Sensory overload. It's underpublicized, but for many, it’s a very real side effect of living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other chronic conditions.
A loud noise, a child’s scream, a crowded grocery store, or just too much happening around you. For someone with MS, triggers like these can cause confusion, heightened reactions, or debilitating pain.
We asked our MS community on Facebook to tell us how they cope with sensory overload. Read on for a few of their tips and suggestions!
“Try to find a quiet, dark room to just chill. Sometimes I have to go sit in the car on the driveway.” — Bonnie S.
“Aim for a quiet place … break time at work I try and sit in a quiet dark room so I can ‘breathe.’ It's not always easy to find time alone in a crowded work place, but I work my way around as best I can.” — Rosemary L.
“I get out of the environment I'm in ASAP. Usually go somewhere that is quiet and be by myself for a while. I try to avoid places and situations where there is a potential for this to happen.” — Michael O.
“May sound strange, but I try to zone out for a bit. Meditation helps if I can calm myself enough to get there. I have to get away from the source, like too much noise or too many flashing lights. But I have to remove myself and try to find calm … not always easy.” — Margaret M.
“Meditation helps if I can find some quiet. Catch 22…” — Chad L.
“The lights, crowds, and decision-making are also so hard on the MS brain. Enter … Amazon. Online shopping, a [great recommendation] from my neuro. Hadn't realized why going into a store was incredibly pressing and draining.” — Debbie A.
“Remove myself from the situation if I can. If I can't, I concentrate on my breathing. Slower, deeper breaths.” — Diane L.
“Ear plugs, avoid crowded places, and go to my room if I need to.” — Angela H.
“Remove myself!” — Bobbie M.
“Bathroom breaks if I'm not home. [I take] big sips of water and breathe deeply if I can't get away from stimuli.” — Lisha D.
“My husband and I both come from large families, so get-togethers can be loud and crowded. If I get overwhelmed, I just go home and go back to pick him up later. I no longer go to events and concerts that are crowded and loud.” — Bonnie W.
“Staying home when I know a place is too crowded.” — Rebecca D.
“I zone out completely when I need a break, or find the quiet room (normally a bathroom lol).” — Charlene M.