It’s been four weeks since my daughter got married and there’s still so much to talk about. Yes, it was exciting. Yes, it was wonderful. Yes, we had fun. But it still amazes me how my ADD follows me everywhere, like a shadow that disappears only when we close our eyes at night (though ADD and sleep is another article for another time!).

Today I thought I’d share with you another ADD sensory story. This is a topic dear to my heart because for me and for many of you, ADD is more than attentional issues, more than procrastination and more than the messy kitchen and unfinished projects.

It’s also about feeling overwhelmed by sensory related experiences, i.e touch, smell, sound, etc.

I love my daughters. And I will do anything for them. Years ago when my oldest wanted to get her ears pierced but was afraid of the pain, I volunteered to have it done along with her. I didn’t share just how TERRIFIED I was at the thought of someone putting a hole in my body. But for her, I was willing to do it.

For this same daughter, I offered to go with her and her wedding party for the customary women-bonding pre-wedding manicure/pedicure. The only difference here is that she loves having her nails and feet touched. I hate it. But hey, it was our special time together and I wanted to be with her for every possible mom/daughter moment of her wedding weekend.

…. until I realized just how horribly painful and downright uncomfortable manis and pedis are (why are the words so cute when the sensation is so unpleasant??).

Let’s start with the minute we walked into the salon. We were hounded by a woman who pointed out the large selection of nail polish colors we were to choose from. Now, if I can’t decide between two brands of toilet paper, how am I to choose what color for my finger and toe nails? The options were mind-boggling. It was easy to eliminate blue, purple and fuchsia but that still left me with a thousand pinks, reds, mauves and more.

I finally just chose a color similar to my daughter’s and moved on to the next step: the torture chamber. In front of me where chairs lined up that looked like they came out of a Star Trek movie. Having never had a pedicure in my life (this is true), I had to watch my daughter for prompts. And she promptly sat down and went into some sort of meditative state as the technician began soaking and rubbing her feet. Trying to do the same, I closed my eyes too, trying to relax, but I couldn’t- the sensation of having a complete stranger messing with my foot was unsettling. Instead of calming down, every muscle in my body got tense. I couldn’t possible drift off into la-la land; rather, I stared at the production with curiosity and a little more than simple discomfort.

My feet were placed in scalding lukewarm water filled with some sort of gunk that felt like the bottom of an algae filled pond. I was instantly reminded of why, as a child, I utterly refused to go in lakes to swim.

Then came the scrubbing. As my daughter was sinking deeper into her relaxed hypnotic state, I went into hyper alert. What was this stuff being slathered onto my legs? I thought pedicures were for feet only! This substance felt like sandpaper dipped in pond water. I was not happy.

By now, the whole room was laughing at my contorted face and semi funny comments: “THIS is relaxing? People ENJOY this type of torture?”

The next step was no less soothing: toe filing and nail clipping. I wanted to apologize to my technician (I thought technicians fix wires and computers) for the years of toe neglect. After all, I’d been a jogger for over 30 years, which left my skin, pretty…rough.

I was worried that after this session, I’d end up with TMJ, but I made it to the next phase, which was way less traumatic: nail polishing. Finally, I could relax a bit. I didn’t feel as invaded, though I still didn’t enjoy the sensation of being covered in smelly liquid. Then she handed me some odd looking jigsaw slippers and I shot a glance over to my daughter who had been SMART enough to bring flip-flops with her. Wait, I don’t own flip-flops because I can’t tolerate the nubby thing that sits between your toes. I was forced to put these pseudo slippers on my feet. My steps were laborious as I moved towards the next station: manicure!

Another truth to be told: I have had a total of three manicures in my entire life. Why? First, because I need my nails short so I can work in my art and music studios, plus…I simply hate the feeling of long nails. Worse, I hate having my hands massaged by- you guessed it- strangers. But hey, it was my daughter’s wedding and I wanted to look nice. And these folks were experts.

I was instructed to put my fingers in a soapy bowl of water. Looking to my right and to my left, I saw women in pure ecstasy. I was so puzzled- how could this slime feel anything but horrific? But the worst was yet to come: the torturer started pushing and trimming my cuticles. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how women found this enjoyable. Are we a masochistic lot? After all, we do endure childbirth, panty house, heels and hair blowers. This, too?

Or…could it be me? Judging by the glassy eyed look over everyone in that room, I reckoned it was…me.

Finally it was over. My nails were gleaming with narcissistic pleasure and even I was pleased with the pretty colors on all 10 digits. I paid the bill and left the building, glad to have it behind me.

Now, I understand how ADD can make us super sensitive to various sensory experiences, and this certainly was one of them. However, the story doesn’t end here. To add insult to injury, as I was digging into my purse to find my car keys, I had already forgotten that my nails were still wet and within two minutes of leaving the salon, my nails were completely smeared and ruined. THAT part of my ADD I can understand: the forgetfulness, the impulsivity.

Did I go back to get them repaired? No way.

What sensory issues do you experience? Share them in my Forum, under Hypersensitivities. Where? HERE.