Fibro and sensory overload

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by sk8enscars, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. sk8enscars

    sk8enscars New Member

    I apologize if there are other posts already about this. I tried using the search and it's ticking me off so I'm just going to ask. Is sensory overload common with fibro? I get really irritable to the point where I probably look like a psycho when there's too much going on. I just want to close my eyes, cover my ears and scream and run away. Such as being in the car with my husband driving out of DC. I can't not look at the road because I'm afraid of unexpected moves. When it's really busy I can't stand to have too much noise or other things to look at. My brain feels so overloaded to the point I take it out on my husband and get aggravated at him. I know this isn't a great example but I'm drawing a blank now. I'm a music teacher in DC so that doesn't help because there's always a million things going on. I just stand there staring sometimes while my kids spiral out of control because I can't get my brain to do something.

    If this is a fibro thing, does anybody have any metaphors or stories that might help someone without it understand the sensory overload aspect? Thanks!
  2. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    It's one of my worst symptoms. I can no longer be around alot of people because of it and stores kill me. It's too much input, sights, sounds, smells. The brain just can't take it all in or filter it out properly. This is a big reason I stay alone so much.
  3. hensue

    hensue New Member

    I could not even imagine the stress and noise alone from kids at school. then music talk about overload. that would have to be one of the worst sensory at school!
    i love kids dont get me wrong i have a sister who teaches and she is nuts! she knows it i told her i would be too! she calls sometime during lunch and i heard the kids in the background and told her know wonder her nerves are shot. She doesnt fibro!

    You have all the empathy in the world to me i dont even like music sometime in the car especially if it is loud.

    Just keep on like i said you will be rewarded!
    Thats terrible
    take care we love music it is wonderful and we love our music teachers. you can think back when you were young. there is always one thing i loved going to music.
    You always remember your teachers especially if they were special good or bad!
  4. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    Very common w/Fibro. I never knew it though - I just thought I was getting quite irritable and cranky. My main thing that bothers me is noise. I'm very sensitive to noise. It doesn't even have to be loud noise. I can hear everything and sometimes it bugs the crap out of me. - tapping a pencil, cracking knuckles, loud chewing - oh - it sends me through the roof.

    I have never liked anything that popped - balloons, those popper things, biscuit rolls - I literally have to leave the room and won't open them.

    The noise thing can hit me anytime too- too much talking, too loud of talking, too much background noise -

    Lots of people here have sensory overload - very common!!
  5. sk8enscars

    sk8enscars New Member

    Ah, I figured I wasn't the only one... just wanted to see though. Every little noise bothers me too. I can hear everything! My husband says I can hear a cricket fart from the opposite side of the house. I feel awful because my husband is hard of hearing so often times he doesn't notice little sounds he's making and meanwhile, I'm ready to scream. He's very understanding but I'm still trying to think of a way to describe the feeling. The closest I can come to is the feeling you have when a car alarm has been going off for an hour and someone waving a laser pointer around in your face.
  6. 2sic2mooov

    2sic2mooov New Member

    first, I am impressd that you can work with the number of kids you must. I have the sensory overload in most situations. going to the store with all the lights and people chattering...even the check out. Drives me crazy. Think of all the times you see movies where a person is frightened and the senses are over loaded...where the drip of water from a faucet sounds like a base drum...and like a person coming out of a cave and coming into daylight, how that just beats into your eyes and makes your head feel like it will explode.

    And anyone with kids, of ANY age can really put you through it! This is not the normal agitation and annoyance a parent gets when putting up with a child's not so good behaviour...or even just the normal parts of being a kid, like laughing loud and joking and wrestling around. It just gets me SO irritated. Many times its all in fun, but to me it sounds like an all-out WAR ZONE!
    Smells and vapors really get me too...just ALL of it coming at you at once is really like a storm hitting. ANd you have no control over it or an easy way to take shelter from it. It follows you everywhere because it is IN you. Then it is an implosion of feelings and thoughts and symtoms all at once. And then you crash.....

    PITATOO Member

    I am very sensitive to odors. I start to flush and get really anxious when near someone who is wearing too much perfume, odors from the detergents etc. at grocery stores.

    I am good with using fragrances made with all natural essential oils as a room scent etc., can't handle smoke at all, and I do love a good Cuban cigar but get really sick. I travel a lot and I get a theraputic massage at least once a week no matter when I am at. I can tell if the massage therapist is using the proper oils in the massage oils.

    Certain noises really get me, like babies crying, maybe that's normal. I am a music lover but when I feel "sick" I have to have complete silence.

    Also very sensitive to light. Even in the office with no windows sometimes I wear my prescription sunglasses. Of course I get a lot of comments. I am a computer consultant by trade and if I don't have complete silence I can't work well.

    I don't have any answers for what a lot of experience MCS? Or what can be done except stay away from triggers. One thing I think is that our bodies are already overloaded?

    Happy T-Giving all - Bobby
  8. goofgirl

    goofgirl New Member

    I have to vent. We went to a home for dinner today, and although we were supposed to stay the night, we had to come home early because I could not take much more there.

    First of all, there are a lot of animals (which we have as well, so that's not a big deal) and one of the cats has peed on all of the carpets (over many years). Hubby and I talked about it on the way home, and figured that there might be mold growing also, because they have wooden floors under the carpet.

    Then, the adult son who still lives at home likes to describe movies and tv shows as we are watching them, because he's pretty much seen everything and he talks over everything we watch on tv. So the tv is on, he is talking, and then everyone tries to talk over him! On top of that, he was watching that really horrible movie, "Jack*ss The Movie" full of really stupid idiotic people doing terrible things to themselves and each other... I seriously thought I was going to explode because of the smells, the talking, the movie, the sound of the tv, the pain, the headache.... aaaack!!

    It's amazing how things that have just been annoying in the past can become downright unbearable when you are in horrible pain and don't feel well to begin with.

    The only metaphor I can think of right now is it's as if someone is yelling at you, clapping their hands in your face, and lunging at you; flashing a light in your eyes, playing loud music in your ears, and assaulting your nose with terrible smells; all the while you are laying on a bed of nails and trying to block out the pain as well as blocking out and trying to respond to your environment. Maybe not a great metaphor, but how it feels to me none the less.

    And it IS hard not to take it out on those around you. Especially when you are in a situation where you can't just leave, or go outside for a little bit, or just get some peace and quiet somehow. I know all about that. My husband pretty much always has the tv on at home. Once in a while I just have to tell him, the tv needs to go off, if just for a bit to give my brain a rest!!

    I hope that helps; at least you know you're not the only one out there with this issue.

  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    It's not the only reason I take it but the Klonopin stops the slight state of seizure, which is common with our illnesses. This slight state of seizure is one of the reasons we can't get quality sleep. The Klonopin has helped my insomnia, sensiry overload, muscle spasms, tinnitus, and pain.

    Klonopin is in the Benzodiazapine Family and it can cause physical dependence and can be very difficult to wean off of. I have tried twice but have been unable to. I figure I still need it and will try again down the road. There is a good article by Dr. Cheney in the Library here on Klonopin. Like all meds, one should weigh the potential benefits versus the potential risks.

    Love, Mikie
  10. tabby8

    tabby8 New Member

    Having sensory overload as a symptom of fibro, that is. Three things that come to mind are: people talking alot and loudly in public, music that is not my taste that is playing, to me, too loudly, and shopping in large stores---too much to see, too much choice (does this bother anyone else?) lights are too bright, too much muzak and chatter!!

    Anything like the above makes me tired and irritable, and I just want to go home.

    Perhaps I'm being silly, but when I hear of someone in the justice system getting house arrest as a sentence, I laugh, because that sounds like a pretty cushy, and desirable sentence to me. You get to stay home!!!
  11. quanked

    quanked Member

    Talking, noise, TV, music, feet hitting non-carpeted floors, situational frustration, tires moving over pavement--basically any noise can send me to the edge. I escape to my room. Odors too and activity going on around me. Stores have usually caused me sensory overload for as long as I can remember.

    Now, this response to my environment can happen anytime and anywhere. And I, too, can become a screaming lunatic. I need silence and calm. I try to control situations so I do not end up feeling like I am going bonkers but I am sure most of know how well control works.
  12. goog1212

    goog1212 New Member

    This is me, too. The two biggie ones for me are touch and sound.

    I have to wear ear plugs at the mall, WalMart, or other huge stores. Between the thousands of people there talking, the overhead announcements, the music...It's too much. What happens to me sometimes is that it feels like my ears can't distinguish "foreground" sound from background sound, so my husband's voice right next to me and the hum of the dishwasher 4 rooms away have the same intensity to me. It makes me nauseous to be in large crowds or very noisy situations, because of this inability to focus my ears on one source of sound at a time. This doesn't always happen, just sometimes.

    As far as touch, well, my poor husband is going broke replacing all my wool sweaters with cashmere ones! I can't tolerate any seams, labels, buttons, etc. on my skin. Everything that touches my skin, from sheets to towels to clothing has to be ultra plush. Not nylon-y, either, but some sort of breathable fabric such as cashmere or brushed cotton. I found these awesome brushed cotton sweaters at Target for less than $20 a pop and bought them in every color!

    Sunglasses are a must for me, because light can be piercing if I'm having a flare. I also suffer from awful migraines, so that's a double whammy.

    Smells...ugh. My sister calls me Huckleberry Hound for my newfound smelling superpowers. NOT in a good way!

    So, 4 out of my 5 senses get easily overloaded. I hope taste is not the next one to go!
  13. Thia

    Thia New Member

    Wow! I never knew my sensory overload was related to fibro! I feel so normal now!
  14. Larac.

    Larac. New Member

    Hi, i am Larac. I have same issues as you--I have fibro since 2006 and i am still trying to understand eveyday what and why this happened to me....

    I have had ongoing head pain, that feels like my head will explode, sounds, movements, banging, being in the car, everything and everyone mkaes my pain seem to get worse, which I thought it could not get worse.... I would go to be with headpain and wake up withit--it was relentless--- I take midrin and if I can not stand pain anymore I take Imitrex 100mg, which I need to use sparingly, because I am only allow 12 tablets a month,,,,It just came out generic also.

    I also have left neck and shoulder pain, it feels like there is a fire burning none stop...I do not get much use of my left side....

    I wear earplugs and even head set from shooting range that was given to me by my brother-in-law who is a cop--I look funny, but anything to control head pain...

    I keep my left shoulder and neck area cover and as warm as possible, I use scarfs---heating pads, whatever works to be somewhat comfortable.....

    I get nerve blocks once a month from rheum---the latest one on nov 21st has been the best one yet, and I have been getting them for 4 years... I do get a little relief from these injections...

    I just want to have 1 day where no headpain and I do not have to be in a fog...

    I hope to hear from u soon---I hope this helps some...I have pharmacy backround of 20yrs and I am very knowledgeable of medicines....Larac...
  15. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    and especially vibration sounds, like the loud bass of a stereo, or a very loud car can send me into a panic attack.

    Sue in Ontario
  16. upnightowl

    upnightowl New Member

    to know others are going through the same kind of things and I am not crazy. I am having a pretty bad flare right now and this weekend my husband took me shopping. Or I should say tried to take me shopping. We went to this little shop where I have gone before and I had to leave immediately. There is so much neat stuff I got very dizzy and light headed. I was trying to explain it to my husband and I explained it like you guys are explaining sensory overload. It was like what my eyes were seeing , my brain could not keep up with.

    I have had problems with noise and light since I was diagnosed with fibro in 1999. But this is the first time I have not been able to shop. We went to the grocery store and the same thing happened as I walked down the aisle. As my eyes were looking at the shelves and walking, everything was moving and I could not focus on one item. I had to leave the store. Hopefully this will pass, or at least take a rest for a while.

    Thanks for the post,

  17. sk8enscars

    sk8enscars New Member

    interesting to read everyone's responses. I can't help but think that this was a problem for me as a child. I hated shopping. To this day my mom still talks about how miserable it was shopping with me because I could never find what I wanted and all i wanted to do was leave. Thinking back, I never enjoyed being in stores. They smelled funny, I was easily distracted and there was just way too many things to choose from!! I grew up thinking I was antisocial because I didn't want to be around too many people at once. Wow.... time to analyze some other aspects of my childhood........
  18. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Into early childhood and recognize omens of things to come. I think many of us are born with our illnesses and after our systems are stressed beyond their abilities to cope, our illnesses are triggered full blown. At that point, everything just gets worse. My Mom had FMS and probably her Mom too. Both my daughters have FMS and I have FMS and CFIDS/ME. Several cousins have strange immune illnesses.

    Love, Mikie
  19. gmom605

    gmom605 New Member

    i was dx in 2005 with fibro/cfs and have other problems,too

    like restless legs sydrome,,, i wasn`t like this at all everything

    makes me irritable,sometimes i think i`m going crazy it`s an

    awful feeling ,,the noise thing OMG i`m the same way as

    other people on message board ,Wow! it`s amazing how

    so many people have this problem ,,i feel for my husband

    but he knows that i`m not well i`m very lucky to have TTG.

  20. Engel

    Engel New Member

    I have extreme sensory overload and unfortunately non-FMS people do not understand this.