There I was at the office, sat at my desk. A normal day. Listening to music through my noise-cancelling headphones: some classic 90s Manchester tunes from the likes of James, New Order and Happy Mondays.Read more
Overload is hard to describe to somebody who doesn’t experience it, because it’s not simply the physical pain from something being, say, too loud. Its effects run much deeper.Read more
This month, December, always comes with a mixture of anticipation and dread. It seems that for everything I enjoy about it there’s something else that taxes my endurance.Read more
I want to sink my sharp nails
Deep into my pale flesh,
Tear the skin from my face
And scream defiance
To my pain
In my mind’s eye
I see black storm clouds
Ripped by steel lightning
And raining blood
Of the silence
With gentle, open arms
I’m just going to relate something that happened to me today. I’ll warn you now that I describe self-harm. Read more
I’m sat here writing this and my focus is everywhere, darting around the room like a frantic animal seeking escape. I’m twitching, every little sound makes me jump.
So many sounds. There’s no escape. All outside my door here. All threatening. I’m terrified. I hear a bang (something dropped?) and scream! I’m alternating between holding my head in my hands and sobbing, and the rapid breathing of a panic attack.
My headphones don’t help. They don’t cancel everything. And even if they did I still feel the vibrations.
Literally. Every. Sound. I’m a receiver with the gain turned up way past maximum. There is no escape. No way out. I’m flapping my hands, I’m repeating, over and over and over and over and over and over, “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!”
And it doesn’t stop. I know how this ends. I’ve been here before. This is overload. Population one. My needle is pushed against the stop and every tiny increment is testing the strength of the fuse. It will blow.
I don’t know when. Maybe not even today, but at some point it will go. And I will be in meltdown. I feel it: some elements are leaking past my barriers. I’m trying to suppress it because I have to keep functioning. I have to keep going at any cost.
And I know that’s foolish. I know that the longer I strain to delay the inevitable the bigger the crash. And I still do it.
I’ve reached a lull. A brief spell where I can let the tension I hadn’t even realised was in my body dissipate. When I can breathe slowly and deeply. When I can rebuild my strength ready for the next assault.
Sensory overload is not something you get to switch off when it’s inconvenient. It usually comes on with a vengeance at times of stress. Talk about kicking you when you’re down!
This one has been building for a long time. Over months. The stress is why I’ve referred myself for counselling. I can’t write about it, not now, not yet. I’m not able to face those demons today. But one day, hopefully, I will.
Loud. Bright. Voice. Touch.
Stress. Retreat. Stim.
Loud. Bright. Voice. Touch.
All too much. Overload.
Wanting to scream,
But no sound comes.
Confusion. Ravenous fear. Feeding
On the mind’s elemental chaos.
One hope. One chance to escape.
One solution to calm the storm.
The clarity of pain washes through
Like a tsunami. Silent wreckage
In its wake. Peace has a price.