POWr Social Media Icons

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coming Out of the Sensory Closet

A few weeks ago, in preparation for my upcoming wedding (three weeks and counting!), I decided to send out an email to all guests, letting them know about my sensory diagnosis, and how it might impact the wedding. This is yet another huge step.

As an adult with SPD, nothing is harder for me than to admit something's 'wrong' with me. For 27 years, this meant telling people about my anxiety disorder, a co-morbid perk of not getting diagnosed with SPD earlier in life, and people are not always kind or understanding when it comes to the topic of mental health. I remember being told to just "try harder" when I was terrified about traipsing through public plazas as the setting sun richocheted admist echoing voices, or "calm down" when faced with a Broadway falsetto. And I tried ever harder with each coaxing and critique, striving to be a whole-self, when it was apparent to those around me that I lacked a certain something. (In retrospect, this has made me incredibly bubbly, driven, and motivated to help those suffering from mental health issues. I guess everything happens for a reason.)

Admitting to my anxiety disorder during my teenage years was equally as cripping as dealing with the anxiety. As an adult, I'd (externally, at least) come to terms with my situation. When I first met my fiance, I fessed up to my anxiety-related shortcomings mere days into our relationship. (Being the loving, open-minded, and caring person that he is, he took the information in stride, and proposed to me a year later.) I even started a blog at age 23 exposing life with Panic Disorder - another time when I came out of a mental closet to educate those around me.

But this particular exposure, to friends, family friends, and in-laws friends and family, was terrifying. Many of these people knew me as Rachel, the girl with strange anxiety and weird habits - I feared they wouldn't be able to take a new diagnosis, a larger discription explaining IT ALL.

I tested the waters first by emailing my beloved Uncle, Aunt, and two cousins (this happened to coincide with a wedding celebration for my youngest cousin, and I feared my abilities in participating in her spirited evening affair). I cried writing the email, unsure how I would come across, how they would react, and how it might change our relationships. Their reactions were heartwarming. When I showed up at my cousin's celebration (disorders and diagnoses be damned), my uncle enveloped me in his arms. He didn't need to speak a word, I know he understood. My aunt and cousins followed suit. When I started feeling sensorily-taxed by the events, two hours later, no one asked "why are you going? why can't you stay?" Instead, we all teared up, and hugged good bye; they thanked me for the monstrosity that was my effort to participate that night.

And that's the thing. Most people don't know how much you go through until you give them permission to understand. And once they do, people are very kind.

I sent out the email to all wedding invitees with the same pit in my stomach. Not only was I announcing the official miswiring of my brain, I was letting them know that as a result of my SPD, the wedding would have no hora. Very few Jewish weddings are devoid of a hora, but the honking of the music paired with the twirling of a hundred people, plus being lifted and tossed about in a chair, is enough to set me off. I want to feel my sensory best at the wedding. If that means no hora, some earplugs, my Wilbarger brush nearby, and blue-tinted glasses for when my vision gets sharp, so be it.

Each response was nothing short of a small miracle. One by one, couple by couple, people emailed me to tell me how strong, brave, and beautiful I am for 1) Living with this (frequently) frustrating and under-appreciated disorder and 2) For sending out a mass email about something so tentative.

One special cousin, a nurse with a kind smile and an infectious laugh, asked me to make sure I don't become solely my diagnosis. How can I? I am many things: a fiancee, a daughter, a sister, a niece,  a cousin, a friend, a student, a writer . . . but I am also an adult with SPD. I will always be an adult with SPD. It is the hardest hat to wear, the heaviest of burdens. It sits by my bedside when I wake up and offers me my brush, and wraps me in a weighted blanket at night. We walk down the sidwalk together, twins with one body, dodging the bright, the busy, the loud, the wide-open. We always get to where we're going, even if a little worse for wear. In a matter of weeks, my silent SPD twin and I will walk down the aisle, and meet my fiance under the chuppah. I can turn behind me then, towards family and friends, and back towards my fiance and smile, knowing everyone watching welcomes me there, sensory disorder and all.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comorbid Anxiety and Sleep Masks

Long time no blog! Just wanted to post a quick update. It's been quite a tough summer, anxiety-wise: no surprise with all of the life changes over the course of the past year. I am learning now how to balance my sensory issues and my anxiety - they are intertwined, and often hard to piece apart, but need to be treated as components of a whole in order for progress to be made and confidence to be gained.

I recently read an article in an OT magazine (http://www.aota.org/Pubs/OTP/2011-OTP/OTP-060611.aspx?FT=.pdf, page 13) on adult SPD and comorbid anxiety issues. It's not fully understood quite yet, but as far as I understand, it's quite common for previously undiagnosed SPD adults to have documented anxiety disorders. This is no surprise, as decades of untreated sensory issues - many of which make people jump, fear, become agitated - can easily become components of anxiety disorders, especially when misunderstood. Scenario: let's say you're sensory defensive when it comes to noise. Every time a car backfires, a radio blares, a crowd hums, you feel uncomfortable internally (because, hey, you're wired that way). Too much of this input, and your wiring cannot process the noises properly, so it short-circuts: you have panic attacks, feel dissociated, cry, explode with anger. You won't understand why. Enough experiences like this, and most likely you'll start avoiding the places and situations in which you feel crappy. The thought of immersing yourself in them might make you feel scared. The roots of an anxiety disorder have developed. This is one of the reasons why catching SPD while young is desirable - there's still time to understand what causes the internal, uncomfortable feelings, and less space to become anxious as a result of no further explanations. Regardless, it's heart-warming to see that *someone* is interested in how the adult population, mostly untreated for years, deals with this condition.

Further in the world of sensory, I just bought my second weighted blanket from The Magic Blanket: http://www.beanblanket.com/ - Keith is a blanket guru, and will help you figure out the exact weight and length needed for your particular body and issues. I now have one to keep at home, and one to keep at my family's beach house, so no more 16+ lb. lugging of "strange" bedding materials necessary :-) In the same vein, I have bought a weighted lavender sleep mask from a vendor on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/70828103/weighted-flaxseed-lavender-sleep-eye. Really helps me tune out any visual stimulation in the bedroom, while feeling proprioceptively-weighted down and comfortable. The idea for this came from Josh, who has noticed when I'm feeling flail-y in the evening, I respond well to his hand pressed firmly over my eyes. According to him, this action puts me in a drug-like state, and my body immediately calms down. With my new weighted mask, I thankfully don't need to bribe him to keep his hand over my eyes while I sleep.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Table for None: An SPDer's Guide to Restaurant Seating and Other Tales

Through the awesome SPD Life site (my friend Dan's, HI!), I recently came in contact with a new SPD adult, dealing with diagnosis at age 31. As part of the fun of knowing Dan, I've been listed as a contact in the New York City region for SPD adults, as well as parents with SPD kids. This role calls out to the future therapist in me, and I am always eager and anxious to meet and compare notes with others suffering from similar sensory stuff.

Before even delving into any details, I ask my favorite question: It's a dear friend's birthday, and they've chosen a restaurant you've never been to. Do you go, and if so, where do you choose to sit?

It seems silly and simple, and I only imagine restaurant seating means very little to people with typically-functioning sensory systems. Some might want to be seen, and so they sit at the front of the restaurant, in the middle of the floor. Not us SPDers. Without fail, the answer to this question is almost always this:
"Do I really have to go? I'd probably not want to go. If I really have to go, I want to be with my back to a wall in a corner, possibly as close to the door as allows. Can I leave early?" Discussion usually follows about avoiding peak busy times, where the kitchen and/or bar is, whether the floors echo, and how mobbed the place becomes.

Yes, you can spot an individual with SPD a mile away.

For an SPDer with auditory, visual, and proprioceptive sensitivities, a restaurant can be a battlefield. Yes, deep in our hearts we want to be there, listening to stories, sharing our own, laughing. But how easily can that be done when every table in ear-shot is doing the same thing? Waiters drop by unannounced, silverware clatters to the floor, and the music is perpetually on loop. Tune out the auditory, and you're still presented with the visual: is the place distractingly decorated? Do people keep flowing through the space? And how about the table at hand, is it bustling? Are people moving and laughing and attempting to sustain eye-contact? Add on proprioceptive issues, if you're the unlucky SPDer unable to grab a table with a solid wall behind you. Do you feel connected to the space at all?

I like to think of sensory reactions like onions. It takes layers of us focusing and planning and unraveling to reach the core, basic event. On top of a simple conversation at our table, there is the layer of conversations at every table that we just can't tune out entirely. We squint and focus intently to be able to hear you. On top of that, add the layer of visual movement. And beyond this, the last layer (on this particular onion, at least) is whether or not we even feel connected in body to the space we occupy. A dinner/lunch/brunch/coffee out just became an entire sensory workout.

And this remains one of the sticking points I've had since September. No one will ever get just how much work it truly is to play normal.

Yes, it's doable. People are often surprised when they learn I've got this condition. "But you're so normal! You take on so much!" they say, and yes, to some extent, I've learned to perpetually push myself as much as I can. Every single day I live is lead like this, with a drive to appear "typical" and conquer the world around me. But it takes an entire crew of one to pull off the day-to-day. There is the prep-work, the digging: where are we going? What should I expect? Can I see photos of that restaurant/gallery/museum/street corner (thanks Google Maps!) Have I been there? Have I brushed? Do I have my tools? Do the individuals involved know what's up with me, at least in basic terms? Are there options: easier ways to get there and home, more comfortable - yet still related - possibilities? Can I have some say in what we're doing? And then: tuning out the noise and movement and negative sensory stimuli around me to actually participate in the event.

So let me say, to myself and to the handful of SPD adults I've had the true honor of encountering in the past nine months: WAY TO GO. Purely by negotiating through the haze and buzz of the world, you have achieved more than most, and more than most will ever understand. For who in the majority would put up with such strenuous tasks if they weren't pleasurable? Who else would take patience, Buddhist-like, into their palms when ignorance is at hand? Just you, my friends. Just you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sensory Overload

It's been a banner week in the world of this SPDer! Yes, I'm being sarcastic. It's only been a week and a day since I had a disabling sensory overload event (call it what you will: panic attack triggered by sensory stimuli, dissociation triggered by sensory stimuli - when it comes down to it, my senses were taxed and I had a physiological reaction), a hugely upsetting occurrence. It's been a full year since I've succumbed to one of these events, which I suppose is a fact worth celebrating, as they used to be way more frequent.

I'll paint the picture for you: I'm on a double-wide major Manhattan street on a very warm Tuesday afternoon. People are out in droves soaking in the first rays of almost-spring, chatting on their phones, laughing with coworkers. Cars have peeled their windows down to echo music into the air. I am attempting to stay focused on the conversation occurring with my walking companion to the left, while squinting through the seemingly amorphous and reflective beings floating past me on the sidewalk; I am pushing past streams of chatter to listen to a single individual. These tasks come naturally for non-SPDers, sounds and sights sail around and past, unnoticed and harmless. But I have SPD, and the sensory world flows in and out of me as if there are no barricades. We are quickly approaching an oddity in the sidewalk: a gap where steps lead up to a plaza and a bank, which I find very disconcerting. After all, if my proprioceptive sense (body in space) is out-of-whack, imagine how the body feels when the supportive buildings give way to a gap. It happens fast, as if someone has pulled the composure clear from my grasp, and I am left naked and shivering. The once reflective beings are now incomprehensible. They are masses I cannot process or predict, and they are everywhere. Sounds flood through my system and my hands shake. In this moment, I am physically present, but cannot compose myself and cannot move; if I can't process the world around me, cannot feel where my body is located in the din, how am I supposed to get on a subway and go home?

My walking companion puts me in a cab as the tears start to well up.

For my entire teenagehood, these events were strictly called Panic Attacks, and came on without any known cause. (Little did I know they all hit when I was in the midst of a visually or auditorily taxing crowd, under bright flashing lights, or in undefinable spaces. Hello, senses, how's it going.) In the moment, it is hard for me not to transform back into that terrified child, knowingly disappointing those I loved while I waged war against my defects.

A few weeks before the sensory overload, I had an a-ha moment while furiously taking notes in psychopathology class. We were discussing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and specifically the concept of dissociation. When someone dissociates, it is like the brain is a doe that leaps in front of a moving car and pauses to stare. The brain essentially cuts off contact with itself, declaring that what is occuring or is about to occur is just too difficult to comprehend or process, whether physically or emotionally, and it makes a momentary cut. Could this concepty explain the years of panic attacks/sensory events? Is my brain wired differently, and so sometimes unable to process an inundation of stimui? Or has anxiety become my go-to reaction when I cannot comprehend the sensory world around me?

I don't know the answers yet. This event brought up many unresolved emotions towards myself as a person, my abilities, and the guilt I shoulder from my past years of misunderstanding. I am in the midst of final exams right now, working two jobs, planning a wedding, adjusting to my new living environment. (Leave it to the SPDer to prove her worth through involvement in countless activities.)

I suppose I'll take a 20-minute hiccup in exchange for a year's worth of better days.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

For Shame: SPDer, Party of One

To live with this disorder is to live alone, out of sight as the world around spins unwittingly. Some days, I grow tired of repetition, of explanation, especially to those who have heard the words again and again.

SPD is invisible; I am not. 

Just because my limbs are in tact and my eyesight is passable and my speech is unhindered doesn't mean nothing is wrong. If my arm was broken, there would be a cast for support, cards, flowers. People would look and understand and make comparisons for comprehension. Diabetes would present with a run-walk. People would don t-shirts and collect funds.  SPD is the evil unseen problem child, wreaking havoc within, pulling apart the wiring, leaving the external furnishings looking polished and pretty. We're not in the spotlight like Autism. We haven't had our moment yet.

Besides, how can one truly understand the pain and discomfort of sound, the uncertainty of body and surrounding space, the taxation of vision - its sharpness? If I told you I had an off day this week, one where regardless of my focused gesture and its gentleness, a gallon of milk was thrashed against the counter by my own miscalculation of space, a phone flew clear across a subway car, and a lipgloss was pitched from my fingers on Madison Avenue, would that mean anything to you besides clumsiness? Imagine lacking the internal workings to calculate the distance between your tender calf and the ever-angled corner of the metal bed-frame, and picture the number of bruises collected in a single vicinity in one week.

And now imagine being driven to succeed in all endeavors in life, regardless of the roadblocks and hurdles thrust into your wake, in spite of them. Every single moment of my existence is dedicated to performing my very best in the face of my difficulties; my "special needs."

Endless frustration arises when - regardless of descriptions and illustrations, promises of support, and false camaraderie - the adult SPDer is reminded that they're an army of one.

Fine, so it is. Team Me.

After all, these hurdles are invisible to everyone but me, I alone must jump them. You; the unwittingly ignorant, the doubtful, arms flush with guilt; grip your flippant and hurtful statements, and keep them close. They have no place in this race.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Night with a Weighted Blanket

I picked a lousy night to test-drive my new weighted blanket, which arrived yesterday afternoon. I'd gotten home late from my fellowship, cranky and uncomfortable (new shoes = bad move), and the first thing I did after receiving a bear hug from Josh was to pop open the blanket box. The blue chenille was luxuriously soft, a definite plus in my tactile book. It was supremely heavy to lift when folded onto itself (just about 17 pounds), and the two of us ran it into the bedroom and I snuck underneath the cover. Immediately, I went from my usual Category 5 hurricane to quiet. Pretty awesome. Whereas normally I'd feel the need to keep my limbs in motion, as it's hard to slow down, the weight was like a firm grip, keeping me in place.

But the evening never allowed for some pre-sleep slowdown. Josh had paperwork to tend to, and I flitted from room to room, nervous about my psychopathology presentation (due today) and excitedly convinced that I'd immediately pass out under my new sensory tool. I actively tried to get sleepy as I lay under the cover reading my Nook, but I think I was too wound up to be successful, and so I eagerly shut my Nook and settled under the blanket for sleep.

The blanket is much heavier than my makeshift weighted blankets (the usual six stacked tall above me), and I found it hard to adjust to the temperature difference as well as the weight difference. I guess there's only so much a blanket can do - it can't make me sleep, but it can relax me, and overall I found that it did just that. When I went to turn over in my frustrated sleeplessness, I found it hard to readjust the cover, and it almost felt like I was fighting against the weight instead of embracing it. Needless to say, any changes to the sleep environment often mean (for me at least) a change in pattern, and as we know, this particular SPDer is keen on her patterns. In retrospect, I should've saved my new tool for a less wired and stressful night.

I'll try it again tonight. I like the concept of the blanket and its abilities to get me to immediately tune out other powerful sensory stimuli. It's not unlike a fire blanket, and often the bombardment of the sensory world lights me ablaze. (Makes me wonder if that level of calm is what the rest of you all experience in your normal lives.) If all else fails, and I can't adjust to it at night, it will still serve as an important part of my afternoon/evening sensory-arsenal. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Salve for an Unseen Wound

I'm having a day where I feel unheard and misunderstood, one of many in this life so far. Some days I don't have the energy to rehash my "situation" for those who should know better 100-times-over, and so I turn to the strength of the email below.

My mom received this from an old friend of hers, and it was so moving and powerful for me to read last night. Only the misdiagnosed really understand the true depth of upset during these situations. And as the author points out, being diagnosed with something still so unknown doesn't exactly make for the easiest life.

"She is amazing. I don't know how she keeps up with all the things she is doing . . . It is exciting that she is studying to be a therapist. Tell her she can practice on me. I see a therapist once a week. Both my son C. and I have Bipolar Disorder. It is a problem with the parts of your brain that regulate your emotions. You swing from extremely high to extremely low in cycles. Luckily, we have the milder form of the disorder, which is know as bipolar II. The bummer is that with bipolar II, you spend much more time at the depressed end of the spectrum than in bipolar I. Not that I wish to have that, because bipolar I can land you in the psych ward at the hospital. The treatment is a combination of therapy and medication (mood stabilizers sometimes in combination with antidepressants). Since Rachel is studying to be a therapist, she can tell you more about it.

I can sympathize with Rachel on getting a much delayed diagnosis of her Sensory Processing Disorder. Tell her, if it makes her feel any better, that I was just recently (three months ago at 59 (!) yrs old) diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Since my first episode at 17 and throughout my life, they told me it was depression, wrong!!!  I told you that we had lots of problems with C. as a child and teen. The bipolar is why, only we didn't know it then. We took him to all kinds of doctors and therapists, but they never figured it out. In those days, they didn't think children developed Bipolar Disorder. C. was diagnosed only two years ago. He told me, 'Mom, this is what I had all the time when I was a kid.' As I'm sure you know, dealing with Rachel's mysterious symptoms when she was growing up as I did with C., finding out what is actually the matter is a big relief, even though the problem still exists and always will. Turns out C. probably inheirited it from me because it tends to run in families. The ironic thing is that they were finally able to diagnose me correctly, partially based upon the fact that C. had it too.  Usually, it is the other way around.

I had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder before. I looked it up on the web and from what it looks like, it is not very well known by most people. Hopefully, as time goes on, it will be. It must have been terrible for Rachel to be told she had Panic Disorder when it wasn't that at all. When you are misdiagnosed, you keep wondering why the treatments you take aren't working. You begin to think that you must be doing something wrong, that it is your fault that you're not getting better. Very frustrating to say the least. I'm glad she was finally able to find treatments that can help her. I am very impressed by the fact that she has achieved all she has despite having such a difficult problem to deal with. Most people wouldn't be able to do that well even without the extra issues. Tell her I think she is amazing!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moving Right Along

Moving is a terrifying proposition for someone with SPD. My senses often feel out-of-control, and when they do, it makes me feel crawly-skin-anxious. Moving is essentially induced anxiety. Let's take you out of your comfort zone, moving says to the SPDer, and plunk you down in the middle of uncharted sensory territory. Your old home, however loud the heliport might've been, or how small the bedroom, or how lonely the building, was at least a known entity. When the 80s microwave emitted a cringing beep, at least it was a familiar, albeit problematic, sound. Upon exiting the building and weaving into the haphazard flow of New York City pedestrians, at least it was expected discomforting movement.

Moving presents a plethora of unknown sensory issues. How will it feel to sit in the middle of a larger apartment? How well will you fare visually as you stare across new hallways, into disorganized and visually-taxing piles of boxes and strewn clothing? How well will you contend with the church bells and restaurants and neighbors? And what about the subway? Once these become habitual - the ride through the boros, the walk to the bathroom, the environment of the neighborhood - the anxiety will drop to a more palatable level.

At least, I hope the anxiety drops. I moved on Friday, and it's been a very rough couple of days. It's hard to take a random brushing break while moving and unpacking, so I most definitely didn't take care of my SPD body as well as I should've during the stress. Even with getting back to brushing and the usual SPD toolkit, I feel not unlike a perperually-overflowing volcano of tears. I'm quick to cry, quick to yell, quick to wish I had a pair of red slippers that could take me back to my home for the past five years. There's no one quite so unsettled as an unsettled person with SPD.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Weighted Blankets and Six Month Reflection

No surprise, I have trouble sleeping. If I manage to stack enough layers on top of me (the current amount: one blanket, one sheet, two doubled-over blankets, and a heavy comforter), I wake up in the middle of the night in a complete sweat. This is why, ever since I was tall enough to reach the knob on the bedroom air conditioner, I've tried keeping my bedroom at a balmy meat-locker temperature. It's either deal with the temperature dichotomy in the room or not sleep at all, and most times, regardless of the temperature, I lie awake in a haze of half-sleep until I take melatonin to fall asleep. It's toughest in the summer, when no amount of AC can really bring the bedroom down to a tolerable temperature, and I have to scrunch up a sheet and a thin blanket, and convince myself that they're heavy enough.

My proprioceptive sense is such that for some unknown reason, my body never quite understands where it exists in space. This is why I am perpetually bashing into familiar furniture and struggle to sit at a table in the middle of a room. A few years back, before my re-diagnosis, I kept a blog on my 'experience' with Panic Disorder. I wrote this about one particular tough proprioceptive moment:

And so I wove my way through construction and conversation on Friday, in search of an Irish pub lunch and select photographs, in heels and helium. We were a large party, and were sat in the middle of the large, open space; our words drastically competing with the swarm of laughter and jumble of letters from the surrounding tables. I swear I clung to my chair with my fingertips as we waited for our food, gently reminding myself that I could always walk to the bathroom to regroup.


This is fascinating to me, especially now that I am armed with the knowledge of my true issues. What I perceived to be a reaction to anxiety actually perfectly describes the way someone with a whacked-out proprioceptive sense would deal with the same situation. The room was excessively echoey and loud, and the visual I painted was chaotic. 


The bedroom is not unlike a big, open restaurant - minus (typically) the crowds and the food service. It only makes sense, then, that I feel untethered even when I lie down to rest. I notice that this is especially true when I'm sleeping next to Josh. While I feel I should be calm, instead my mind fixates on the noise he makes and any movements while he sleeps. This turns into an anxiety reaction, and I feel my heart pounding and my limbs get shaky and restless. We're moving in together in two weeks (finally), although I'm a bit concerned about how my sleep patterns will shift.


Enter the Weighted Blanket. 


A few weeks ago, I received a new shipment of Wilbarger-related brushes in the mail, along with a pediatric catalogue for 'special needs children.' (Nothing to make a grown woman feel so small as a catalogue filled to the brim with objects designed for her ill-timed diagnosis.) An entire section was dedicated to children with Sensory Integration issues. There were colorful, gummy objects to bite on (I used pen caps, pillows), tactile tools with bumps and lines (I used soft stuffed animals, textured blankets, fur coats), and weighted blankets (I still use my faithful stack of normal blankets). I was most intrigued by the weighted blanket, and emailed my OT to ask whether this was something I should pursue. She responded simply,  "YES, YES, YES!" 


I'm in the process of researching the right weighted blanket - mostly because they're over $200 each, and sadly not a cheap mistake to make for a graduate student on zero budget. Research recommends getting a blanket that equals 10% of your body weight, plus a pound for distribution. I can't imagine sleeping under 16-17 lbs of weight, but perhaps 'they' know more than I do. 


I'm entering my sixth month as an adult with Sensory Processing Disorder, amazingly enough. I can no longer fathom the time I spent before I was armed with information. I look back at things like my anxiety blog, and smile sadly at the woman groping in the dark for any explanation available; different, frustrated. Soon, I will add another item to my SPD arsenal, making yet another attempt to lasso the senses that keep me on the fringe of the norm - deeply hoping I'm doing my 27.5 undiagnosed years justice. 



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inspiration and Updates

Hi Cyberspace,

I know it's been a little while since I've posted, and I've been enjoying my winter break from grad school (read: I've only had two jobs, wedding planning, and apartment hunting as opposed to all of the above plus classes and homework). It's only going to get more chaotic as March approaches and I'll need to pack and move. God bless my sensory brush, and sorry for perpetually being MIA.

My awesome OT sent me this video of a woman about my age with SPD. I don't know her, but she could be me based on how she describes restaurants, sensitivity to light, love of earplugs, and multiple blankets. Watch this when you have the chance.

My SPD has been about the same lately, which is improved. I don't cry much anymore, which is amazing, given it was something I did multiple times a day prior to starting treatment. I'm still doing my moro exercises, but have decided to take a pause on the listening program for now. Last time I gave it a whirl, the bone conduction bit made me feel so awful, that I'm almost afraid to try it again.

In good news, I attended a workshop at a famous institute for my favorite school of therapy last week. I was crawling out of my skin prior to the experience - unfamiliar with the space, unsure of the number of attendees, and worried about lighting and sound, I went to this institute prepared to bolt the moment something wasn't to my particular SPD liking. When I got there, I saw a sign saying they were going to be filming the entire experience as well, which made me even more apprehensive (hard to run for the door when cameras are capturing the workshop). Despite a squeaky and malfunctioning microphone (my moro exercises seem to be helping my usual nauseated and rattled reaction to surprise), the room was comfortably lit (no sunglasses needed), and there were no more then 15 attendees. I even got up the nads to stay after the workshop to chat with the two presenters, essentially my heroes in the field.

My SPD may stand in the way of the things I want to do, but as always, I buck up, shove it aside, and continue along - perhaps a bit more worn out than others, but successful eventually, nonetheless.