I saw my psychiatrist last Friday--she's amazing--and as I was talking to her about my constant body-scanning (I obsessively scan my body throughout the day thinking about each and every sensation--it's exhausting), she asked me: "When you were a kid, did you have sensory integration?" I didn't know what it meant, but it sounded dead-on. 

Sensory Integration refers to: 

how people use the information provided by all the sensations coming from within the body and from the external environment. We usually think of the senses as separate channels of information, but they actually work together to give us a reliable picture of the world and our place in it. Your senses integrate to form a complete understanding of who you are, where you are, and what is happening around you. Because your brain uses information about sights, sounds, textures, smells, tastes, and movement in an organized way, you assign meaning to your sensory experiences, and you know how to respond and behave accordingly.

Initially, Sensory Integration was thought to only be related to those on the Autism-spectrum. In the past few years though, it has been broadened to include people who may not have any other criteria for Autism. 

So, back up--as a child, my parents used to liken me to The Princess and The Pea, because I could feel everything. I also had a very hard time wearing socks. I would not wear them. I felt like my feet were constricted in them. I didn't like how they felt. 

Ever since I can remember, I have been preoccupied with sensations. I remember being four-years-old, writhing, and screaming on the cold, kitchen floor because I was worried about getting yet another UTI (I had them a lot as a kid). 

For those of us who deal with Sensory Integration, it happens "inefficiently":

People with SI dysfunction have great difficulty figuring out what is going on inside and outside of their bodies, and there's no guarantee that the sensory information they're working with is accurate.

My body has always felt like a place of fear. Even today, as I write this, I'm thinking about how I feel. I'm thinking about that sensation I'm feeling in my right big toe, and wondering if it's "normal." You pair this (Sensory Integration) with an anxiety disorder, and WHOA, shit is intense. 

It's all I know, though. I have lived like this since I was four. 

So when my psychiatrist asked me if I had Sensory Integration as a child--something nobody has ever asked me--I knew it was right. I knew it was part of my identity. And I feel better knowing I have it. 

It's still difficult, but I feel like I understand myself so much better now. I only hope I can continue to learn how to live--happily and at ease-in my unique molecular landscape. And to not fear my body--my shelter--my home.

My body has always felt like a place of fear. Even today, as I write this, I'm thinking about how I feel. I'm thinking about that sensation I'm feeling in my right big toe, and wondering if it's "normal." You pair this (Sensory Integration) with an anxiety disorder, and WHOA, shit is intense. 

It's all I know, though. I have lived like this since I was four. 

So when my psychiatrist asked me if I had Sensory Integration as a child--something nobody has ever asked me--I knew it was right. I knew it was part of my identity. And I feel better knowing I have it. 

It's still difficult, but I feel like I understand myself so much better now. I only hope I can continue to learn how to live--happily and at ease-in my unique molecular landscape. And to not fear my body--my shelter--my home.

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