Sensory Overload

Ever since I started having problems due to schizophrenia, my senses have been thrown out of whack. After my initial psychotic break, my senses have been fluctuating to rather painful extremes. It was like that character from Edgar Allen Poe’s the Fall of the House of Usher. I would often confuse certain sensations with delusional ideas I had because I didn’t recognize the feeling.

I remember one day when I got caught in the rain. each drop felt like an electric shock and I found it hard to move because of how intense and painful the feeling was. And people would talk to me so loudly that I would just stay in the library on my campus to keep things bearable. Not to mention that when I looked at people I could see their aura or some kind of outline around them.

It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I still get overwhelmed by my senses. Especially my sense of touch. Do you have problems with your senses?

1 Like

Yeah, I understand. I had a hard time with seeing faces in everyday objects. Faces that moved forward towards me. I’d sit very still for many hours, hearing others talk in my house when alone. I sensed entities like an air current swirling around me as I sat in the dark, for hours on end. It not only affected me, my cat would howl, growl, puff up, then slowly slink away from the current.
I look back on pictures that I took back then, and still see the same thing.

This is exactly WHY I can’t take showers. I take baths. Rain is easier for me now… good thing where I live. But showers?.. Too painful, too loud, too uneven, too much… much too much.

A bath is much easier to gently ease into. It’s not loud and it’s not water hitting me.

I have tried to use this story to explain things and hardly anyone I know reads Poe. My parents are both teachers and they have read it. My sis and I are book worms so she has read it. But very few others and I think it portrays the symptoms very well.
Poe is my guy.

I will still have a few spikes were I’m sensitive to light. When I was in one of my relapses, everything was too loud, the hum of the lights… the fridge sounded like a lawn mower getting started in the room. Everything was too bright, everything was too much. I sat in a dark closet a lot just because it was dark, quiet, and I could re-set. I still head for a closet during a panic attack. Everything starts getting loud, bright, big…

Touch is still a very tricky game for me. If someone puts their hand on me for a few moments and then walks away… I can still feel exactly where their hand was for about an hour. There are times were I can solidly feel my kid sister’s hand in mine, only to See that she let go 10 minutes previous.

It sort of freaks out my brain when I can “feel” her hand in mine, yet she’s walking away. I always panic a bit there. “How can you be over there and holding my hand at the same time?”

I have learned how to not freak out when that happens. The plus side… Her hugs stay with me for over an hour. It gets confusing for me.

If someone takes my hands and let’s go… My brain feels a set of hands. But then if the same person put their hands on my arms… now my brain feels four solid hands.

If that same person puts their hands on my shoulders… now my brain feels six solid hands. The person has 6 hands… then it takes some work for me to concentrate and let it ride. I don’t get massages it’s far too much… it’s not relaxing. It’s freaking me out that I feel 100 hands on me.

I DO NOT LIKE it when people touch me - hand shakes, people placing their hands on my shoulders etc…
Its nothing personal, it is just sensory overload. @Djinn I love The Fall of the house of Usher, one of my favorites

Noises really affected me. For a while I would just sit in the house all day for days not moving just so it would be quiet. I get overwhelmed really easily. You’ve all got my interest peak about this Poe guy :wink: . I’ll add that to my list of stuff to read when I’m able to.


I get very overstimulated by sounds and visuals, like blinking lights. The hardest place for me is the grocery store checkout. There are so many sounds and fast movements. It really sets me off.

Even at home, sometimes I can’t watch certain shows or movies. And when they set me off, I have to turn off everything. And just sit in silence for hours to recuperate.

So I definitely have to moderate my stimulation.



I know what you mean about supermarkets, before i was on seroquel that’s exactly how i felt when i’d have to go to the store. It felt more like a casino than a supermarket.

I can handle loud envirionments but not -noisy- environments if that makes sense. if its a steady loud sound like at a grain elevator, I can handle that, but if its LOTS of sounds like in a manufacturing plant, I can not handle that and next thing you know i’m hearing voices again through the earplugs and seeing violent imagery. But loud music is okay if i am in the mood for it.

I get overstimulated psychically by groups of people, so I spend as much time away from crowds as possible. The one place I willingly go that has a crowd is one particular coffee shop in the populated city nextdoor. I put my headphones on and either draw or do something on my laptop. I like the atmosphere there, and can handle the crowd if i have the adequate distraction to put myself somewhere else. It reminds me of a few of the coffee shops i used to visit back home in Oregon. Lots of local art, and a college crowd.I forced myself to spend time in social situations like that in an attempt to get over my social anxieties and drawing was one of the ways i kept my sanity while doing it, and now i have a thing for drawing at a comfortable coffee shop to music.

I made the mistake of trying to work in a manufacturing plant a few years ago, where it was both crowded AND noisy and that caused my last breakdown that i’m still trying to recover from. I hadn’t had positive symptoms that really affected me negatively for about four years til then. stress brought depression, physical and psychic noise brought hallucinations.

My brain is very picky. sorry bout the wall of text there.

Yes, that’s exactly what happens to me: the overstimulation triggers my symptoms.

I can’t be around crowds either. I love going to the coffee shop nearby, but I have to go super early, or it gets crowded and noisy very quickly. I haven’t really found any distractions that work for me yet.

I’m glad you have drawing to help you out in those situations. Have you shared any of your drawings with the forum yet? I’d love to see some.



1 Like

I don’t think I have posted any yet, maybe one or two somewhere along the line. I just made a thread in the creativity forum with some, i’ll post more there.

1 Like

I can’t take touching from strangers. It’s rather startling.

My Mom and sometimes even my Dad can hug me, my kid sis always holds on to me and I’m Ok. It still feels weird, but I’m Ok.

There is one new person I’m getting used to so I’m trying to be more comfortable with what I guess is common contact. It’s still a little jarring but I learning how to deal with this and the new person is being patient with me.

As far as supermarkets… I can be in them and get some stuff, but it’s my sis who deals with the check out. I’m usually out of the store by then so I don’t have to do that part.

1 Like

Just the fact that you can be in a supermarket and get some stuff can be seen as progress. Good for you J

1 Like

crowds freak me out.

I’m sorry you having a hard week @BakedBeans

Has something been changing and make you stressed? Sometimes a dramatic change in the weather will get under my skin a bit. If we had a lovely week of cool, partially cloudy days and then all of a sudden it’s hot and bright, I have a hard time getting use to that for a day.

It’s too bright, and of course when the weather is warm, everyone is out driving around so it’s louder as well, and everyone has their window down, so I can hear what everyone is doing.

It’s just naturally noisier in the summer.

1 Like