The depression and the mattress topper (an SPD tale)

Today on the blog I'm talking about my Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and how sensory memories impact my everyday life and my mental health - most recently with a new mattress topper triggering a depressive episode!

A couple of weeks ago, my Mum bought me a new ultra comfortable mattress topper. We’re always on the lookout for things that will help to calm down my sensory experience at the moment, from noise cancelling headphones to snuggly jumpers! The new mattress topper made my bed super soft and extra comfy.

Also over the past couple of weeks, I had a depression relapse. It happened very suddenly and out of the blue – I went from doing pretty okay to feeling really, really awful. My mood was very low, I was sleeping terribly and having nightmares, I had no energy and could barely get out of bed, and weirdly, even though I’d barely thought of him the previous month or so, I suddenly felt the pain of my ex-boyfriend’s absence as if we had just broken up all over again. I expected the depression to lift, but each day it seemed to get worse and worse! Mum was sure this was somehow tied to my sensory processing disorder (SPD), and set about trying to figure out the link.

Just over a year ago now, my Mum and I were living in Singapore. I went over there for a year long study abroad (and to be with my Singaporean boyfriend) but I became very unwell a few months in – with severe depression and anxiety, and SPD as I now know. I had to drop out of uni, but I was too unwell to make the trip home, so Mum flew over, and we ended up living a very strange, scary existence in hotels for several months.

A couple of days ago, Mum realised that my bed with the mattress topper felt very similar to the bed in one of the hotels in Singapore – and that my depression relapse lined up with using the new mattress topper! I was sure this couldn’t be the cause, because I liked the new mattress topper, and also because it just seems CRAZY that a cushiony sheet could possibly cause a depression relapse, but night before last, I changed back to my old mattress topper… and yesterday I woke up feeling completely fine!

In fact, yesterday I did yoga, got my haircut, picked up some library books, painted a new card design, went for a walk and started knitting a scarf. The previous day I literally couldn’t get out of bed!

I’ve felt intuitively for a while now that because of my SPD, my memories are very intertwined with my senses. I miss Singapore so much, but I struggle to face sights, sounds, smells or tastes that reminds me of my time there, because it takes me right back, as if I’m actually there, and all the pain and hurt comes rushing back. I have all these sensory imprints on my memories, which is often confusing! But usually I’m pretty aware that it’s happening – this is the first time something has impacted me so severely and directly without me being consciously aware of it.

I’m constantly learning more about SPD and how it affects me – it’s like I just unlocked some new bonus content 😂 😂 😂 Now that the ordeal is over, I’m feeling pretty amused about a mattress topper causing a depression relapse, and I’m very relieved to be feeling back to my regular self!


  1. Margarita says:

    Wow!!! This was so interesting to read, thank you for sharing! I’m so happy that you guys figured it out and that you’re feeling a lot better. It totally makes sense, even though some people wouldn’t understand. Three cheers for your mum!

  2. Soly says:

    So glad you’re mum’s got a keen detective mind, and you guys figured it out!

    Glad you’re feeling better 🙂


  3. Divya says:

    Wow, I’m so glad you guys managed to figure it out and that you’re back to creating again. Soly is right, you’re mum has a great detective mind. Hehe I’m just imagining you having this tale as a cute comic. But I can’t think of a cool detective name for Caroline…

    • Sarah Alleyn says:

      Thanks Divya! 💖 Hehe that would be so cute!! I’ll have to have a think about a name!

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