When sound sensitivity disturbs sleep

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It happened again. In the pitch blackness of my room I am now awake. Whereas a second ago I was immersed in a deep sleep, now I’m jolted awake.

My heart rate takes off, pounding against my chest. That panicked feeling of everyone has begun working on a project but you got caught in a daydream when you snap to attention and realize you’re behind and better start working right now. That kind of panic sets in.

So I’m awake. My heart’s beating super fast. And then I hear it. The thumping sound that somehow matches my heart beat. A sound that I can feel reverberating in my chest, right alongside my heart. But this sound isn’t in my bedroom. It’s coming from overhead. It’s the reason I’m now alert. My neighbor is awake.

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Learning through example of family life

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As junior year began, I no longer had 8 am classes yet I wanted to continue going to daily mass. There was some relief. The time was changed to 7, so I could sleep in some!

The later time brought in a new demographic of the parish. No longer solely retirees and individuals rushing off to work, now there were also mothers with children. The home schooling crowd.

There was a wide range in ages. I was impressed by their reverence, how serious they were about being there. The younger ones weren’t always cooperative; they are human of course. Generally speaking, though, they seemed to have a greater sense of awareness of what was going on than I did at that age.

Introductions were made. Though life was busy and chaotic for them, I was fortunate to meet women who had found a sense of calm within their routines so they could be open to welcoming a stranger.

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College poetry readings

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So the coffee shop location where the readings happened was small like this. Not as tight quarters with the tables crammed together, but there is a similar vibe.

My second semester writing course focused more on persuasive writing. There was a structured formula to follow that included making an assertion, backing it up with examples and research, providing a rebuttal, refuting that, and then offering conclusions.

The structured part was intimidating, but I remember that it helped me see how it was possible to write a 5-10 page paper on the same topic.

I liked my professor. Something about her made me trust her judgement, not just in class but in general. Perhaps she mentioned her personal writing, offering a sense of more happening besides teaching classes. I forget how it happened, but her opinion was one I trusted and I shared one of my poems with her. She referred me to a friend of hers who hosted monthly poetry open mic nights in nearby Charlotte and edited a literary magazine.

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Addressing sensory issues: Am I sharing a problem or demanding others to change?

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In the previous post I shared how the sensory modulation side of my experience with Sensory Processing Disorder is still a problem. I explained a little bit of how previous efforts to address these problems were met with unhelpful advice, especially since I didn’t have a means of explaining why things bothered me.

Now as an adult, I do have more awareness of why a seemingly random noise can have such a strong impact on me. So why isn’t it easy to tell people?

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The rowdy school bus

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Our bus never did any two-wheeled turns, but it was crowded.

Last year I read “Sensational Kids” where, among other things, it gives a day in the life of five students, one typical child and four who exhibit different characteristics of sensory processing disorder. The idea is to illustrate how each child encounters similar environments.

One girl had sensory modulation problems, like me, and she was hypersensitive to sounds and light, touch etc.

She was overwhelmed on the bus because of all the loud noise from the other children talking, she didn’t like being crowded on there with extra touching. Basically riding the bus further stressed her out before school even began.

It’s an interesting comparison.
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My sensory problems: The Big List

I’m going to lay out a whole bunch of characteristics and symptoms. And I know it will be overwhelming; there was a lot happening. This is a general look at areas that gave me trouble. By no means is this meant to indicate that ALL of these things were a factor all at once, all day long. Some situations were more problematic than others. But for me, the truth is, it wasn’t a solitary problem; I had multiple sensitivities and wide-ranging trouble with motor planning and motor skills. There were a lot of things that affected me.

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