I’m turning 34 this October. I remember my first triggers, some of the most common ones, around the age or 13 or 14. So I start off by stating that I have lived through two decades of SPD. I spent 14 years of those years without knowing what it is. This first part will be about the early years and the confusion. For the record, I do not recall what life without SPD is like.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it started, but I know for a fact I was getting triggered in the 8th grade. I hadn’t been doing amazing in school, but this was the first time I was getting notices that I was going to be held back. I had somehow pushed through it and made it.
I didn’t understand what was going on. I would be in class, and suddenly feel extremely anxious. I was 13 or 14, so I didn’t know what was going on. All I knew is that something bad was happening, and I couldn’t get away from it. This later turned out to be people breathing loudly through their noses or chewing gum.
I received the same issues at home, as my father was a nose breather and a very loud chewer. For a few years, I was too afraid to say anything. “I’m weird, I’m broken, there’s something very very wrong with me.” These were the thoughts I had daily, all because I was seemingly getting pissed off over mundane noises.
Finally, in high school, I talked to my parents about it. They didn’t understand it at all. It didn’t stop my mother from popping a candy in her mouth and making noises on drives. It wasn’t until I got my first job that I was able to arm myself with a CD player and big headphone, which I became well known for in high school for always having on me.
I wasn’t anti-social in high school or anything. In fact, I was probably one of the few kids who got along with every “clique” in my school of 2,000 people. I just used them to drown out the noises around me. I would wear them between classes, during quiet work time in class, and whenever it was so quiet people were triggering me.
It wasn’t until I was 18 that I approached my doctor. He seemed baffled. He just threw me on the first antidepressant he could and said roll with it. It was Paxil CR. After I got through the zombie stage, I felt like a completely different person. It didn’t even get rid of the anxiety completely. I still felt strange when triggered, just in a different way. That lasted all of 30 days.
So, this concludes part one of my journey of SPD. The next part will focus more on my college years and the struggle to find out what was wrong with me. Stay tuned.