Sensory Processing and Anxiety Can be Lonely

I have experienced sensory processing and anxiety my entire life but it was only when learning about my children’s autism diagnosis that I started to realise the behaviours that I previously considered ‘character flaws’ may in fact be sensory processing differences and anxiety.

The worst thing about not having my sensory differences recognised, was the frustrations I directed towards myself, for simply being me. I was fed up with the constant headaches and loss of control. I later realised that the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach…the gurgling, painful churn that I lived with most days…that was in fact anxiety!

I had no idea what that feeling was until my early 30’s, despite experiencing it nearly every day. Before recognising my sensory differences, life was a loosing battle…I would fight the inevitable meltdowns with willpower and I would loose every-single- time.

I bought countless self help books to try and stop this cycle from happening…I stood in front of the mirror to affirm self-love and confidence…I followed all the leading motivational speakers and I tried my hardest to make myself become a better person (whatever that may be), I studied Reiki, I studied psychology…I just wanted the frustrations to end. Yet despite my best efforts, I would always end up in meltdown…I felt useless and I hated myself for not being able to control my body or my reactions despite my continuous efforts.

I was fortunate that this cycle of self-hatred did eventually end for me. It stopped when I saw my little girl battling her own sensory needs and hating herself in the process. Through her shame and upset I realised that I had to show her how to be okay with the inevitable overwhelm. I had to learn how to better manage my own sensory processing differences, not only for me…but also for her. I learnt why my body responds to the world the way it does and the supports I could adopt to help me regulate within my sensory environment.

I reached out to the people through online community groups and I asked for their help….and they gave it!

I was at last understood by other people..people who celebrated my unique differences without judgement. These people assured me that my reactions to the world were ‘normal’ for us sensitive types and that despite the pain and drawbacks overwhelm causes me, it is also my sensory processing differences that shape the beauty I see in the world and make me the kind, sensitive and loving person, I am proud to be!

I write this article for anyone who is in the same position as I was. If you have recently recognised that you have sensory processing differences but you do not know what supports to implement, I want you to know that you are not alone.

Love to your sensory self,

Jess x x

Jessica Dark