comic

The Attic

Some people have stairs leading to their attic. Some people don’t even have an attic. Then there are some people, like my parents, who had a ladder leading up to the attic.

The attic; a strange, foreign land of trinkets from years past, balls of tangled Christmas lights, and deadly creatures. My childhood fascination with such a space overwhelmed me. In the rare moments when the attic door was opened and the ladder would reveal itself, my insides tingled anxiously. It was as if I was staring into the vast reaches of outer space; the universe in all its complexity and mystery lay just beyond the top of the ladder. Green slime oozed from the edges of the attic, surely an indication of some other-worldly experience.

attic 1

I was enamored with the attic. It was terrifying and amazing; it was terrifazing. Amazifying? Whatever. My youthful spirit longed to know of its secrets.

attic 2

Soon enough, that fated day arrived when I would experience the attic. Dad needed to retrieve something in a box up there, and I saw my golden opportunity. This is it, I thought to myself, this is your moment.

With my emotional security blanket (which I named Star) tied firmly around my neck like a cape, I began to ascend the ladder.

How I thought it was:

attic 3

How it really was:

attic 4

As the wind began to pick up, I tightened Star around me and secured my grip on the ladder. Nearly at the top, there was no telling what awaited me. The anticipation was overwhelming.

attic 5

attic 6

Alas! I had reached the surface to discover a world of boxes filled with junk I didn’t really care about, yet I was overjoyed to explore this new, vast wilderness.

attic 7

After what seemed like only a few minutes (probably because it only was a few minutes), I heard the call of my parents from the world below. It was time to descend the ladder and bid farewell to the new world.  As I crept near the opening from which I came, it occurred to me exactly how high up I was. The task ahead required me to turn and go down the ladder. Thanks to my sensory problem, this seemingly simple action became my equivalent of bungy jumping off the empire state building into a pit of blood-thirsty wolves.

attic 9

 

attic 10

With this revelation began a true anxiety meltdown in the four foot high space on the attic. No amount of coaxing or words of reassurance from my family below were alleviating my overwhelming panic. The prospect of having to go backwards down the ladder was truly disturbing and frightening to me. As an adult looking back on the situation, I agree with my childhood self for getting upset. This was a totally rational situation to meltdown over.

It was during mid-crisis in the attic when I realized that the attic was a slightly creepy place to be. Looking around, it became clear to me that there was plenty of potential for evil creatures to jump out of the darkness and swallow me whole. Above me, giant nails protruded through the ceiling, as if a monster was clawing at the house trying to get me. (I later realized these were nails which held the shingles in place.) But things got worse. The beams supporting the roof were covered in some sort of gross, sticky brown substance. A Christmas tree loomed in the corner, ready to attack me with holiday cheer. An old toy doll …well, let’s just say she was the new bride of Chuckie.

I wrapped my blanket, Star, around my head like a veil. It was my only ally and source of protection in this strange and dangerous land.

attic 8

The minutes passed as my family failed to convince me to climb back down the ladder. I became a incoherent blob. As far as I was concerned, I was never coming down. This would be where I’d spend the rest of my sorry little life. My fate hit me like a ton of bricks.

attic 11

Suddenly, Dad appeared at the top of the ladder. Again, I assured him I would not be making the descent back to the mortal world. He managed to convince me to hold onto him and close my eyes. He held me and climbed down the ladder; it was the scariest 3 seconds of my young life. I felt like Carol Anne as she was sucked away from the demons of the underworld in that movie, Poltergeist. I can’t believe we made it down alive. To be able to live among my earth family yet again was such a relief.

attic 12

To this day, climbing any kind of ladder disorients my body and mind. The fear takes me back to that fated day in the attic. Will I ever be able to conquer this body-ladder coordination conundrum? Only time will tell.

attic 13

Also, F.U. to my sensory problems. Struggling to stand on a basic 2-step ladder is super embarrassing and mildly inconvenient.

xo kelly

NEWSFLASH: Adults have SPD too

This post contains information that NEEDS to be said. Warning: the following may cause epiphany, sudden awakening of the soul, and Oprah’s “ah-ha” moment. Proceed with caution.

Approximately 93% – I just calculated that statistic in my mind – of all information on sensory issues, both in print and online, are geared towards children.

For a while, that knowledge left me feeling like this:

NOT SURE IF FRY

One of the main reasons I started this blog was due to the near absence of information and resources for adults with SPD on the web or in books. The only exception to this would be a few blogs, and Sharon Heller’s Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, which has become the bible for sensory-plagued adults. Unfortunately, SPD adults often find ourselves reading sensory books geared towards children, and attempting to relate the information to our adult lives. It can be awkward.

potty training

not relevant

Like many neurological disorders, sensory processing disorder does not go away with time.

A fun fact is that according to many medical “professionals,” children with sensory processing disorder just learn to live with their problems, or they simply grow out of the disorder.

At age 13, many people – including myself – were turned away from occupational therapists for the sole reason that we were too old to be treated for our sensory issues.

I remember asking my mom, with confusion, “What’s the difference if I’m 12 or 13? I still have the same disorder. I still need help for this.” Momsy didn’t know what to say, and she couldn’t have known.

Here is what I know: growing out of something is for clothing. People grow out of sweaters. People do not usually grow out of neurological conditions. They manage it and – in the case of SPD –  learn ways to live within their specific limitations. SPD can regulated with various therapies (occupational, physical, or psychological), but there is no cure for it just yet. However, this leaves us SPD adults with many problems.

same person

It leaves us feeling a strange sense of being “unwelcome.” Adults are not the target group, if you will, for awareness and research. SPD adults are very much ignored and neglected by the medical community. We often feel a sense of guilt for even asking for/seeking out help from professionals. We are given this look when we mention SPD to our doctors:

wut

This is not Hogwarts, my friends. SPD cannot be sent away with the flick of a wand, nor does it magically vanish when we turn 18. It is not fair or right that adults with neurological conditions such as sensory processing disorder are left in the dark simply because they are adults.

As an adult with SPD, I can assure you that my sensory problems are here to stay (for now). I’ve overcome many of my sensory struggles from my childhood – yes. However, newer and more overwhelming challenges have reared their ugly faces into my life as an adult with this condition.

Due to the belief that SPD is a disorder of childhood – WHICH WE GENIUSES KNOW TO BE FALSEanother belief now exists that there are no adults with SPD at all. Because of this idea that adults don’t have SPD, it is not recognized by our society, and therefore, we cannot get help or respect.

SO WHERE ARE ALL THE ADULTS WITH SPD?

I’ll tell you where they are. They are struggling to find their place in a world that doesn’t work with their sensory system.  Without acknowledgement from our community regarding this conundrum, we find ourselves turned off by the world.

helloworld

herrow

Moral of the story is this:

Adults with SPD are out there.  We are here! (Well, not really. We are actually trying to avoid the entire world while simultaneously being part of the entire world. It’s a tad complicated.)
Spread awareness and educate your fellow human beans that, in fact, adults with neurological condition DO exist. We need your compassion and respect in order to overcome our challenges.

xo kelly

I am the Navajo Warrior

Somewhere in the woods behind my house lives an entire pack of coyotes. I know this because every now and then, they will all begin to shriek and yelp together for a minute or two. The sound of it is rather disturbing, and it usually happens in the middle of the night.

One night, I woke to the sound of the coyotes howling, except this time, they were louder than ever before. In fact, they sounded as if they were right outside my house. They went on forever, until suddenly, I saw a light flick on outside my window. Instantly, the entire pack was silenced. The light remained on for another minute, then went off. No more sounds were heard for the rest of the night.

The next morning I jumped out of bed eagerly (which is not normal for me, because getting out of bed is my most hated activity). I ran to my sister in the room next to mine, hoping she too heard the commotion last night.

coyote1

coyote3

coyote2

coyote4

coyote5

coyote6

Next, I quickly searched for Momsy. Surely she must have heard the wild noises in the night! She hears everything.

 

coyote7

coyote10

coyote9

coyote12

coyote11

On the brink of completely losing it, I texted my dad.

coyote13

 

(Yes, I  still have one of those awesomesauce flip phones with a keyboard, built in 2007 or something.)

coyote19

When I got Dad’s reply, I was overjoyed! DAD HEARD THEM TOO.

Then he sent another text:

coyote16

What a fantastical idea!

I was already wearing my striped pajamas, so I quickly threw on some heavy duty neon teal socks, then my boots, my poofy coat, a polka dot scarf, old blue mittens, and of course, my owl hat. I contemplated putting some sort of helmet on my head, either a metal pot or pasta strainer, but I opted out and risked head injury. The wilderness called me, and I was prepared.

coyote21

I stepped outside into the cool morning and marched through the snow towards my garden. I peeked around like a ninja and scanned the trees and snow banks, looking for evidence of the wild dogs. It was quiet and still. The trees loomed over my head, watching me.

I  hunted for tracks in the snow, or anything to give me a clue! Suddenly, I spotted some faint tracks and a brown blob just ahead of me.

coyote22

To my frustration, it was just the paw prints and old turd of my dog Sam.

coyote23

Sam was outside on the deck, glaring at me. He poked his pudgy face through the deck railings.

coyote24

After the incident of false hope, it was then that I noticed that I had forgotten to grab a golf club for protection. Instantly, I was vulnerable; a snack waiting to be devoured. I tried to imagine the scenario if the coyotes appeared. It went two ways:

Option 1, I beg for mercy and convince the coyotes that I am not worth their efforts because I would be a pointless snack.

coyote29

Option 2, I summon my inner wilderness warrior and become the leader of the pack.

coyote25

After a while of searching, there was no sign of the pack of coyotes anywhere. I returned inside, a little TREMENDOUSLY disappointed.

coyote26

coyote27

I texted my dad, and told him I found zero evidence. I also casually mentioned that I went out there without any weapons. I told him I was a warrior of nature, essentially.

This was our actual conversation, I copied it directly from my phone:

coyote18

coyote17

coyote15

coyote20

coyote14

 

 

At the end of the day, it was only my dad and I that heard the coyotes. We have yet to purchase night vision goggles, as they are more expensive than either of us realized. Still, my quest to track down the coyotes will never cease. When I hear their calls in the darkness, I stealthily peer out the corner of my window and hope to catch a glimpse of the scruffy dogs of the wild.

coyote28

 

Are YOU a wilderness warrior? Have you had an extreme run-in with nature?! Comment below and join me in my quest to become keeper of the wilderness! Together, we can save the animals.

xo kelly

 

 

 

Why Operation is the Weirdest Game Ever

I don’t know about you guys, but during my childhood there was one game that I absolutely despised playing: The game of Operation.

You all know it. The creepy naked dude with his internal organs exposed for children to poke at and remove for their selfish pleasures. Yes children, harvest the organs! HARVEST THEM.

But, that was not the worst part of the game. The terror was in the removal of the organs themselves. For if you didn’t do a decent job during the surgery, a loud and sudden buzzing sound would be released from the man’s body like it was his own bloody screaming.

As a child who was terrified by basically everything, and saw everything very seriously and realistically, this game was absolute horror.

Picture 15

Picture 17

What a nightmare.

Let’s look closer….

Here’s the box – it always freaked me out as a kid. Firstly, the dude on the table is AWAKE. Perhaps slightly drowsy, but definitely conscious. Naturally, I felt bad for him, and the pain he must have been experiencing during the game. For the sake of this post, let’s call this guy Norm.

operation-board-game

Norm clearly has a lot of medical problems, as demonstrated by the outrageous amount of surgery being done.

Looking at the box, we can see Norm with his inflamed red nose (which by the way is NOT addressed as a problem for him in the game). Does anyone care about Norm’s obvious nose issues?! No, no they don’t.

On the left, we have Einstein – in pink socks and red striped boxer shorts – holding a butterfly in one hand while jamming a ginormous metal device into Norm’s thigh.

Picture 10

Apparently pants aren’t required when you’re a surgeon. Also, he is unnecessarily standing on a tiny ladder. The whole procedure is disturbingly close to Norm’s crotch. Yes, I said it. You all noticed it too.

Behind Einstein is a small, cheerful boy holding a bucket of water and staring directly into Einstein’s butt. No further comment on that one.

Moving to the right, we have a taller fellow who looks like Ferris Bueller’s principal, Mr. Rooney.

Picture 11

This must have been his after-school job. Mr. Rooney appears to have serious back issues, but at least he’s wearing pants and shoes. And look! A face mask! …..not on his face though. SO CLOSE ROONEY! Below him is a happy little girl holding a very large weapon.

Picture 8

But it only gets weirder my friends! The game looks like this:

operation_game

Norm not only has a serious nasal condition, but also, terrible hair.

I’m going to point out the weirdest thing here: why on earth are we supposed to remove things like ice cream cones and butterflies and apples from this poor man? I get the creativity here, but from my childhood experience, it was all very disturbing.

Here I was, a young girl, expected to remove absurd objects from Norm’s naked body with a pair of giant tweezers while he looked up at me with that hairdo. I knew it was a stupid game, but I couldnt’ help but take it very seriously and the buzzing sound gave me tremendous anxiety. It wasn’t exactly a sensory-fun game.

None of my friends seemed to understand the fear.

Picture 12

Picture 13

(p.s. I loved my friends)

So there you have it. Operation is an irrational game where children are asked to pull foreign objects, like ice cream cones, from a naked man with a nose deformity.

May this game never see the light of day again.

xoxo ~Kelly