I feel crazy sometimes.
It’s really hard to describe. And to be honest, crazy isn’t the right word for it. It’s just what society has pushed for us to use. Almost like an excuse. Almost like a cop out. It isn’t a good word, a healthy word. I say it in reference to myself because it is negative. When I say that I feel crazy, it means that I feel out of control. Like I’m losing my mind. I get overstimulated. Things become intolerable. I feel like I cannot handle anything. Like the world is burning around me.
A lot of this has to do with vulnerability factors. I believe I have mentioned before how I have sensory issues. Stimulation of the senses in all forms have an intensity threshold that seems lower than others’. I can only take so much. Other factors can come into play and make that threshold lower than my usual: hunger, sleep deprivation, energy deprivation, etc.
I almost feel like my tolerance has become less in the last 6 months, but maybe I’m just noticing it more. Therapy has a way of making you aware of a lot of different things you do, think, or feel. This awareness ultimately helps you to diminish problem areas. I’m not sure if my sensory threshold will ever be as high as other people’s, but I’m sure I will learn how to handle it better as time goes on.
Last night, it got really bad. After my first full week of working two jobs, there was something going on every single day for about a week and a half. This last Sunday, I didn’t have anything planned, and I didn’t want to interact or see a single human being. I was committed to that ideology all the way up until a friend asked to hang out at Starbucks and, after no response from me, told me that they were going to hang out there. I felt compelled to go, I felt obligated. I ended up pushing myself too much, and I think that was why last night went so wrong.
Last night, and on every Monday night, was writer’s group. A gathering of writer’s from the area who meet up at a Starbucks for 2 hours. It’s how I have met some wonderful humans who have added a lot to my life here in St. Louis. Unfortunately, I ended up getting irritated and overstimulated very quickly. I didn’t even stay a full hour. I couldn’t stand the stimulation, and the bombardment seemed constant. There wasn’t a moment of silence, which is to be expected in a Starbucks, but even in our small group of 4 there was constant chatter about one thing or another. Their energetic presences just seemed to be overwhelming and unbearable. I needed calm. I needed quiet, focused energy. And, I wasn’t going to get it there.
Unable to stay any longer, I left. With leaving early, you draw attention (in this case, unwanted). With leaving early, you are irritated that you bothered to drive out there in the first place.
I left feeling crazy.
As I walked to my car, I felt the energy surging through my muscles, and my head swam with it. I got to my car and broke down. My head felt like it was drowning in the stimulation and the cicadas outside weren’t helping. Even after removing myself from the environment and the majority of the stimulus, I was left sitting in my car and feeling out of control.
I ended up texting my therapist, explaining the situation and not really knowing what to do. I couldn’t call her, and I’m glad that she didn’t need me to immediately. Although I don’t mind calling her for coaching as much as I mind calling other people, more auditory stimulation didn’t seem to be the answer. She suggested deep breathing and distracting myself with a game on my phone.
So, I played a game, and played, and played. Trying to just focus on the game and my breathing. Sometimes, my muscles would tense up again, and I’d have to refocus. Then, after awhile, I felt at least okay enough to drive home. Well, until I got down the road, and other driver’s caused me to feel dysregulated again. After I made it home, and up to my apartment the exhaustion set in. Who knew that a mere 2 hours away from home can exhaust you so much?
However, I calmed down quickly in my sanctuary, Leo greeting me and distracting me by wanting to play. I dreaded today as the start of my work week again. But so far, it’s going okay.
I don’t feel crazy right now, and that’s what matters.
How about you? Do you have a problem with overstimulation? If you’d like, you can reach out and we can bond over this! It isn’t easy living in our society where the noise is constant and tends to suck all of the energy out of you. Just know, you aren’t alone in this, and I’m sure I’m not alone in it either.
Note: Never use the word crazy in reference to another person. It isn’t a good word. I used it here to denote how negative it can sound and how unproductive it can be to think of people in that way.