Today I sat on my floor, making Instagram stories and procrastinating the huge task of rearranging my entire room.
Look, when you’ve got 600+ books the thought of moving them all makes you internally scream yourself into the 12th dimension.
“so why were you rearranging your room, c.g.?” you ask cautiously. “are you procrastinating writing your book again.”
I mean YES. That is a call out and a slight attack but not wrong. But I had dual reasons this time. I’m blogging a little differently today, because I want to talk about…
Sensory Processing Disorder
It’s actually something (a) tons of people have, and (b) they often don’t have a word for it. And, as a bookworm and writer, I totally believe in the empowerment of words and the use of language to better understand yourself. And I also am just mega salty today because this disorder sucketh greatly and I am going to whinge to you, my fave captive audience. (gET AWAY from that exit button. Pretend you are captive🤗)
Also like it’s PRETTY OBVIOUS. This is a book blog, I am a bookworm who often spells their name backwards, and I’m noooot a doctor. This isn’t a diagnostic analysis of SPD. It’s just my personal experiences. Consider yourself disclaimed by this disclaimer.
➢ who usually has Sensory Processing Disorder? (SPD)
It’s really common for neurodiverse people to have this. So like if you have ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression…etc. etc. Autistics (like meeee) are extremely well known for their sensory aversions. Most autistics in media are shown visibly stimming (hand flapping; spinning; rocking etc) and while not all of us stim like that — it’s still a self-soothing mechanism we retreat to because of sensory overload.
I’m a high functioning autistic in most aspects. But when it comes to SPD…matey mate, I am not doing very well at all. It’s not fun to admit. But I often say I’m having a “hard time” and don’t clarify. This contributes a LOT to my low points.
➢ having SPD means you can’t filter or regulate your senses
Everything is the same level of loudness. A bright light is like an exploding solar system. Food textures are too intense. Weird fabrics on your skin hurt. It’s hard to focus on what someone is saying to you because there’s a dog barking all the way across the street and you can’t zone into words while your brain is also stuck listening to that barking.
Things that don’t bother other people can cause you physical pain. And then anxiety gets attached to it. Like there was this one time you didn’t sleep for WEEKS because of frogs croaking outside your window; now you have panic attacks at the thought of frogs.
And look SPD doesn’t make “sense”. Somedays you can handle things quite stolidly. Things that seem like they should trigger your SPD don’t even register at all. And if you can control something, it’s often not as bad. For instance: music triggers me to panic an incredible amount…but I can listen to music with headphones. I’ve analysed this a lot, because it seems so hypocritical. But see, I choose music with specific beats or styles + I can turn it off at any time + I generally am exercising while listening, so it’s the only thing I’m focusing on. Plus exercise actually helps brains process things better. (Ever paced around while you memorised something and it worked better? Same thing.😌)
and look everyone is different with this
Different levels of sensitivity. Different things set different people off. Different reactions are given.
Sounds are excruciatingly painful to me. While my autistic niece (the actual loudest person ever) can’t handle many fabric textures.
Our senses are working 100 x overboard. They aren’t processing, decoding, compartmentalising, or toning things down.
We can’t just “ignore it” — it’s like having someone beat a hammer against and anvil. But the hammer is a ticking noise and the anvil IS YOUR POOR FRIKKIN’ HEAD. It can be such A Lot™ for us to handle, with ups and downs of anxiety making it worse.
People are there, eyebrows rising, saying, “Is she…crying…over a clock ticking?”
Yes, yes, she is crying over a clock ticking. Welcome to SPD.
This was a long long way to wind to the explanation of *why* I was rearranging my room, wasn’t it?
Here’s the thing: outside my bedroom wall is a dripping gutter. It tap-tap-taps in a way that is excruciating to me and makes me panic. I can’t sleep. It triggers panic attacks. It’s not constant, so some nights are fine and others are sheer hell. I hesitated in trying this swap of moving my bed to a different wall because I can here this minuscular dripping all over my room. But I had to try SOMETHING. Or else I was going to bit the gutter off my roof with my teeth.
(My family said “do not do that c.g.” so they’re fun.)
remember those two books I wrote? A Thousand Perfect Notes and The Boy Who Steals Houses?
I have massive nods to SPD in both of them! For ATPN, it was actually unintentional. Beck has anxiety (not autism) but his whole performance chapter was an ode to an SPD meltdown.
Sam from TBWSH wasn’t named autistic on page but shhh shhh he totally is. (“Nah he isn’t autistic!” said a silly young writer named MEEEEE while three of my beta readers gave me the 🤨 look and said, “uh yes he is.” Lmao. I’m dying. You were all right.) He sensory seeks the entire book but in That Chapter when he goes to a party…the sensory overwhelm is intense. Moxie basically has to pet him and hold his hand. Get yourself A MOXIE. 🙌🏻
So I spent today hauling books — neglecting my overdue library books and chapters I needed to write. But I did it. And my fingers are crossed that it might help.
I don’t talk a lot about autism or my personal life here…like I’m SHY. And oddly reserved for being on the internet so much.
But I like to occasionally break habits and talk about things like this because (1) it helps others not feel alone and (2) it’s good to walk in other’s shoes and experience differences. So I wanted to share!
I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me or see this as a clingy “WOE IS MEEE” post. This is me, being a bit raw and unfiltered. I’ve been struggling to come up with blog content recently so maybe I’ll do more of this. WhO KNOWS.
All I know is that having a sensory processing disorder isn’t about being irrational or selfish or dramatic. It’s real and it’s painful and we’re just doing our best to live comfortable lives where we can function and cope. 💛
| what about you? |
i know posts like these can sometimes be hard to comment on but dO NOT FEAR!! i like to chat 🤗 tell me if you have SPD experiences? or if you write things you struggle with into your books?