Every website,every discussion,every interview about Sensory Processing Disorder is an opportunity to answer the question for someone,somewhere,who has been wondering all their life,“What’s wrong with me?”


Squeezed into Calm

I have heard multiple interviews with Temple Grandin,on NPR,over the years. When she talked about her cattle squeezing machine,I found it interesting on an intellectual plane. It never occurred to me that deep sustained pressure might help me. Mostly because I felt I had very little in common with Grandin;she has autism and I don’t. All I had at the time of listening to those interviews was a smattering of very weird personality quirks.

But when Sharon Heller suggested a weighted blanket in Too Loud,Too Bright,Too Fast,Too Tight,I immediately tried it. Why? Because on pages 74 and 75 of her book,Heller describes a character who is “mildly” sensory defensive. That passage described my symptoms to a tee. When I read the excerpt to my husband,he looked at me with astonishment. “That’s you!” he said.

I decided to test the weighted blanket theory the next time I felt overwhelmed.

Sure enough,like,an hour later,I figured out I was in bad shape. I knew this because my brain was running a continuous loop of some ancient argument with my brother that it had dredged out of the archives. This is usually a reliable sign that I need to retreat and regroup.

I lay on my bed and buried myself in a pile of my heaviest pillows. Within a few minutes the arguing in my head stopped. A profound sense of relaxation came over me. It felt like my whole body sighed.

I was convinced.

I set out immediately to acquire a weighted blanket.

They are expensive.

Not liking to part with my money is not,as far as anything I have read,related to sensory processing disorder. But it is a major motivating factor in my life. It stems from a particular vein of insanity that ran through my childhood. Who knows,I might write specifically about it in future posts.

I made a weighted blanket.

I used fifteen pounds of pinto beans and some remarkably soft,non-fiber-shedding material I choose from an overwhelming sensory array of cloth at my neighborhood fabric store.

My blanket had such a dramatic effect I was compelled to sew one for each of my sensational friends. No more pinto beans. I found a local manufacturer for (washable) plastic pellets. Each blanket has been an improvement on the last. I even made one for my niece and nephew for their birthdays. I believe anyone would want the relaxing pleasure of deep pressure that comes with a good hug or a little time spent nestled under a weighted blanket.

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