If you've been following my blog for awhile, you already know by now I struggle with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) that I've had for as long as I can remember. I know this is a blog I originally started for veganism, but I think being mentally healthy and happy is just as important as being physically and emotionally happy, which is some of the things veganism provides. I hoped that sharing my personal stories would help others, even one person, to not feel like they're alone in their anxiety struggles.
If you've been following my story, you know that I've finally started seeing a therapist, and it's been going well so far. I've already learned a few things that I've been working on and I wanted to share those with you. Maybe you'll find them helpful and maybe you won't. But sharing is caring.
1) It's okay to be selfish. What a thought right? You're taught your entire life to share this and that and always help others and to never be selfish. Newsflash: sometimes being selfish is a good thing.
If you're anything like me, you'll do anything for anyone and be there for anyone at the expense of yourself. Like taking off of work makes me feel guilty. I should be working. Even on my drop days at work I feel guilty for being home. Oh you want me to do your job for you? Sure no problem, I'm just drowning in my own work but I'll take on yours too. You gotta knock that off.
You need to put yourself first in a lot of instances. I'm not saying be an asshole and put your happiness above anyone else's, or do things at someone else's expense. But if you're sick, and you're afraid to call out of work or take a half day to go to the doctors, do it. Don't hesitate. Don't worry about them, they'll make it without you. Remember that your happiness and well being is equally as important as the next persons, so don't put those on the back burner. You can't be your best self if you don't take care of yourself.
2) Not everyone's happiness is your responsibility. Another crazy thought right? Responsibility is on all of us. And you can only be responsible for yourself. Everyone else's burdens aren't yours to carry. I know this first hand, because I carry them all. I think it's just in my natural instinct to want to make everyone happy. That's important to me. I want people to be happy. I think most of us do as well. But you shouldn't be breaking yourself to make others happy, especially if those others wouldn't lift a finger to make you happy. Prioritize yourself and your happiness with those who's is important to you as well, but don't leave yourself out!
3) Anxiety is basically overestimating the danger you're in and underestimating your ability to handle said danger. Having anxiety can take one small thing, that's literally not a huge deal, like having a cold for example, and the slippery slope takes you all the way down to, I'm going to die as a result of said cold. You have to look realistically at the "danger" you're in, and remember, you are a STRONG person. Anxiety will always make you underestimate your ability to deal with things. You've gotta work on making your voice stronger than your anxiety's voice.
4) Lastly, and honestly probably the most important one that I've learned.. listen to what your body is telling you. Listen to what your body whispers, so it doesn't have to scream. I'm gonna keep it completely real with you, over the weekend, I had a legit breakdown. My anxiety has been on a steady increase basically for 28 years, and it came to a head over the weekend. I was awake for almost 60 hours straight, my body was internally shaking, my anxiety would not let me sleep, my adrenaline was shooting through my body on repeat over and over again, I was getting Restless Leg Syndrome, I cried my eyes out more times than I could count, headaches, heart palpitations, pains all over.. I mean I was in bad bad bad shape. You don't have to have a major incident in your life to have a breakdown. Anxiety builds, and it builds. And I just lost it. I finally forced myself, with the help of my husband, to go see my doctor, and get some medication.
I've been anti-medicine for pretty much my entire life. I've always been afraid. Afraid of the side effects (I had a bad experience with Zoloft), afraid it wouldn't work, afraid it would change me. I was afraid I would be a different person, and I would lose some of the qualities that made me "me." Anxiety and OCD basically is a big chunk of what makes me "me," and love it or hate it, it's the truth. I don't wanna lose the good effects that OCD has had on my life, like my excellent attention to detail, and my superb organization skills. Fear has held me back from so much, and it clicked in my head, really.. the only thing holding me back from taking anti-anxiety medication, which I have so desperately needed throughout most of my life, was my anxiety. All the tools my therapist is teaching me is all for naught if I keep letting my anxiety run my life.
Talking therapy is fantastic and for some people it's enough, but for me, it isn't. And having my breakdown over the weekend, using every tool I've learned, from deep breaths to meditation, and realizing nothing was calming me down made me see that.
You don't stay awake for 60 hours because you want to. Your body doesn't force a fear of sleep in you so bad that you have to open your eyes every time you're near sleep because you feel like your heads gonna explode if not just because you want to. You don't physically feel shots of adrenaline shoot out from your adrenal glands on repeat over and over again because you want to. And you don't feel like maybe sometimes it would be easier to not be alive anymore just because you want to.
I hit my breaking point and a lightbulb went off and I just decided, screw my fears, I'm going on anxiety medicine. My doctor prescribed me Ativan as needed, and Lexapro daily. I am so grateful for my husband because he was with me through everything. Even though I got the medication, my anxiety REALLY wanted me not to take it. So many what ifs, so much fear. I always joke (but like really it's the truth) that I need anxiety medicine to take anxiety medicine. My husband sat right by my side when I took my first Ativan. And guess what? I was fine. I didn't get sick. I didn't get stupid or loopy. I didn't have an allergic reaction and go into anaphylactic shock (believe it or not that's a real fear I have of taking any medication.) The Ativan took just enough of the edge off to allow me to sleep. I haven't taken the Lexapro yet, since I've got work all week, but I'm going to take it over the weekend, when I have off, and just see how I feel with it. Everything is trial and error. This might be the pill for me, or it might not, but I'll never know until I can try.
I leave you with this quote. Read it. Read it again. Embrace it and love it and really listen to it.
The amount of products I have that I haven't used yet is bananas. Finally, after buying them when we were on vacation in October, I'm trying my David's Tea infused products I bought! Better late than never, am I right?!
I have a lot of lotions. It's a problem. No one likes dry skin, and I go through lotion like it's going out of style. But instead of buying more, I'm trying to use what I have. I ran out of my other work hand lotions that I was using, and remembered I had this one in my drawer. So I was pretty excited to both find it and then try it!
This Pumpkin Chai hand lotion is legit *my jam* and every time I use it I literally wanna kick myself for not buying more. The scent is the perfect balance between pumpkin and chai. It literally screams fall. And I'm not really a chai person, but it really works well in this lotion. Despite the fragrance, I haven't had any issues with irritation on my hands. My only real complaint is that it doesn't spread super easily so I find myself using more than I want to so that I can get an adequate amount to apply to my hands. It's tiny, at 0.85 fl oz, and it retails for $6. So it's definitely pricy but I love the scent so much I would pay it without question. I think they had like a 2 for something sale, which is why I got this and the Honeycrisp Apple Lip Butter, which I'm gonna talk about next.
I love Honeycrisp Apples. They're my jam during the fall. And I got a cup of their Honeycrisp Tea while I was there AND bought a tin to take home too. I loved it. But I just don't love the lip butter as much as I wanted to. It's overly scented. It smells great, don't get me wrong. But it becomes too much because it's all I smell. And it's super sweet. Honeycrisps aren't that excessively sweet in real life, and I just think the fragrance is overkill. They have a birthday cake lip butter I think I would love though, if it's as scented as this one. Vanilla and cake fragrances are essentially my life so, I might check that out. As far as how it works, it's pretty good. It's in a base of coconut oil and cocoa butter, and it's got almond oil which is packed with antioxidants. So, it works really well. They actually still have this scent in both the lip butter and lotion online as well, if you're interested in trying it. Again, it retails for $6. The price is high again, but worth it if you love it.
It seems like they often have sales for their products. Currently, online it's buy 2 get 1 free. So that does help offset the costs a bit.
Friends, in less than ONE WEEK, the live action Beauty and the Beast comes out in theaters. Do you know how excited I am? Disney is MY JAM! All things Disney. And I've been waiting for this movie to come out so long I lost count.
Disney kind of consumes my life, but in a good way. My kitchen is essentially all Disney, I've got Disney accessories out the wazoo, pens, journals, notebooks, clothes.. I mean you name it I have it. But like, I can always have more! I like to wear my passions for all to see. I'm not ashamed of who I am. So when I saw Danielle Nicole was released a limited edition classic Beauty and the Beast bag collection, I was in there like swimwear.
Danielle Nicole has a decent selection of Disney bags in general. They're not cheap, mind you, but they are damn cute. They're mainly clutches and crossbody bags, so generally small. I bought a small Beast clutch off Amazon a few months ago for a decent price with an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas. It's pretty much amazing. Here's a photo of it:
While this isn't technically the bag I was showing you, I mean.. LOOK AT IT! Isn't it THE CUTEST?! Look at his fur! I know what you're thinking, "Ash, you said fur!" Fear not, my compassionate friends, because all of Danielle Nicole's handbags are VEGAN! You can rock your love of Disney in style knowing no animals were harmed in the making of it!
This is her recent Beauty and the Beast collection:
The hardest part was deciding which bag I wanted. All of them was not the option, although it's the option I wanted. I went back and forth between the Mrs. Potts and Chip crossbody and the Tale As Old As Time. I ended up buying this one:
I debated hard because the Mrs. Potts and Chip one is a-damn-dorable. But the Tale as Old as Time crossbody won my heart. I love vintage styles. Just love them. And the book style clutch was right up my alley. The flowers were beautiful, and the stitching is exquisite. The design is so pretty! I'm not typically a fan of of gold, but it really adds to the overall style of this bag and it works really well. It's a decent size too, the biggest of the four options she had, which was the deciding factor in me choosing it.
I typically only carry a small bag with me when I'm running places and save my big bag for work. Even when I'm running errands, I still feel the need to take too much stuff with me. I usually carry: my Jetoy card holder, my lip balm, small tube of hand lotion, phone, medicine (just in case, I'm a worry wart), keys, and whatever else I feel like I may need during that trip. This bag allows me to carry all of that and a little more if I need it. It opens wide too, so you'll be surprised at what you can fit in there. The chain is a decent length, not too long or too short. I like that there's a strap of material on the chain too, for comfort. And I always prefer zip closure since I just feel it's more secure.
I've got entirely too many small bags, I mean like an embarrassingly large amount. But this is the one that I keep going to over and over. So much that I just leave it with my big bag so I can take from the big bag what I need in my small bag when I run out. I love it!
I truly can't recommend these bags enough. She's got other Disney ones too (she just releases two Little Mermaid bags and I can't even look at them because I'm too tempted to buy them lol) and regular bags if Disney isn't your thing. Check out her website, she also sells them on Macy's website too. And keep an eye on Amazon for her bags too, which you can get for cheaper sometimes. I got my Beast clutch I think for like $20 cheaper. Sometimes it's just a couple bucks but every penny counts! Be sure to check them out!
This is like a review and a re-review all in one. I wanna talk about my new eco-tools Mini Beauty Blender I got while simultaneously re-reviewing Too Faced Born This Way Foundation.
I actually don't use liquid makeup and haven't since I was in my very early teens. Once I discovered mineral makeup, my first being Bare Minerals, I never returned. But, when I bought my Too Faced bronzer palette, it came with some samples of their Born This Way foundation.
I remember trying it once at Ulta, when it first came out, and I liked it okay, but it wasn't for me. And it especially wasn't for me every day. I forget the shade the lady used at Ulta that day but I went through the samples I received to check the colors. The lightest one I got was Vanilla, which is fair-light with neutral to golden undertones. Surprisingly enough, it's not very fair at all. I'm not tan at this point in my life, but I've never once been considered fair in anything. Light Medium with neutral undertones is where I'm at presently. I used the Vanilla to try it, and while it wasn't 100% my color (thanks to those golden undertones), the color was closer than anticipated. I put my Jane Iredale power foundation on top, which helped the color match to my face better. It also helped with the tackiness and the overall effectiveness of the makeup.
On the second day I used it, I used the Light Beige, which is light-medium with neutral to golden undertones. This is the color I had assumed would match me best, and it did. But, I'm hard pressed to understand how I can go from one shade to the like five shades darker without having much of an issue. Like if the fair light worked on my skin decent enough, what about someone who really is fair? I guess that's a positive note, but I think that could be negative too. You want it to match you, not like kind of maybe match you with more products on top. My Jane Iredale powder foundation in Satin matches me literally to a T.
Before I talk about the makeup itself, I wanna talk about the Eco Tools mini blender I used to apply it. This blender is meant for little spots like under your eyes and the corners of your nose, not for your whole face. But if I ever apply liquid makeup, I use it more as concealer than anything, which is why I thought this blender would be good to add to my collection. It would do exactly what I needed it to do. I used it all over my face to apply this foundation, since-it was all I had. I probably could've used my fingers, but my face has enough problems without adding any more oils from my fingers to it.
The blender is super easy to use. It does get in those little areas like under your eyes and around your nose with absolute ease. The bamboo handle makes it easy to hold while you apply it. And blender tip is soft and non-irritating on your face. It might take more time to apply liquid foundation to your whole face using this little thing but other than that I don't see why you couldn't use it anyway. I would. It also was perfect for applying it extra where I needed it, since I'm having a breakout on my chin and between my eyes brows currently. So using it to conceal those spots was easy and worked well too. As for the blender, I absolutely recommend it. I think it only cost me about $6 on Amazon and I have Prime so it was free shipping. Totally worth every penny.
Back to the foundation..
I still don't love it. To be fair, I didn't expect to, so I went in with low hopes. But I liked it better than I did the first time. Probably because the first time she didn't apply any powder on top and this time I did. That cut down on the tackiness. I still felt like I couldn't really touch my face or it would all rub off on my finger. And, I'm having really bad allergies so I was itching my eye as best I could without messing up my eye makeup but, all underneath my eye where I was itching, the foundation came off and I had to reapply.
When I applied it, the weather was absolutely freezing. It was in the 20s-30s so I wasn't at all sweating, and I had a big eventful day where I was out from the early afternoon to the night, so I figured that would be a good test of how it held up. Overall, it lasted decently, just my chin and my nose, basically where I get oily, was starting to fall apart. If I had power with me I probably could've touched it up, but I didn't so I can't say if that would've helped. By the end of the day when I got home, I was ready to take the makeup off. To be fair, I don't like liquid makeup, so if you're used to it, you might be fine. I will say it didn't cause me any itchiness or anything like that. It also didn't cause anymore pimples so far that I noticed that weren't there
I still wouldn't buy it. It helped cover my imperfections better than just my powder alone, but I just don't love it. I don't think it's worth the $39 price tag, I think the colors aren't true to what they say they are, and I don't think it covers nearly as much as one would hope. They need more color options with just neutral undertones, not neutral and golden or neutral and pink. If you're a liquid foundation person, you might love it. Especially if you know all the tricks and trades to applying it that I don't. It's gotten a to of great reviews, so I might just be missing all the hype.
I'm really over the moon excited because I ordered some Illuminare Cosmetics mineral liquid foundation samples to try that I'm hoping will be here soon. I haven't read one bad review on them, other than their limited color range, so I am really anxious to try them out. In the meantime, I'll finish up this Too Faced sample I have since I don't wanna waste it.
Are you guys pistachio fans? I love pistachios personally. I seldom buy them because they're so expensive. I've always associated pistachios with deliciousness and expensiveness. But, I didn't associate them with lotion, until I saw Desert Essence carries a Pistachio Foot Cream.
I had to read it twice, I was like, pistachio pistachio? Since they were having free shipping on all orders that day only, and I'm a firm believer one can never have enough lotion, I grabbed the foot cream and some of their mango lotion as well. I haven't tried the mango lotion yet, but I've been using the Pistachio Cream and I wanted to review it for you guys.
Here's the ingredients, taken from their website:
"Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Pistacia Vera (Pistachio) Seed Extract*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, SD Alcohol 38-B*, Glycerin (Palm), Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Jojoba Esters, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut), Stearic Acid (Coconut), Leuconostoc Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Natural Fragrance/Flavor (Parfum/Aroma), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Pistacia Vera (Pistachio) Seed Oil*, Macadamia Integrifolia (Macadamia) Seed Oil*, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Limonene, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Phytate, Water (Aqua)
The scent: I feel like all of their products that I've tried, which has all been lotions, smell the exact same. None of them tend to smell like you think they would. They all smell kind of like Fruity Pebbles. I'm not disappointed in that. Especially with this one. I don't know if I want my fee to smell like pistachios.
The texture: I wouldn't call this a full on cream. I would call it slightly thicker than a lotion. It does take a little bit of time to absorb. It's not greasy and it doesn't leave any icky residue afterwards.
The price: This tube is $8.99 and the size is 3.5 fl ounces. My Island Mango lotion I got from them was the same price and it 8.0 go ounces. So it's kind of pricy but I'm assuming because it's like a "speciality" item that's why it's the same price. It's not that bad though, and it wouldn't deter me from buying it again.
Verdict: I actually liked this lotion more than I thought I would. I do think that it makes my feet soft but it doesn't provide long lasting moisture. To be honest, I wouldn't think twice about using it on my hands. Dry skin is dry skin I don't discriminate! I think it's really cool that they incorporate pistachio oil in their cream, since this is the first thing I've ever used with it as an ingredient. I didn't even know that pistachio oil was a thing until this cream. It's apparently very good for dry skin. Add that with the macadamia oil and shea butter, it's got a lot of skin loving ingredients. I'm a fan, and I think you will be too!
When you're a vegan, you always hear about your protein and iron, iron and protein. Like daily, on repeat. There are several vegan protein and iron sources that make it easy peasy lemon squeezy to make sure you're getting enough of both. But there's one nutrient as a vegan that's easy to get deficient in, and that's iodine.
Let's look at the some of food sources of iodine.
Here's a small list:
-Baked Potatoes (skin on)
-Milk and yogurt
-Iodized table salt
This is just small list, but you can see that overwhelmingly, the list is suited best for omnivores and both lacto and ovo vegetarians. Fruits and vegetables can contain iodine too, but it's so hard to determine how much since that depends on the level in the soil, which varies place to place. Aside from that, there's a few sources for vegans on this list, seaweed being the best one and one of the best sources out there in general. But guess who hates seaweed? This girl. Guess who only eats cranberries at Thanksgiving? This girl. Guess who doesn't eat the potato skins because she finds the texture weird? This girl. Guess who seldomly eats white beans because black beans are her go to? This girl. Guess who only uses sea salt, for both cooking and when choosing snacks, and not iodized table salt? This girl. Guess who hasn't been taking her vitamins in months? This girl. Guess who probably needs to do some work on her iodine levels? Yup, you guessed it, this girl.
I recently got blood work done and my thyroid levels are borderline low. What does iodine and thyroid have to do with each other? Turns out, a lot.
I like to refer to myself as Dr. Ashley Ronan, Google MD. I didn't know too much about the thyroid prior to this since it was never something I really concerned myself with, since no one in my family has thyroid issues. Ever since finding out my levels are kinda low, I've spent hours upon hours researching the wonderful world of the Internet, and I've learned a lot. Instinctively, of course, my first reaction was panic. There's quite a few causes of low thyroid levels, and whatever the worst ones are, I'm convinced that's what I have. (Thank you, anxiety.) But the one that really stood out was the iodine, which those levels don't show up on blood work. There's a urine test for that, which my doctor didn't request I do yet. He told me to continue my vitamins (which he didn't know at the time meant start taking them again,) and get my blood retested in three months.
You need iodine in your body to produce the thyroid hormone. Too much or too little in your diet can cause hypothyroidism (underactive) or hyperthyroidism (overactive). Both have different symptoms. Sometimes, you have no symptoms at all. Hypothyroidism can cause symptoms such as: fatigue, slow heart rate, depression, weight gain, skin dryness, constipation, fibromyalgia, and irregular periods to name a few. This is the one my blood work would say I have. Hyperthyroidism can cause essentially the exact opposite of symptoms, such as: increased heart rate, dizziness, anxiety, mood swings, weight loss, diarrhea, and light or missed periods to name a few. If anything, hyperthyroidism has my name written all over it going by symptoms alone. Treatment is essential regardless of which type you may have. They can be diet related, or something you'll have to deal with long term, perhaps even your whole life.
With everything being so uncertain in regards to my results, my anxiety is super high. But, I've gotta try something. And, if it is iodine related, I'm taking steps to counteract that.
Here's what I've been doing:
-Taking my vitamins every single day. My DEVA brand vegan vitamins contain 50% of the RDA for iodine, so that's half the battle.
-Despite my distaste for iodized salt, I bought some. This was the smallest size they had, and it came with pepper. I'm a brat, and only eat fresh cracked pepper. But the only other option was a family sized salt. No one needs all that salt. But, I figure I can do a grind of my sea salt and a dash of that salt when necessary, so I get the flavor and texture I prefer but I'm still getting iodine at the same time.
-I bought dried seaweed snacks. They're sea salt flavored (of course they are,) and I know I wouldn't eat them alone. I tried them alone just to see, SO GROSS. So, I decided I could smoosh them in my hummus (which is white bean hummus, by the way! Bonus iodine points!) and cucumber sandwich I have for lunch. Hopefully it'll mask the texture and taste of the seaweed.
Have you guys ever thought about your iodine intake? Until this, I literally never even thought of it. What's your go to sources for iodine?
I've been working really hard on my anxiety lately. I've been doing therapy since the beginning of the year, and as I start month three, I want to share a phrase with you guys that's been the most helpful for me. It's my new mantra.
I made this photo edit with the quote on there so that I can use it as the background on my phone, and I can look at it every time I need a reminder. I'm also gonna write it on a sticky note and put it in my drawer at work. I'm even thinking about getting a small chalk board and writing it on there and making it a magnet for my fridge. Constant affirmation whenever and wherever I need it.
My therapist and I were trying guided meditation for the first time. For the record, I suck at it. She had this recording on her phone that we were using and this was the one line that really stuck out to me. And I think I'm not the only one who could find comfort in it, so I knew I had to share.
When you have anxiety, you have thoughts CONSTANTLY. So much thoughts. Thoughts on thoughts on thoughts. Pretty much your entire life, every minute of every day, is thoughts and trying to control those thoughts, which most times you're unsuccessful in doing so. But nothing feels as real as those thoughts. Those dreaded thoughts create real physical dread in your life.
This quote breaks down what thoughts really are. They're thoughts, they're not facts. Everyone has thoughts. And your thoughts are different than my faults. I can think about winning a million dollars, but it's not a fact, it's a thought. I can think anything, good or bad, but it's just a thought. Why? Because "thoughts don't know everything." Thoughts don't know the future, thoughts don't know how your day is gonna be, thoughts don't know things! THEY'RE THOUGHTS!
Every time I have a thought that's negative, so constantly, I try to remember this quote. I hope it will bring you the same comfort it's brought me.
Today I wanted to talk to you guys about the Unbirthday Highlighter by The Beauty Arsenal. Back in January they were doing a giveaway and two lucky winners won, and guess who was one of them?! THIS GIRL!
Winning highlighter is like two prizes in one. I get to win something, and who doesn't like to win?! And can one ever have too much highlighter? The correct answer is absolutely not.
The Beauty Arsenal is a small vegan and cruelty free company specializing in handmade cosmetics. They're products have so much shimmer! If you're a shimmer loving girl like me, you will love their products as much as I do. Small batches and handmade products are equivalent if not superior to their name brand counterparts.
This Unbirthday Highlighter has three colors in one. Purple, pink, and an off white. I use my brush to mix them all together to create that perfect shine! It's also got a cute little cupcake and candle design on it, which I will be sad when it's gone, simply because it's so cute! It lasts on my face all day. It's buildable, so it can be layered or just use a light dusting. You can use it as an eyeshadow too. The versatility of this product is amazing!
Have you guys tried any Beauty Arsenal products yet? If you haven't, I suggest you do! Small businesses are the backbone of this country and they deserve our support! The girl who brought this company to life is just a young girl living her dream! Make sure to follow her on Instagram, and check out her more than affordable products on Etsy!
Just as I have been sharing my personal journey with you guys about my OCD, anxiety, eczema, adult acne, and the boat load of others issues I have, I wanted to talk to you guys about another that I've had my entire life, and that's tactile sensitivity.
There's varying degrees of this, and it often times is associated with autism, but anyone can develop these sensitivities and it's in my experience that everyone has at least one. These sensitivities can cause pain and discomfort in varying degrees. The reason its associated with autism is because often times autistic children and adults are uncomfortable being touched, and it causes a lot of discomfort for them.
Since I've never really read much about it, I wanted to shed some light on it and share my stories. I like to think of myself as the person that talks about real life issues most people don't want to talk about. I think it's so important to share things because I think that so many people suffer in silence, feeling like an outcast or a weirdo, and they feel completely alone. I know this because it's the life I've lived too.
So basically, I am extremely sensitive to textures. And I've been this way my entire life. My mom can attest to it. Here's some examples of my sensitivities as a child, which have all carried over into my adulthood:
This is just my starter list, but I think you get the point. To most people, these are just things they wouldn't even think twice about. The sensitivity part of it that causes the negative reaction is where you can differentiate who's got it and who doesn't. My husband, as per usual, no problems at all. Sometimes I'm putting away his tshirts and some of them are so stiff I don't want to touch them. I can't imagine wearing them.
I need everything in my life, from the sheets I lay on, to the clothes I wear, and blanket I use, to be soft and cuddly. I think that's one of the many reasons why I love my Blankie so much. It's got satin lined edges, well, what's left of them, and it's so soft. It's soothing when I rub the satin between my fingers, which I do pretty much every time my Blankie is in my hands.
I also have a lot of sound sensitivities too, like the sound peoples throats makes when they swallow, and sometimes even my own sneezing, but that's a post for another day. I'm not sure if that's related to this sensitivity, but my life is one big giant sensitivity anyway.
What's the reason I brought all of this up in a post, you ask? I've got a few thoughts behind it. The main one that got me to thinking about all these little "nuances" is that we're getting uniforms as work.
Once I heard we were getting uniforms, my anxiety shot right up. I do not wanna wear clothes that I'm not comfortable in. It's not a matter of just like "oh this shirt isn't comfy" and move on, like most people can. For me, it's "this shirt isn't comfy and I feel like crawling my skin off because it's itchy and irritated and I can't think about or concentrate on anything else until I get it off." If there's one thing you want your banker to do at their job it's concentrate and sadly, with these uniforms, for me that's not gonna be an option.
Not only are they absolutely hideous, but they're so uncomfortable. They're oxford shirts, which have to be tucked in, and a cardigan on top if you get cold. First, they have absolutely NO STRETCH at all. They're so constricting on the arms and back that I feel like I'm being confined and the idea of having to wear them all day every day is literally giving putting me in full blown anxiety mode. How unstretchy are they you ask? Well, I'm a small woman. 5'0 110 lbs and I usually wear a S, sometimes M depending on the brand. I tried on a women's XL that my coworker got, and I'm still constricted. I'm returning the size I got and exchanging it for men's sizes, since I hear the arms are a little bigger on those than the women's. Remember, comfort over looks. I'm not working to impress anybody. If I have to look like a slob all day for the sake of my sanity, so be it.
Secondly, they're collared shirts and the collars are so tight on my neck I feel like I'm choking, even when I have it unbuttoned.
Third, I can't do tucked in shirts. I'm 28 years old and have never tucked a shirt in a day in my life, why would I start now? The fabric being tucked is never even, it creases, and it won't be smooth against my skin.
Forth, the material is that starchy stiff cotton, which means I'll be wearing a long sleeve underneath it year round with hopes I can get used to it enough that I won't want to claw my skin off daily. I think these uniforms are bullshit for a lot of reasons, but they basically said, screw you tactile sensitive people, you're just gonna have to deal. I certainly don't like my job enough, nor do I get paid enough, to deal with this bullshit. I'm only thankful that the sweater is actually soft. If only I could just wear that, I would be fine. But nope!
The other reason I wanted to write this post is because I know I'm not alone. You often hear about kids with these issues, but those kids grow up to be adults with these issues too! There's a stigma around it, claiming people are too sensitive and that it's all in our heads. And you know what? That's true. Literally, it's how the brain processes sensory input. People like myself with these issues have different brains essentially than those who don't have it. It's a sensory processes issue in the brain. So yes, it's in my head, but not in a way I can control.
It's time to stop feeling ashamed of things that aren't your fault. You can't help how your brain develops! I hope this sheds some light on the issue, and hope that if you're suffering too, that you know you're not suffering alone. If you need to talk, I'm always here for you!