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Is this common? Low stress tolerance, crowds and noise overwhelm

Discussion in 'Cognition' started by Pyr2, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. Pyr2


    My main cognitive symptoms are not memory ones. In this latest crash, I find it very hard to multi-task, feel stressed out by the littlest thing like which order to make my kids sandwiches in the morning. Today I was in a crowded grocery store and I almost left the cart. I had to ask a question about an item and her explanation was so long I lost track and wanted to run. This is really really scaring me. Is it a form of
    dementia? I know I keep asking the question but I am 47 and wondering why this
    extreme and severe anxiety is taking over 24/7. I had to be put on medication and I still feel like Im going crazy in my brain. Is it because Im still trying to be active and not resting. I am functioning at about 50% of my usual.

    Just wondering if stress intolerance (extremely low) threshold is normal.
  2. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl But I Look So Good.

    Left Coast
    Pretty common. Overstimulation. Hyper sensitivity to sounds.

    I also found out that I had MCS. every time I was in a grocery store I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown from the pesticides and all the other toxic stuff I was breathing.

    I'm sure not resting is not helping and will only end up biting you in the butt at some point.

    Forcing yourself past your limit is the number one worst thing for us.
  3. Maria1

    Maria1 Silence speaks volumes

    My inability to multi task has been one of the most disabling symptoms of this illness. It feels like a stress reaction, but I don't think it is. I went from being able to juggle all sorts of complex work projects and run a home with two kids, to being unable to cook fish fingers and baked beans, due to the multi tasking involved.

    I never even noticed what was involved in functioning normally until I couldn't. So now I can see how complex the brain must be to be able to get one hand to hold a carrot while the other hand peels it. When I'm at my worse the act of one hand peeling causes me to drop the carrot.

    It's as if whatever part of the brain can hold several thoughts/tasks at once is the part most severely affected. I find it really frustrating, and really frightening. I can understand how you wonder if it's dementia. From reading on here, I can see its symptomatic of ME/CFS but I have felt very alone with it otherwise.

    For me, the noise and crowd intolerance is all part of the inability to multi task. My brain can't take anything that demands it's attention away from just keeping it on whatever it's concentrating on, whether that be just sitting, or shopping, or even watching TV. If anything else intrudes into that and demands brain activity, it just adds to the exhaustion. It's always bad when I'm in a crash.

    It has been a long road of pacing for me. Of learning how to live at a much reduced level and slowing right down. Giving up supermarket shopping really helped. I couldn't understand why something so normal felt so impossibly draining. Online shopping was somewhat easier but hard cognitively still. It's so hard when you have kids but you may need to completely rethink the way you are functioning.

    I'm doing slightly better right now. I rest a lot of the time. Think ahead so that tasks are spread out and can be done more slowly and in chunks.

    I'm sending you good wishes. This is incredibly hard to deal with and it sounds like you are going through a really tough time.
  4. Pyr2


    Thanks Maria, you described it perfectly. Although mine is marked by a feeling of edginess and anxiety - partially because I keep self monitoring myself ("my brain feels wrong" "I must have some disease") and partially because I was diagnosed with autonomic dysfunction. They said I had a lot of improper adrenergic issues so that may be why I feel so stressed as well. I keep wanting to find a cause for this whole mess and don't believe I don't also have some horrible disease. Well, Cfs/me IS a horrible disease.

    Today having a conversation with my husband hurt my head. Im scared but hearing everyone elses stories makes me feel better!
    panckage likes this.
  5. jimells

    jimells Senior Member

    northern Maine
    Many of us have impaired working memories and slowed processing. The neuro-psychiatric testing that was done for my Social Security Disability shows I have big problems in these areas. So not only do I have problems remembering the next step of a task, but too much outside information quickly overwhelms my brain's ability to process and ignore the irrelevant signals (such as the really annoying CBC radio program I had to shut off to write this post).

    I definitely can not handle crowds, noise, family drama, or fighting with idiotic doctors who insist my illness is primarily "psychological".

    You mentioned autonomic dysfunction. Do you have some form of orthostatic intolerance? I have POTS, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, and it appears that for me low blood volume is part of the problem. So if I am upright too long (standing or sitting), my pulse gets too high, I have heart palpitations, my hands and feet get cold and clammy, I feel very weak and sometimes I even start shaking, kinda like shivering from being too cold. I think some folks might experience this as "anxiety", a "panic attack", or even a "heart attack". But it is "only" ME.

    Yes. This is a point that can not be overemphasized.
    mango and L'engle like this.
  6. Dufresne

    Dufresne almost there...

    I recently lowered my PEM threshold as the result of two months of methylphenidate use. Initially the drug had raised my PEM threshold and my ability to handle more stress. But about a month in I believe I developed tolerance (reduced receptor sensitivity) to it, and then a sensitivity to the drug which negated its therapeutic effect. This caused the pendulum to swing back the other way. So there I was for a time with very little stress tolerance; too much info would make me anxious, angry, and depressed. When I was particularly sensitive I couldn't tolerate any stress or negativity whatsoever. I'd get possessed by the overwhelming need to flee even the subtlest stress. It was scary.

    So this went on for a couple weeks along with various PEM symptoms. Fortunately I was able to pick myself back up again and resolve this horrible state of affairs with a half a tab of Reboxetin, a norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor. I'm continuing to take this dose to stay stable. So far so good for the last week.

    What I've learned is this inability to handle stress I have relates very much to PEM and, I believe, involves the HPA axis. Low epinephrine activity made this much worse, and then supporting norepinephrine brought me mostly back to baseline.

    I'm not suggesting this is going to work for everyone's PEM but if your problem continues and you're desperate to find a way out you might want to consider a norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor. The nice thing about this class of drug is you'll know if it's going to work for you right off the bat. Some NRI's are: Wellbutrin, Reboxetin, Strattera.
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Even when I am not stressed this remains a problem. When I am doing very well I can serially swap tasks very fast, but that is not multitasking as I understand it, and quite often I forget I was doing some of those and wind up single tasking. When things are not so good I cannot even single task properly.
  8. jimells

    jimells Senior Member

    northern Maine
    Yes, that sounds all too familiar. :cry:

    With my POTS symptoms getting so bad and the new primary care doctor is almost useless, I am struggling to try to understand my disease a bit better, specifically epinephrine and norepinephrine and the profound effects they are apparently causing.

    No matter how much I study the Wikipedia pages, I'm just not getting any understanding of how they are different. Sure I can see they are slightly different chemically (although I only vaguely remember high school chemistry), but do they each effect certain adrenergic receptors more than others, and which ones are they?

    I'm interested because of this research which shows POTS patients (supposedly POTS only, not ME) have elevated norepinephrine, lowered aldosterone, but normal epinephrine and renin. The researchers are puzzled by the results because renin stimulates aldosterone production, so the ratio of renin to aldosterone should stay relatively constant, as I understand it. I can't make out if the norepinephrine to epinephrine ratio is usually constant as well.

    I shouldn't have to be studying this at all - there is at least one endocrinologist in Maine, because he examined me, but he was worse than useless and wrote in his report that I was exaggerating symptoms, which of course did not help my disability claim. Moron.

    I'm trying to understand this stuff in the context of Fluge and Mella's findings regarding auto-antibodies to the adrenergic receptors, and how all that relates to my particular symptoms. Although it would all be just more useless speculation about what's wrong with me.

    The idea that I can somehow make sense of this stuff in any useful way seems ludicrous to me. I just don't have the proper background, and I don't see how I can learn it with my brain being impaired by the illness I'm trying to study. It's even harder than assembling the hardware and writing software in C and C++ for multi-threaded telephony autodialers running on Windows. (and that was hard)

    Maybe it will make more sense tomorrow...:sleep:
    Hanna likes this.
  9. Pyr2


    All very helpful. Yes, just diagnosed with POTs and something called PPS (my para sympathetic system should decrease during valsalva and standing, yet it increases). Its paradoxical.

    Dr. has me on Zyprexa which blessedly gets me to sleep. I was having 4, 5 episodes a night of waking up gasping for air as I tried to fall asleep. Also on prozac (only a week) and Klonopin. Barely holding it together. My head feels tingly and weird. Will talk to my pscy about the norephinerphinre reuptakes - robexedtin, wellbutrin, etc.

    I have not addressed the POTS stuff yet. So hoping my December appts will get me under control with a beta blocker.
    Like right now, Im about 6 hrs into a Klonopin typing at the computer. and too much computer time makes me shaky and edgy.

    This is horrible.
  10. Firefly_

    Firefly_ Senior Member

    Oklahoma, USA
    i too lost my mind when I got sick. I was the owner of a 24 hr a day oilfield trucking company dealing with over a hundred calls a day, 35 employees, payroll, taxes, customers and sometimes after a full day in the office drove a truck all night then did it all over agian with little or no sleep. Add in one dog one cat one husband and a teenager and whew! Then I got this and couldn't even do basic math, let alone the companies books or hold any sort of semi intelligent conversation. Can't process information and seem to have some sort of amnesia I call it. I just say every day is a new day and my husband jokes that he can do anything he wants cause tomorrow I won't remember Used to have a genius I.Q. and now a 3rd grader would give me a run for my money lol. Sucks ass is all I can say.

    Also, I've always been a very even keeled person, not prone to high emotion or anxiety of any kind, but during the worst of my illness I felt like I was stuck in fight or flight mode. Had anxiety and jumpiness and also couldn't handle any sort of stress. I'm also in my 40's. I feel your pain sister. Hang in there.
    meandthecat and Hanna like this.
  11. meandthecat

    meandthecat Senior Member

    West country UK
    I have worked through this and am now coping well but reading the posts reminds me of how it was for the first 5 yrs. I remember once fleeing from a B&Q store where the combination of lighting and sharp edged shelving pushed me over the edge and I had to recover in the car park.

    Whatever you experience is real for you, it was the self-doubt that I found so hard to overcome. Reacting in strange ways to situations that didn't seem to warrant it and to the incomprehension of others.

    Removing must, should, would, could, ought, the modal verbs, from my thinking helped me deal with the reality of the now, which was more than enough.

    Sensory overload is extraordinary and debilitating and frustrating but for the curious offers a window into the psychology of a social species. Whatever I have experienced may be more extreme , or more subtle or overlooked than the usual but it is on the continuum of human experience.

    Most people's perceptions are dulled in our noisy and chaotic societies, they need super-stimuli. The complex and often contradictory stories used to sell everything challenge our sense of self, add to that, heightened perception, season with disbelief and a dollop inflamed nervous tissue..and......Hey Pesto , a right dogs dinner.

    I might seem comfortable with it now but I wasn't then. Things can get better
    Maria1 likes this.

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