Christmas is hands down, one of my favorite holidays. The twinkling lights, the delicious food, the coziness of watching classical Christmas movies. However, part of having NVLD is feeling overstimulated. Every year, I become a grinch at the thought of family gatherings because I know how depleted and overwhelmed I’d feel.
It’s almost like my NVLD goes on sensory overload. Due to already struggling with non-verbal communication it almost feels as if I’m an actor trying out for an audition, and I have to practice a script. From the hugs, the conversations, the extra background noise, and stimulation it all becomes too much. I force myself every year to engage as much as possible, which only leads to more exhaustion. Then, by the time it’s over I deal with a social hangover that can last up to a few days. Social settings in general, are difficult to navigate with NVLD. I’ll feel easily overwhelmed by all the extra noise, and more on edge.
Over the years, I’ve developed some tips I’d like to share!
- Focus on one person at a time and have a small intimate conversation versus focusing on several conversations at once.
- Don’t over extend yourself to agreeing to go to as many family gatherings as possible. It’s ok to stay no! Know your comfort level.
- Find a quiet place you can retreat to if you feel overwhelmed.
- Consider your accommodations, and don’t be afraid to have a conversation about your needs to your family to make the experience feel more comfortable for you.
At the end of the day, just know you are only human, and you did the best you could. Having NVLD doesn’t make you difficult, it just means learning to do things in a different way that makes it a more enjoyable experience for you.
I’m a graduate of the Child & Youth Worker program from Cambrian College and I’m pursuing my degree in Disability Studies at Ryerson University along with a certificate in Aboriginal Knowledges & Experiences. I am a Project Social Ambassador for The NVLD Project.Share your own story