SPD is defined as "a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in abnormal responses. A more formal definition is: SPD is a neurophysiologic condition in which sensory input either from the environment or from one’s body is poorly detected, modulated, or interpreted and/or to which atypical responses are observed" [SPD STAR]
How does SPD affect me?
SPD has affected me my whole life and I've only just been able to put my finger on the ACTUAL official disorder. It affects my balance, my depth perception, motor skills, hearing, sight. I have a lot of trouble with any kind of touch and I have an under sensitive and oversensitive sense of smell to various different smells (confusing!).
However my main sensory difficulty is around my vision, and hopefully I can explain myself today.
What does it feel like?
Overwhelming and exhausting is the short answer. My brain is very adept at noticing the details in my surroundings, but as a coping mechanism for seeing the whole picture at once I slip into a mild disassociation most of the time. This can make me look spaced out and can hinder social interactions. It often feels like sitting two close to the screen at a movie theatre, or your eyes being too slow. If I'm particularly sensitive that day than things can seem like a freakish kaleidoscopic circus and my head feels disconnected to my body or I start to panic.
Motion such as traffic can be quite scary as it tends to slice through the protective layer of spaciness I've created. Lighting is one of my biggest enemies. Weather that is bright and grey is painful for me, post rain light means everything is being reflected off of surfaces. Sunsets can actually physically disorientate me, and I've got lost heading back to my own flat from a short distance. Sounds like cutlery are unbearable and if too many people are talking at once I won't be able to understand one of you.
Textures that affect me are towels and sometimes human touch. Can it get worse???? Yes. I've moved to London. College is very unfriendly for people on the spectrum, it's loud, busy, bright, sounds of cutlery and other conversations. The city is full of sounds, sights and smells that are difficult for anyone to deal with let alone on the spectrum. As a result I've realised that my stimming behaviour has increased. Sirens can feel like a stab in the chest, people talking on a bus can make my head hurt. I'm going to try and find a spectrum-friendly study space in the library because at the moment it's pretty inaccessible for me.