I have been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Which basically means that my brain has a hard time filtering out stimuli and those stimuli can cause a pain reaction. My nervous system gets overloaded by certain sights (bright lights, flashing lights, shiny things, etc), sounds (loud, more than one at the same time, abrasive, etc.), movements, touch & textures, a bunch of different stuff. It’s a trial and error process to find what works for me and what doesn’t in order to cope with this. I also notice more and more things that I do, to compensate for the overload as well. Right now I wear a hat most of the time, I have multiple tinted prescription glasses, earplugs, weighted blankets, and my good friend Mr. Valium.
Some dr’s believe that SPD is on the Autism Spectrum. It is likely I have Aspergers and only talked to my psychologist about it. She said it is definitely possible but would be hard to diagnose because I also have PTSD, depression and severe general and social anxiety. On the other hand, Aspergers can make a person more susceptible to PTSD if they have experienced a trauma, and are more prone to depression and social/general anxiety issues, and SPD is HIGHLY common in people with Aspergers/Autistic Spectrum Disorder. So, it’s like the “which came first? The chicken or the egg?” question.
For me, I relate to Aspergers. I’ve taken the Autism Quotient (I know it’s not diagnostic, but pretty damn accurate) and scored a 44/50 (the higher the more likely), and on the notorious “Aspie-Quiz” I scored a 163/200 which is the same as the AQ in scoring. From people I have talked to with Aspergers I’ve scored higher than they did. So that says something. My psych isn’t ruling it out, and we talked about whether it would be worth it to pursue a diagnosis and came to the conclusion that if I did get diagnosed I would most likely be sent to a social skills class (I spent 2 weeks in a day program working on social skills) and I already have more than enough reason for SSDI benefits with my physical illnesses so I don’t need an official diagnosis for that. I work on issues in therapy and find ways of coping with social issues and sensory issues.
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not Aspergers is a Disability. I believe it can be, I also believe that people with it may not see it as a disability. For me social situations can be disabling–with all the conversations going on, it’s hard to keep track of everything, should I join in or should I not? Most of the time I just sit back and watch people. With multiple conversations going, the drunks at the bar, and other people in the place, the noise becomes unbearable and my head feels like its going to explode. Other than that and a few other things, I look at it in some ways that my brain works differently. I view things differently than the general public. My interests make me happy. I’ve made it work for 26.5 years, I have friends who find my “quirks” endearing and know how to deal with it. I don’t always understand what they mean, and I am almost ALWAYS last to get a joke, but they are good friends that love me!