Wednesday, 12 June 2013

(Physical) Sensation, Touch, Pain, and Personal Space *Part One*

J And a picture of the sun setting over the sea, because I felt like it J

Okay, this might be a long one. Just a pre-warning, haha.

In the manner of someone for whom all topics are linked and nothing is off track, I started this out {in my head, since most of my blog posts are at least half written in my mind before I ever get around to putting pen to paper} as a simple, single topic blog post. However, it soon became evident to me that I needed to cover all five topics {yes, I know only four are written in the title, along the way between mind-writing and actual writing, I forgot the one that comes before ‘personal space} in the one epic post. I also have to differentiate that it’s physical sensitivity that I’m talking about in those post, not emotional or psychic sensitivity, or any other type of sensitivity that you can think up.
Physical sensitivity encompasses most of the topics I want to cover in this post. Sensitivity to touch, to pain {and, subsequently, pleasure}.  Sensitivity to hot and cold, even (I guess) sensitivity to taste, because that is a physical thing. And as such an all-encompassing topic, I’m going to cover it throughout the rest of this post, or really I guess that’s actually the only topic of the post. Maybe.
~*~ Oh, and pressure. That was the fifth thing that I wanted to put. I’ll cover that here, I think {and again, must specify, that’s physical pressure, not like peer pressure or anything} but I’ve fallen in like with the blog post’s current title so I’ll leave it that way. Or was it sensation that I wanted to add? Darn my memory, it’s throwing up all sorts of possible suggestions as I type!
Right-e-ho. On with the discussion.
This is a big one with Aspies, I think, and possibly a point of contention.  Do you like to be touched? Do you like to touch things?
·         Being touched: I personally get what I call ‘touch starved’ if I go without physical contact for too long. And mostly it’s only Hoppy whose touch I crave. I find that, I’m less discomforted when I initiate physical contact.
As a child I was a hugger.  Like, hugs make you feel better, right? A nice, big, tight hug. So I squeezed as hard as I would like to be squeezed in return. If I thought people were sad, or if I wanted a hug, I would hug my friends (as well as my family, but…) but eventually I got told off. Quite quickly, actually. I was about eight, I remember when the message finally got through to me. I was invading peoples personal space, I was being too rough, people didn’t like it.
The message came through loud and clear. People don’t like you touching them. Stop it. That is the first stage I remember withdrawing from people, because the message also seemed to be ‘people don’t like you’. I was hurt because I was being told that these hugs that I thought were good – I feel and felt good (inside and out) after a good hug – were neither good nor welcome at all. This may have actually been a turning point in my personality development. From “you’re different but that’s okay, let’s have fun” to “you’re different and that’s wrong stop being that way.”
 I didn’t understand why, it made me sad, so I stopped being nice. I let the mini stereotype of “bully” fall on me. I wasn’t terrible but I let my anger get physical more often than not.
I still hugged family but that was as far as physical contact went for… ten years. I got to the point where I felt gross when people were touching me, I flinched away, I because extremely (scream on contact) ticklish. The only people I felt okay touching me were close friends, people who had by their friendship with me, become classified as ‘not a person’.
And then along came Hoppy. It took a while but it’s not just the physical touch thing that has come back – although I’m still very restrained (restrained for me might be different from restrained for NT’s though) I’m more open and I talk to people and stuff. Of course, it’s not just the magical healing power of Hoppy’s touch {lol} either; it’s the combination of a lot of things.

·         Touching Things: I like texture (both physical and visual, but visual isn’t the focus of today’s post) and sensation. In short, I like touching things. I don’t really like the feeling of skin touching skin (there are exceptions to this case of course, I am a sometimes sensual Aspie woman) so I can’t sleep without pyjama pants on, a soft cup bra (those are the only things required, and aren’t required when in the bed with Hoppy). I get Hoppy to wear (as often as possible) clothes make of fabrics that I like the feel of – as a woman I find it harder and harder to find nice feeling clothes.
            As a mechanic/welder, Hoppy often has holes burnt into his clothes, and depending on the material I can’t stop myself from playing with the burnt/melted edges of the hole. I have trouble sleeping on flannelette sheets, especially when the fabric is pilled – am actually becoming a sheet snob, the higher the thread count the better.
          I’m fanatical about my pillows – resurrecting the pillows I’ve had since childhood is a vital activity, due to the fact that they don’t make pillows like that anymore and I hate all other pillows ever. I have a soft toy that’s filled with microbeads, a purple giraffe. I love the feeling of running the beads, underneath the material, through my fingers. I find it soothing.
          I like touching people’s hair, especially when I think it might be a different texture. I’ve learned to inform people of my intention/ask for permission because… yeah. The fact that I want to touch it at all is weird enough to them, touching it without telling them is worse.
          I don’t like seams. Some patterns in materials.
          Sometimes I like touching my nails. Touching things with my nails – but only in tapping ways, not in scratching ways. Touching my teeth with my tongue. Touching my tongue with my teeth.  I think I’ve mentioned (maybe?) that I was a biter when I was young. I still sometimes, gently, bite  myself. Touching my own hair – but I hate bodily hair, or my hair touching my face.
          After I severed the nerve in my little finger, the nerve hasn’t fully regrown or hasn’t regrown with full sensitivity. I like touching pretty much everything with the partial feeling part of my finger.
          Um… There are things that I don’t like touching but I can’t think of what. Coarse fabric. Um…
            I don’t like sweat, being sweaty, touching sweaty people or being touched by them. {Does anyone? lol}
             But I like water. Being in water, swimming, washing my hands, being in the rain. In fact I like pretty much everything about water other than the first part – the getting wet. I don’t mind being wet, I just don’t like getting wet. And that’s as well as I can describe it.

Touch. What else is there I can write about touch?
Okay, I guess the list of things I like touching could go on longer, and if I thought about it I could come up with a list of things I don’t like touching. To be honest though, this post has gotten a little off-track. I don’t think my original intent was to write lists of what I do and don’t like touching!
I will reiterate this point though, for all Aspies who don’t like being touched (although I know it may be a thing that’s true only for me):  If I initiate the (inter-personal) touch, I’m okay with it.
It may be different for me than other Aspies though, because I don’t know that I’m that averse to being touched. So long as it’s by people I like {and I’m not just talking sensual/sexual touches here} and it’s not by surprise and it’s not in a way that I don’t like. But I do prefer to be the one initiating the touching. I think that it takes out the element of surprise, and keeps the control in my hands (literally, haha!).
Well, I know that I said this would be an epic post, and I was right. It’s barrelling out of control and becoming too epic, too long, so I’ve decided to split it up into parts. So. Here is part one, now off I go to write part two!

No comments:

Post a Comment