This passage from “Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman” captures an aspect of sensory overwhelm I’ve noticed in my own life: “It’s pretty hard to feel alone in a world this constantly loud and busy and full of experiences.”
while oversensitivity to sensory information can sometimes be overwhelming to a ludicrous degree, it is also really useful for being able to feel okay when spending lots of time alone. I work alone from home, and have to be okay with large spells of social isolation, something that many people find exacerbates issues like depression. I tend to find it doesn’t have that effect on me, largely because it’s hard to feel alone when there’s constantly static and noise happening. I can always hear cars driving past which I know are full of people, water moving through pipes that will pass under people’s homes. I can see animals like birds and insects moving outside my window. I can’t tune out the world, and as such I never really forget that the world exists around me. It’s pretty hard to feel alone in a world this constantly loud and busy and full of experiences.
I still get lonely, but my threshold for (and need for) solitude is orders of magnitude beyond the typical.