Sensory integration and honoring my sensitivity

Sensory integration and sensory processing issues are at the top of my mind right now.  While I recognize that I don’t have one specific focus for my blog, I know that I will be sharing more about my experiences on this topic more often. 

A few years ago, my dad asked me if I would be interested in working on sensory integration issues.

I don’t fully remember this.  When he mentioned it yesterday, I could get an impression of my reaction:  his gentle suggestion was not welcome at the time.  He says that I told him that I was working on accepting my sensitivity as a gift, and not as a problem.

I know where I was coming from:  I wanted to recognize my sensitivity as part of me, not something to be treated, suppressed, or dismissed.  I was strengthening my abilities to sense into the energy around me and discovering how powerful that could be.

I realize that I can still honor that perspective, even if my outlook on sensory integration has changed.  Now, for me, doing sensory integration work is not about trying to fix my sensitivity or come into some range of “normal.”  I believe that I will always be sensitive, feeling intensely and sensing deeply.  In some ways my strong sensory awareness helps me experience life more deeply; for example, when touch feels appropriate and safe (like with my partner), I savor and bask in it.  Ideally, I’d like to hold onto that.

However, I would be grateful if I could soften the intensity of some of my reactions.  I would like to spend more than 15-20 minutes in Michael’s (the arts and crafts store) without feeling rushed, because it often feels like the lights are too bright and bearing down one me.  I would like not to jump or yelp as often when someone startles me.  I am hoping for small changes, things that make life a little easier.

I am still searching for what works for me.  I want to be done with using so much effort and energy to make it look like I’m functioning “normally.”  I want to find a way to support myself financially that makes sense and suits me.  I’ve tried to the whole “fake it ’til you make it” approach, and that isn’t effective for me in the long run.  Short term success does not justify longer-term burnout, exhaustion, and depression.  I am tired of pretending I am not stressed out or overwhelmed when I am.  I am a decent actress, but I am tired of pretending in my real life.

In the end, I want to honor my sensitivity and the way I process stimuli.  I believe that the sensory exercises are slowly bringing me to be more present and less on guard.  I am not seeking to fix a problem.  I am searching for more ways to thrive.

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