View Full Version : Sensory overload - what to do?

11-13-12, 09:31 PM
I'm guessing there's lot more people besides myself who suffer from sensory overload. I can't process information or focus on something when there's TV or radio playing in the background and people talking to me at the same time.

I despise shopping for clothes at the mall because there's way too many distractions! Too many people, sounds, clothes to choose and try on to see if they fit. Usually they don't cause I'm 5'2 petite with large chest.

Driving in a car with other people who talk while the a/c is on, which bothers me a lot, radio is on playing some stupid music that bores me...usually, just makes me wanna jump out!!

Is there a way to cope with this? Meds don't seem to help in this area and popping Klonopin doesn't help either...cause I just want some peace & quit!

11-13-12, 10:14 PM
When you don't need to communicate, ear plugs, or headphones with white noise or enjoyable music playing. (I use metal/alternative stuff, fast, more complex than pop music and blocking out a wider range of frequences at once.)
Or, of course, going away from the noise can also help. Like stepping out on the balcony during a party. Like, noise breaks? They don't fix the problem, but they help keep the stress bearable.

When someone might expect you to communicate, tell them not to expect you to talk to them when there's a lot of outside noise because you can't understand them and their expectation stresses you out. Ask people to mute the radio/tv before talking to you. Stress that you want to concentrate on what they have to say, and find it disrespectful to half listen to something blaring in the background.

Of course, it depends on the culture/group you're in whether they will do that immediately. But people I think are worth interacting with tend to comply when I calmly tell them I can't understand them, and demonstrate it by repeating the garbled nonsense I hear when there's too much background noise. (It's often funny, too.)

With clothes shopping, I can only stand it when I have a good idea of what I want beforehand. So, if I need a winter coat, I imagine the color and rough cut and price range I want. And then I only look at those ones that fit my idea. Maybe I find something else I like and can't ignore, but I just let it rest and return the next day after thinking about it and maybe changing my plans. Somehow it's easier to just look at stuff to get an idea of what they actually have, and know I won't make a decision yet.

Does that sound weird? Yes, I find it a lot less stressful to go several times, and only look at a few items each time, than to go once and have to decide that very day.