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We've been cheated by ME/CFS and we all know it. That's a no-brainer, if you'll pardon the cognitive pun. And loss didn't just result from the bad things that befell us. It also encompasses the good things that just ... never came. The absence of bounty. Of wholeness. Of peace.
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Sensory Overload Problems

Discussion in 'Neurological/Neuro-sensory' started by Carrigon, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    I'm just curious if anyone else had the sensory overload from the time they were a child, before getting sick? That's what happened with me.

    I had the sensory overload problems as early as kindergarten. I used to puke in the lunchroom from it. And it wasn't panic attacks, it was sensory overload. I couldn't take being around the large, loud, lunchroom crowd with the noise and the smells and the lights. I'd literally get physically ill from it and they'd call my mother. I actually spent most of first grade and some of second grade having lunch in the principal's office. There were two or three other kids there with the exact same sensory overload problems. We couldn't take the lunchroom at all. I also had a problem with the gym. Somehow, I got out of gym class most of the time I was in school. It was the same thing, the noise, the crowd, the loud stuff with the games. Same thing with the music room. OMG, I can remember sitting in the music room when I was about four years old, kindergarten, and it was scary torture. Loud, noisy. It never worked for me. I was too young to know what sensory overload was or what a panic attack was, which it brought on. I think I spent from kindergarten up through most of high school in a state of panic because of it.

    But aside from the sensory problems, I wasn't physically ill at that time. I had energy, wasn't in pain, didn't have swollen glands. But it just makes me wonder if I was a ticking timebomb for this disease. Was I always infected? Was it childhood vaccinations? Some odd form of autism that has continued throughout my life? Just makes me wonder.
  2. bee33


    There's another thread (the need for quietness and solitude thread) that also brings up the issue that some CFS symptoms seem similar to autism spectrum symptoms. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome recently, which I have had my whole life (it's not possible as far as I know to suddenly develop it) and I have been wondering if the stress of dealing with it for so many years is somehow the cause of my CFS? It's a big leap that I'm not prepared to make with no evidence, but I'm very curious about any correlations between the two conditions.

    My sensory overload problems are not that bad, though loud noises bother me. I feel sort of like I'm under siege when there is something very loud around me. And stress causes me to have emotional meltdowns, which seem to happen not just in people with AS but also people with CFS?
  3. jewel

    jewel Senior Member

    In a less dramatic way, I have had difficulty filtering excess stimuli since childhood. There are many people with sensory processing challenges, but not necessarily to the level typically found in the autism spectrum. There is proposed diagnosis of sensory processing disorder, even, though I don't think this is yet formally recognized. Loud noises and crowded places, but it also depends. On a good day, neither of these bothers me.
  4. bigmama2


    FL, PA
    hey carrigon and all

    i never had sensory problems as a child or young adult. but now when my cfs is bad i have it. comes and goes with degree of cfs. i was out to dinner recently and in a flare and there were some little kids and their chatter sounded like nails on a chalkboard to me. i was gonna lose it! if i wanted a freakin chuck e cheese i would have went there. lol.
  5. Stone

    Stone Senior Member

    I have the same problems with overload but i've had to develop a few coping mechanisms that help sometimes. Wearing a visor, ball cap or wide brimmed hat cuts your visual field down by about half, and thereore the data coming into your brain. You would be amazed how much easier it is to think when you can only see half the world. We often have trouble filtering out irrelevant input. When I first got sick, driving took all my concentration because I had to constantly and consciously concentrate on what was relevant. The light poles and powerlines going by are not relevant but the brake lights on the car in front of me are. I still don't drive with the radio on very often, whereas before CFS I blasted the music all the time. Also, I will sometimes ask people in the car to please be quiet for a minute while I'm doing a complicated lane change or interchange or the like, then I tell them, "ok, sorry, what were you saying?". Photo grey glasses helped me too. They are slightly tinted all the time and darken in sunlight. Again, less visual stimuli, more brain power, less overall stress. Also, get over feeling like you're being rude if you ask someone to turn OFF the TV or radio when they're talking to you. It's actually rude NOT to turn such things off when talking to someone. In restaurants, always sit with your back to the door, so you are not busy tuning out the activity in the parking lot, hostess station and so forth, and don't be afraid to just reach up and unscrew the obnoxious lightbulb above your table. Wear comfortable clothing at all times. A waistband that's eating you alive or a sweater that's itching you to death is really hard to filter out. Skip the dangly earrings that jingle in your ears all day. Don't forget to only wear comfortable shoes, too. If you are conscious of your shoes when you're walking something's wrong that needs to be changed. Treat your pain. No one can concentrate with invisible red hot knitting needles jabbing into their arms and legs. Avoid people with perfume on. Just say you're allergic to it or you have asthma or something they will understand and politely scram. Also, it's also not rude to ask your friends to unplug their plug=in air fresheners and put away the scented candles before you come over. If they are really your friends they won't mind. Learn to ask for what you need and want politely but without apology. People generally want you to be comfortable. If you are too cold, smile and ask them to adjust the temperature please. These are just a few suggestions, but you get the idea. It's all cumulative too. All of this lessens your continuous sensory load and raises your abilty to tolerate occasional spikes in sensory input like noisy children.
  6. Resting

    Resting Senior Member

    Stone, Those are great suggestions. I also wear noise canceling earphones when someone is mowing their lawn or to lessen the sound of my washing machine & dryer which are, unfortunately, just outside my bedroom. It is for ambient sounds so it won't work for anything high pitched, but it does help with low pitched sounds.

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