January 26, 2018
I’m experiencing sensory overload lately. The triggers are difficult to identify and sometimes appear out of nowhere. When I overload, I experience an incredible fight/flight response that causes me to erupt in an angry outburst. Does anyone have any advice to help with this? I’ve never been an angry or disagreeable person, I taught 7th grade for 26 years before the MonSter decided no more, for Heaven’s Sake.
Erin Rush Admin
February 5, 2018
I am sorry you are dealing with this particular issue, BuckeyeCurt! I can see how it would be very frustrating! Many of our members deal with bouts of sensory overload. One of our contributors recently wrote about anger and MS. It thought you might find his piece interesting -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/do-i-sound-angry-might-not-be/. He discusses the problem of sounding and acting angry when he may not, in fact, be angry. You might be able to relate to his words.
Also, the sensory overload issue is a pretty common one within the MS community. Really, if you can start to find your triggers and either avoid them altogether or design some coping mechanisms ahead of time, it may help you combat the fight/flight response that overload is triggering. Whether it's removing yourself from a situation, closing your eyes, wearing sunglasses, or (my personal favorite) wearing headphones or earbuds but not actually listening to anything through them; whatever it takes to help you manage sensory overload is fair game.
So, with fight or flight responses, your body is probably dumping a nice bunch of adrenaline into your system. So, that adrenaline energy has to go somewhere. Hence, the angry outbursts. If you can't avoid the sensory overload, trying to get some of that energy out may help. If you are able to do some mild exercise or even some deep breathing exercises, those may help release some of that adrenaline from your system and help you relax. Another one of our contributors has written about her sensory overload triggers and how the overload may manifest -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/sensory-overload/.
And while these tips may not help in "the heat of the moment", I thought some of the suggestions in this article might spur some of your own ideas for combatting your body's stress response -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/7-ways-to-fight-stress-and-anxiety/.
I hope this information helps! Thanks for reaching out and good luck!
Best, Erin, MultipleSclerosis.net Team member.
February 24, 2018
Erin Rush i could kiss you.
I have been having this now fight or flight response, its horrible like my adrenaline energy is out of wack and i feel awful and anxious and yes sometimes it comes out with irritation. I feel really weird too and kind of scared and want to rush off somewhere. I have learnt to try and calm it down with similar things you use.
My doctor just said it was anxiety issues now i know different. I really find it a weird experience and found it difficult to explain. Now i know its common in MS i can deal with it. I will tell my care giver now as she was worried about me.
Phew never thought i could lay this one on the door of MS.
Erin Rush Admin
March 7, 2018
I am glad this information was helpful for you, mrsaristotle! MS definitely does come with quite a collection of interesting issues! Thanks for commenting and for being a part of this community! Best, Erin, MultipleSclerosis.net Team member.