- Tight jumpers (I remember having a meltdown as a child because my mum made me wear a blouse with puffy sleeves, then put a tight cardigan on over the top. Got the panicky sweats just thinking about it now).
- Woolly hats.
- Woolly scarves.
- Woolly gloves.
- Wool on my bare skin (shudder).
- Felt. UGH FELT.
- Anything that feels tight under my arms.
- Having my hair washed while I'm clothed (I'm always the tensest person in the hairdressing salon).
- Water running into my sleeves or collar.
- Wet sleeves.
- Oil. Oil on my skin, on surfaces, on clothes. Oil. Ugh. Love the idea of a massage, but cannot stand the thought of massage oils.
- Cutlery clanging in the sink.
- Unexpected loud noises give the rage.
- Being too hot. Especially with unsuitable clothes on. Especially in shops in winter.
- Big tight hugs on someone else's timetable.
These are things I can't stand. And when I say "can't stand", I mean it literally.
They make me feel sick, or pain, or panicky.
And here's another thing: I often feel like my skin is constantly crawling. I get unbearably itchy. (And no I don't have fleas, thankyouverymuch.)
(As an interesting aside: there's a made-up disease called Morgellons Disease in which people believe there are spooky fibres growing under their skin. It's not real. But I 100% understand why people begin to believe in it because surely there must be SOME reason for the sensations they're feeling? I think there is. I think it's a nerve disorder of some kind.)
I knock things over a lot and bump into stuff.
And until relatively recently I had no idea everyone didn't feel this way.
I was confused: why do I hate loud noises? Why am I so damn clumsy? Both these things would give me the rage at myself. And then I'd be angry about being angry.
Then I had a chat with my hairdresser, whose son is autistic. She's training to be a counsellor for children with neurodiversity, so she knows things - and told me to do some reading about sensory processing disorder.
Which I did, and it's fascinating. There's not much out there about adults because most of the focus is on helping kids (fair enough, I suppose).
Which is when I realised that not everyone experiences the world the way I do.
Of course, I already knew that; but I didn't KNOW that, you know?
I have no idea if I have SPD or not, and it doesn't really matter; it just helps to know that I'm not a total freak and also that there is a reason for my reactions to certain situations.
Which is why it's soooooooooo crucial for us to write about our experiences and tell our stories.
I had to search and search for real adults' stories of weird sensory experiences. There aren't many out there. Probably for a couple of reasons:
We don't realise that other people don't experience this stuff.
We don't want people to think we're freaks if we do realise we're a little different, so we don't talk about it.
We have to talk about our experiences.
It's how we learn about ourselves and others, and it's how we realise we're not alone.
So tell your story. Write your book.
Start Writing Your Book Today
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.