Sensory Overload: Why is the world so loud? (plus some fun news)

Thanksgiving was hard. I meditated and tried to get my head in a good place before leaving to go see family, but once we arrived I found it very difficult to be around a larger group of people. The noise and overlapping conversations were so overwhelming that my anxiety shot through the roof. My hands were shaking so badly that food was falling off my fork. When I finally finished eating I retreated to another, quieter room fighting back tears. It was rough but I don’t think anyone noticed. 

As I’ve mentioned before I get overwhelmed pretty easily. I do have ways to cope with it – usually with meditation or by taking a break from the situation – but I felt this instance was particularly difficult. Maybe it was because it was the first time I was around a large group of people since my relapse and starting a new medication.

I’ve always been sensitive to noise. I don’t know why but my coworkers are really loud. When we have all-staff meetings or get-togethers it becomes very boisterous and I find myself in the same situation I was in at Thanksgiving – overwhelmed and fighting back tears.

Does anyone else feel this way? Why does everyone have to be so loud?

This has prompted me to try a new way to cope. I ordered a pair of earplugs that buffer sound instead of blocking it out. I want to find a way to not be overwhelmed while also not completely disengaging. I think in certain situations they might be helpful although I am a little worried about offending people. Maybe with my messy, curly hair, no one will notice that I’m wearing them.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Do you deal with any sensory sensitivity? How do you cope?

Now my fun news: I found a local shop to sell my artwork. I am taking my flower paintings there after the holidays when they decorate their showroom for spring. I’m really excited about it! It’s always nerve-racking to put yourself out there but at the same time, I’m proud of my work. I’m trying not to get my hopes up but a little extra money would be nice. 

Fellow artists, tell me what you’re up to!


  1. Katydid says

    Congrats on the shop placing your pictures! I hope you have a lot of interest because you’re good!

    I’m sensitive to noise levels, too. Noise for the sake of noise is just intolerable.

  2. SailorStar says

    Noise cancelling headphones? Ear plugs that look like ear buds? People think you’re just on your phone when you’re damping them down.

  3. brightmoon says

    I live in NYC. Noise is just a minor annoying thing I live with. The real pain is the flesh and blood neighbor who thinks he can sing who belts out Spanish language songs a 3am when he’s a little drunk. If it gets too quiet I can’t sleep. Every time I visit my grandmother’s property down south , I can’t sleep because it’s too damn quiet. No traffic noise, no sirens, no teens blasting rap music, (sigh)

  4. Jazzlet says

    I think the noise ameliorating ear plugs sound like a really good thing to try. I hope they work as you want them to for you!

    Despite being brought up with five brothers plus various others I find being in groups of more than about six very difficult, it’s when the group break into more than one conversation I have problems, it’s been getting gradually worse for years and may be related to hearing loss – I find it difficult to distinguish what the person speaking to me is saying from things that are being said in other conversations. Also I only have so much energy and other people use it up faster than if I’m alone, the more people there are the faster it goes and I have to find a quiet space for a while. Finally both things are made worse when it is large numbers of my family! So although I’m getting my ears tested, even if I do need hearing aids I doubt they will entirely solve the problem. All of which is to say you have my sympathy!

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