Overloaded (Again)

Overloaded (Again)

This sensory overload business can be so darned inconvenient at times. It caught me out tonight – wasn’t expecting it to rear its head at all. I was out with my wife at a friend’s birthday party. All fine until it got busy with loud music.

The trouble is that it all makes such demands on my faculties as I try to pick up what people are saying to me, while simultaneously attempting to block out everything else that’s going on around me, that I end up very quickly feeling drained and shutdown looms.

At that point I need to take time out – find somewhere quiet to sit for a spell – and “chill out”. (Literally chill tonight because I’m sat in the car and it’s none too warm out here.)

So right now I’m afraid I’m poor company and not much fun to be around. I’m managing ok out here, and some of my friends have popped by to see if I’m all right – that helps because it shows support from which I take strength.

It’s just unfortunate that at times like this I am unsociable – not antisocial – and just need a little space. I’d hate to think I’d put a dampener on anybody’s enjoyment of the birthday party.

2 thoughts on “Overloaded (Again)

  1. I get the same way, Ben. I was so thankful for there being no music at the little family get together for Christmas Eve this time around. Usually my husband's family love to play loud music and when that happens, I cannot possibly handle keeping up with the conversation and all the sounds coming in overload me quickly. I would be out in the car, too. I like that you pointed out that it's being unsocial not antisocial. I hope that people understand that. It's not that I don't want to be there but I cannot be in there with all the noise and commotion causing sensory overload.

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  2. Hi Bird.It's difficult to get other people to understand just how serious are the effects of too much sensory input. I find that while they agree that the music's too loud, say, they are able to compensate by speaking louder and seem to be able to pick up what others are saying over the din. They don't have to work so hard at filtering the signal out of the huge amount of background noise that they get exhausted in mere minutes – not to mention the extra cognitive load of trying to decipher meaning when you can't even pick up half the words in a sentence and must work to mentally fill in the gaps before you grasp what they just said.It's all so stressful that after ten minutes I'm desperate for some peace and quiet to calm myself and get back in control.

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