In January, my nonna (grandmother) passed away. She was 90 years old, and though they didn’t speak the same language, Angel really thought her bis-nonna (great grandmother in my family’s dialect) was pretty neat. After all, not everyone has a walker and a cane and other cool things to get around. And bis-nonna loved to watch her great-grandkids play and really loved it when they’d come and give her kisses.
Bis-nonna had a couple of rough years, and we knew that the end wasn’t far off. When she was hospitalized in January, it soon became apparent that it was time. It’s the first time that Angel has experienced death so close at home (other than her pet fish dying a couple years ago). With her sensory issues and anxiety, we had to do some advance planning. Here is what worked for us: …continue reading
When I was a child, before anyone knew anything about sensory processing, I was simply a miracle. A premature baby that managed to make it against all odds. And when I started demonstrating odd quirks, everyone chalked it up to side effects of only being half baked. But I remember vividly the looks of disdain that I would receive, coupled with comments about how ludicrous it was that I was so out of touch with things as basic as day to day bodily functions. Was my stomach ache because I was hungry or constipated? How could I not know if I needed to use the bathroom? Why did I insist on walking on my toes when the surgery lengthened the muscles adequately? Why wouldn’t I participate in group activities? Why did everything scare me? Why was I so stubborn about washing my hands? Why did I always wake up bleeding, having clawed myself in my sleep? (I would never admit that I wasn’t asleep…) Why did I always retreat into hiding, managing to fall asleep in the most unusual locations? I spent twenty five years feeling like a failure, an oddity, a freak. I couldn’t answer the questions, and it only terrified me more when I began to realize that other people slept through the night without problems. Other people could effortlessly prepare dinner, handling and cutting the ickiest, smelliest foods without a second thought. I could barely function in the world as an adult, and I felt like I was going crazy. I became deeply depressed, and my physician kept medicating and medicating me to no avail. I wasn’t suicidal anymore, but I certainly wasn’t happy.
I went through the motions, pretending to be normal. Pretending to be happy. I got married. Had kids. But I was losing it. I finally got connected with a therapist who talked with me instead of just medicating me. And she uncovered thick roots of anxiety, deep seated fear that I hadn’t even realized was there. I wasn’t facing simple depression. I was sad because I had given up trying to conquer my fear. And yet the SOURCE of the fear remained obscure. Proper medication and talk therapy helped to some extent, but true healing didn’t begin until my second child received an unexpected diagnosis around 4 years of age. I had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. But as I read about it, and learned how to help my son, and escorted him through therapy, a light dawned. THIS was me. …continue reading