I'm 21 years old. I believe I have SPD, and I feel like I will never be normal.

Where do I begin? I have always been extremely clumsy. When I was four years old, I was walking to my great aunt’s house. Near her house, there was a ditch. My mother said that I suddenly stopped walking and fell into the ditch. I didn’t try to stop myself by putting my hands out or anything. This point is extremely odd to me because I never liked to get dirty. Why would I not stop myself? I usually have an excellent recollection of my childhood, but the only thing I can recall from this instance is being dirty. Everything else is completely wiped out of my memory. When my mother asked me what happened, I remember saying I forgot how to walk. It was the only explanation I could think of. It took me a long time to find my natural stride again. I remember marching because I couldn’t figure out the rhythm.

There is also an incidence where I tripped over a raised doorway entrance when I was five. I only remember falling I don’t remember hitting the ground or the pain I must have felt afterwords, but I have a huge scar from it. When I was twelve, I was walking down the steps of my house to take the school bus. There are three steps and I clearly remember stepping on each step. It is almost as if someone pressed the rewind button in my head, because when I thought I was getting off the last step I was suddenly on the first step, and I fell down. When I was sixteen, I went on a class trip to Washington D.C. there is a place right in front of the Supreme Court building where the sidewalk is uneven. I stepped right where the two differences collide and I fell.

Textures of fabrics are a huge issue for me as well. Fleece is one of my biggest enemies. Every time I touch this fabric, or anything remotely close to it, I feel like I can’t breathe. It’s like someone locked me in a padded cell, but the walls are covered in fleece, and the room keeps getting smaller. I still have Christmas gifts from friends that I have had for years that I can’t touch. They are still in their bags.

Although I am overweight, food is like a nightmare for me. Certain textures make me gag. Slimy foods make me gag; things like onions and celery also make me gag. I feel that I am becoming pickier with each coming day. I’m starting to think that there will come a day where I will have to get hooked up to

a feeding tube because I won’t be able to eat anything anymore. It’s not that I want to be picky. In fact, I would love to try new things; unfortunately, unless I can read the ingredients in a food or it is something simple that I can tell what’s in it, I won’t eat it. It’s miserable when you fear going over to someone’s house for dinner or the restaurant your friends pick because, to be perfectly honest, you’re so picky you can’t even stand yourself anymore.

I can’t look people in the eyes. I don’t know why. When I first meet someone, I look them in the eyes, but after that I can’t. Even though I am fond of certain guests that come to my home, I always hide in my room. It’s like I’m trying to stay invisible. Once, I came out of my room, and the door to our house was open. My brother had a gang of friends outside. His friend looking inside saw me coming out the hallway. He went pale and said, “Oh my God! I just saw a ghost come out of the wall!” (I’m really pale.) A family friend said to him that I was my brother’s sister. He said that’s not his sister. I met her. That was a ghost. They had to explain to him that my brother had more than one sister.

In places where there are large groups of people, I start to panic. My heart rate goes up. I get dizzy. My vision blurs, and I feel like I will pass out.

Last, but certainly not least, is the dreaded encounters with fragrance stores. Let me put it this way. I can’t go near them, much less in them. In the mall, I have to go to the other side of the hall. I can’t breathe and my face and eyes feel like they are on fire. My mom tells the story of how I was a well behaved child, but, once we would go near Dillard’s, she says I became “demon possessed”. I would start kicking, screaming, and crying. I have to use unscented products. It was fine when I was younger, but I’m getting older and would like to go into a store and try out a perfume with my mom so we can bond like she did with my other sisters. I just want to feel normal for once. It’s depressing. I feel like an alien. I’ve tried looking up treatments and stuff, but they are all for babies. For example, carry around some aroma therapy stuff. How can I do that when I have sensitivity to the stuff?

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