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.