Help in dealing with sensory overload?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by CinCA, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. CinCA

    CinCA New Member

    Yes, I'm in one of those "bad"/flare-y times of my wonderful adventures in CFS-land. Honestly, it's more of the "so amped but exhausted" things, like my body is going too fast but can't slow down. I also am really getting sensory overload in a big way, with all the 100% new stuff in my life with our recent move. This week, hubby is away on business, and I really am wigging. I almost forgot to pick my daughter up from school today, and driving there, I had another episode of all my senses just being was all "too much". I've had this so often that I can manage it and know it will pass if I just force myself to not freak about it, but it still is not much fun.

    I know I have good reason to be so overwhelmed, but I also don't exactly have a ton I can do about it. I can't run to our old house, much as I want to see some familiar territory. I'm trying hard to get into a routine, although that is easier said than done with the business trip and even my 4 y.o. daughter's school holidays recently (Valentine's, President's Day, etc.). She's adapting, too, and showing periodic signs of overload herself, poor thing. At least she is sleeping better at night, now that she is no longer napping at school (she was forced to at her prev. preschool). But I'm not, even with snoring hubby gone for 5 days.

    Any ideas? Thanks.

  2. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    that will be Klonopin (Clonazepam), does nothing in that dept. for me though. I use for occasional insomnia and migraines, doesn't make me sleepy at all if I have a migraine though.

    My best advice is deep breathing, from the abdomen. Do it rhythmically, focus on it. You don't have to be lying down or sitting either. Doing it in fresh air, even just your head out the window or door is even better, really helps chemical allergies taht way.

    Sound too simple? It's not, the physiological response in your body is high impact and there is not enough good that could be said for getting more oxygen, esp. in our condition. We are oxygen deprived already from hypercoagulation disorder and from the various bacteria and virii that thrive in an anaerobic environment. We are chronically deprived of oxygen at a cellular level, this not only causes pain and sucks the energy right out of us, but our condition of chronic pain tends to make us habitual shallow breathers.

    I suspect the sensory overload that so many suffer from is at least partly a direct result of chronic oxygen deprivation, to the brain and to the cells.

    for herbal relief, I highly recommend St. John's Wort. it is even better for anxiety and pms than it is for depression.

  3. CinCA

    CinCA New Member

    Yes, the deep breathing does help...I try that whenever I get really stressed (or just when I remember in general). I also am going to start yoga back up again.

    I don't see an M.D. or even have a PCP, and I have worked so hard to get toxins out of my overloaded body that I really want to steer clear of pharmaceuticals. That being said, oh, how I long for some Klonopin, etc. samples sometimes, to get some remote sense of "calm". But I know for me learning internal ways to control stress will work better in the long run, as I have a long history of drug sensitivities. I even tried St. John's Wort several years back and got the worst headaches from it.

    I did get my cal-mag supplements in the mail today from my dr.'s office, now 2+ hours away. One day turnaround...I was impressed as it was just sent U.S. mail (and they covered shipping). I took one today and another tonight...hopefully that will help with my general amped-up sensitivities and my restless sleep. We'll see.

    I'll try some more deep breathing before bed. Which should be now...I was up way too late on this site yesterday evening. Thanks again for the suggestions!
  4. lease79

    lease79 New Member

    I suffer from this all the time & like you try to 'ride it out' & not freak, which I can do unless it gets really bad.
    Deep breathing is good. Breathing deep into your diaphragm. I find that if all else fails I HAVE to lie down for a while & it gradually improves.

  5. shep

    shep New Member

    If you can take a long hot soak in the tub it will help you relax.
    Put a couple of cups of Epson Salts and a bottle of Peroxide in the bath water. Listen to some soothing relaxation music while you soak.

    This helps me relax and clear my mind, especially before bed. The salts and peroxide will soak away any sorness in our muscles.

    Hope this helps. I don't know any thing else to recommend to you to use during the rush hour of the day, except the deep breathing .. it is about all you can do during driving time and the hurry rush hour life we all have to deal with.
    Keep us posted on how you are doing. WE CARE.

  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Hot soaks, deep breathing, meditating, etc. help with exhaustion, which in turn, can help in all areas of our illnesses.

    Strong sensory overload is often associated with a slight state of seizure and an antiseizure med can help most people. As Jeanne pointed out, it doesn't help everyone but Klonopin has been a God send for many of us here. It also helps with insomnia, anxiety, tinnitus, RLS, muscle spasms, and jaw clenching.

    The down side is that the body does develop physical dependence on the Klonopin if it is used regularly. One must very, very slowly wean off of it if one quits taking it. Physical dependence isn't the same thing as addiction but some docs will tell patients that Klonopin is addictive because even docs don't often know the difference. I've been taking the Klonopin for more than four years without problems.

    Love, Mikie
  7. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    that's too bad you had a bad reaction to it. What form did you take it in? I've noticed it can make a big difference from product to product. I take St. J pills, caps or tabs, but if I get the Jamaison brand (which I generally despise) it totally doesn't work. If you think it's worth a try,you could try tincture, which many swear is the best way to take it.

    There is also 5HTP, which is a supplement form of tryptophan, which was used as an antidepressant sleep aid in the med community. Also Sam-E, is in the same category.

    You'll see soon if the cal/mag has any calming effect on you. Many say it does, esp. magnesium, doesn't for me though, just feels like rocks in my gut and makes me constipated. But magnesium is the #1 supplement for FM it seems. So you could try a pain killing formula of it called magnesium maleate, which is mag and malic acid, m.a. being the natural chemical in pectin. If you have high heavy metals you may have a detox reaction to it like I do, because pectin chelates toxins from the body.

    I'm such an oddball, so malic acid or anything w/ pectin, like marshmallow root (which is so soothing on a sore gut and for heartburn) will end up giving me more pain because of the chelating effect. But it can be an amazing painkiller for many.

  8. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    I don't need to much anymore, since i've been healing my adrenals w/ natural glandulars, a natural alternative to taking hormones or steroid medications. but taking away all stimulous did help alot.

    I was under the impression you get your episodes when you can't necessarily do the tucking yourself away thing though.

  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I also had cognitive behavior therapy and therapy to reduce stress. It can be very helpful. The problem comes when the sensory overload is caused by slight seizure activity in the brain. Like Lamotta, that is when I bring out a tiny dose of the Klonopin and it really does help.

    As my health continues to improve, I notice that I have baseless anxiety and sensory overload less and less often. Now, it usually happens when I'm not feeling well and am quite fatigued. When I feel this way, I'm not out in public and am home where I can control the stimuli for the most part.

    Love, Mikie
  10. CinCA

    CinCA New Member

    Unfortunately, though, the sensory overload almost always appears when the absolute last thing I can do is to get away from it all, much as I need to. For example, my last episode was earlier in the week on my way to pick up my daughter from preschool. It's a 15-20 min. but 15 mi. drive from where we're renting (but close to hubby's work)...not too bad, really, but occasionally the traffic is awful as it's on a very busy freeway. Fantastic school, nothing really closer (our daughter excels in the Montessori structure, and those schools are pretty spread out here), and it's a block from my new gym, so that's also a good incentive. But that day, traffic was backed up due to a minor accident, and just with all the brake lights, bright sunlight that day (in my eyes despite sunglasses & window visors...low winter sun angle), etc., etc. it all just seemed to be too much. All the colors were magnified, the sunlight was painful, I had to turn off the radio because the sound was so amplified, etc. And I couldn't go home and was pretty much trapped on the freeway, not even an exit ramp for well over a mile, with traffic creeping at maybe 5 mph max. Anyone who lives in or has been to the greater L.A. area knows this can wig out just about anybody having a bad day. I thought I could handle it after the couple of times it took me 4 hours to get from the new house to our old one (about 115 mi.), 2 1/2 to 3 of those going not even 50 miles, but that day it just really set me off. You can see why I said I can't exactly just run home!

    In that situation, I found just doing the deep breathing and trying to "check out" for a second and "go inside myself" (kind-of like mini-yoga meditation), while still being aware of traffic, did help after a minute or so. I also do have some homeopathic stuff that works sometimes.

    I am more looking for ways to keep it from happening. Honestly, I think it will just take time, as I settle in here and the new becomes more familiar. I've been pretty much on auto-pilot all week, shuttling from one thing to the next, and it seems okay although I know I'm exhausted (never sleep well when hubby's away). Fortunately, he comes home tonight, which will make my daughter very happy. I do appreciate the helpful hints, and I definitely will keep them in mind, esp. when I can manage to squeeze in some time for myself! Oh, a warm bath sounds wonderful tonight, but I'm so tired just climbing into bed sounds better!