HSP with SPD
by Joy Shannon
(Lakewood, CO, USA)
I am a Highly Sensitive Person, as I expect many of you whose stories I just read are as well. Look it up if you don't know about it. Dr. Elaine Aron has written about and studied this extensively, and there is neurological evidence now.
I'm now 68 and am getting more sensitive to touch, light, and noise. I have had insomnia, anxiety, and mild depression most of my life. As a baby I couldn't be held; as a child I was referred to as a 'touch-me-not'. I learned to cope as I matured, but was never a touchy feely person - no hugs except from my husband and my students (I was a special ed teacher).
Several years ago I explained my 'buzzy' feeling to my therapist - and she listened! The buzzy feeling was like standing beneath high tension wires, or a swarm of bees, and this would keep me from sleep, make me more anxious, etc. My skin would also be more sensitive at these times. She prescribed GABAPENTIN - and it made that awful feeling go away. I've been on this medication since, but am always afraid that the doctor will not renew it one of these days (my original therapist is no longer there). You can get Gabapentin as an OTC medication, but in a low doses. GABA is a neurotransmitter which kind of 'turns off' other neurotransmitters which serve to stimulate the brain (and in turn, the body). I've studied how the brain works but am certainly not a neuroscientist.
Today I think many of my health problems (autoimmune disorders) stem from a lifetime of stress, which was intensified by this condition. I was in the hospital last week with food poisoning, and it was impossible for me to explain some of my symptoms - extremely sensitive skin - and why I was taking Gabapentin. The other meds I take are easily understood by doctors, but I need to have an answer for that one. Doctors don't GET what it means to have tactile defensiveness, and of course I was in no condition to even try to explain it. When I got home I immediately took all the tape off my skin, took a soothing bath with my special additives, and SHAVED MY LEGS. The prickliness
was almost unbearable, especially when touching those hospital sheets.
I don't know how many people have these kinds of problems, and I'm certain that the symptoms and intensity varies greatly. I just wish more doctors knew about this, and respected it. Do we need to form a support group?