Problem with textures and fabrics. Shame and self-loathing.
So, I've had this problem as long as I can remember. This is the first time I've really tried to ask the internet for help. I get so embarrassed by it that I try not to talk about it much, but it kind of exploded on one of my sister's friends when she kept asking about it, and she kept saying "That's OCD. That's definitely OCD. I know a lot of people with OCD etc. and that's what it is." I'd never even considered that's what it was, so maybe you folks can tell me whether she is right or not.
See, I have this problem with most textures of fabrics. I've always kind of considered it a skin disorder because it didn't seem like the sort of thing that could just be in my head; my hands just feel so over-sensitized that anything rough is almost unbearable. Carpet makes me gag, wool makes me jerk away, pantyhose makes my skin crawl, almost anything aside from microfiber is absolutely panic-worthy. I've even had days where I felt so surrounded by fabrics that I had a panic attack and broke down, and I am NOT proud of that.
Here's where it gets really embarrassing- when my hands or feet are really dry, it intensifies the unpleasantness of the textures x100. (Just thinking about it is making me nauseous.) But when my hands are moisturized, it kind of desensitizes my skin to it, to where I can almost touch things like carpet with a grimace and grin and bear it. As you can see, it makes lotion completely indispensable to me. I can't get by without it or my days are unbearable; it's not like I particularly have a fondness for lotion or anything, it's just that it makes the whole damn upholstered world considerably less distracting and distressing.
This is kind of a problem for a guy.
It's really emasculating to have a need to put lotion on every few hours. I always have a bottle somewhere with me and I try to sneak away to put it on without anyone noticing, but my closer friends always notice and sometimes they give me a real hard time, which bothers me more than I let on. Luckily there are some scents that are masculine or neutral so at least I don't have to go around smelling like lavender and candy all the time.
I know this is such a ridiculous problem and it seems so silly and trivial but it really does play a big part in my life and is a huge inconvenience. There are times when I run out of lotion and go on a rampage through the house looking for anything and have panic attacks, and let me tell you there's nothing worse than getting stranded at a friend's house without lotion and sitting there rocking and trying to keep my breathing normal; I think that night ended with me putting peanut butter on my hands or something. Not pleasant.
And here's the grossest part: Washing my hands is almost completely out of the question unless I've done something really nasty, because it zaps my hands of their natural moisture so hardcore that I have to reapply lotion every few minutes for like an hour until they reach an equilibrium again, and I can't really touch ANYTHING until my skin feels "normal again" and it becomes a huge waste of time and lotion. I can't wash the dishes without rubber gloves, I fear going swimming because I know I'm going to be on the beach in my skivvies putting lotion on my hands in front of my friends for an hour afterwards, etc. So the only time my hands really get washed is when I take my shower in the morning and then my hands are useless for a while until I get enough lotion back into them. I'm ashamed of that, but if I washed my hands all the time I could go through a bottle in a couple of days and I wouldn't get anything done!
I've never really heard of anyone else with this problem and I kinda gave up on it a couple years back, but it would be kind of cool to know there's at least a diagnosis, and maybe even a solution (though god knows I have no idea what that would be.)
Re: Problem with textures and fabrics. Shame and self-loathing.
There is a condition known as "sensory integration disorder, SID, formally known as Sensory Processing Disorder, SPD:
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.
Many people are misdiagnosed with either OCD, ADHD, or other disorders.
This entity has a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms, too many to name here. Sheck it out online, many doctors do not recognize the disorder primarily because it was first described by an occupational therapist.
Last edited by ms_mod; 06-12-2012 at 05:32 AM.
Reason: Removed posting rules violation. Ms_Mod
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Re: Problem with textures and fabrics. Shame and self-loathing.
WOW!!! I seriously thought I was the only one in the world that has this lotion thing. I'm glad that I'm not. When I was 5 years old, I remember that I would stay in the bathtub for hours, never wanting to get out, because i hated how my hands would feel once they were dry. They felt prickly and itchy, and this uneatable soft chalky gross feeling. That feeling puts my stomach in knots and seriously makes my heart pound and my breathing heavy. My mom got tired of me constantly never wanting to get out of the bathtub and hearing me complain and freak out because my hands felt weird. So one day, she squirted some lotion into my hands and, once i rubbed them in, the feeling went away. it was a relief i had never known. Instantly, i was hooked. Since that day when i was 5, i have been putting lotion on after drying my hands ever since (i am 24 now...so it's been quite a while).
I also noticed when i was little that lotion remedied the horrible feeling that playing in the sand box made my hands feel. so i would put it on then too. (imagine a 5 yr old carrying around a little bottle of lotion to the sandbox...dear god).
so i can relate with you completely on this. i don't really have a problem with fabrics, but things that give my hands that "dry" feeling similar to what happens after drying wet hands. i hate touching flour, or anything rubber or latex like (like a balloon or rubber ball, or dish gloves). and sand is horrible, along with baby powder, chalk, and metal and wooden stair railings (i think i can feel the dirt that's accumulated on the railing, giving my hands that "dry feeling). so anytime i touch anything like this, i have to apply lotion.
so no, i don't think you're weird and i'm not laughing at you because i have been dealing with this nearly my entire life. i don't know if it's OCD, or what. i have never gotten it checked out. don't be embarrassed to have to apply lotion though. i look at it this way--i'd rather be able to function than to look "cool" and not apply lotion constantly (or at least it feels like i'm doing it constantly).
oh, and a tip for the future: you said that you were at a friend's house and you needed lotion and didn't have it right? well, that happened to me once (i think it fell out of my purse and into my friend's car somewhere). what i did was went into the bathroom and put some of that liquid handsoap on my dry hands and rubbed it in like lotion. (dish soap works too). it made my hands sticky for a little bit, and i would have preferred lotion, but at least it took away the "dry"feeling. i would rather feel sticky than dry.
oh, gosh. i have never written this, or told anyone about this in this much detail I originally answered this so as to make you feel a bit better and ensure you that what you have written doesn't make you seem crazy or anything like you were afraid of. but, i am afraid that in setting out telling you about myself, i am doing the opposite. you're probably thinking, "who the hell is this crazy person??"
....now i'm beginning to feel that i may be a bit crazy =(
anyway, at least you know that there is someone else out there that has a similar issue. best of luck to you.