was it really that bad though?
yes. it was. stories on sensory processing needs
I didn’t know I had sensory processing issues while growing up.
I learned quite young that the discomfort I felt needed to be stuffed down and buried. No one wanted to know of my discomfort and I never wanted to be a burden to my new family (I was a transracial adoptee). I now know that I did have sensory processing needs, but one thing I learned was to dissociate from the discomfort.
I think that worked for a while… until maybe one day, it didn’t.
Managing my sensory needs might be part of the reason why I drank, smoked and binge ate so much. It might have been part of the reason I decided to move out of my home at such a young age too. I needed complete control of my environment because no matter what I ate, used or how much I drank, I could never feel quite safe enough.
I scrambled to make sense of my internal world how ever I could, only I never realised that you can’t get away from the chaos in your own body. So maybe you learn to work through it. Or maybe some day you just learn to live with it.
I never had the answer.
The thing I learned about sensory needs was that they are often unpredictable in their intensity and impact and so much more than what people might realise or see. They can mess with my mood, my energy, my “motivation”, my comfort.
My sense of felt safety.
And still, my sensory needs are only mild.
I think about my son and kids like him who now have words to describe what they’re feeling and tools to support themselves in much healthier ways than I did. I’m so incredibly grateful for that too because now I work with adults like me, who never had those options as children.
There is a difference.
I see the scars of this existence and the disconnection from themselves. Like a wall between themselves and their bodies, built as a way to survive. Brick by brick we work together to take that wall down so they can accept the kinds of support they really need to thrive. It can take a while to get to the point where they believe that the discomfort they felt growing up is real. That their pain is and has always been valid and deserving of proper care, ease and healing.
Even when they had to train themselves not to “feel” the discomfort, when feeling it was all they could do.
I think a lot about kind of self-betrayal that is necessary to live with that kind of hurt and what it takes to learn to pretend it doesn’t exist. That kind of self-betrayal that forces you to keep from meeting your own needs.
But when I think about the kind of love it takes for someone to look beyond the wall, to find themselves again and to know that they deserve reconnection, truth and wholeness. They deserve to live better because their needs and care are worth it. They’re worth it.
That kind of love reminds me that regardless of what I’ve done or gone through to get to where I am today, I’m still worth it too.
It’s day 2 of the longest month of the year… Autism awareness or acceptance month, (it differs depending on who you talk to). Tell me about how you leaned to manage your sensory needs? Do you have any? Or sensory anxiety? Or was I the only one that was a bit messy growing up and never realising why that was?