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Friday, April 5, 2013

Patience, Progress, and the Past

Hi Blogosphere,

Three Ps for you today.

The first two are part of the same story. I am beyond pleased to report that for the first time in my life, I bowed out of a potential evening engagement and pointed to my SPD (patience AND progress!) For years, I've been weirdly elusive when it comes to making plans. This was especially true before I learned about SPD and was unsure what was going on within me. My husband and I were invited to a childhood friend's rehearsal dinner the night before his wedding. I want to go - I always want to go, the event is never the issue. The issue is my response to the event once I'm there, the jumble and tangle of sounds and sights that leave me worn out and numb. Instead of sighting a conflict, I spoke honestly. I said that it was too difficult for me to be at two evening events in a row (it's true, one night after the other proves a continual degrading of my senses), and I'd rather be fresher for the main event, the wedding. The response was filled with patience and caring. The author said she was so glad I knew how to take care of my needs - something that has taken me since my diagnosis in late August of 2010 to learn. No harm, no foul, but especially no lingering feelings of shame and guilt. Rachel - 1, SPD - 0!

As for that last P, I have a very interesting tidbit of SPD history to share (the Past). I am currently working with a Jewish organization as a grant writer, and I am constantly exposed to new views and ideas thanks to the dozens of Rabbis (Jewish clergy) on staff. On day 1 of my new job, I was called into the CEO's office for a meet-and-greet. He presented as a wise, patient man with a kind sense of humor, and so somewhere in our discussion, I thought it might be nice to mention my SPD. (Namely because without my blue tinted aviator glasses, I feel under constant attack from office fixture fluorescent lighting, but they look out of place in a corporate office.) The CEO, also a Rabbi, nodded as I spoke, and then swiftly turned towards his back and reached for a sheet of paper. In Hebrew (which I don't speak), he began reading text written by Maimonides, a 12th century medieval Jewish philosopher on a text called the Mishnah, a study book of Jewish law.

Are you still with me? Good. It's worth it, I promise.

So the CEO told me that within this supremely old document, as well as within the commentary of this beloved scholar, there is mention of SPD.

SPD!

Maimonides wrote:

"Evil spirits, we call all types of melancholy. There are those among them in which the inflicted senses flees from him when he sees light or when he is among people, but he finds ease in darkness and solitude and in empty places."

If this doesn't describe SPD, I don't know what does. Of course, back in ye olden days of yore, trouble with the senses was attributed to evil spirits (and I'm sure attempted to be cured with salt), but the point is SOMEONE noticed people had trouble with their senses and WROTE IT DOWN. Even the bit about melancholy - imagine being misunderstood and differently-needed in ancient times - reminds me of the comorbid depression often found with untreated SPD. (Too bad no one picked up on the comorbid anxiety!)

I left the CEO's office with a strange sense of renewal and hope. I am just one SPDer in a line of many, many previous generations of sensory challenged folk. Perhaps it is this that gave me the courage to speak up and permit myself to miss my friend's rehearsal dinner. How could a condition that reaches its thin fingers far back into the past be anything but real?



2 comments:

  1. Great job! It's hard to say no and even hard to say no to something we want to do. Keep learning and sharing.

    Several months ago I commented on one of your posts that I was searching for an OT to evaluate me and likely give me the SPD diagnosis. Your blog, encouragement, my own determination, and a SPD forum landed with me a wonderful OT. I first met with her in February and though she may not realize it, she has been a true blessing for me.

    This is no easy road but I am glad to have found your blog and others along my journey. Thank you!

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    1. This is not only such a lovely comment, it is wonderful news, Jenny! I am so glad to hear that you've started on your road to SPD enlightenment, and I am honored to have played a role. I'd like to say that things get easier - in a way, I guess they do, there's something to be said about understanding and acceptance. SPD may not go away, but I promise you'll find your voice, and learn to respect your limits (and when to comfortably push beyond them). I am here if you need any ongoing encouragement or support! You're not alone, I promise.

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