Like many survivors, I survived using my 5 senses. My alters learned to trust some senses more than others. This impacted our development in many ways; some senses became more acute while others stayed normal or became dulled or not trusted to provide accurate, reliable information.
WARNING…what comes next may be triggering for some readers. Please continue if you feel like you can read the rest of the story
That said, I have a hard time remembering faces and landmarks. All buildings and towns and cities look alike to me. Faces and details get blurred under stress. Trees become blobs, etc. I can see colors, shapes, symbols, words, and movements fine. Part of me says this is a survival skill developed to prevent me from being able to identify my perpetrators when questioned by authorities. Part of me says this is a survival skill developed so that I could function at school and other activities among victims and perpetrators without revealing secrets. Part of me says that I can’t share what I don’t know.
My hearing is acute. I can hear sounds that most people would not notice or realize existed around them. For example: buzzing sounds from mechanical equipment in office ceilings; mice running in the walls, under the floors, between the ceiling and the floor; neighbors playing music inside their house across the street; conversations in meetings behind closed doors on the opposite side of the floor from my cubicle; horns blowing outside on the street from inside my apartment with the windows closed.
The perpetrators used to blindfold me before saying or doing anything. Sometimes they blocked my ears too. Then put stuff on my lips and tongue or force me to eat and drink their “snacks” to keep me calm. I learned how to scent different chemicals and what they tasted like too by eating and drinking these foods. That is how I manage to avoid many of them now. Just smelling or tasting certain textures and flavors causes anxiety and fear bordering on panic. Textures against my skin and sounds have the same effect sometimes.
On the plus side, I now have the skills to read non-verbal language with frightening (to me) accuracy; can tell when unsafe people are around me; know when people are lying; identify sounds and smells that warn me of potential danger in advance; and find creative solutions to work/home problems that sometimes work better than standard ones that confound me.
I wonder what other survival skills came from changes in sensory perception. Something to think about when my mind needs to work on something…