Sensory Struggles and Spring Cleaning

sensory struggle misophonia

This week I’ve gone through an emotionally, physically, and sensory draining process. I made the decision to completely organize and clean my apartment. Sure, it’s not a large space, but sometimes dirt and grime accumulate and strange items get lodged under the stove. My cats like to hide their toys there — I guess they like the flavour of 4 month old grease? Anyways…

I wasn’t always a neat person. I struggle to make my bed and fold my clothes. If you want to find a sheet that’s perfectly creased you should take a left turn right out of my abode and make your way to your nearest Bed Bath and Beyond. That’s not going to happen here. Not even now in my newly (almost) organized paraíso.

I had a few reasons for undertaking this project. Dust mites make me really sick. According to my allergy doctor the little buggers are out to get me. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night choking. Eek. So, with that in mind I have to keep dust at at a minimum… but wait, due to sensory over-stimulation I can’t handle a lot of bleach, not often. Needless to say I’ve been gambling a little too long and put it off.

Another sensory reason comes up next. I feel disoriented. I can’t work when I can’t find a pen or when I’m tripping over stacks of shoes. This isn’t an excuse to blow off obligations. My brain becomes so overwhelmed, so unable to function, that the mere presence of this clutter causes a near shut-down. I used to be really messy. Not my now version of it — we’re talking stuff piled everywhere. I’ve given that up but I’ve still felt crumbled by the mess. I decided to go through each and every room and toss what I hadn’t gotten around to yet. I’m a serial purger. I love throwing things away.

Unfortunately I took on too much to fast and ended up “Sensory sick”. Nauseated, dizzy, and sore all over. I’d done too much too soon. Great. So, I’m sitting here ready to continue but not sure if my body will let me do more yet. I’m tired and groggy but I know that the benefit of being done is going to far outweigh any negatives. Just like our homes the brain can become cluttered. We can become bogged down by “stuff” and “things”. Sometimes the right thing to do is simplify for your own peace of mind.

Shaylynn H.
Shaylynn Hayes is a 23 year old writer, graphic/webdesigner, and
student in Political Science. Alongside Dr. Jennifer Brout, Shaylynn runs the News site Misophonia International. The site focuses on Research, Coping, and Awareness for the disorder. Shaylynn has also been actively involved in the web management and development of Dr. Brout’s research page, What used to be a life-ruining disorder has become an interesting and defining adventure that has proven that the things that are “ruining our life” may very well be creating a new, interesting life in the place of the old. Shaylynn is the Editor-In-Chief of Misophonia International, and also writes for HuffPost, The Mighty, and Thought Catalog.