Monday, 17 September 2007

DON'T...TOUCH...ME...!

Tactile defensiveness, although not a recognised symptom of ADD, is a condition which affects many AD(H)D children and adults. It basically entails being “intolerant to being touch and intolerant of certain textures”. This is something which has made me very unpopular throughout my life, especially by loved-ones and those near and dear. I have never been able to tolerate someone suddenly and unexpectedly touching me. Light touches and stroking are the worst. I find it totally excruciating. I will still be able to stand it if someone grips my shoulder firmly even if unexpectedly. I can hold my wife’s hand, but I cannot stand her touching my neck lightly whilst driving. At the start of our relationship I nearly overturned the car when she put her hand on my neck. She took this as rejection. We had lots of fights because of it. Grandparents especially cannot understand a child not wanting to be cuddled. The following things about me or things I do transpired to be as a result of tactile defensiveness:

  • I remove all the labels from the insides of my clothes. I cannot bear the feel of clothing labels on my skin. I cannot stand the touch of certain types of fabric, material and clothes. Textured fabrics are the worst. It feels like horse hair and burlap to me. I used to be completely baffled that other people do not perceive it the same as I. Generally I prefer natural fibres such as pure cotton and new wool, however there are certain synthetics which does not bother me. Nylon is the devil. Nylon is evil. Nylon is hell… I THANK GOD for the fact that I am not a woman for the simple reason that I would not have been able to wear pantyhose/stockings. When is my turn to fold the laundry, I will leave my wife’s pantyhose. I cannot even touch it with the tips of my fingers. Mostly I would prefer to be the “toucher” that the “touchee” I cannot wear new clothes before it has been washed at least once. I hate the way fabric softener makes my clothes feel. Certain “silky” textures can be just as bad as “rough” textures. I wash my hands a lot to get rid of the feeling some textures gives me. DON’T TOUCH MY FACE! DON’T TOUCH MY HEAD! I cannot wear something round my neck. If you want to torture me, force me to wear a polo-neck. I once took of my wristwatch during a 2 week holiday. I have not been able to wear it again since. It is not so much the taste as the texture of certain foods which bothers me. Certain smells which are not obnoxious to others will make me gag. Certain noises not noticeable to others (clocks ticking, the refrigerator motor, the television if I am not watching) has the ability take me to the verge of insanity. Noise which may bother other people, I do not notice. I MUST have the radio on at all times. I do not understand why the radio and not the tv. I fidget excessively I get motion sickness

2 comments:

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks for commenting on my blog! I likee.
` And I must say o_O Wow. This sounds just like me!!! (Luckily, it's not as bad as that anymore, but still....)

Light touches and stroking are the worst. I find it totally excruciating. I will still be able to stand it if someone grips my shoulder firmly even if unexpectedly. I can hold my wife’s hand, but I cannot stand her touching my neck lightly whilst driving. At the start of our relationship I nearly overturned the car when she put her hand on my neck.

` I had a similar experience when my mom was making this weird whispering sound while I was driving that I HATE so much and she just doesn't get it!!! (Every time I tell her, it's like she forgets. Good thing she lives on a boat.) But I almost slammed the car into a tree just to shut her up.
` If you can imagine growing up with a horribly abusive dad who drives you to the edge of snapping all the time just by making you wear clothing you can't stand or making noises you HATE SO MUCH, then slapping you around when you're doing things to help you cope with it.... Well, that was my life.
` It's good to be an adult - we can make our own decisions most of the time.

Spear said...

Yes, this is the one thing that is better on Ritalin, but it is the one thing which still bugs me from time to time.

Please do not think me insensitive, but I lauged so much when you described the ordeals you went through when buying clothes when you were little. But I could so identify with that. It always ended with my parents screaming and me crying.

Your description of how the blouse with the ruffly sleeves makes you feel had me crying with laughter. The problem is... it is impossible to make someone understand that clothing which irretates you can cause you to cease functioning entirely. I have tried to explain to my wife, but if you have never experienced it, I can see that it can be hard to understand. The best I can do is to compare it to the teacher with long fingernails scratching the chalk board in class to get the class's attention. It is that cringing feeling one feels at that screeching sound.

The whole tactile defensiveness thing is a bit of a misnomer, because it involves extreme sensitivity in all the other senses as well.