Tone it down a little please

World mental health day 2020

Saturday 10 October

On a purple background the words: World Mental Health Day 10 October 2020. Eceryone's experience of mental health is different, Time to change, let's end mental health discrimination.

Let’s end mental health discrimination.

I dislike shopping, there is too much going on at once, and a lot of it is unnecessary. Do you really need to pipe music into toilets, how is the functionality of taking a pee enhanced by the tones if Michael Bublé or the latest beats?

My problem with this? I am autistic. Autism for me can be a disability at times. Most of the time I’m fine, but when stressed it can be quite a problem, especially if I am close to melting down. Meltdowns are not, despite their appearance nothing to do with anger but a reaction to being over stimulated. Too much bright light is bad as I am sensitive to light and too much background noise makes things difficult as I am unable to filter it out. Quiet background music is always a problem, because I can hear it I want to know what it is. I spend a lot of energy straining to identify the sounds I am hearing. Shopping malls tire me out. Unless it is music designed to be background. The Café del Mar in Ibiza is one of my favourite spaces as the best ambient DJs in the world are mixing the music. If only there were more places with good ambient music playing.

What we could do with is a quiet spaces in public places. Even some churches are going for what they call a healthy buzz of people chatting over post service coffee. It can become too much if there is nowhere to escape.

Stress affects me in two ways. No stress and the autistic lack of motivation, if I did not set myself deadlines I would not write a single word of this blog. The other way is too much sensory input. The crowds in the shopping mall, the bright colours of the shop displays added to the already bright ambient lighting. I prefer pedestrianised streets to shopping malls, the streets are wider and I can look at the building above the shop front. I can manage my stress level in pedestrianised streets, or even shopping streets where the traffic is mostly busses.

The thing is that the things that debilitate me are man made. The rush to maximise profits makes things brighter, shinier and louder. It is this that makes things difficult. Villages are great places to visit the shops, but village shops are closing, priced out of the market by supermarkets who then open village shops to fill the gap in the market they have created.

Loud rock concerts are not a problem, well not afrer the band have started playing. It is loud, very loud but there are no extraneous noises, everyone is concentrating on the same thing, The same goes for the cinema and theatre. the worst thing about the theatre is the interval.

My plea is that if you are going for bright and crowded, Covid-19 has helped with the crowds but this is temporary, please think of those who do not appreciate the bright and loud and confusing, it is not every autistic person, but also it is not only autistic people, please design a quiet place where we can recover in your plans.

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