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?

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May 30, 2019
^ Hi Emily
by: Eleonora

Hi Emily, I am in a very similar situation to yours - every few months or every season I can't wear the clothes I was wearing before and I am always trying to find new options, which is very time consuming and expensive. I totally relate to what you said about fearing that you won't be able to wear anything soon.

I would love to further discuss our issues as we're so similar and both developed this disorder in our adulthood - I'm also considering bringing up gabapentin to my psychiatrist since you're not the first who reports to have been prescribed that on this website. If you want to contact me my email is elyet@libero.it or we can discuss it on Facebook or other social media as you prefer.

Drop me a line so that we can help each other x

May 29, 2019
by: Emily

Hello...Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm 29 and my sensory issues started in high school and have gotten progressively worse. It affects me the most with clothing. I feel like about every 6 months there's another category of clothes I no longer can wear. Skinny jeans were fine for a while, not anymore. Leggings were fine, not anymore. Dresses with belts were fine, not anymore. It just keeps getting worse and I'm worried I eventually won't be able to wear anything.

I have an appointment with a neurologist so I hope they can give me something that works. I tried gabapentin briefly a few years ago and stopped it because I started having suicidal thoughts, but looking back I'm not sure if it was from that. I think it was because I was depressed. I'm not sure, i'm willing to try it again but really don't want the suicidal thoughts.

Hopefully that's not what they were from.

Dec 03, 2018
The Opposite Problem
by: Anonymous

You and all people posting here have my sincere understanding and best wishes in dealing with this induced over sensitivity on your skin surface. Being a longtime Type 2 Diabetes sufferer, I have the opposite problem- neuropathy. Much normal sensory input fails to be transmitted from my skin, or limbs, to my brain, due to degradation by diabetes of the synaptical pathways.

Despite taking medications, the effectiveness of the overall neurotransmitters is below 50% as judged by the difference of input strength from the point of pressure contact to a point determined just before that particular pathway joins the spinal central nervous system.

Nov 26, 2018
We have so much in common
by: Anonymous

Dear Joy, I am 27 and I even though I did not suffer from such symptoms as a child, I am in a similar situation right now - I can't stand anything that comes into contact with my skin.

I have been diagnosed with a somatoform disorder and prescribed amisulpride and anty-anxiety drugs but would love to hear more about your experience with Gabapentin and eventually discuss it with my psychiatrist.

You can email me at elyet@libero.it or I will give you my full name and you can find me on Facebook.

I would love to talk more about this if you feel like sharing your experience. There is no support group for people like us so we need to do our best to help each other and stay strong.

Aug 24, 2017
My mother and I both have sensory issues
by: Kath

I underwent a mastectomy, and that created problems in itself. The post surgical compression vest was unbearable to wear next to my skin.
I developed welts and swelling from it and learned to wear a very soft T-shirt inside out underneath it.

It's been almost 4 years, I still have pain, however, they sent my to an Occupational Therapist ( not a physical therapist, to assess me for lymphedema but she picked up right away that I have sensory problems. She taught be Desensitizeing exercise's.

I can't believe how much it's helped me!
So go find an occupational therapist, They understand how to help!

I too have heightened sensitivity to smells, noises,fabrics ect. I have insomnia, I weigh myself down with heavy quilts.
We need a support group for this!

Mar 23, 2016
HSP and SPD in my fifty's
by: Carol

I have found out by taking some test online I do have sensory processing disorder; I"m also an hsp. I have had challenges with jobs and relationships over and over again. After reading Elaine's book- The Highly Sensitive Person it sheds some light about me.

However, I'm 54 years old, and my sensory things are so heightened. Sounds really bother me now. I rarely can enjoy music in my ears like I used to. Bright lights in my home bother me. If sounds are around me, I find it very difficult to think or concentrate. More scents, and smells are bothering me too. I don't like the extreme hot temperature, or cold tempeartures for several years.

As for as SPD I"m a primarily "visual" learner. This makes it very hard to comprehend or understand some audible information, espeically instructions or directions or steps.

I have had difficulty sleeping for a few years now. My brain or nerves is so active, I can take a sleep time tea, and a melatonin pill and stay awake!!! It is ridiculous.

I'm going to try some suppliments and herbs. I'm going to purchase one for my nerves (good for anxiety, and relaxation and sleeping), one for my brain (help me think better), and finally the Super Foods to boost my immune system and strengthen my body.

I'm so ready for a drastic change.

Thanks for letting me share.


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