Sensory Processing Disorder never really goes away, as many of the adults in our sensory community will attest to. That doesn’t mean they don’t continue to live their lives!
Today on Voices of SPD we are joined by Kelly of Eating Off Plastic, who happens to be a personal favorite sensory blogger. She suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder and is sharing her personal sensory success story of going to the mall and living to tell the tale.
Sensory Success at the Mall
Once upon a time, like last week, I went to the mall to do some shopping.
(All of my SPD friends can get up off the floor now, as I’m certain all of you must have fallen out of your chairs with the sentence you just read).
But fear not, bloggy friends! Not only did I go to the mall, but I went BY MYSELF, and….
I LIVED TO BLOG ABOUT IT.
Is this a miracle? You could say that.
Is this a product of my fearless badassery and warrior-like approach to my entire life? Mostly.
Is this a freaky incident that I tried to savor as much as possible because it was so unbelievable. Yes.Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time to recollect my astounding mall experience. Click To Tweet
First, I had to make it through the parking lot. An SPD’er in a parking lot is usually a recipe for disaster. One horn, one beep – we are done. When I strolled through the lot, bracing myself against the painful NY coldness, I was like prey being hunted by my predator. Yet as I passed car after car, nothing happened. I hauled open the heavy doors of Dick’s Sporting Goods and threw myself inside. Awesomesauce, I thought.
Once inside, I tried to pretend like I was a very capable young woman on a shopping adventure. I also knew it was important for an SPD’er such as myself to review my body awareness – am I walking straight? Do I look like I’m dying? Do I appear as if I’m in need of psychiatric help? If YES, then it’s time to find the nearest exit. It’s a simple evaluation process
Luckily, I was fine. Everything checked out.
Being inside the mall is one thing, but then you must have to deal with the specific environment of each store WTIHIN the mall. I began my journey at the ever-sexy Victoria’s Secret.
I was anxious. What if something happened inside? I was alone! Also, oh yea, I HAVE SPD.
Amazingly, the only bad thing that happened inside Victoria’s Secret was a shattered sense of self-esteem and general uncomfortableness.
After Victoria’s Secret, I did everything that a good little SPD human was supposed to do. I avoided candle stores. I stayed away from the food court. I dodged screaming children. However, I did do something bad….
I WENT INTO HOT TOPIC.
For those of you who don’t know, Hot Topic is a scary-looking store on the outside with lots of interesting things on the inside: Harry Potter, Frozen, Walking Dead, Disney Princesses, Adventure Time, music, earrings, magic, delight, etc.
The music in Hot Topic usually is overwhelmingly loud and as much as I love the merchandise, this place kills my SPD.
BUT AGAIN, I MARCHED OUT COMPLETELY UNTOUCHED. ANOTHER MIRACLE.
What’s happening??! I thought to myself. I should do MORE stuff!
So what did I do?
I GOT A PRETZEL AND SOME LEMONADE.
I sat on a bench, enjoyed my salty pretzel and sweet lemonade. I chuckled at the funny array of people, myself included. I felt so blessed to be doing all of it. At the same time, I remained vigilant for my top enemy.
I somehow managed to survive the encounter, so I kept going.
Through Hallmark, Macy’s, and the cheesy leather goods emporium, I frollicked like the very normal shopper that I was so desperately trying to be.
It was surreal; it was exciting; and dare I say, enjoyable?
One of my greatest foes in life has to be escalators. In fact, the very first post I made on this blog was about escalators. This is the level of seriousness I’m talking about here.
Due to my perfect record so far that day, in addition to my overwhelming desire to be a complete BEAST, I marched towards the great escalators, and then I stood before them as one would do if they were about to destroy their enemy.
Escalator was all like:
And I was all like:
AND THEN I WAS LIKE:
Then it was over.
No traumatic escalator experience. I mean, I held on for dear life and looked so awkward that I could’ve out-awkwarded anyone in a 10 mile radius. BUT WHO CARES….I DID IT.Success! I conquered my anxieties by going to the mall by myself while experiencing anxiety, and being ok with the unease. Click To Tweet
While it wasn’t a perfect time at the mall, it also wasn’t a complete disaster. More importantly, I went ALONE. I had nobody to fall back on if necessary, but I did it anyway. The successfulness of this day was in the very fact that I conquered my anxieties by going to the mall by myself while experiencing anxiety, and being ok with the unease.
I’m not sure why the sensory gods blessed me with a nice trip to the mall, but they did. I left on Cloud 9, wherever that is. Probably near here:
Also, I was only there for about 2 hours. This post makes it sound like I was there for 10 hours. Just wanted to let you all know…I’m pretty beast, but I’m not 10 hours beast.
This post originally appeared on Eating Off Plastic. You can read more from Kelly there.
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A brand new book about Sensory Processing Disorder featuring Kelly’s illustrations can be found through the following affiliate link: