Trying to explain sensory processing issues is hard. I was trying to explain to my hubby last night how I feel when it really gets bad. I talk about it a lot to you lovelies so here's my best shot.
I want to start by saying that I describe this not for sympathy or anything like that, but to help you understand what I'm talking about and to maybe help others identify what could be happening to them.
First off, for those who've never had tinnitus, go onto you tube and look up a video that shows a game like Call of Duty and uses a flashbang grenade. That high pitched sound that plays after it goes off? I hear that every second of every day. I've never known what true silence is.
If there's any kind of background noise, I start having issues comprehending speech. Put on headphones, turn the volume up on some heavy metal to a level that's just where you can barely hear if someone talks to you and then try to have a conversation. Oh and do it without facing the person directly, since many times people forget I need them to look at me.
Certain sounds that don't bug others are unbearable to me. I get supremely anxious if someone taps, smacks their lips, chews too loud, or slurps. I'm not talking the usual annoyance many feel. I literally will be on the verge of a panic attack within about 2 minutes if I can't leave the room. Not even having other sounds can distract me from it either. i can be watching TV and my hubby be across the room and if he slurps, I hear it over a blasting tv and start to freak. I can't go into the whole list of sounds that affect me like that but there are many more.
Crowds are horrible for me. i can handle restaurants for a short period then it'll start to feel like the walls are closing jn on me. except instead of physical walls, I'm being crushed by sound. I'm social but I never could handle bars or clubs or things like that. Malls and stores are hard, especially if there's music playing. I usually am crawling out of my skin to leave by the time i am finished with dinner out.
I have major difficulty watching TV in a totally dark room. It's like having someone shine a flashlight directly in my eyes and can trigger migraines. I don't have as much trouble with visual stuff as other things though.
When it comes to tactile issues, one of the most excruciating experiences happens when I get a mild fever or random times. My skin literally hurts EVERYWHERE. I'm talking take a pumice stone and rub it vigorously on your arm the rub cloth over it. Having any kind of clothing touching me is so painful I want to cry. Other times, certain fabrics just feel wrong to me, I can't stand tags on my clothes, and I loathe wearing any kind of pants except for pajama pants. I now no longer wear anything but skirts and leggings. Leggings I can handle because they're super soft, but jeans? So uncomfortable.
Certain other textures make me crazy. I'm addicted to lotion because if my hands get too dry I literally freak out. I mean must find lotion or I'll go into a panic attack. Cotton balls are torture devices for me, weird I know but they kind of crunch and they're horrific things.
Finally, human contact. This one hurts for a different reason. I can't explain why but there are many times i don't like to be touched, whether its a hug or a casual caress on my arm. If someone rubs my arm with a light touch, I've got maybe 30 seconds before it starts to feel like sand paper. There are only 2 people I've ever been able to stand to have cuddle with me for prolonged periods of time: my daddy and my husband. The feeling of isolation sucks. You want affection but at the same time you don't.
This ended up longer than j thought it would but I've done my best to describe how I feel. As you can see, most of my issues center around auditory things but tactile can alsp be a significant problem for me. Now imagine living with this your entire life and never knowing it wasn't normal. going through school unable to follow a lot of lectures, unable to follow meetings at work, unable to enjoy sinple human contact like everyone else.
Then imagine discovering the wonders of a simple combination of pellets and fabric that can help relieve a fraction of the anxiety caused by my sensory overload.
This is why I say that my weighted blanket changed my life.