LIVING WITH SENSORY INTEGRATION DYSFUNCTION IN THE RAT RACE OF TODAY
As a medical doctor, I struggled to cope with everyday tasks and had to pace myself just to see all my patients; never mind doing all the other things that is regarded as important in everyday life, like having a personal life or meaningful relationships with friends or my wife. I was permanently overwhelmed even though I only worked from 9:00 until 17:00.
I started using medication to control my anxiety, but realized that there was something more to it. As a child I struggled with adapting to a busy school environment and was often bullied due to my inability to catch a ball, speak without stuttering and falling on the steps at school. Thinking back to my childhood years… I was truly awkward! I wanted a better quality of life and expected more from myself, but did not have the energy at the end of the day to do more.
I heard about Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI®) from an occupational therapist that I worked with and was instantly intrigued by it. I could see myself in a lot of the examples that she used and started wondering if I did not have a sensory integration dysfunction. When the occupational therapist explained that people who are sensory sensitive tend to be more prone to anxiety disorders and / or major depressive disorder, I realized that the chances are good that I have a sensory integration dysfunction.
I approached the occupational therapist and asked her to do an assessment. My questions were answered when the results indicated that I do have a sensory integration dysfunction. It did not come as a surprise and I finally understood why I could not go to a large shopping center, or why I could not catch a ball or run without falling as a child.
In the rat race of adulthood, I struggled to cope in traffic and often found myself anxious and stressed even before I started my day at work. Then, as the day started and the patients arrived; all the smells, voices and having to engage and smile at every single patient drained me to my core. I finally understood why I had no energy at the end of the day, yet blood tests and other specialized tests could not explain the reason for the lack of energy. It also became clear why anxiety medication did not really make a difference and that my anxiety levels stayed out of control.
I started attending Ayres Sensory Integration® therapy sessions and soon realized that I am not as anxious as before. The occupational therapist also explained that I am somatodyspraxic, and that my postural control is poor; explaining why I always felt tired. My body has to work much harder than another person’s body who has normal postural control. and I have, since starting with ASI® therapy, started specialize in psychiatry. Since starting with ASI® therapy, I have also started specializing in psychiatry. The occupational therapist made me a weighted blanket and I really enjoy studying under my weighted blanket. I am currently only managing my anxiety levels with ASI® therapy sessions and I have stopped my anxiety medication. I have also included boxing in my everyday routine and my wife finally understands why I behave in certain ways.
I still experience some challenges coping with the “rat race”, but I have included coping strategies in my life that assist me and I have more energy, I experience less anxiety and I sleep better at night.
ASI® therapy has truly contributed to a better quality of life to me as a medical doctor.