Living with SPD
by Ro Williams
(Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, United Kingdom)
Hi Everyone... My name is Ro - I'm a twenty one year old University student and I have lived with SPD all my life, although I didn't even know it was SPD until I came across the term a couple of years ago.
I have major sensory processing issues with clothes - I always have and probably always will. It started when I was about five/six. I had on a pair of trousers that had a tie belt. I tied the belt too tight to the point where it was digging into my skin and I couldn't get the trousers off to go to the loo (luckily I didn't wee myself - we had to cut them off!)
From then, I couldn't wear anything on my waist, not skirts, jeans, joggers, underwear or anything. It isn't the material that bothers me - it's the feeling of something round my waist or my hips. Mum and I didn't know it was a serious issue, we thought it was a phase I'd grow out of. Mum would put me in trousers all the time to try and get me used to them but I never did.
Days would be ruined because I'd be so uncomfortable to the point I was doubled over because I'd been sat in such a tense position for so long. The only way I can describe it is pain - some sort of phantom psychological and physical pain. Looking back with the research I've done, I'd probably call it a meltdown.
As I grew up, I started to develop more issues. After wearing bras for ages, I couldn't wear them. After being able to wear my school uniform, I suddenly couldn't. After being able to tolerate certain tops/shirts, they wouldn't be comfortable anymore. I came up with various different solutions (some appropriate and some not so appropriate.)
I managed to find online some jumpsuits with no seam across the waist (because I can't tolerate that either) which were amazing (until I couldn't
deal with how tight they were on my stomach) but I then bought them in bigger sizes and altered them which has worked for years and I hope it always will. I also used to wear about three swimming costumes under my uniform to stop myself being able to feel my underwear and tights. I had to wear a dress instead of a skirt and then cover the dress with a shirt so it looked like a skirt (if that makes sense!)
Soon it was summer and it got too hot for me to do that so I panicked and decided to wear seamless playsuits under my dress instead. They weren't underwear but at least they covered me up. I still do this. I'm sure nobody here will judge me for being unable to wear proper underwear because we're all dealing with our own situations of SPD.
I know that there are so many people out there who have it worse than me, or who have other horrific circumstances to deal with, but I can only speak of my experience. My situation is difficult to cope with. Everyday I'm nervous that I'll wake up and something that was comfortable the day before is now rejected by my body, or I won't be able to go on holiday because there's nothing in my wardrobe that's comfortable so I'd have nothing to wear and I'd be obligated to go out and do things rather than stay at home in bed and hibernate.
It's not all doom and gloom though. I have faith in myself and everyone else who is affected by SPD that we will be able to not only cope but to enjoy life. Find other things that make you or your children happy and cling onto those with all your strength.
I can't thank this site and everyone and everything on it enough for making me realise that it isn't only me who suffers with this thing (as I've thought my entire life.) Keep going everyone!