"Will you just come sit with me?" I asked Liz, my roommate at L'Abri.
She graciously followed me back to our bedroom where I curled up on the bed.
"I thought I'd worked through all this, I thought this was over," I said.
"L'Abri tends to bring out the things we thought we were over with," was her sympathetic reply.
You know how a couple of weeks ago I did a write-up on how I wasn't really being bothered by my Sensory Processing Disorder any more. I think that's what I wrote. I wrote that, while it was still present in my life, it wasn't on my mind or affecting my life much.
Well, it's certainly present in my life now. That prickly feeling in the front of my brain that I thought was, for the most part, done prickling has been prickling a few times a week. It's at the beginning of what can become a sensory meltdown, a miserable experience that almost anyone with SPD can attest to. That's what turns SPD, I think, into an actual disorder - at some point, everything becomes too much and we stop being able to function how we want to.
It's what pushes me to where I am now, hiding in my bedroom afraid to go out even to use the restroom. I'm really blessed at L'Abri to be in a setting where the "folks in charge" are really understanding and supportive. When I mentioned to Julia that my "brain was buzzing," instead of just offering a sympathetic word or brushing it off, she made sure I knew that I could go straight to my room to decompress as soon the meal was ready (I was in the final stages of putting lunch out for the community - I just had to serve up my own food), not even waiting to give instructions to the students on how silent lunch works (we have silent lunches every Monday as opposed to our 1.5 hour long discussions).
The first week, I was going at full speed. I was hyper and impulsive and not too cautious of my energy levels. At the middle of the second week, I realized what was happening and knew I needed to start changing things up.
This might not seem like a lot, but it's something that, for me, can only best be done when I'm hyper-focused. Hyperfocusing is the blessing and curse of many folks with ADHD. We might have a hard time concentrating but, when we do, we're totally in the zone.
For me, breaking out of the zone takes emotional and psychological effort and energy. Going back and forth and back and forth sends me into a loop. Going back and forth between conquering my to-do list and engaging with others is possible, but not without cost.
Before I wrote further, just in case any of the folks I'm living with are reading this, I am not at all frustrated at the folks asking me questions, as I'm about to describe. Nor do I think that they shouldn't ask me. I am a very logical person to ask questions to and in this circumstance, I was stationed in a central location. They are supposed to ask me and, generally, I have an answer to give them. I know this house pretty well and know where things go and how the gist of things flows (for the most part).
I think I was doing fine, I hope I was, but by the end, it was bottling up. Luckily I got help in the very final stretch. Sofia was helping dry dishes and Emily dumped the contents of the cutting-board into the compost. At the height of my frustration, Sofia was super sweet and calm and gentle. I really appreciated that.
I'm grateful that I can be at a place like L'Abri. I'm grateful that the folks in charge didn't write me off for my "disorder" (they knew what they were getting when I arrived and were aware that I experience this) and instead, are encouraging and give me the space I need.
I'm realizing that I do need make a point of making more space for myself - even more than as a student. When you're a student, in addition to the two days we all get off, you get three hours a day to yourself to go off and study by yourself. I also think it would be to the benefit of my relationship of those in the community, and my well being, to try and let folks know where I'm at and try and give them an idea of what I'm experiencing.