Sensory Defensiveness is a condition that causes individuals to be overly sensitive to touch, sound, smells, light, and ultimately a little more sensitive socially, as a result. I was diagnosed with this condition soon after a break-up with a partner who insisted I go shopping in musty antique stores. When I would get weak and needed to sit after 30 minutes, he suspected I was faking something, so that I wouldn’t have to go with him on his antique excursions. I couldn’t convince him, otherwise.
Eventually, he broke up with me because he felt as if I put no effort into his interests. I couldn’t argue with him. If what your partner does affects your health, adversely, you probably will eventually stop trying. So, I broke with a man who treated me the best of any of my partners in the past, because of an illness. Soon after, I got the diagnosis. One of the books I was asked to read was “Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Over-stimulating” by Sharon Heller. By then, the ex was already in another relationship.
As I began the discovery of how to treat my over-sensitivity, I realized that the disease I had was a form of adult autism; albeit, a mild one, autism, nonetheless. This diagnosis is much more prevalent in young children, because it expresses as only eating one or two kinds of food, resistance to crowds and socialization, and headaches. As a child, I stayed inside mostly, because sports hurt my body, and I was allergic to just about everything outside. I went to bed hungry a lot of time, because I couldn’t and wouldn’t eat what was served at the dinner table. (In those days, parents didn’t consider physical conditions. They just thought you were obstinate.) Eventually, my parents realized that I really couldn’t eat some of the food they offered without vomiting.
Everyone knew something was different about me from a very young age, but I didn’t know what. Kids at school simply thought I was a frail gay boy and made fun of me. As this sensitivity manifested in harsher ways as an adult, I became more frustrated with life, and a bit depressed, because it seemed everyone just thought I was too picky and too sensitive, including friends and lovers—INCLUDING ME!
Some of the ways this affected me as an adult was over-sensitivity to smells like cologne, which instantly gave me a migraine; amplification of pain, so much so that I lived on Aleve; tremendous fatigue in crowded spaces after about 15 minutes; fatigue in groceries stores because of smell; and with my ex, fatigue in dusty places; and sleeplessness, because I felt everything around me—sounds, the touch of the sheets, pains—even more when I relaxed. I also couldn’t be around very bright light without getting a migraine, as well. So, you can imagine how isolated one with this disease begins to feel.
I, also, had no idea there was a name for this disease, until well into my early forties. What a relief to know there was a name, a diagnosis, and ways to treat this over-sensitivity. One of the ways happens to be with weight. For instance, if you have a great deal of pain or are overly sensitive to touch, you can wear ankle weights. What this does is stop the fast firing of the neural pathways of the brain and refocuses this energy toward your feet instead of the area of your body where the pain or sensitive exists.
I bought these body wraps that are filled with sand and very heavy so that I could use them around my neck or on my legs as I sat or slept. This comforted me in much the same way as a hug, or the closeness of another human being, especially during sleep. I discovered that, if I slept with this weight on me (even weighted blankets), I felt as if I was being held all night. Suddenly, I felt secure and certainly not alone.
Last night, as I prepared for bed, I realized that anyone who didn’t know that I had this disease would think I was a total nutcase. I sleep propped up, with a weighted wrap around my neck and over my head, and usually I’m freezing, so I have very soft blankets on me and 2000 count sheets between me and the covers, because of their softness. Wherever I rest my hands has to be completely soft, or I won’t be able to sleep, and I can’t be touching my own body. (Well, now you know why I’m single!)
The truth be told, if someone hugs me while I fall asleep, the pressure of their arms, combined with the feeling of security, creates exactly the same environment of comfort as I created with all of my paraphernalia. So, sleeping alone is not so fun. But, I realized one wonderful thing—I don’t need another person to fall asleep. This is a great lesson for anyone who has anxious attachment issues, has just gone through a break-up, or can’t seem to find the right mate!
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A Single Session w/Bo Sebastian
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If you are a gay man or woman, you may want to direct your gaze to my newest blog: Uncommon Gay Spiritual Warrior. This blog is an extension of my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UncommonGaySpiritualWarrior/) and group meetings about the rare combination of spirituality and “being gay” defines the most important part of us, even in relationship. Join me at: http://uncommongayspiritualwarrior.blogspot.com/.
Bo works with people on SKYPE and FaceTime all over the world. He is taking new clients now. Call 954-253-6493 for information.
Take the time to look at Bo’s bookshelf of self-help books, novels, healing downloads, and yoga DVD. All of Bo’s books help people such as you, make SIGNIFICANT CHANGE with habits, find your SOULMATE, your PASSION, reach YOUR DREAMS, and dictate your own FUTURE.
Chosen to show his new hypnotherapeutic techniques on The Learning Channel (TLC) and also given the opportunity to teach at the world conference for Learning, and received the award of excellence for Helping Overcome Obesity in Nashville, Bo Sebastian is the writer and director of Finding Authentic You and Uncommon Gay Spiritual Warrior. Go directly to Amazon/Amazon Kindle to buy any of his wonderfully inspired books: ]
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