I am 45 and I just found out!

I am 45 years old and have just put a label to the torture I have experienced all of my life - Sensory Defensiveness. I am a well-educated, professional person, but I didn't know others had similar issues. My issues are primarily smell, sound, and touch. Light bothers me to a lesser degree, and I don't really identify any problems with taste.


It is amazing now that I know what the problem is that I didn't find this and other websites like it earlier. I thought I had severe allergies to smells and that allergies were responsible for my skin being so sensitive. About ten years ago, I was tested for all kinds of environmental allergies and was told that I did not have allergies. I was very angry because I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what.

I have been a diabetic for 35 years. I thought my issues were related to high or low blood sugar levels. Now I know it is neurological. It is a relief just understanding better what my problem is.

I avoid crowds because I don't want to be touched. I have never been able to tolerate underwear of any kind. My mother tried to get me to wear underwear throughout my entire childhood. I never wear any kind of jewelry, and all of my clothes must fit loosely. Cotton is about the only fabric I can wear. I absolutely cannot stand to have my bear skin touched. The backs of my hands are most sensitive.

Smells of every kind make me literally sick. I get nauseated and have a swimmy headache if I smell any kind of fragrance whether it be cologne, perfume, or personal products. Everything used in my home is unscented if at all possible. Being with other people is very scary for me because I don't know what smells I will have to endure.

Sounds drive me crazy. Clocks ticking, people chewing gum or eating, the droning sounds of air conditioners and motors are intolerable. I use ear plugs a lot, and I have an air purifier in my office that makes a "quiet" noise which helps. I cannot eat in a restaurant because they play music which I cannot tolerate.

My wife and son are absolutely wonderful! They lovingly accommodate me. They are very careful not to introduce any smells in my presence. They always allow me to have control of my environment, and if we go out and the "new" environment is intolerable, they graciously agree to leave.

If you are a parent, spouse, or loved one of someone suffering from sensory defensiveness, PLEASE realize that the person with this disorder cannot help it no matter how hard he/she tries. Lovingly accommodate that person and try to help him/her know that there are good times in life and positive, loving relationships in spite of these constant tortures that are experienced from the overwhelming amount of stimulus that has to be faced daily.

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Oct 13, 2010
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me too
by: Anonymous

I am 50's male, outwardly very successful corporate officer, interacting with hundreds of people a day in significant leadership and social roles. Inside I suffer from severe sensory disorder. I am especially sensitive to smells, sounds, and movement. Smells such as cologne, perfume, cream rinse and shampoos, deodorants, cleansers...knock me out where I have to leave. Fidgeting, rocking in a chair, twirling or picking at hair-- raises my blood pressure. Whistling, sniffling, even heavy breathing makes me tense. Gum-chewing is the worst-- the sounds of chewing, the smell of the gum (mint, juicyfruit, cinnamon), and the mouth and jaw movement drive my nuts. And each year it gets worse and worse. Help!

Oct 07, 2010
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How to cope
by: Juliann

I too have SPD and have been trying on managing it creatively. I too am 45 years old. My family have always thought I was "different" and blamed alot of my oddities of being born a suny-side up baby. I can not read a map, I do not know the difference between right and left, I can not learn a new language. I have to shake my leg before I go to bed, I have sensory-motor problems, my biggest area of deficit is in the auditory area. I have to see what I hear and I avoid the 4s sensitive of oral sounds (chewing , snoring, whistling or any sounds of the mouth.

I have learned to cope by using a weighted blanket during church services or meditation classes, I purchase white noise hearing aids, I chew carrots, gum, ice, crunchy popcorn and or veggies to decrease my irritation with sounds around me. I avoid walking on bumpy fields so i don't get disoriented. I don't arrive late to instructions when introduced to new areas, I have purchased a help signal to assist if I get lost even on campus. I have also decided to do my Doctorate dissertation on this topic. So keep your eyes open for this to happen. Please feel free to give me you ideas of what works for you as an adult that will also help other churches, Buddhists center work with your leadership to make those in their congregations feel successful
dserafin3@yahoo.com

Apr 30, 2010
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Share your coping strategies.
by: Dr. Jerry

As a clinical psychologist and an occupational therapist, I see adults who suffer with SPD as you do. Please share some of your coping strategies with others who read this, so they may benefit as well. Further, consulting with a good OT in your area may be helpful in providing you with sensory strategies that decrease the negative impact of SPD...

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