Since I read a lot of blog posts related to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), I have seen many people’s descriptions of what SPD is:
“The sensory sliders in my brain are all over the place.”
“My sensory cup is too big for some senses and too small for others.”
“Everything is multiplied for me.”
These are all good descriptions of SPD, but I wanted to think of a quick one. A simple one. One that would help people that had no prior knowledge of SPD know how oversensitivity feels.
I don’t get used to things.
This would be my description of oversensitivity; meaning my body is extra sensitive to certain sensory input. Oversensitivity isn’t the only way that SPD affects me, but it is the one I have to explain to other people most frequently.
Most people get used to unpleasant sensory input after a bit, but I don’t. It will either stay at the same discomfort level or get worse.
Most people get used to the way the tag on their shirt rubs against their skin after a few minutes. I don’t.
Most people get used to the noise of the party after a few minutes. I don’t.
Most people get used to the bright fluorescent lights in Target after a few minutes. I don’t
Most people get used to the mushy texture of rice after a few bites. I don’t.
Most people get used to the smell of Lysol in a recently cleaned room after a few minutes. I don’t.
Most people get used to the scratchy feel of jeans after a few minutes. I don’t.
This could go on, but you get the idea; I don’t get used to the everyday input that most people do. Most of the time this is a pain in the butt, but this piece of knowledge can be used as a coping strategy if I use it right. If I’m in a loud room and I don’t have earplugs, I can cover my ears for intervals of a few minutes to keep myself from getting overloaded, and so I can stay in the room. It is the progressive noise that gets to me, so covering my ears helps me “reset.”
So, to all of the people who tell me that I’ll “get used to” the noise or the bright lights or the scratchy feeling of jeans, I know you mean well, but I know my body and I know I won’t. Please instead help me cope with the sensory input, and know that this is something that doesn’t come easily to me. Thank you.
If you want to learn more about SPD, here are a few sites with great information: