The above link is a list of the possible signs and symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder. If you clicked on it and actually read through the whole thing, congratulations. There went 15 minutes of your life you’ll never see again. That list is crazy long. Ridiculous.
But that’s what SPD is all about. Its a confusing disorder that many people have never even HEARD of. I know. I have it. When people ask what it is, I find it a tough question to answer. But here goes:
SPD for me is a blend of hyper-sensitivities to touch, sounds, smells, etc…. that are heightened in extreme ways when I am stressed. And most of those sensitivities exist even when I am totally calm and relaxed. Someone coming up behind me and tapping my shoulder to get my attention will cause me to react by basically jumping out of my skin. A dog licking my hand feels akin to a giant basketball-sized wad of slime being smeared across my skin. If music is playing loudly and a person is talking to me at the same time I cannot focus on the person speaking AT ALL. Its like chaos in my head. There are moments when the kids are talking and the tv is on and the kitchen sink water is running and the dog is barking and I literally stand in the middle of my kitchen with my fingers plugging my ears, breathing deep and slow, trying to stop the noise. Because in my head it all sounds like a deafening roar, all mashed together in this incomprehensible chaos of almost physical pain in my ears.
I can smell when the cat uses the litterbox from across the house. When the bathroom door is closed. The sizzle of the bacon in the frying pan sounds like the applause of a stadium. The click of the dogs claws going down the hall is obnoxiously loud. If the shower spray hits me directly in my face I feel like Im drowning. Somone splashing me at the pool with cold water feels like Im being stabbed with an Icicle. The clink of ice in someone glass and the sound of them gulping that drink…..those two sounds make me want to grab the glass from them and throw it out a window. The hum of the lights in a grocery store and that high pitched sound TVs make when they are turned on gives me a headache after awhile.
I’ve been told many times I am just being over-dramatic. If you have never dealt with SPD you cannot begin to understand. Its the most annoying way to live.
Clothing. I try on at least three outfits a day until I find something that feels right. Bra straps dig, shirts itch, jeans can be too tight around the waist……clothing drives me nuts. I tend to live in sports bras (no evil underwire stabbing me), tank tops (sleeves always sem to feel like they are way too tight and constricting), long flowing hippie skirts or yoga pants. Forget shoes. Shoes are torture. I prefer the appeal of barefeet. Which is the one way I am definitely NOT hyper-sensitive. I don’t mind the feel of grass or dirt or whatnot under my feet. I prefer it. Ive grown used to it. I wear shoes maybe once a month. And I despise them. Despise it too strong a word? No its really not. Its exactly how I feel. Shoes are torture devices.
Then, just for fun, throw SPD together with adult ADHD and OCD. That’s me. Me with all my odd idiosyncrasies. Issues. Oddities. Don’t mess with my fridge or pantry. That stuff is all organized in the most obnoxious way possible. By category AND by size. All labels facing forward, thankyouverymuch. There is a particular way to fold the laundry so for the love of god please don’t fold it. Im just going to unfold it and fix it myself. But more than likely that pile of clean laundry is going to turn into a mountain before I finally get it all folded and stacked in anal little piles. Because the ADHD will take over and Ill take off on a dozen different random rabbit trails. I always joke that having ADHD and OCD at the same time means everything in my house may look perfect, just not for very long. My teachers always sent notes home to my mom about my inability to “stay on task”. Yeah. That issue still exists.
Ive taught myself coping skills. I have learned to write down stuff I need to do so my ADHD doesn’t make me forget it because it prefers me to remember useless crap from ten years ago. When my SPD attacks at full force I step outside alone and smoke a cigarette. I have triumphed with little things with the OCD but frankly I don’t mind that one so much. My house is surprisingly organized and tidy, especially considering I have 6 young boys. Turns out OCD can be a bit of a blessing.
So, yeah. Im a lil crazy. (Arent we all?) My boyfriend informed me last night I was “The good kind of crazy”. (This was after my OCD caused me to freak a bit while watching him organize my shelves in my bedroom. I let him do what he wanted, then came in behind him and “fixed” it.) Im not certain there IS such a thing as good crazy. But if there is, Im glad Im it. 🙂
So, who else deals with PITA stuff like this?