Life with Sensory Processing Disorder

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Story, Part 2

More on how SPD affects me...
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a picky eater. I didn’t know why, I just knew I did not like to eat anything but mainly two things. I hated vegetables and refused to eat much else. Not eating = not going to the bathroom so my mom would try to force me to eat, would punish me, nothing worked however. Once in school I started to eat other foods, but still was extremely picky. Now as an adult, I won’t eat meat and I don’t eat anything with a bumpy, wet, mushy, or slimy texture  eg; cottage cheese, custard, wet eggs, browned eggs, flan, tapioca, soft cheeses, squash, quiche, dishes with corn kernels in it, Greek yogurt.
I am hypersensitive to light, but not as much as the other senses. Flashing lights, dim lights, colored lights, strong light; sun or artificial can hurt my eyes & head and make me feel sick.

I don’t like to be touched. I am very ticklish and jumpy. If you touch certain parts of my body I feel them elsewhere, such as if I or my dentist touch my teeth or gums my nose will tickle & itch, if you touch my left side it feels like I have a full bladder and have to urinate. If someone needs to touch me (doctor, dentist, etc.) they have to do it firmly or it tickles or hurts. I do appreciate firm hugs from loved ones though. I don’t like things; shoes, blankets, etc. on my feet, I can’t stand anything on my neck like turtlenecks, scarves, or jewelry (the only reason I am wearing a necklace in my profile pic is because it was taken for my bio in a beading magazine). Often at night when watching TV our small dogs sleep on us and if they put their head on my neck my stomach tightens up, I feel irritated and nauseous and have to move them immediately.  I buy t-shirts that are tag-less. I hate my face being touched by hands, hair, or anything else. I hate wearing restrictive, rough, or big seamed clothing and whenever I get home I will rip off my clothes and put on loose, cotton clothing. I hate washing dishes, putting my hands in water, and I hate the feeling of dry skin –on me or others.

I am very sensitive to energy and hate being in crowds, going to someone’s house I am not familiar with, or being around people in general. I feel weighed down, zapped of energy, sick, and disoriented from others’ energy, busy décor, negative moods or environments. I haven’t watched the news in a very long time because it is so negative and draining to me. I don’t watch violent movies. I can only listen to happy upbeat but not too energetic music in the car. I am a super light sleeper and kept awake by the clock ticking, the refrigerator kicking on in the kitchen, the heat coming on, if the position of the moon is overhead or shining on the room I am in I wake up and feel it even though I can’t see it & the blinds are closed. I am especially sensitive to the moon when it is full -even though I don’t follow its cycle, I can always feel when it is full.
Chemicals and materials give me hives, rashes, headaches. For instance I get odd reactions to elastic, adhesives, nylon, etc. Many soaps, food preservatives, aluminum cans give me reactions.
If I get overheated I flush and feel very sick; faint, dizzy, panic. I start getting hives, itch, get disoriented. I am best in a cool environment. I like to sleep with 2 comforters on me in a cold room, but they cannot be on my feet.
My sense of hearing is super strong and I often hear things others don’t and cannot tune out things like ticking clocks and watches (which is why I never wear a watch), or someone chewing. Being in a crowded room, noise & chatter overwhelmingly buzzes loudly in my head. I can hear things from far away, soft noises that others don’t.  I am attracted to people mostly by their voice. My husband is a musician and that is how we met (I bought his CD and emailed him a question), I’ll write more about that another day. I think our love story is rather cool. J
Often I know things before they happen or dream of things to come. Sometimes I know when someone is going to or has died. It doesn’t seem to be anything I can control. Although I did find when I studied Reiki and had attunements my intuition was extremely heightened to the point of being bothersome and scary, so I stopped studying and stopped practicing daily. I am a 2nd degree practitioner and find Reiki helps symptoms at times.
Someone who has never heard of SPD or has not experienced it may think it is crazy and at times it sure feels like it. It doesn’t make sense, it hurts, it makes daily life a struggle. Things you aren’t even aware of can make you cry, hurt, get sick, angry, dizzy, itchy, withdraw and you don’t always know why. For instance, my entire life I have never liked showering but do it often daily because it is expected, needed, clean. I almost always cry during or after and feel irritated and worn out after a shower. I never knew why and never really thought about it. I assumed I got overheated and crabby from rushing because I procrastinate. After being aware of SPD and making note of my triggers and feelings & being present, I’ve come to realize showers completely overwhelm my senses. I am overstimulated by the noise of the exhaust fan, the counter fan, the running water, the heat & temperature change from the water & getting out of the shower, the smells from the toothpaste, soap, shampoo, make-up, lotion, towels, the feeling of the toothbrush, soap, shampooing, razor, towels, make-up brushes, comb, applying lotion. One who is not sensory defensive cannot comprehend, heck even I didn’t realize, how many senses and nerve endings are involved and get overwhelmed in such a normal activity. Showering hurts & upsets me every single time. But one must shower or bathe to be clean, and I can’t stand feeling dirty.
Although there are ways to cope and manage, to lessen and distract, it never goes away. My symptoms are getting worse. I do have good days where I am almost "normal", but they tend to be when I stay home or go somewhere where I can control the environment somewhat.


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