I have sensory issues. I’ve always had them and I always will. No matter what label or diagnosis those types of issues are listed under, I have them all. Smells, taste, sounds, jerky motions, a combination of certain colors and/or lights, and even the feel of certain materials, will drive me crazy and can make me physically sick.
In spite of literally hating the sound of someone (or an animal) crewing or drinking loudly, and dealing with all stupid MTHFKRing smells in a big box store (to the point of getting migraines from Fabreez), I managed to become a very successful adult. I learned to deal with strong smells by knowing exactly what detergent I wanted and needed, holding my breath, and running to the exact spot to get what I want and get the hell away from the rest of them. In church, or social gatherings, I started sitting alone, or very far away, from the Avon ladies, who pour on perfume like a teenage boy who uses Ax deodorant. Flashing lights of certain colors don’t send me into seizures as some people, but they irritate me to the point of being physically sick. Even the mixture of certain colors in certain patterns (where they play off of each other) can start my head spinning and I feel nauseous to the point of either turning my head from the colors or leaving the area completely. I never really paid attention to which colors, or the combination of colors, make me sick, I just started avoiding things that I knew my brain physically hates.
I’ve learned to avoid offending smells, but others find it kind of crazy the things that make me sick and those that don’t. Natural bodily odors, from someone who hasn’t taken a shower in a week, does not bother me. The smell of dirt and manure, even when freshly laid on a farm, does not bother me either. But someone, who recently used body wash, shampoo, deodorant, hair spray, perfume, body spray, and tons of makeup, can give me a quick hug and I will almost pass out from pain that immediately washes over me. At the very least, I’ve had to go home early after an encounter such as this, but in the worst case scenario, I’ve actually landed in the ER from this exact kind of situation.
It’s very hard to get most people to understand I can’t use their lotions, purchase their monthly sales perfume, or use the new essential oil of the month, because, unlike them, their innocent little bottle can land me in the hospital, followed by bed-rest for 3 days and a “pain hangover” for 2 more days. I can literally lose a week of my normal life just by using a co-worker’s peach-strawberry-lavender name brand lotion. (AND No. Just because it’s hypo-allergenic does not mean it’s is made for people with over-sensitive senses).
I’m not the only person this happens to and there are way more of us than most people realize. Most of us only complain about our over-sensitive senses when we are trying to escape from the offender causing the reaction. We politely excuse ourselves, meltdown avoided, no need to talk about it further. Most people, like me, do the same thing. Why should we complain, when we can just change our own habits? I don’t complain that another person’s perfume makes me sick, I get up and move away. I don’t complain someone’s loud chewing makes me want to scream, I get up and find somewhere else to sit.
I’ve been able to control what I smell or don’t smell, what I touch and don’t touch, what I hear or don’t hear (my gosh, certain sounds can really drive me as crazy as a mad hatter), and even what I see or don’t see. Except, with the last one, the internet (which I use every damn day) has taken it’s love for smashing colors and sounds together, to a whole new excruciating level.
I’ve managed to survive this long in the normal world, so I’m sure I’ll find ways to hang on a while longer, but the continuous evolution of the internet is making it harder and harder to avoid these issues.
The amount of sights and sounds on most pages are enough for me to turn off my sound and turn down the brightness of my screen for a short time (I’ve even been known to try out new colors just to get a break from the overload of so many colors bombarding me at once).
I don’t know if I’m just over the top sensitive to these types of things or do page owners just don’t care how others perceive their content? There are so many ads on some websites, I refuse to visit the websites or share the websites. I know there are others out there, like me, who don’t want their day ruined from a migraine, irritability, or upset stomach, all due to someone who over loaded their page with more ads than content, so I’m not sure why it continues to get worse. I would guess these pages must make a ton of money with this tactic or they wouldn’t keep it up.
The click-bait pages are the worst. I’ll search for something online and think I’ve found something interesting to read, but in reality the link creators either faked the thumbnail and the content has zero to do with the headline or they have so much click bait going on, the content becomes irreverent. I doesn’t matter how interesting an article is if a reader never reads it. Very few people really enjoy wading through an enormous amount of ads just to read less than 1000 words of content.
The two I hate most are pop-up and auto-play ads. There’s no way to stop them or click out of them (especially since the x is so tiny and anywhere you click you basically opens the damn ad and this either slows down your computer or downloads the black screen of death on your computer.) If it’s an auto-play ad at least I can turn off my sound and ignore it, but the pop-up ads are super annoying. I understand content creators need to make money and obviously people need your information, or I wouldn’t have needed your page, but somewhere in the mix, a compromise needs to be reached.
Paid content is an option. Just like magazines, there are people who will pay for real content, just to avoid the intrusion of ads popping up. The plus side of online subscription is, there are zero perfume samples in them (my gosh I hate those and yes, I get physically ill when a random one arrives in my mailbox. The entire magazine goes straight to the trash) and they are environmentally friendly!
Another option is allowing the writers of websites to make extra income by finding and selling sponsorship ads. The writers could then make a percentage of the sponsorship they sell. These types of ads are small advertisements, nicely placed in a non-intrusive manner, purchased by companies who support the site and the content.
I hope to one day make a small income from my words, but not in a manner which shouts, screams, or throws sounds at my readers before they get to the first word. There are many things I do wrong on my blog; I cuss, I’m pretty terrible at grammar, and my spelling is atrocious, but I promise I’m not going to set up ads to scream at my readers to make a few dollars.
At the moment, I have no ads on my blog (and I try not to share links which are full of ads). This was set up as much for me as it was for my readers. Sure, I could set up pop-up ads and banner ads, but those things not only distract the readers from my content I want them to enjoy (um, you know, the reason for setting up a blog in the first place), but they also distract me from my own page.
I want my readers to enjoy my content and maybe learn a few things along the way, not get angry and upset due to a bunch of random advertisements.
One day I hope to add legitimate paid sponsors, and maybe even add a few affiliate links, but when I do, these will be non-intrusive. They will be created in a comfortable reading style, not created as pop-up ads which could irritate or anger my readers.
After a long day of dealing with the perfume sales people in the mall, those stupid, stupid, auto commercial thingies in big box stores, and living in a world where polyester is a real thing, it’s nice to be able to click on a link and not get bombarded with lights, sounds, and colors which can’t be turned off.
To any content creator, who includes ads to the left, right, or even at the top of your website, here is a resounding, “THANK YOU!” From those of us who already have trouble focusing, you are our friend.
Let’s hope more webpages will follow your lead.
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.