Being a sensory sensitive parent

I'm telling my story because I know it will help someone. Even if it's just to say "oh my God. This is me, too."

I am an adult with sensory sensitivity.
I am an autistic adult.

All of my life, the world has been too loud. The buzzing of lights, electricity, the scratching of pencil on paper. The white noise of a fan. My own foot steps.

Some days are more intense than others, some days I use all my tools in my toolbox to exist. Others are easier.

But occasionally, there will be a noise, especially with raising kids, that I cannot get away from, that I cannot anticipate, that I cannot handle.

And it hurts so much, from my head to below my toes, below the earth and back again. It rips through everything and I cry and I shake and those moments, I cannot even handle the sound of my own brain thinking.

So let's talk about being a sensory sensitive parent. When your kids are being kids and that's a lot.

Today, Escher got really excited about the new Sonic trailer (apparently, he's the only one in the entire world that is, haha) and yelled right in my ear, with glee and joy when I said we could see it in theaters when it comes out.

And instantly, all I see is white. Like lightning. The ringing, the ache.

I say with the only ounce of strength I have "I need you guys to get away from my body right now."

To also save them from seeing the melt down I cannot control.

Now, being a sensory sensitive person, makes me a better, more empathetic parent, I know that with everything in me.

It also creates moments like this, not often, but they happen.

So before I know if they are out of the room, I'm sweating, I'm hyperventilating, Greg is bringing me my earphones, steadying my heartbeat with his, existing, not asking questions (I am so grateful for the powerful way he exists and does not ask a thing) I steady my breathing, it has taken a long time to learn not to spiral further from here, hot tears streaming down my face, I whisper "I'll be okay in a minute"

There have been times where I have denied myself these meltdowns, continued on as normal, I thought they were silly, I thought it was stupid that my body reacted this way to sound, I thought I needed to hold it together. But I realize, the quicker I process this moment, the less is stays in my body. The less other issues come up (rashes, sickness, bone aches, etc) so I allow. Because it's not stupid. It is me. It is how I exist in a world that's too loud for me.

And the dialog around this, for my kids, is not fearful, it's not

"what is wrong with mom?"

It's not

"this is my fault"

it's how I exist. And it's okay to have a meltdown when things are too much, just as I have always known to deeply respect and hold space for my children's needs and meltdowns. They see me, because I have always seen them. And it's not scary or weird, it's just me.

Tomorrow I'll be whispering, tomorrow I'll be recovering, and that's okay. We will still play, we will still laugh (softly) and we will still be a family set up for success no matter what, because we love, respect, connect, and honor how each one of us exist.