Something I find a little odd.

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Lost_dragon
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30 Sep 2019, 4:17 pm

I started my second year of University recently. Unfortunately, I got overwhelmed in one of my opening lectures. Not the best start, thankfully not the worst either. With all the new information and sensory stimulus, I had to recover as soon as I left the lecture theatre. I had to walk through a cafe' area to get to the toilets so I'd be somewhere quiet. My head seemed to be buzzing and I felt somewhat similar to how I usually do when I'm overwhelmed. I remember grasping my forehead and saying "Oh wow, I'm so overwhelmed right now ugh," to no one in particular.

As far as being overwhelmed goes, it was a tame experience in comparison to my typical ones. Usually I experience more derealisation, discomfort and exhaustion. Whereas this time the recovery was quick and I didn't break into tears. Perhaps this was more of an information overload / stress induced overwhelming situation rather than a sensory one. Although the glaring lights of the lecture hall didn't help.

I find it interesting that this event caused me to retreat, yet a few days later I went to a rave and didn't experience an overload. However, I had one in a trip last year which was definitely induced by sensory information. It led to exhausted crying and when I tried to function with others it backfired. The recovery was much slower.

Hmm. I mean, I'm glad that I didn't freak out during the rave. That would've seemed strange to my new friends. I just find it odd that it didn't. Although, they'll probably see me get overwhelmed at some point or another. It's somewhat inevitable that people who hang out with me enough will experience me having an overload.


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kraftiekortie
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30 Sep 2019, 4:32 pm

Maybe it’s because you like raves?

I believe that overstimulation might not harm a person so much if it is pleasurable overstimulation.

When you feel happy amid the tumult.



naturalplastic
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30 Sep 2019, 4:45 pm

I cant imagine how a college lecture could possibly give a person "sensory overload".

Even if it were in a big auditorium, and the professor were using slides.

Sorry.

I just don't get it.



domineekee
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30 Sep 2019, 4:54 pm

Maybe it was nerves, I found raves fine too



Trogluddite
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30 Sep 2019, 4:58 pm

As well as each different kind of sensory stimulus affecting me differently, I think there is something to what Kraftie said; the context of whether something is enjoyable, chosen, and/or under our own control can make a big difference.

I can be driven up the wall by a dog barking a couple of blocks away sometimes, yet I've been able to play in punk bands and go to gigs (interacting with people would still be a problem, but not the loudness of the music). Even with something like a vacuum cleaner or electric drill, it's much less likely to overload me when I'm the one using them (so I know I could make it stop any time I wanted), and much harder to bear when someone else is using them (the stopping and starting is unpredictable). Sometimes I even find that the anticipation of a sound, knowing it's likely to happen but not when, can be as bad as the sound itself for making me really anxious.

(I just used sound as an example, as it's usually the one which affects me most; but I think it applies to all sensory and emotional sensitivities).


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Lost_dragon
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30 Sep 2019, 7:27 pm

-Trogluddite’s post about being in control of sensory stimulus and/or enjoying it because CAPTCHA doesn’t like it when I add multiple or long quotes.

You both (Trogluddite & Kraftie) might be onto something there.

-Naturalplastic commenting his confusion. The same thing about the CAPTCHA.

As I mentioned in the original post, perhaps this was just general stress. I sometimes find that when I'm stressed, little things that otherwise wouldn't bother me stand out more. (People whispering, flicking things with their hands, strong lights etc). I just notice things more, and alongside the stress, I have an urge to leave. So in that particular case, I don't think it was an overload as such, or at least not a direct one.

In comparison, last year when I went on that trip I mentioned before, the sensory information played a more direct role leading to feeling overloaded. There were lots of different foods, which meant that there were a lot of conflicting smells colliding in the air. Music was blaring. People were talking. The room started to feel cramped. My head felt as if it were swaying and soon my body was. I began to feel uncomfortable, a sense of derealisation started to creep in. Then I felt tense and stressed. I tried to calm down, stay as much as I could in the situation, but I knew it was no use. After that, I had a strong desire to flee. I often do when I'm overwhelmed. So I went to recover in a public toilet. I ended up rocking back and forth, flapping my hands. Then I cried since I was mentally exhausted. I felt tired several hours later and ended up snapping at people who tried to have a conversation with me. To the point where I yelled some barely comprehensible nonsense about pasta sauce and ran out the room. I, uh, yeah I regret that. Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking clearly at the time. :oops:

The lecture situation wasn't too bad. It was a quick recovery, and the sensory stuff seemed to play a lesser role. When I was at the rave, I was more worried that I might end up having a reaction that was more in line with what happened on the trip. Thankfully, I didn't.


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