well – a shock somehow – like landing on earth with a bump. Really I would like to feel that I am okay all the time – safe all the time. Please help Mum/Dad show me that your love is enough to keep me safe. 

Dear Mr God: About my Upper Legs 

legsI sometimes don’t feel like I belong. I just feel too different. Please help me find my place. Show me that people are everywhere. They are in my family and then they come to the door with packages and we see them at the supermarket. There are people in the parks and in my group activities. Show me that people are all ages and all different and that it is good to just be part of the community. Help me find my confidence to talk to people, to say ‘Hi’ to the window cleaner or to ask the children at the park if I can play football with them. Please keep showing me that I will find my place if I just keep being part of community.

 

Dear Mr God: About My Lower Legs

legsI sometimes feel stuck in my life like other people are moving forward and I am not. Please help me see that moving forward isn’t about achievement and acquiring lots of things but that is about being open to the journey of my life. Help me see that we never really stand still and that just by getting up and getting involved in life I am moving forwards and growing up. 

 

 

Dear Mr God: About My Lower Back 

lower-backI sometimes feel a bit weak in what I believe. I am not sure about saying what I think and having an opinion. Being highly sensitive, life feels difficult and I feel things differently to other people. This means I probably think differently and I am scared sometimes to say what I think I know. Please help me to be strong in myself. Teach me that we are all unique and it is okay to be my own person with my own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. 

 

Dear Mr God: About My Middle Back 

middle backI don’t feel as strong as some other children. I seem to be more easily upset, bothered and frightened of things. Please teach me about vulnerability. I think vulnerability can be my strength. Although other people look tough I think it can be a mask and that really everyone has needs and feels weak sometimes. Please tell me that I have a very special gift because I have the desire to be authentic and fully myself.

 

 

Dear Mr God: About My Lower Abdomen  

lower-abdomenSometimes I just don’t know what to do to make myself feel okay. Please help me be creative. I don’t know how to do this because if I try to make something from a book or write someone else’s story or play someone else’s music I don’t feel too good. Please show my Mum/Dad that my creativity needs to come from deep within myself. Help them teach me how to look for inspiration in my life and the world around me on a daily basis. Help them show me the importance of my story.

Help me to try working with lots of different materials when I am being creative.  I really like the computer because it responds to me – a bit like another person really. Also the computer doesn’t mind me making mistakes. It just deletes them for me. I really need help to write my letters and draw something and use paint because I am frightened I don’t know the exact way to use these things and that I will make a mistake. Please show me that using my hands to make things and touching materials is a special experience that I need to feel good even though the materials may not be as responsive as a computer.

Dear Mr God: About My Upper Abdomen

upper-abdomenI sometimes don’t feel very powerful, when I feel unsure about myself and the situations I am in. Please help Mum/Dad show me that power isn’t about strength or control but it is really just about being myself. Please help me recognise the times when I am really being myself like when I am climbing trees with my friend or building a rocket on my special computer programme or helping Mum to make tea. 

 

 

Dear Mr God: About My Stomach:  

stomachSometimes I feel a bit empty as if I am continuously hungry for something. Please teach be about being content with what I have but always leaving a little bit of room for more. Help Mum/Dad teach me that the most important things are relationship, love, being creative and being true to myself because that is what I think you are showing me.

 

 

 

Sensory Processing – To Hide or to Be My Insecure Self in the World? – That is the Question!

looking through window

I have spent my whole life wondering why I have this tension in my body, I can’t always think straight and I feel sort of insecure a lot of the time. I have really worked my socks off to get to the bottom of this and I thought after 12 years of very intense therapy and working with my issues around the clock, that at least one morning I could get up and feel relaxed!

But no! It seems I was wrong! There is something more than issues or anxiety going on. And it is all about my senses and my difficulty with processing. I can find it difficult to process light, colour, sound, taste, touch, motion, temperature and mine and other people’s emotions.

So what do I do? Do I hide? Or do I take my insecure self out into the world?

Well, I’m done hiding! I’m done waiting until I feel sorted enough to make me feel worthy of being in the world. I’m done waiting for others to give me their nod of approval that says ‘Yes, You’re ok now, You’re good enough to be one of us!”  I’m even done waiting to feel secure enough to dare to step into the world.

I AM DONE WAITING!

I know I am quirky, I know I look tense, I know I can appear socially awkward, I know I can look insecure and scared. I know I can swing between seeming distant and a chatterbox.  I know I don’t seem like a teacher or a healer and certainly not a leader . . .

But I am . . . and I AM HERE!

 

 

Sensory Processing – Integrating your Senses through the Right Side of Your Brain

 

supermarket 2

Today I suddenly realised why when we go out as a family I can get quite cross because no-one else is excited like me by simply being out. We drive along and I see the fields, the sheep, the hills, the sky . . . and I am excited! I start to chatter about them and no-one really responds. Today I got it  . . . no-one else is really feeling excited like me. My son has a visual processing problem so he is really struggling with everything he sees at the moment. And my husband . . . well, he might need a little more going on in the environment to get excited! I mean he might get the same excitement that I get from seeing the sky, from seeing Victoria Falls. I, of course, in such an environment, would be completely over-stimulated!

It is one of the gifts of being highly sensitive . . . feeling so easily excited, and one that I think we tend to forget to enjoy. We are too busy calling everything ‘over-stimulation.’ I love the fact that I can feel happy so easily. Admittedly I can feel miserable pretty easily too but I can usually find my happy place again. I live on this sort of emotional swing.

Another place I went today was a supermarket – a nice supermarket – Waitrose! As soon as I step in there I am usually feeling for the temperature. Anther thing I find difficult to process is temperature change. I walk straight past the freezer aisles to the warm spot amongst the biscuits and the cereals and there I loiter. Today I thought ‘Oh, why didn’t I wait in the car?’ because we had already been out to a medical appointment and sat in a children’s centre consulting room cram-packed with every colour imaginable! But then I decided to embrace the situation. I jigged about a bit to keep warm and focused on the task in hand. I felt the bustle of a supermarket before Christmas – people and trolleys and loads and loads of stuff. And then I thought ‘To me, this is like a theme park. I could actually find it exciting!’ And my next thought was ‘I shouldn’t consider this a shopping trip – it is just an experience. I should just let myself be wowed by the colours and the activity. I shouldn’t worry how I look to others.”  And at that point I relaxed and became warm. Even though I could feel hot and cold currents of air, I seemed to be able to integrate my experience of temperature.

As I find time and time again, as highly sensitive people, we experience the world the best when we can relax into the right side of our brain!