Lifelong Search for Self

person sitting on cliff raising up both hands

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on

That really does sum up my life, because I have been on a lifelong search to understand myself. And that’s not in any narcissistic self-centered type of way. I was born with a raw sensory system and differing forms of sensory sensitivity. Some of those forms are known as sensory processing disorder or sensory integration disorder.

The brain pathways are not connected correctly and sensory information gets muddled. Just think of all the learning we do with our senses. Remember the story of Helen Keller who had blindness and deafness and how that impacted her learning, social relationships, and behavioral outbursts. Her disability was obvious but what about someone who has vision but certain colors and intensities of light actually hurt? Or someone who can hear but certain normal sounds are as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard or sitting in front of a speaker at a rock concert. It’s hidden, except to the person experiencing the pain.

That’s how I grew up … knowing I was different and experiencing differing levels of stress and pain from very normal sensory experiences. And now I’m writing a book about what it was like to grow up with a hidden disability, with sensory sensitivity. And here’s a few excerpts:

  • The sensory system provides the earliest clues to you and the world, where you start and end and where the world around you starts and ends, how to move within that sphere of space surrounding you, how you manage your time, and how to interpret the material world. Our very being in space, time, and matter become skewed if your brain is not interpreting the sensory signals around you accurately. 
  • If you have issues with sensory integration, the sensory information coming in is distorted and activates a stress response in the limbic system and instead of creating an adaptive automatic feedback loop, it creates an emotionally laden stress memory.
  • Just think of how many pleasures in this world are related to sensory experiences with touch, taste, movement, aroma, sound, sight. But what if sounds are irritating and you can’t enjoy the same music as your peers, let alone dance to it because it’s like you were born with two left feet. How would you fit in with others your age and how would this affect your social life as a teen? And what if you find hugs irritable and when you’re a child you automatically pull away from your parents who want to show their love? If you act that way towards the people who are suppose to care for you, how would that impact your relationship in the long run with them?

These are just some random sections of the information I’ve been starting to journal about. And is it any wonder I’ve been on a lifelong search to find out more about me? All the pieces are coming together … the reason why I became an occupational therapist, the reason why I’ve studied pain and stress relief, the reason why I’m drawn to horse therapy, the reason why I became certified in aromatherapy, the reason why I’ve found energy medicine to be so helpful … they all fit together as part of my healing journey.

I’m not here to live a ‘poor-me’ broken life … I’m here to live life to its fullest! And I’m here to help others do the same. I’ve kept the sensory part of my story held tight, a secret, but now it’s time to release it and share it with others. Because who knows, you may be on your own hero’s journey, having your own lifelong search for self, dealing with your own hidden (or not so hidden) disability and my story might be the source of information that provides the inspiration you need to climb your mountain and make it to the top!

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