Pagan News and Views Since 1998
Sensory Processing/Integration Disorder
My Sense: Touch
Note: Background knowledge of Sensory Processing Disorder is suggested.
Having Sensory Processing Disorder is a living hell. I am, and always have been, angry. Every day. I know that there is something out there that I'm just not getting, and I'm never going to get. Knowing that is more horrible than anything else. Because I know of it, but I can never get a glimpse of it. And it hurts. Every single day, it hurts.
Sure, you learn to control some of it,you're not so angry all the time. But it's always there, waiting to take something else from you. Maybe it'll be this skill, maybe that, or maybe it'll just make you have a mental breakdown in the middle of Literature class. Each day, I am reminded over and over that I'm not like everyone else. That what they're experiencing is different from what I'm experiencing.
And that scares the hell out of me.
Nobody wants to be alone. Nobody wants to be left out. We all want someone with us, someone to compare our thoughts and feelings to. We all want to know that, in some way, we're connected to everyone else. So it's hard for me to look at all the other kids my age, because everything reminds me that I'm not connected in this way. While they wear skinny jeans that perfectly fit their form, I wear pants that are at least a size and a half too big for me. They pool around my feet, causing me to trip even more, but I have to have them like that. If I wear tighter pants...I just can't. It's so difficult to describe.
Let me get something straight right away: no matter how well I word this, nobody who doesn't have SPD will truly understand. If you can get a feel of what I'm saying, multiply it. A lot. You might just be able to understand half of what it really feels like.
I couldn't wear jeans. Ever. I wore my first pair of jeans when I was fifteen. They were a size and a half too large for me. But that was the way I had to have them. Any tighter, and it was a complete NO.
When I feel something that upsets my SPD, it feels like my heart is lopsided, uneasy and tense. It actually hurts, deep inside me. And only getting away from that bad stimulus will make my heart straighten out again. That lopsided feeling is intolerable. Like I'd give anything, do anything, to make it stop. And I've done a lot. I've hit myself, scratched myself, anything to make the internal pain go away.
Before I go further, I must explain something. Many people are bothered by some of these things; it's just a fact of life. However, for someone like me, someone who has Sensory Integration Disorder, it's not just "bad-feeling" or "icky." It's intolerable. You just can not deal with it, and you'll throw as many fits as you can to make it stop. It's mentally unsettling, and it interferes with your everyday life. It is chronic, there is no cure, and you spend your life in confusion. At least, I do.
This is what a typical day in grade school looked like for me: Your shoes are too tight, the tag in the back of your shirt is scratching against your back, the hem of your pants brushes against your ankles, the seams in your socks are pressed against your toes, your hair keeps getting in your eyes and all over your neck, the desk is made of rough wood that scrapes your hands and arms, it feels like sandpaper when the teacher pats you on the back in congratulations for a good grade on a test.
You start to breathe faster and faster, eyes widening and heart racing. You can't tell the difference between all the different sounds, you don't know what's going on, there are too many things going on to focus on just one, and everything is horrendously uncomfortable. It's becoming intolerable, it feels too hot in the room, and you're getting angrier and angrier because you can't understand.
And this, you're afraid, is life.
Well, this isn't your life, luckily for you. Multiply that by about a thousand, and you might reach the levels of what I go through on a daily basis. Of what I've gone through every day of my life. And of what I will go through for the rest of my life.