January 2012

Jumping out of my skin

I’m not comfortable in my body. No, not body dissatisfaction or hatred. Sensory-wise. My sensory systems are going haywire, and lately they’ve been doing so more and more often.

I’ve never been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder But, I’ve talked with enough professionals and co-workers to know that I most likely do have some form of SPD. I can’t remember if I had it as a child. I think for me, it goes very hand-in-hand with my sensitivities and intense cravings for things in general–colors, sounds, emotions, visual sights, etc. That’s another post in and of itself; I don’t know how to even begin trying to explain that. But, I wonder if when I was younger, my body was calmer because I craved everything else. Or if I was so active that my systems didn’t have time to freak out. Or if I ignored it just like I ignored my body for years. All I remember is constantly shaking my leg up and down and my parents asking if it was because I was anxious. I used to say “no,” knowing it wasn’t, but didn’t know what it was.

The point is, it’s getting to me now. Sitting with clients all day, and then sitting in class for 3-5 hours all night is really hard. Friends laugh (kindly) when they see me shaking my legs up and down, bouncing in my seat, wiggling nonstop. They know it’s “that thing she does,” where “she can’t sit still.” But there’s more to it. It’s not that I’m bored in class or want to stretch. It’s feelings I can’t even begin to describe. The sensitivity component where the lights start to hurt my eyes, every molecule on my body gets itchy, I feel the fabrics on my skin, the chair hurts my back, I feel it all. And the seeking component, where simultaneously I desperately need to be moving, shaking, jumping, walking. I need weight on my lap to calm me down and sometimes I need tight clothes or loose clothes or high socks or low socks. But there’s nothing I can do about it. And it builds and builds until I feel like I’m going to explode.

It’s so frustrating. It’s all the time. I have to sleep with a pillow on my legs, for weight. I have to sleep with a pillow between my knees. So many little things I need to do, and at least those ones I CAN do it. It’s the times like when I’m in class where I feel sunk. My body is fighting against me and I can’t do much about it.

It’s a little isolating. I know so many kids with SPD. I work with upwards of 50 of them. But it’s okay for a child to use a cushion on their seat, use a fidget toy in class, take movement breaks, bounce on a bouncy ball. It’s not okay for an adult to do that. I don’t know any adults with SPD. I don’t know how they cope. I don’t know any adults with SPD who also experience seeking symptoms of those other things — colors, visual sights, emotions, etc.

I’m not even sure what the point of this is. But I so rarely bring it up to anyone because nobody truly gets it and I don’t think I have the words to explain it. So I’m trying, I’m starting.


I am incredibly irritated. I was at the gym and Dr. Oz came on t.v. He was doing a story about a girl who is severely anorexic and quite literally, near death. The focus was on how impaired she was, how underweight she was, how low her medical stats were, how many pounds she had lost, how many times she had gone to the emergency room, how many calories she had lost. All about numbers. Yes, Dr. Oz was trying to spread awareness and education. I get that. And yes, awareness is important.

But there’s a bigger issue here. And the issue is all of the individuals who are watching that and their response is, “Oh. I’m not 30 pounds underweight. I haven’t been to the ER. I don’t eat under 500 calories a day. I guess I’m not sick then. I guess it’s not a problem.”

I mean, really, would Dr. Oz have brought someone on the show, noticed them, reached out to them, offered them that help and support to recover if the individual was normal weight and didn’t visibly look sick? No, probably not. And that right there is the problem.

I get that people think that the extreme cases make a point. And maybe they do. But that just reinforces the stereotype, the false belief, that you’re not sick unless you’re underweight. That it doesn’t matter unless you’re fainting. That it’s not real unless you go into the hospital.

And that’s so, not true.

This song always makes me teary

“Ordinary Miracle” – Sarah McLachlan

It’s not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

The sky knows when it’s time to snow
Don’t need to teach a seed to grow
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

Life is like a gift, they say
Wrapped up for you everyday
Open up, and find a way
To give some of your own

Isn’t it remarkable?
Like everytime a raindrop falls
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

The birds in winter have their fling
And always make it home by spring
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

When you wake up everyday
Please don’t throw your dreams away
Hold them close to your heart
‘Cause we are all a part

Of the ordinary miracle

Ordinary miracle

Do you want to see a miracle

It seems so exceptional
That things work out after all
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

The sun comes out and shines so bright
And disappears again at night
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

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