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The Small Things I Do to Be Brave With Sensory Processing Disorder

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I went to the university accessibility center recently. After some nudging from a friend, I went and made an appointment and the day came. There are small things I do every day that mean I am brave. This was my thing.

I sat across from Clay and tried to relax enough to piece together an adequate picture, so he could help me understand whether or not I deserved assistance. We spoke for quite a while and much of what I’ve been feeling lately came out. He was responsive and attentive and helpful. We neared the end of the session, and I was feeling edified when he smiled at me and said, “I want to tell you how truly lovely it has been to talk to you today.”

I kind of half laughed, knowing he couldn’t have really meant that me crying and trying to explain what it means to have sensory processing disorder. So he got serious. And then nearly the exact same thing my counselor has said to me time and time again came out of his mouth: “You are lovely and mature and conduct yourself with poise and grace.” He said he never would have guessed when I walked in what was happening inside my head, and what horrendous things my brain is telling me. He told me how impressed he was that I had everything thought out and mapped in my head, analyzed and processed. Then he told me I was eloquent. So I just stared at him and felt the tears well in my eyes.

Because somehow I am all those things and there are still days I cannot bring myself to put my shoes on.

I can’t say I know how it works. The fact that he repeated this like my counselor had scripted it startled me. As I left, I began to process what he had said about how I felt. Sometimes it really is helpful to have someone express your ideas back to you. Sometimes it is enough to have someone look at you and say, “It’s OK if you need help. You deserve some help. And I can offer it.” I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience I had today.

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Thinkstock image by Panic Attack.

Originally published: July 25, 2017
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