Tag Archives: PTSD

Silencing Voice

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I’ve felt different for some time.. the freedom I’ve found, my small voice, suffocating, being shoved down, shoved back. Clawing to survive, being forced inside, blanketed, weighted. Held down from all angles. Crying for oxygen, for some ounce of gentleness.

And then I am stuck. Inside the lies, inside the time of what was and what should have been, could have been. Replaying the words, spoken to me and over me. Might as well have been written in me, one me. It shaped me, made me, built me and broke me. Sharpie.

It burns in my stomach, pounds in my head, rips my defenses. Not this again.

The numbing spread wide, covering my inside. Just when I think I might break, rest.

The illusion of safety, was just that. Illusion. No weeping for now, no tissues needed. Too gone for that in this season.

I ask and I ask but I know, ” I’m too much”. Caught in the twist, no one to take responsibility for this. Left in the mess. Alone. Forgotten. Cries with no sound fall on deaf ears abound.

Quiet. The stillness. It lurks. Fear at each turn. They tell you to mourn. You want to do good, can’t seem to make it right.

You think and you think. Because there must be a link, that makes me different from them. How’d you turn out so far gone in the end?

This little girl trapped in a body much to old for her.

She looks around at her peers, her friends known as family. Most with spouses and kids on their way to owning houses. They got 9 to 5 while she sits alone dying inside. quiet inside not yearning one bit.

For she, she just wants to belong.

She holds a small candle, deep in her heart. No one sees it there. Sometimes she’s afraid it’s gone out. The black is so dark.

Ridicule she’ll receive, if they even know or see. So fragile. So small. Because she’s much to old to hold onto hope that long. So she can never admit her deepest sadness exists.

To love a girl who has lived through trauma

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A girl who has lived through trauma has lived through a situation where her body, her mind, her self was not her own. Where she felt disjointed, ripped from her self, safety, and sanity. It was a moment, an experience, a something where her trust was smashed, her worth was gone and all there was was pain.
A girl who has lived through trauma is the girl who was pushed into the deep end of the pool when she didn’t know how to swim, but somehow found her way to the ledge anyway. She walked through a forest fire and didn’t succumb to the smoke, but dealt with the burns and made it out in spite of the flames. She found herself in free fall but refused to break upon impact.

She survived. She did.

But the thing about trauma, is that even when it is over it never really goes away.

And sometimes trauma is loud. Sometimes it’s the monster banging at the windows and screaming gutturally and demonically inside of nightmares. It’s nails on a chalkboard and an earthquake that rattles everyone’s floors. It smashes everything in its wake and forces, no, demands that everyone acknowledge its terrible, terrible presence. She won’t have any choice but to sit with hands clapped over her ears making sounds that are barely human because she just wants everything to stop and it won’t.

But other times, trauma is quiet. It’s sneaky.

It’s the feeling that she is being watched or that she is walking down the street with the word ‘victim’ painted on her forehead in red and everyone is privy to her secrets. It’s the nagging fear that if she goes to sleep her dreams will be anything but restful. It’s the little whisper saying, “You will never be whole again,” that itches its way into the back of her mind and repeats over, and over, and over. And you won’t even see it because she convinces herself that she is the only one who knows that it is there.

It’s the feeling that she is a 100,000 piece puzzle of black and grey and everyone staring at the mess realizes that putting her back together is simply not worth the effort.

So when you love a girl who’s gone through trauma, you’re saying that you see the worth in helping her bandage the wounds. You’re saying that you see the worth someone else tried to bury. You’re saying you are not afraid of the bad days and you see the beauty in the good days. You’re saying that a lot of things may scare you, but trauma isn’t one of them.

When you love a girl who’s battled trauma, you’re really saying,

Love, let me help you heal because I believe you can.”

Loving girl who has managed to make it to the other side of a traumatic experience is like deciding to restore an abandoned house. She has the framework and the good bones, but you may need to spackle holes someone else left behind on the the walls. She has the the makings for beautiful, light-filled windows, but you’ll need to replace a few of the cracked panes with new glass. She has the door frame, she just needs a door.

She’ll make a lovely home one day, but there needs some care in order to make a space.

See, loving a girl with trauma in her history is not some choose your own adventure or some level in a game you need to beat. It takes time, it take patience. It’s not something you ‘win at’ it’s something you deal with day by day. It takes a level of commitment because reality is, loving her is not simple.
She is inherently complicated. She is stained with memories she wishes she did not have but that she will never be rid of. She is pieced together and the stitching may be tighter in some spots than others so you have to be careful to not unravel her with one careless tug.

But she is brave. And she is strong.

And when she realizes that you are choosing to love her, and not hurt her, she will love you back with the same kind of tenacity that it took to walk through fire.

And she will hold out her palm and show you the burn marks and instead of apologizing for bothering you with their appearance, she’ll trust you to hold her hand anyway. End link

On healing and normalcy

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On healing and normalcy

“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.” ― Michael Connelly

Over the summer, my housemates and I took many trips to the coastal New England beaches. New England is not known for many areas of intense waves or dangerous waters, except for the occasional beaches where sharks are known (which we just don’t venture to). There’s something about having a rough week or day and then sitting out on the beach, feeling the sand, smelling the ocean, and seeing the vastness that reminds me about how big the world is, especially when my world feels small and lonely.

One particular weekend, the waves were the biggest I have ever seen in Massachusetts. We grabbed our boogie boards and run right in. After taking hit after hit of waves, I walked out within 5 minutes with a bruised and bleeding leg. I couldn’t withstand the pressure. I wanted so bad to enjoy the waves, knowing this was a rarity in Massachusetts, but I couldn’t.

“PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.” ― Susan Pease Banitt

Our bodies are made so magnificently and intricately. They are not designed to take hits, wave after wave. Eventually our bodies will go numb. That’s the thing about PTSD as well, our bodies are not made to withstand the events of trauma continually nor the heightened affects of it indefinitely.

“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.”

Atrocities refuse to be buried. The desire of the mind to deny the atrocities are just as forceful. In this subconscious war, the body takes wave after wave of blows, suffering in the areas of digestion, autoimmunity, and within the nervous system.

The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory, and fragmented manner that undermines their credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth-telling and secrecy. When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom.

Often in my journey to heal from trauma and PTSD I am tempted to plunge in, to take on far more than I am capable of handling and processing alone. There’s been pressure from the outside to move through it quicker, to understand more, to go to more classes, more therapy, more support. There’s pressure from within me, demanding I “get back to” normal life, look like everyone else, find a way to understand the world in order to fit into the world.

Because I don’t feel normal. I don’t understand things typically. I feel lost much of the time. And it’s a lonely walk.

The pressure gets to me often, as if I could only attain “normalcy” and then I would be all set, I’d fit in the social club of life. Only, so often normalcy and healing get confused.

For the sake of “normalcy” I try to find support groups, more therapy, a job. I want to exercise more, lead bible studies, be a pursuer through engaging others relationally. I want to be involved in committees and on non profit boards. I want to have a 9-5 career, a house, a newer car.

“Some people’s lives seem to flow in a narrative; mine had many stops and starts. That’s what trauma does. It interrupts the plot. You can’t process it because it doesn’t fit with what came before or what comes afterwards.”

But for the sake of “healing” I see a therapist. I take a couple of slow walks around the neighborhood a week. I stepped down from a local non-profit board. I go to a bible study and allow myself to be a member. I stay committed to the few people I feel responsible to and for, and I focus on loving them well. I coach a sport team, which allows me to have a tiny pay check, but also is a good use of my giftedness in supporting others to grow in a unique way. For the sake of “healing” I say “no” to a lot.

And for the sake of “healing” I scrapbook. I watch loads of netflix. I make dinner for my housemates. I visit friends out of the city at least monthly. I stay in bed when the physical illnesses I have are too intense. I ride the waves of PTSD and trauma when they arise, but I do not go seeking it. I do not jump in head first and hope to conquer it. I know that type of attitude is not only futile, but dangerous.

Because the waves are strong and are sometimes meant to be understood of their beauty from afar, not from a futile battle within.

Write 31 Days

You cannot have that

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To the Thief,

If we were to list what you stole from us, we would write forever.

We’ve heard other survivors say that their childhood was stolen. That’s close to being true for us. What you stole was the child within us. We were ancient ruins before we were 10.

When we look back at pictures of us from that time, they look like us…almost. It’s as though they are very realistic masks of the girls we used to be. But blank. Like a light went out. We turned the corners of our mouths up for the camera, because we were obedient girls and knew that’s what was expected—but there was no joy. We were guessing at normal.

We looked tired. We were tired. All the time. You stole our belief that we were safe in the world. Even in our little worlds. When someone who is supposed to love you, supposed to protect you, violates your trust and desecrates your body, you feel as though danger lurks everywhere. If you aren’t safe in the cocoon of your own family, you understand that you will never be safe anywhere.

You taught us to hate our bodies. We still have not entirely unlearned that lesson, even more than three decades later.

We know that if our focus is on the wounds of the past, we will miss out on the blessings of the future, and we are unwilling to allow that. In order to cast out that darkness, in order to banish that hatred, what we finally realize is that we need to forgive you.

We don’t want to carry these heavy things anymore. Without forgiveness, there is no freedom from this. From you. And we want to travel light.

We are going to do our best to let you go. To have this be one thing that happened, a long time ago. Not the defining thing. Not the totality of who we are. Just a chapter in the book of our lives—perhaps never completely closed, but a section we hope to revisit less and less. There is too much happiness ahead of us, too much goodness and grace in the world, to spend time reliving such pain.

We refuse to continue to be your host. We will not feed you anymore. You own a great deal of our past, but we will give you none of our future.

You cannot have that.

It’s time to sit in the sun.

Goodbye.

BostonMAG

The bravest thing I ever did was continue my life when I wanted to die.

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In this house, we’re all about growth and celebrating.

My housemates and I were out to dinner one evening celebrating one of their birthdays, a housemate who just moved in the week prior. This new housemate was sort of blown away by how much care we took in celebrating her, someone we didn’t know, who hadn’t given us anything or done anything for us. She was new.. new to our home, new to the neighborhood, new to the city, even new to this part of the country. She didn’t know another soul around, except for the newly developed friendships in our house.

A current housemate shared with her that in this house, we’re all about growth and celebrating. And that, friends, made me feel much warmth inside. You see, for most of my life I’ve lived a certain way in order to meet a standard that I felt my community demanded of me. I felt unsafe in my household as a young person, with my relatives, and within my church community.  Living in such bonds and fear is crippling. Living in that during foundational years of your life, suffocating. There’s little growth when your trying to survive. Few, if any, saw me enough to celebrate me. I thought I wasn’t worth celebrating.

Over and over again I was told how brave I was in church, for living in what I did, for experiencing what I had. But no one actually knew what my life was really like. There were many well meaning assumptions made, but so very few, if even one, actually asked. I didn’t feel brave. I felt like a coward, living so terrified of life. I just had to suppress my real emotions to make everyone else comfortable, to make myself fit in, to make it. Shame. So much shame.

The bravest thing I ever did was continue my life when I wanted to die.

And I hit a point where I didn’t want to live. I’ve hit it many times if I am going to be honest here. The days when life feels bare and joy seems ripped out from beneath me and I’m clawing it back with everything that’s left. And I’m healing.

But I kept clawing. And fighting. And asking the Lord to break me all up and heal me. I’ve never been afraid of that, of the breaking. That’s the easy part for me. It’s the healing I don’t understand. It’s unconditional love I’ve never known. It’s sometimes the warmth that comes out of me at the most unexpected times, the tenderness, the weepiness, the empathy. It’s the healing part that’s hard, painful. That’s bravery. Surviving didn’t make me brave. Continuing to heal when I’ve wanted to die, that’s brave.

To tell you my purpose is to tell of Him

So here I am, serving the Lord with many tears and trials. Living in a home in which it is common places to celebrate small things, like Froyo Friday-just because we made it through another week, or celebrating a tough appointment or meeting or hard conversation with someone. So we go out, we order in, we bake some cupcakes, and we celebrate and record these small feats of growth as we serve the Lord with many tears and trials and claw our way towards hope and joy. And as we mend, we move from needing help to giving help, without even thinking of it. The process is not a waste of time if we’ve learned something. Because in this house we’re all about growth and celebrating and you can’t have one without the other (at least in our home).

FMF:Celebrate

I didn’t choose this, dear friend.

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Dear friends,

I know you know this, but I love you dearly. I know you love me too, but I forget often. I’m filled with thoughts of how unloveable I am, how much of a mess I am, how unkempt and unpretty my life can seem. Many days I feel worthless, so I don’t always believe you love me. Somedays I believe depression.

Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness, those are actually the days I am fighting my hardest

Depression has a nasty snarl around my life. I know you prefer the sunny days, the brighter ones, free from anxiety, free from worry, filled with wonder and exploration. I know you prefer these for me, and for us. Oh friend, how I prefer those days too. I wish I could have these days every day because depression terrifies me. It literally prevents me from life, from the brightness and joy I know Jesus has created me to be. Oh but friend, I try. I try, and I try, and I have not given up. I hope you see the fight in me, that on my hardest of days, I have not given up, in fact, I am holding on with more strength than I knew possible. Please see how strong I am.

Behind my smile is a hurting heart, behind my laugh I’m falling apart, look closely at me and you will see, the girl I am… it isn’t me.

I wish I could have more days where I am more free, more present with you, more able to engage you. But I can’t. I can sense the heaviness come over me, clouding my eyes, heavying my chest, weighing on me from top to bottom. I try to push out of it, to throw it off, but friend the only way out is through.

Often the people with the strongest hearts carry the heaviest ones.

The journey through terrifies me. It feels like I’m losing control and losing my mind. Please, if you notice it happening before I am able to say it, please grab my hand and say you’re with me and you love me. If you ask me if I am ok, I will likely say yes. If you ask me how I am, I will likely say good/fine/okay. Please notice my pain and I am not able to articulate it. Please meet me there. Please help me to understand you are not scared of me or these feelings of mine.

I’m so broken that I can feel it. I mean, physically feel it. This is so much more than being sad now. This is affecting my whole body.

I know I seem to overreact at times. I know it’s confusing. I know sometimes you feel like your trying is never good enough or what I need. I know you sometimes receive anger from me when it’s not justified. I know you understand why it happens. And I know it’s hard for you nonetheless. Depression makes me angry and I can’t think well when I am angry. I am so sorry for this. It’s not an emotion I’ve felt often enough or seen handled well enough to know what to do with, so I feel more distant and disconnected.

Friend, when you notice I seem disconnected, please reach a hand out and connect with me. Tell me you love me and you are FOR me. Rub my back, hug me, sit with me. Remind me you are for me, not against me. Remind me you are on my side, that you know I will make it through, that you aren’t leaving me. Remind me that you can see how hard I try. Believe things alive, right into my very heart.

People think depression is sadness.People think depression is crying. People think depression is dressing in black. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. Being numb to emotions, being numb to lie. You wake up in the morning just to go back to bed again. Days aren’t really days; they are just annoying obstacles that need to be faced. And how do you face them? Through medication, through drinking, through smoking, through drugs, through cutting. When you’re depressed, you grasp on to anything that can get through the day. That’s what depression is, not sadness or tears, it’s the overwhelming sense of numbness and the desire for anything that can help you make it from one day to the next.

It can be hard to understand depression when you have not experienced it. I get that. I was like that too. Please always know that I respect you most when you ask me questions, because too often I am not able to just say what I would like to.

There’s many times when I feel like you are better off without me, that I have ruined you, ruined me, ruined others. I feel like you deserve better than me and I can’t ever be enough, no matter how much I try, I will always struggle, and sometimes I wonder if you are better off without me. I rarely will tell you. I fear you’re already too tired to hear from me. Sometimes I may not think it for weeks, other times I fight those thoughts every moment for months. Please watch out for me. Please tell me you see me. Please tell me I am worth it, worth this fight, to you and know that I won’t believe it on the dark days, ever. But don’t hesitate to tell me. I need it. Those are never wasted words, ever. I do remember. And they do fill me. Please hold hope for me.

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad

I feel like there’s a silence that I keep, one that has me balancing feeling “too” much for you and also not enough for you, one that teeters on wanting to look normal, but feeling so isolated and crazy. Depression is ugly. Most days it takes so much courage for me to get out of bed. No one knows. No one sees that. I force myself to eat sometimes, because I know it’s good for me. I shower and wish I didn’t have to. I make it through. There’s a silence I have to keep. Help me to break the silence. Please know I try, am trying, to find healing in Jesus.

There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds

Please know I am being healed. I want you to be a part of this, dear friend. A part of the healing. Please stay with me and fight this alongside me. You know who I am. You’ve seen me love fiercely, give lavishly, extend mercifully. You know many of the parts of who I am in Jesus that are fighting for healing, for greater strength. Don’t hesitate to remind me of those things, to remind me of who I am, of how good I am, of how good God has made me.

Please be with me. And know I am trying and I am fighting, for me, for us, for healing, for the Kingdom. But mostly, know I don’t want to be here and I didn’t choose this. And know I love you, deeply.

FMF: TRY

 

On being an adult with sensory processing disorder

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Imagine if:

  • You could see obstacles in your way, but you could not make your body move the direction you wanted it to, to avoid them.
  • Your clothes felt like they were made of fiberglass.
  • You tried to drink a cup of water from a paper cup, only you couldn’t tell how hard to squeeze it to hold onto it. So, you squeezed it too hard and the water spilled all over you. The next time you didn’t squeeze it hard enough and it fell right through your hands and onto the floor.
  • Every time you tried to write with your pencil, it broke because you pushed too hard.
  • The different smells in this room made you utterly nauseous.
  • The humming of the lights sounded louder than my voice.
  • You couldn’t focus your eyes on me because everything and everyone in the room catches your attention and at the same rate
  • The lights are so bright you have to squint, then you get a pounding headache half way through the presentation
  • Sometimes when people touch you, you feel nothing at all. You itch, and your scratching leaves a bruise.
  • You could only sit here for 15 minutes and then you had to take a run around the building or do 20 jumping jacks so you could sit for another 10 minutes before your muscles felt like they were going to jump out of your skin.
  • People’s whispers sounded like they were yelling.
  • You wanted to write something down but it took you at least 5 seconds to form each letter. You can see the letter in your head, but your hand will not go in the right direction to write it. Or you read words, but you have to read it 5 times to get the meaning of the word and remember it every time.
  • You had to pull the car over 3 times on the ride somewhere because the motion makes you sick.

Sensory processing disorders affect children and adults differently. For some it affects maybe 1 or 2 senses. For others it affects them all. Some people are hypersensative (feel too much) and some are hyposensative (feel too little). If sensory processing disorders are found before the age of 7, they can be best treated because the nervous system is malleable. After that, the challenge increases greatly.

I’m not sure what causes SPD, but it has to do with neuropathways in the brain. People with SPD can not effectively process or interpret sensory input.The senses give information to the brain and the brain processes the information which tells us what’s going on around us so we can interact efficiently with others and our environment. With SPD, the information may not be accurate or reliable! As a person that has sensory processing issues, this creates a whole host of challenges, personally and socially.

Stanley Greenspan, the author of The Challenging Child: Understanding, Raising, and Enjoying the Five “Difficult” Types of Children has an insightful analogy to help us understand what people experience:

“Imagine driving a car that isn’t working well. When you step on the gas the car sometimes lurches forward and sometimes doesn’t respond. When you blow the horn it sounds blaring. The brakes sometimes slow the car, but not always. The blinkers work occasionally, the steering is erratic, and the speedometer is inaccurate. You are engaged in a constant struggle to keep the car on the road, and it is difficult to concentrate on anything else.” It’s no wonder people with sensory processing disorders feel out of control, exhibit a whole host of behaviors, and have difficulty concentrating and focusing.

I happen to be one of those lucky people to whom it SPD affects most every sense. As a kid, it wasn’t easy living with SPD, I didn’t know I had it, not until more recently.  I didn’t know I was different in a lot of ways earlier on. But I was a fearful and skittish child as a result of it, even before significant trauma was a part of my life. I went on to get two (almost 3) college degrees, participate in meaningful activity, sports, relationships, and community involvement. But I felt different. I worked harder at things that none of my peers needed to ( like reading and memorizing). I was good at almost everything from trying so hard to fit in, but never was great at anything. I was exhausted all the time. I would end up in the hospital every few months when typically others would have sensed how sick they were getting. I felt nothing when someone would hug me (I need pressured hugs) and I didn’t understand.

To sum it up, I have hypersensitivities regarding hearing, light, smell/taste/texture, and cold. On the other side, I’m overly tolerant to heat, pain, and touch.

This means that:

  • In a room filled with inconsistent noises I hear everything at the similar volume, which distorts my ability to focus and remember what’s being said to me. Sometimes if there’s too much noise going on I have to fight the urge not to crawl in a corner and curl up with my hands over my ears… this is NOT socially acceptable for an adult. But it physically hurts me. It’s hard for me to go to crowded and loud places. An unexpected noice can send me disproportionately jumping.
  • I have sensitivities to touch and texture, for example, I can’t wear jewelry that touches near my wrist (think Alex and Ani), or is around my neckline (I’ll gag). Nail polish on my finger nails or dirt under my nails irritates me. Certain foods I cannot stomach, because the texture of the food will make me sick immediately as I try to eat it politely (green beans, ground meat). Somedays I can tolerate more food textures than other days. Some textures I’ve never been able to eat. This has been really difficult for me, especially because there’s food allergies mixed in. I like to touch things a lot to remember them.
  • I’m very sensitive to light, especially flourescent light, and I can easily be blinded by the sun at the beach or over the snow. With light bulbs, they literally hurt my eyes and I see stars everyday. I can hear white noise of lights and other technologies long after others ears quickly adjust.
  • Highly sensitive to smell, good or bad. Either way it can affect me. Smell is my strongest sense. For better or worse. I’ve had to have distance in some relationships because certain smells of another person was so hard for me. I also remember a lot by smells and it affects my ability to eat. Sometimes the smell of certain foods is enough to make me throw up and other times I can’t think of anything else until I have that food.
  • I am hyposensitive to weather. I can wear sweaters and sweatshirts in the summer and flip flops during a snow storm. My body does eventually catch up and in nearly all “extreme” weather, I develop fevers that require a hot shower and rest to correct and “reboot” my system. My blood pressure is always low and wavers to dangerously low weekly. I have a terrible auto-body regulator.
  • Being hyposensitive to pain is terrible actually, since I have chronic pain conditions. When the doctor asks me to rate my scale of pain, I have to estimate going by what I think other people would say, because I have a tendency to ignore pain. This ignorance of pain has landed me in the hospital near dying before. Not a great thing overall and not a choice I make. And when my body does catch up to the pain, it is over the top, as if the pain came out of no where even though the condition has been going on for a while. So I try to say I am acutely sensitive to pain, with a high threshold.
  • Visually, I have what’s called double vision and I sense light through my closed eyelids acutely. It also takes me 3 times longer to read than others (which I’ve always known). I was taught how to predict words using the first 3 letters when I was younger by a teacher who felt bad for me. I know how to use words, but not what they mean often. I can see words in my head but not be able to get them out. Sometimes I can read a word and not be able to say it immediately, especially when overstimulated.

This whole Sensory Processing thing has been difficult for me. I have real neuro issues and this complicates it even more. It’s hard to separate out what caused it, trauma, genetics, upbringing, etc. I haven’t figured out how to explain it to others, so I haven’t mentioned it much. It’s hard to not feel understood. It’s harder when you’re not able to answer others questions or help them understand and know you. It’s hard because it fluctuates. When I’m overstimulated, even a trip to the grocery store is too much, and could be, for days.

Imagine being in constant fight or flight mode, as if you will be attacked. That’s what Sensory Processing Disorders do. Your brain literally can’t handle the sensory input. It’s overwhelmed. The neuro synapsis and pathways function differently. I understand why it’s happening now, why I want to have a fit and shut down often. But even now that I understand it some, it’s still frightening. And it’s another notch on my “I’m different” belt. My body literally shuts down when I’m over stimulated. Pain in my ears and pressure in my head forces me to lay down and shut my eyes. I become unable to hear much and my vision becomes very blurry.

So what are the solutions? Well, everyone is different. I need a lot of quiet time, but not silence. Silence=white noise and white noise is TERRIBLE. I use sunglasses for sensitivities to light. I wear them inside sometimes, in the grocery store, at church, and at night (headlights and snow blind me often). I stay away from mirrors and stagnant water. Reflecting light hurts. We try not to put on overhead lights in our house. I’ve found warm showers help to readjust my body temperature during changing seasons or a trip to the beach. I have ongoing nausea from other chronic health issues, so I’m on near constant nausea medicine which helps with motion and smell sensitivity, but strong scents still hurt my nose. I try not to go anywhere that has loud music and too many movements or moving people. My bible study group keeps the worship music low so I can participate. I don’t wear clothings that touches my neck line. I hope for strong hugs so I can feel them, and I try to pay attention to bruises and ANY skin markings or even subtle health changes daily. I take my temperature every couple of nights. All in all, I’ve just had to find solutions to minimize that flight or flight anxiety mode. I really thrive on close connection, a period of quality time with someone else, that’s slow and allows me to get out what I want to say and receive care and love and touch in such an environment that’s not overstimulating. It’s rare to have that, rare to find it. Rare to be given it.

I don’t like knowing I’m different. I don’t like that I have so many starkly different life experiences from others. I didn’t choose this, any of it, and that’s hard. It’s hard not having cut and clean diagnoses that are definitively from “this” or because of “that”. It’s probably likely trauma, genetics, and nurture played a role together. It’s hard because I can’t explain to others as I could explain how I received a broken leg. But I’m finding ways I fit in the world, even if it’s not the life I hoped for. I understand kids and adults with ADHD. I handle melt downs of kids far better than most of my friends. I’m able to hold it together until I am alone enough to cry. I perceive things in others. I notice a lot. I’m sensitive and compassionate.

I have no permanent solutions to resolve any of my medical issues yet. But I have a lot of partial solutions, and partial solutions are solutions I can work with!