Most people think I’m a little weird, and that may very well be true, but I also have a bizarre neurological condition called Sensory Processing Disorder. That means my brain doesn’t process incoming sensory data properly. Some stimuli trigger an exaggerated fight-or-flight response, especially certain textures and soft sounds, because my brain interprets the information as a serious threat. Therefore, simple everyday things that most people don’t even notice can be completely overwhelming to me.
To give you an idea what SPD is like, try and imagine how your body would feel if a burglar suddenly entered your home with a weapon drawn. Most likely you would experience a sudden onset of anxiety, while your body filled with adrenalin and your heart raced. Your mind would scramble for ideas to get out of the life-threatening situation. You would instinctively do anything you could to stay alive. Well, my brain responds in a similar way to simple ordinary things, like a keyboard typing or a whispered conversation or even the texture of a Popsicle stick or cardboard. I can be perfectly calm and happy one minute but if someone walks by wearing flip-flops then my body revolts at the sound of each snap against their heel and my spine curls with discomfort. When I’m in a crowd of people at a restaurant, an event, or even at church, I’m probably not engaged in much conversation. I may appear to be anti-social or unfriendly, but I’m really just focusing all my energy towards preventing a meltdown because my brain struggles to decipher which conversations are important, since they all blend together into a nonsensical mess.