Monday, February 04, 2008

psychology, like medicine, is a dangerous field of study. just as med students have a tendency to misdiagnose their mild cases of bad hot dog as ebloa, the average psych student has roughly as many self-diagnosed disorders as chapters in his or her psychopathology textbook.

this time, though, I think I've found one for real. it totally fits.

sensory processing disorder. a neurological dysfunction of the sensory processing system affecting one or more of the senses - touch, taste, smell, vision, audition or movement. someone with sensory integration disorder senses normally but perceives abnormally. they may be hypersensitive, hyposensitive or unable to discriminate among incoming sensory information.

hypersensitivity to tactile information is known as tactile defensiveness. these people are overstimulated by touch information and respond with a fight-or-flight reaction. they may, for example:

- react to light touch as though being attacked (check)
- dislike being kissed and wipe off where kiss was planted (hehe... I totally do that)
- be distressed by dirty hands and have to wash immediately (check)
- dislike 'messy' things or handling food and touch only with fingertips (check)
- prefer certain fabrics and styles of clothes (i.e. no hats, belts, turtlenecks, rough jeans, pants that fit...check)
- avoid social situations (queen of check)
- be excessively ticklish (who, me?)
- be distressed by having nails cut, hair cut and brushed (oh man. crying fits every morning till I learned to do it myself)
- if oral defensive, they may be extremely picky about tastes and textures of food (big honkin' check)

all my idiosyncracies in one pile (or most of 'em, at any rate). it totally fits. and I really need to stop studying psychology in my spare time, though not before I look up the DSM-IV definition of hypochondriac...

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