Pretty Sure I Have SPD

by Ryan
(Ohio, USA)

Where do I even begin? I’m 33 years old and looking back on my childhood, it's a lot clearer to me what was going on. I was born in 1980, and back then you didn't hear too much about disorders and things of this nature. As early as preschool I would fight my mom when she was trying to put on my shoes. I would pitch a fit if there was a bunch in my sock. I would make her take off my shoes and try again. I didn't like sweaters at all. I could not stand the scratchy material on my skin. I couldn't stand shirts that had pronounced seams on the inside because, again, I didn't like the way it felt against my skin. Things like this would drive me crazy and I would constantly be aware of the discomfort of the material against my skin/body. These are the earliest examples I can remember.


Moving along to kindergarten, my teacher thought I had hearing problems and called my mom in to show her what she was talking about. I was sitting at a table coloring and drawing (I've always been artistic). My teacher stood right behind me and called my name repeatedly, I did not respond. It turned out that I didn't have a hearing problem, I was just so lost in what I was doing that I have tuned everything out. This continued to be a problem at home. My mom has since told me that when I was younger, if I was watching cartoons, that I was oblivious to everything else around me and would not respond to my name being called.

I was also very sensitive to sound. I can remember being at school during a pep rally or large group event and all the kids were screaming and yelling. It was so overwhelming that I would break down and cry. To this day loud sounds bother me. If I'm sitting at a stop light in my car with the windows down and someone drives by with a loud muffler, I get an instant sensation of anger. This also happens if there is a loud, unexpected noise that takes me by surprise. It is an interesting combination of anger and that you could cry, I don’t know how to explain it exactly.

This type of thing continued on through most of my elementary/jr. high school years. When I was into my mid-teens and had gained a little more freedom, my sleeping schedule became a total wreck. I have always been a night person and my mind seems to be more focused in the late night hours. Even to this day, it takes me forever to fall asleep at night. I lay in bed for a good half hour, which is how long it takes for my brain to calm down and relax.

I have always suffered from anxiety/panic attacks and depression. I like security and hate change. God forbid I had to go somewhere and stay away from home, just the uncertainty of what might happen and the change in my normal ‘day to day’ life sent me into a mad panic. This lasted until I was 15 and I could finally make myself come to terms with being ok with some of it. I still get overwhelming sensations though when new changes come about. Just the other day at work, they moved my desk (where I had been at for 2 years) to a different location and I just felt an overwhelming sensation with a little bit of fear. I knew I was being ridiculous, but I couldn't help the feelings. Fear new situations always bring on an anxiety attack.

Present day, I’m still suffering with anxiety and sensory issues. Like I mentioned before, sudden loud noises bring on anger, but my biggest problem ever is clothing. This has gotten out of control from when I was a child. I didn’t like certain fabrics, but at least I could wear them. The biggest problems for me are pants. I don’t like them too tight or too loose. I can’t stand the feeling of them on my waist and I feel like I’m constantly tugging at them or trying to readjust them. If my clothes are feeling uncomfortable, then my day is completely ruined. I feel a sensation of irritability all day. As soon as I change into something more comfy, such as sweats or track pants, the irritability goes away. I’m can become obsessed with certain articles of clothing if they’re comfortable on me. I’ll either buy one of every color, or I’ll wear the same one over and over. I usually own one pair of jeans at a time because most jeans don’t fit me right. I have a whole closet full of the same type of shirt – one in every color and I wear them all the time. I sometimes worry about what I’m going to wear the next day and start worrying about whether or not I’m going to be comfortable.

That’s pretty much my story. There are lots of other little things that I won’t mention because it would take way too long – so these are just the main points. I’ve tried to cope with this issue my whole life, but some days are worse than others and I dream of a day when I could be cured or at least have some of these symptoms controlled. Does anyone what any suggestions or has anyone had any luck with treatments? Are there any particular medications that could help dull some of these sensory problems? I would love any advice I could get and would be grateful for it. Thanks!

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