I struggle with large events because I become overwhelmed by noise and movement. I struggle to tune things out. This year it dawned on me that ‘meltdown’ might be a very good description of what happens to me in those circumstances. I’ve not sought formal diagnosis, but I am exploring on the basis that my brain might need looking after in some specific ways.
In the photo I’m wearing a bonnet made out of my son’s old cricket hat. It was a beaten up object with no scope for re-use or recycling and I’ve kept it out of landfill. The lace is a mix of upcycling and stuff I had stashed, the creatures were made for something else and needed a new home.
I tested it for the first time at Shrewsbury – an event with a lot of footfall. I found that it does indeed reduce my peripheral vision, and that as I had thought, reducing peripheral vision reduces stress. There’s less information to process so I don’t get so overloaded. On the downside, it covers my ears so doesn’t work for singing, which I only realised after we’d started singing.
I’m now considering how expensive events are for me in terms of overload, and there are some I don’t intend to return to because even with a bonnet they’d mess me up. I’m working on the idea that pushing through is not always the best choice. I’m lucky in that I have a lot of control over when and how and where I work. I note that even so it’s not easy to hold boundaries and avoid doing things that make me ill.
There are far too many people with far too few options around how their work spaces impact on them. Some work spaces are so toxic that they’d make anyone ill. Mental and emotional wellbeing in workplaces are just as much health and safety issues as physical threats to wellbeing. We really should be taking that seriously.