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Sensory Defensiveness - Naked is Better


Phoenix Rising Founder
What can I say? the less clothes the better! I notice a small but still significant shift in my feelings of well-being when I go from long pants to short pants. I do better when I'm not wearing shoes. It's not due to heat regulation - doesn't matter if it's cold or warm.

What can this be due to? I can think it's allied to MCS - even know I'm wearing all cotton clothing. But it could also be just an overall hypersensitivity. I can't grow beards because the curly hairs are too painful against my skin. There's a book called something like Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Tight etc. about a disorder called 'Sensory Defensiveness' that has real parallels to ME/CFS. There's a problem called allodynia that's common in FM in which the skin reacts with pain to light touches.

I think there's something in common here. For me not wearing clothes helps!



Phoenix Rising Founder
When researchers talk of increased 'arousal' or vigilance or whatever these are the kinds of things that I think of; the body reacting to things it shouldn't have or overreacting to things it should react to. It reminds me of the study in which ME/CFS patients brains kept monitoring background noises while healthy controls brains stopped monitoring them. What if our systems are overmonitoring everything? heartbeat, skin sensations, body sensations? - maybe they are just constantly overreacting - that would be pretty fatiguing I would think. That would impair focus.

Is that why concentration is so difficult - because this 's constant barrage of signal input is making it difficult to focus? It fits in my case.


Senior Member

I have found this to be true for me too. When I was my sickest, I have to get away to a quiet place, less sound and also less visual activity.

I have also had times when my skin ... hurt. That is usually related to bouts of tendinitis, which I belatedly realized is connected to cfs for me. I used to think they were separate things but no more.

I have an area behind my right shoulder that's been sore to the touch for 4 months now. Started because for ONE evening, maybe 3 or 4 hrs, I used a straight back kitchen chair at my desk when typing. Had a case of tendinitis flare up that caused swelling in my arm and hand, and took a week to diminish. But the sore shoulder is still tender and sensitive. 'Course the more I type the more I aggravate it.

As to the sight and sound thing, even now, if I'm having a stressful day, or am overtired, (or eaten too many carbs like this week) I have real trouble again being around a "normal" amount of activity. Getting away from it is necessary.

I also find that summertime, with less clothing, always has a freeing, stabilizing effect on me. What you suggest could be part of the reason for it. And the barefoot thing, I have read is based in some science, as we mentioned in another thread. We pick up things we need from being in contact with the ground, and they have an effect on us.

Always preferred being barefoot. People used to make fun of me over it when I was a kid. But I did it anyway. It was like, even back then, I NEEDED to do it.


Senior Member
To all....

This is a big issue in people on the spectrum and just one more reason why I think CFS and autism is related. I also need to wear very comfortable clothing and feel better in light, loose fitting clothing. Before this illness I loved clothes and shopped for things that looked good without considering how they felt. To put it in very simple terms (how I like it), when you don't feel good all your senses are hightened and you look for comfort any where you can find it. I also overreact to too much stimulation such as noise and activity. My body just can't handle the stess. Just my thoughts.


Absolutely, me too......

I am easily overstimulated and quickly get into a state where I feel as though all my senses are being assaulted. It's quite uncomfortable - lite, sound and movement become unbearable and constant ringing in my ears becomes very lound and higher pitched - along with this comes nausea, frequent feelings of hot, then cold. Lights have to go off, the ceiling fan must trun off or it must be at least kept competely out of my peripheral vision or I'll throw up for sure. Bright sunlight will undoubtedly trigger a cascade of these stimuli if I am out too long - and that is even with dark sunglasses. Many times I need to use earplugs in situations where others would never consider it. I take them with me where ever I go. Of course I seldom go anywhere at all any more, but once in a while you haven't any choice. Overstimulation in this way can cause as bad of a crash as if I'd tried to tried to run around the block - even if all I did was ride in a car and didn't exert any energy other than sitting for a short while. The sun in Arizona is a major enemy for me. If only it wasn't so bright ALL the time - just a few high clouds to filter the brightness a little bit would be so nice.........
Oh and yes, the clothes must be soft and loose and lightweight and washed in detergents with no fragrances........oh smells can be so assaultive too. It's a scary thing to leave my own house anymore, because these things can be difficult to control.......barefoot is best or when I go out shoes need to have open toes and heels.......I feel like a bat living in a cave sometimes:eek: This is so NOT who I used to be just a few years ago.....to be fair it did come on gradually over the last 10 years, but it almost seems that nothing of me is left that I recognize......