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When You're More Comfortable Around Animals Because They Don't Judge You

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I do love animals. They don’t judge you. For example, my dog doesn’t judge me when I’m in a hyper mood and bouncing around or I’m talking to myself. He doesn’t tell me to shut up when I’m crying (although he does look at me oddly sometimes). He knows when I’m not myself and will come and sit next to me (mainly for pats). I can approach my dog whenever, whatever and give him a quick hug and pat.

Now people… they are a different story altogether.

They judge and look at me instantly if I’m in a weird mood, if I cry and can’t help it, if I’m not myself and can’t function properly. I find people so hard to judge, and I am so self-conscious in front of anyone I don’t know that I go into panic mode. Also I have to constantly explain myself and my problems to every new person I meet when I can’t cope and they look at me oddly. It’s a nightmare even telling the doctors I see about sensory processing disorder (SPD) because nobody has ever heard of it. But animals don’t require an explanation from me. They are always there and loving, and they are way more approachable and have such a carefree and easy going attitudes.

I’m in my third and final year at university, and the work load is just kicking in. I’m finding it a nightmare to concentrate in class at the moment as all 20 of us work in one studio and there are loads of conversations and clashing music going on 24/7. I wish I could wear my ear defenders in class like I do at home when I do my uni work. I’m not sure I could deal with the stares and questions, though.

I wish other people understood that SPD, although it is totally invisible and I can cover it up, still impacts and affects my everyday life. It affects all of my senses each day, and most days the world is an overwhelming place to live in for me. But the funny thing is, I wouldn’t want to be any different. It makes me who I am — just that little bit different.

If you feel similar to how I feel or have SPD or sensory problems yourself, just remember you are not alone. There are SPD Facebook discussion groups where you can meet other people with SPD and parents/carers and blogs like mine encouraging discussion around SPD to create more awareness.

When researching on the Internet, I know that most SPD research and information is based around children. Worldwide there are not only toddlers and children dealing with SPD but teenagers and adults out there dealing with it, too. I wish more people understood that not everyone grows out of SPD or sensory problems.

Follow this journey on 21andsensory.

Editor’s note: This story originally included a comic by artist Gemma Correll that was miscredited. We apologize for the error. Please check out Gemma’s work at

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 22, 2016
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