Orchids and Violets—Sensory Defensiveness

Orchids are by far my favorite flower with daylilies a close second. One of the reasons I like orchids so much is that the exotic blooms last up to three months. They are difficult to grow, as the only place in Nashville to truly grow one is indoors or in a greenhouse. You must fertilize them and spray them and nurture them, but never too much, as the orchid is a plant that needs to be dormant some of the year. Getting one to bloom took me almost five years of trying. When one stem began to get buds on it, I just about rejoiced with a song. I couldn’t believe one actually bloomed for me.

As you can see by all the pictures I post on Facebook of my gardens, I have a very green thumb. So, when I wasn’t able to make an orchid bloom, I was disheartened.

Now, on the other hand, my indoor violets grow like weeds. They seem to bloom almost all year. I rarely fertilize them. I don’t water them very often. But still they remain hearty.

My question is, why do some things in life take extra care and others take little to no care at all?

I have this disorder called “Sensory Defensiveness.” Yes, it is a real classification! I didn’t know I had it for years. I simply knew that, if I came into contact with some strong perfume or a pervasive smell, I would get an immediate migraine. If I were in a large crowd for too long—I would suddenly get drained of energy without a second’s notice. If I walked around in a dusty place for too long—such as an antique mall—I experienced fatigue, then headache. If I strolled down the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery story—almost immediate, I would get a headache.

When I eat, if something doesn’t taste just right, I can’t eat it. If it looks or smells unusual, I’ll turn up my nose. Most of my friends had taken to eating out with other people, as opposed to me. It seemed like nothing could satisfy me when going out to dinner.

There were times of the day that I had amazing energy, then times I would feel as if the energy had drained out of my feet. I could barely keep my eyes open some afternoons. Touch often felt amazing, but I would be left feeling hurt after a massage—almost feeling bruised or wounded.

Bright lights can bother me. And a light shining indirectly at me, like a lamp, can make me crazy.

These are just a few of the ways Sensory Defensiveness can affect you. Some people get pain; others headaches or migraines; some get anxious; and others fatigued. But the likely result of being over stimulated is one of the above.

So, you may ask me, what did I do when I found out that I had this strange disorder? The first thing I did was read every thing I could about it on the Internet. Don’t ever take anyone’s word about any disease or medication. Do your own research and do it exhaustively.

I found one amazing book called: “Too Loud, too Bright, too Fast, too Tight—What to Do in an Over Stimulating World?” By Sharon Heller. This book will give you most of the recent information learned about Sensory Defensiveness.

She suggests wearing ankle weights, which slows down the neuro transmitters in the brain. You can also put weight on other parts of the body such as a weighted vest, sleep with a weighted pillow or blanket, or put a weighted pillow on your lap, while working.

Medications used for this disorder are, such as Lyrica—which is an anticonvulsant drug, but is also used to slow neurotransmitters for pain. Lyrica (Pregabalin) has many side effects. One terrible effect is spatial distortion. So, I have taken to using a mild anti-depressant to slow the neuro transmitters and use self-hypnosis and meditation for the rest of the symptoms. I also avoid places and smells that might trigger the problem.

I come back to my initial point, though—some of us are… let’s say extra special. We come with a great deal of energy and inspiration. But we, also, have a little bit more on our plate to deal with than others just to get along in the world. Perhaps, that’s why I like orchids so much. With the proper attention and love, these plants produce some of the most exotic and beautiful flowers. I have had to learn to take care of myself as one of these precious flowers with patience and compassionate self-care.

If you are an orchid in life, it’s okay to recognize it and embrace your issues. Self-care is a precursor for self-love. When we can learn to be compassionate to ourselves, only then can we give from our authentic heart, true love and compassion to those needing it in our lives.

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Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to QUIT SMOKING, Lose Weight, New Lap-Band Hypnosis for Weight Loss, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-400-2334 or www.bosebastian.com. FOR COMMENTS: Go to the Bo Sebastian link under the title and there is a place there to create a comment. Thanks.

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