Emotional and Sensory overload - the relationship

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quaker
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22 Aug 2017, 4:34 am

I would be interested to hear from people in the spectrum on their experiences of how emotions and sensory input relate to each other, and thus cause overwhelm and meltdown.

For example, do you find that the one affects the other?

This is my experience. I find it almost impossible to separate the two. It's like they are two stems of the same flower, so when the storms of life blow, the whole planet moves as one.



quaker
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22 Aug 2017, 4:36 am

I would be interested to hear from people in the spectrum on their experiences of how emotions and sensory input relate to each other, and thus cause overwhelm and meltdown.

For example, do you find that the one affects the other?

This is my experience. I find it almost impossible to separate the two. It's like they are two stems of the same flower, so when the storms of life blow, the whole plant moves as one.



quaker
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22 Aug 2017, 5:03 am

Oh, should have said. I am much more interested to hear your experiences and not so much your opinions or theories.



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22 Aug 2017, 5:23 am

I am not sure exactly what you mean, but I can try to explain what I think you might mean.

I can become sometimes (it happened this morning totally and utter overwhelmed, flooded with with intense emotions so strong I feel them phyiscally. Sometimes they are so strong that I have to isolate myself in the same as when I have overloaded for too much information, bright lights big crowds, too many demands, building too hot and the struggke if trying to filter out all off this stuff and the radio at the same time, i.e dark room, no sound.

A large emotion reponse can send me a little out of kilter for the rest of the day...I feel remote, distant

I don't know if that helps or not.


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SaveFerris
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22 Aug 2017, 5:35 am

I'm not diagnosed so can't say , but if I'm anxious ( is that an emotion ?) I am more likely to get a sensory overload and then they feed into each other . But for me it's almost always an emotion or a stressful event that leads to a sensory overload , I don't remember a time where a sensory overload wasn't related to an emotion but I am not very good about being self aware and knowing exactly what's going on ( and I am always anxious so that be the reason ) .


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22 Aug 2017, 7:29 am

Anxiety is a feeling but I don't know if feelings and emotions mean the same thing. Now that you mentioned it, I am curious.

I find that when I am emotionally overloaded or taxed, my sensory sensitivities are stronger. I become more sensitive and more vulnerable and much more affected by sensory stimuli much more quickly. If I have emotional overload, there ere are times when I cannot tolerate any sensory stimuli at all, not even for a moment.


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22 Aug 2017, 11:51 am

Whenever I'm overloaded by my senses, I can easily be pushed into a meltdown by an emotional event on top of the sensory overload. One time we had a Pep Rally at school, and I was really overwhelmed when I finally got home. Then, my mom said I had an appointment with my psychologist, and I had a meltdown (not full-blown, just a mini one) because I couldn't put up with the overload plus the appointment.


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23 Aug 2017, 12:43 pm

I don't think they are as intertwined for me, but yes they are connected, negative emotions definitely coincide with sensory reactions. It starts with feeling overwhelmed by heat and then my hearing, sense of touch or my eyes become very sensitive. The more pain and discomfort I experience the more irritated I feel.
E.g. Feeling upset and then too warm I might notice that the neck of my jumper suddenly feels tight, this choking feeling leads to a pressure in my head and the jumper has to go!
I wonder if it works the opposite way for anyone, where positive feelings lead to sensory happiness.



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23 Aug 2017, 1:46 pm

Yep....heat does that to me, too.

Sometimes, if I'm not dressed warm enough, cold as well.



MJH82
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23 Aug 2017, 6:12 pm

For me there is little difference at the time, the overload is all consuming and inseparable. In hindsight the triggers are usually quite easily delineated however if it is a sensory trigger the symptoms subside pretty quickly after the fact (e.g. moving somewhere quiet) however if it is an emotional response the effects can last much longer, sometimes even years. To get back on the question asked with examples, a sensory issue such as going to a loud hot bar feels horrible at the time but going outside to the quieter beer garden or somewhere else i come back around almost instantly. Where as at my wedding I melted down at the stag do and still cant talk about it and was in a state of comatose for a full week before the wedding day, still unable to look at any of the photos from the day now.


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23 Aug 2017, 7:14 pm

Well actually. when i meltdown from sensory overload i cry but NOT because im sad or angry, it just comes out that way. I really dont understand my own actions and emotions enough to justify them. sometimes im in physical pain without knowing it.


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quaker
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23 Aug 2017, 11:08 pm

MJH82 wrote:
For me there is little difference at the time, the overload is all consuming and inseparable. In hindsight the triggers are usually quite easily delineated however if it is a sensory trigger the symptoms subside pretty quickly after the fact (e.g. moving somewhere quiet) however if it is an emotional response the effects can last much longer, sometimes even years. To get back on the question asked with examples, a sensory issue such as going to a loud hot bar feels horrible at the time but going outside to the quieter beer garden or somewhere else i come back around almost instantly. Where as at my wedding I melted down at the stag do and still cant talk about it and was in a state of comatose for a full week before the wedding day, still unable to look at any of the photos from the day now.


Yes, I can relate to how emotional overload is far more complex to get out your system. I suffer from cPTSD and when I feel overwhelmed from a sensory perspective, I simply remove myself from the stimulus and it easily passes. Emotionally, it's far more complex and the effects longer lasting.