Overstimulation In Adults: How To Deal As A Highly Sensitive Person

By Anni

Overstimulation in adults?  Whaaat?  Isn’t that a kid thing?

Well, yes.  It is a kid thing.  But if you are a highly sensitive person (HSP), sensory overstimulation is something you deal with for your whole life.  Even as an adult.

The word overstimulation first entered my consciousness roughly seven years ago with the arrival of my oldest daughter.  Like many overwhelmed new parents before and after us, my husband and I quickly discovered that if you let your baby become overstimulated – if you let her underdeveloped sensory system become overloaded with too many stimuli at once, like, say, going to the mall – your otherwise happy baby will not sleep.  And incidentally, neither will the parents!

After another sleepless night with the baby, I first said it jokingly: I think the mall gives me a hangover too.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this wasn’t a joke.  I actually DID get something like a hangover after going to the mall, the state fair, a concert, or any other event with crowds and a lot of sensory stimuli.  And it had been happening long before the baby arrived.

Shortly after that realization, I stumbled upon Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You and the puzzle pieces started coming together.  My history of unexplained headaches, exhaustion, and depression could all be traced back to this little fact: I was a highly sensitive person.  And because I am a highly sensitive person, my brain and my body get easily overstimulated.  And when I let myself get overstimulated too frequently and for too long, I break down.  Both mentally and physically.

I get headaches.  I get stressed.  I get tired.  Everything starts irritating the shit out of me.  I become a slobbering mess of hopeless tears and misery.

Discovering that I was a highly sensitive person was a major breakthrough for me.  At least I now knew the root cause of many of the issues I had been struggling with!  And I knew exactly what I needed to do to make myself feel better.

But still, learning how to manage overstimulation has not been easy and has required a lot of trial and error.  Learning my triggers.  Learning my limits.  Learning to predict when I’m about to cross my limits.  I’m still not perfect at managing all of this, but I have gotten a LOT better.

So if you are a highly sensitive person who struggles with overstimulation, I want to share with you what I have learned.  I want to share with you 17 things that have helped me deal with the overstimulation that comes with being a highly sensitive person.  I hope that at least some of these tips help you too!

Sensory overstimulation in adults is something a highly sensitive person (HSP) has to deal with on a daily basis. Check out these tips for managing overstimulation from someone who has been there.

How To Deal With Overstimulation In Adults: 17 Tips For The Highly Sensitive Person

1. Know That You Are Not Alone

Many of us highly sensitive people have gone through life feeling like there is something wrong with us, like we are weird and weak.  Different from most other people.

And it is true that we are in the minority.  But you should know that you are most definitely not alone.  Elaine Aron, the above-mentioned author of The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, estimates that between 15 and 20 percent of the population possess the highly sensitive trait.

So why haven’t you met that many other highly sensitive people?

Because we don’t walk around advertising it.  Most of us have learned to hide it.  To blend in.

But we are here.  You are not alone.

2. Understand What Is Happening In Your Body

Simply understanding that I’m a highly sensitive person and how my highly sensitive brain and body work has made it easier for me to deal with it.

One of the traits that distinguishes highly sensitive people from non-HSPs is depth of processing.  Both consciously and unconsciously, we tend to take in more information into our brains and we tend to process it more deeply.  And because our brains process more, we also tire out quicker.  Our brains get overloaded and we need a chance to process the overload before we can take in more.

Our nervous systems are also more easily aroused than non-HSPs’ nervous systems.  This means that the same amount of stimuli that can make a non-HSP feel “just right” can make a highly sensitive person feel uncomfortably aroused.  The non-HSPs’ “just right” is too much for us.  We start feeling flustered and distressed.  And again, having our body go into this heightened state much more easily and more frequently results in us getting tired quicker and needing more rest.

If you want a more detailed look at all the ways sensory stimuli can overload you, check out Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World by Sharon Heller.  Some highly sensitive people who have learned to love themselves exactly as they are would disagree with the over-arching theme of this book, which frames sensory sensitivity as a problem to be solved and I lean toward agreeing with that criticism.  But I think this book is still valuable in explaining the sensory systems and cataloging all the ways your senses can become overloaded.  So for that reason, I would recommend this book.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself To People Who Are Not Highly Sensitive

One of the things that has been a major struggle for me is learning to focus on my own well-being and to stop trying to “keep up” with non-HSPs.

It really doesn’t make sense to compare ourselves to non-HSPs.  Studies show that our brains and our nervous systems work differently.  It’s like we are almost our own species.  This is truly a case of comparing apples and oranges.

4. Learn To Appreciate The Gifts That Come With Being A Highly Sensitive Person

Highly sensitive people have survived evolution for a reason.  Although we have this pain in the ass overstimulation to deal with, our high sensitivity is also a gift.  Ability to notice subtleties.  Deep thought.  High levels of empathy.  These are not bad qualities to possess!

The better you take care of yourself – the better you manage the overstimulation – the more of your gifts you can share with the world.

5. Know Your Triggers

For literally decades, I was getting overstimulated without being conscious that it was happening.  The first task in learning to manage overstimulation was beginning to recognize the triggers.  Although each highly sensitive person is unique and our triggers may differ somewhat, here are some examples of the types of places and experiences that are highly stimulating for me:

  • amusement parks
  • shopping malls
  • kid birthday parties
  • driving in fast traffic
  • socializing with new people or people I’m not very comfortable with

But a trigger doesn’t necessarily have to be a special event.  Just “regular life” as a working mother of three – lived for too many days in a row without a break to recharge – can and will overload me.

6. Know Your Limits

In order to prevent overload, you need to be able to recognize when you are getting close to hitting your limit.

And this has been the single biggest struggle for me.  Pushing myself to get out there and enjoy the world as much as I can, but then knowing when I need to pull back for a rest before I hit my breaking point.  I can tolerate stimulation for long stretches of time – so long that I kinda forget about the whole thing – but all of a sudden something tiny will be the last straw that pushes me over the edge.  Or the headaches and the exhaustion will just creep up on me and I will know I overdid it once again.

The only way to learn what your limits are is to learn from experience.  Start keeping a written record.  What did you do and for how long before you started feeling bad?  Look for patterns.

7. Be Selective: What Is Worth Getting Overstimulated Over?

Sometimes I fantasize about living alone in a little cabin on some remote mountain top and only interacting with the rest of the world twice a year to replenish supplies.

But I know that while I would probably really enjoy it for a few weeks, the world would eventually pull me back.  I would start missing my husband and kids.  That mountain top would get cold and lonely.

So I subject myself to the world and its stimulants.  😉  But since my brain doesn’t have unlimited processing capacity, I have become pretty choosy about who and what is worth getting stimulated over.  I limit my activities to what I can handle without compromising my well-being.  And that means setting priorities and saying no to people and activities that are not near the top of my list.

8. Don’t Schedule Too Many Triggering Events Back To Back

So the challenge for the highly sensitive person is not to avoid stimulation all together, but to learn to balance activity and rest.  And one good way to achieve this balance is to make sure you designate lots of quiet time in your calendar between highly stimulating events.

And when I say “lots of quiet time”, I don’t mean just leaving an hour for you to recover between the amusement park and the birthday party.  I mean days.  If I take my kids to the amusement park on Saturday, then I will let my husband take the kids to a birthday party on Sunday and I will let some other parent chaperone the school field trip on Monday.

9. Be Mindful Of What Is Happening In Your Body

There are also things you can do to lessen the impact of highly stimulating events even when you are in the midst of it.  Try to get in the habit of being present and observing what is happening in your body at regular intervals.  Are you tense?  Are you holding your breath?  If so, make a conscious effort to lessen the stress on your body by relaxing your muscles and taking deep breaths.

If you have trouble with mindfulness, you might be interested in my Spire Stone review.

10. Create An Imaginary Boundary

Another trick is to create an imaginary boundary around you to block out whatever is overstimulating you at the moment – be it noise, light, or someone’s energy.  You simply imagine a protective wall around you that keeps the distressing stimulus out.

This is a skill that takes some practice, so you might need to try it a few times before it starts working.

11. Take Breaks

And of course, there are breaks!  Take them!  Take lots of them!  Close your eyes for a moment.  Hide in the bathroom for a while.  Excuse yourself to take care of an “important task that can’t wait”. 😉

12. Block Out Longer Stretches Of Time To Be Alone Without Disturbances

Here’s what I have discovered the hard way: taking a 15-minute break here and there is not enough.  It’s just not.  In order to fully recharge and recover, I need hours of quiet time.  And I need them regularly.  Ted Zeff, author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World recommends doing a four-hour quiet time mini-retreat twice a week with no disturbances.

13. Sleep

We all know that healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night.  But I think this is even more crucial for highly sensitive people.  Our brains tire out faster, so our brains REALLY need the rest.  After I started consistently blocking out eight hours for sleep every single night, I started feeling SO. MUCH. BETTER. than when I was trying to make do with six or seven hours per night.

In addition to getting a minimum of eight hours of snooze time per night, here are two other things that help:

  • If you don’t sleep well at night for whatever reason, try to make up for it with naps.
  • Even if you can’t go to sleep, just laying in a dark room with your eyes closed might have a recharging effect.

14. Exercise

I have heard that some highly sensitive people find exercise too stimulating.  I think that would be the case for me too if I tried team sports or went to a crowded gym.  My exercise of choice is running and it’s actually one of the most life-changing habits I have ever taken up.  It really helps me release stress, tension, and anxiety and sort of resets my body every morning.

I know running is not for everyone, but I hope you find some form of exercise that works for you.  Maybe yoga or walking if running is too much.

15. Experiment With Your Diet

I think pretty much everyone agrees that limiting caffeine and sugar is a good idea for highly sensitive people.  I eat a mostly Whole30 diet, with no caffeine and no sugar or sweeteners of any kind at all and I do really well with that.  I also try to load up on magnesium-rich foods like spinach and almonds, since magnesium is supposed to reduce stress and tension.

But different diets work for different people.  So experiment a little and see what works the best for you.

16. Control sights, sounds, smells…

We can’t always control our environments, but there are a few things we can do to limit sensory input from our environment:

  • Wear headphones – either listen to calming music or wear noise cancelling headphones.
  • Establish quiet time for your family – a block of time when everyone engages in quiet activities.
  • Dim the lights when you are at home.
  • Wear sunglasses outside.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Keep the air fresh in your house.

17. Block Out Time For YOUR Kind Of Fun And Relaxation

For the non-HSP world, “fun” is pretty much synonymous with stimulation: restaurants, parties, fairs, festivals…  Sure, these types of things might be fun for us too, but only in small doses.  And don’t feel bad if you actually don’t find the highly stimulating events fun at all.  We are entitled to our own definition of fun: reading books, trying out a new recipe, a quiet evening at home with a loved one.

We need to remember that life is not just about enduring as much stimulation as you possibly can.  Life is there to be enjoyed.  In whatever way you happen to find enjoyable.

What about you?  What do you think about these tips?  Do you have anything to add to my list?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂


About the author 


Hi! I'm a life coach, a Certified MBTI® Practitioner, and a mentor for stressed out introverts and highly sensitive people. I used to be one myself! My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

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  1. Hi Anni, I just found your blog today. I am an introverted HSP like you. And like you, I am working a job I hate (with a boss I hate) so that I can pay the bills. I have always considered myself 100% Finn even though I was born and raised in Michigan, USA. My grandparents and great-grandparents came from Finland. My Finnish roots permeate every corner of my life. Stoic, hardworking, people of few words those Finns are. As an emotional, creative dreamer, I find myself wondering often if I was adopted! Your blog is an oasis in the desert for me. I find myself nodding, grinning, and chuckling out loud at times because it’s all so spot-on! I especially loved this passage: “Sometimes I fantasize about living alone in a little cabin on some remote mountain top and only interacting with the rest of the world twice a year to replenish supplies.” Keep it up. I appreciate you.

    1. Hi S! So nice to meet someone who gets what being Finnish is all about. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and for the kind words. It means a lot to me. 🙂

  2. Hi!

    Just wanted to leave a thank you for this list of actually useful advice! Most advice are very much in the way of “You need to do it my way since my way is the only good way” and I can’t stand that. Yours is far more friendly and open and show what works for you and could potentially work for others.

    I’m not sure yet if I’m HSP or ADD or have autism (I still need to be tested for the latter two), but one thing for sure is that I can get easily overstimulated at the office. Too many noises, too many distractions and coupled with anxiety makes office work hell at times. I often retreat to the toilet whenever things get too much and it really helps me to read that bathroom breaks are actually helpful to avoid overstimulation!

    So once again thanks for your blog post and it’s definitely going to be read a lot of times whenever I feel the need for some comfort from someone who gets overstimulated easily as well. <3

    1. Hi Vreni, thank you so much for reading and letting me know the article was useful. I totally agree that office work = yikes. 🙂

  3. Hi Anni, thank you for your advise. My question may be a little different. I am planning my son’s wedding, which I am very excited about. His fiancee is a doll! I truly couldn’t have asked for a better daughter in law. She has aspergers and she is sensory sensitive. Bright lights, crowds and loud music. I want to make this day one she will truly enjoy. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    1. Hi Jennette,

      First of all, you seem like a really caring person. Not everyone is willing or capable of trying to put themselves in another person’s shoes.

      Second, the only advice I can really give you is to try to make your daughter-in-law comfortable enough to let you know what she really wants and then listen to her even if it’s not traditional or what most people would want.

      I think weddings are a matter of personal preference whether you are sensitive or not. Some sensitive people want all the bells and whistles even if it’s somewhat taxing for them and some don’t. Personally, if I had had the self confidence to ask for what I wanted in my early twenties when I got married, I would have just eloped and not had a wedding at all. But I was too afraid to disappoint people. Although there are some things that can be done to make large events less taxing for me (e.g. scheduled breaks, someone playing interference with people), it’s just not the type of thing I enjoy. If I go to a large event, I’m doing it for someone else’s benefit. If I want to enjoy myself, I’m going to hang out with a very small inner circle in an intimate, low-key setting. But like I said, this is just me. I think the key for you is to figure out what your daughter-in-law is comfortable with and what she really wants.

  4. I am thrilled to find this website, I am terribly sensitive, & I had one guy @ my job that was a real kind chap, really helped support me & very kind, I dont know how I would have coped otherwise, amazingly enough I actually trusted him, I dont trust anyone as I have been hurt so much, but if I trust anyone, I will be faithful & honest to them all thru my life, I have a gr8 dentist I really liked, then he moved so did I, NO way would I go to anyone else ever, I have my ideals, that’s it

  5. Hi. Found HSP book years ago. I agree; naming the experience helps a lot. My take on my HSP”ness” is that my life must be meaningful. Almost all of my activities must be meaningful. Many connect stimulation with fun….I connect it with meaninglessness. Being deep is a beautiful way to live. I found your blog as I was looking for interesting ways to bring myself back “down”. Last week I did a ton of soul searching and then had a weekend of activities. The soul searching time needed some space to work itself out. The other activities on top of it now have me on overload. Today I’m in bed drinking coffee and eating fresh picked strawberries in a darkened room that is even darker due do the grey sky…it’s awesome. I was hoping to find some new ways to relieve the stimulation. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Julia, thank you for reading and commenting. I like your take. 🙂 I, too, look for meaning and depth. And fresh strawberries in a dark room sound like heaven. 🙂

  6. Oh wow. I’m so glad I found this article and blog! I’ve known that I’m a true introvert but never knew about HSP. Now I understand myself so much better. Unexplained headaches, exhaustion, suddenly declaring that I’ve had enough… that’s been my life.
    Sad part is how much rejection I’ve faced even from immediate family. I’m 47 years old and just getting to that place where I totally accept and embrace me. I don’t feel bad to refuse invitations to social events nor do I feel bad to just turn away and be quiet in social gatherings. My new motto is “they’re not living my life”. But there’s still a bit of sadness when people”accuse” me of “not wanting to go anywhere” or call me boring. People could really be mean. How do you deal with that?
    Thanks again for this. Great help.

    1. Hi Lisa, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’m glad to hear the blog is helpful. I’m also sorry to hear you’ve been treated so poorly. Some people just lack understanding of human differences and can’t accept that others aren’t always going to share their personality traits and preferences. I just published an article about setting boundaries in relationships that you might be interested in. I actually quoted you in it. 🙂 https://www.solutionstoallyourproblems.com/how-to-set-boundaries-in-relationships/

  7. Ok, you have some good information here for HSP people, and those on the autism spectrum that get overstimulated easier. I have aspergers but I am lucky, im more understimulated, I kind of need stimulation. However even for me there are limits. If I listen to music with headphones on for a long time, at first its ok but in about a half hour i start to feel overstimulated. Its not a terrible feeling for me since im naturally understimulated though.

    I am writing here because there is a critical part that was not mentioned. I am not 100% sure about this part, but I am assuming there are some natural products that can significantly help with this problem.(possibly something that helps anxiety and relaxes the mind). Then there are of course actual medications for this problem. Unfortunately I dont think there are many of them. I have personal experience with the medications like ativan, and rivotril (clonazepam) and they definitely work to stop all forms of overstimulation for me. The obvious problem though is they cannot be taken too long term and for some people can cause dependance AND Tolerance.

    All of that depends on the individual however. I took clonazepam for over a year then stopped it cold turkey and had 0 issues. However for some people it could be a horrible experience of withdrawal so keep that in mind. I am mentioning those meds because I am confident there are other similar ones that could help, and that don’t have as much potential to be a serious problem.

    Finally I am very curious if meditation could help, I recommend qigong, it can help for anxiety and depression along with many other things dramatically.
    Good luck to you all!

  8. Can I just say that I am a HSP and I greatly appreciate your articles, but I find them IMPOSSIBLE to read due to all of the flashing popup ads. They give me seizures. I understand that you deserve to get paid for your work and this is one way of making that happen, but I honestly have had to stop coming to your page for my health’s sake. I wish there were some option to turn off the blinking and popping up ads so I could read your articles which are so full of wisdom and help to someone who really needs them. I would also like to subscribe to your posts, would that prevent any of this problem?
    Thanks for listening…

    1. Hi Nora,

      I totally agree that the ads are annoying and I’m so sorry to hear they make you sick. Unfortunately, I can’t make them go away in the near future. They are pretty much my only income at the moment. I’m currently working on paid resources (eBooks and eCourses), and when those start coming out next year and start generating income, I eventually hope to either get rid of the ads completely or at least have fewer of them displayed.

      Until then, I do have one suggestion. Right below the title in each post, there are six gray buttons. One of those is a print button. If you click on that, it will show you the article in print view, in which all the ads are removed. You don’t have to actually print the article (although you can if you want), but you can just read the article on your device in print view.

      I hope this helps!

  9. Hi Anni,
    I just found out this summer that I’m HSP. I’m glad that I figured now at the age of 21, since I’ve been thinking my whole life up until now that I’m boring or weird or at least different. Unconsciously, I’ve done a lot of the things on your list most of my life, but only because my mom knew that I couldn’t handle that much at a time. Apparently she’s HSP as well.
    I find it very exhausting to work with myself and improve my way of living to make it more efficient for me. How long have you been working with yourself, and how “far” are you in the process?
    I really want to keep track on my overstimulations, but every time I try to keep a diary or log, I only manage to keep up the good work for a couple of weeks. I guess habits are hard to establish for me. Do you have any advise, or have you experienced anything like this?
    This is only the second article of yours that I’ve read, but you have a good way of comforting and explaining what it’s like to live as a HSP. (Oh and yes, I cried 3 times reading my way through the list)..

    1. Hi Marie,

      Thank you for writing! I think my work on myself has happened in kind of spurts, so it’s hard to say how long exactly it has taken. It’s like I make a change that I think will help and then I live with it for a while and then I think of something else to change etc.

      I wrote this article about a year ago and one thing that has happened since then that has REALLY helped is that I’ve been able to establish a day-to-day lifestyle and routine that pretty much guarantees that I never get overstimulated unless I do something out-of-the-ordinary like go on vacation. My kids are all in school now and I work from home by myself. So while my mornings, evenings, and weekends are busy and stimulating, having several hours of quiet five days a week is enough to keep me from going over the edge.

      To establish the habit of logging, I would set a time – do it at the same exact time every day. And make it as quick and easy as possible – just a few words about what you did and how you felt. Also, it may not be necessary to log your overstimulations for very long before you see a pattern. Try to change something and see how you feel. What if you set aside two hours of quiet time every day? If that’s not enough, then three? And so on.

      I think it’s great you found out so young – it’s often easier to make the changes you need to make when you haven’t already been building a mainstream kind of life for decades. 🙂

  10. Another wonderfully accurate article!
    One thing that helps when I’m overstimulated is ibuprofen. It does numb the senses. I’m having an aha right now that the silent migraines I’ve suffered with for years are probably from overstimulation. When I start to feel a bit ADD, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and feel tingling in my back and arms, but no actual headache, it’s anxiety and overstimulation. Vitamin I!

  11. I really enjoyed this article! I am an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs personality test and have been aware my whole life that I tire very easily. It has been difficult and embarrassing to not be able to go-go-go 12+ hours a day like my peers without crashing, sometimes into hysterical crying from complete exhaustion. I have read about intuitive empaths before and that resonates with me strongly. But, it never explained the exhaustion and my need for more sleep and alone time than even most of my introverted friends require. I am really happy you wrote this article because it is connecting important dots for me about how I interact with the world. Thank you!

    1. Hi Nova,

      I’m so glad to hear the article helped. I’m an INFJ, so you and I are close personality-wise. We like to use introverted intuition, which requires lots and lots of alone time. Once I started giving myself that time, things have gotten SO much better. 🙂

  12. I suffer regularly with this.
    Taking my step daughter to the movies last night has left me in bed all day exhausted. She loves the avengers.
    I find lavender, peppermint and lemongrass essential oils help a little, they are grounding enough to get me moving and home.

    The one thing I hate is it makes driving a chore

  13. Im glad you wrote this article. I’m lying here in my bed after a 9 hour day at work and it’s been nonstop all day. Im literally sobbing trying to figure what the hell is wrong with me and why every little sound is irritating the absolute sh*t out of me. Then I can access this and I really really needed to read it. Now I know that I’m more than likely just o at sensitive. I’ve always suffered with panic attacks at work, and I thought it was simply social anxiety, but it can’t be because I’m fine with groups of people outside of work. (I work in a busy cafe/bar/restaurant) it never never stops.

    So thank you for writing this! You’ve helped me a lot xxx god bless

  14. Hi Anni,
    Thank you for posting this article! I recently found out about the concept of the HSP after trying to find out information on how to cope with an open plan office. A lot of the points you mentioned, I have been dealing with and trying to explain to the people in my life for years. The concept of having a limited bandwidth and processing capability is really true for me as I’d often come home from gatherings with my husband’s friends and family, or even just a day at work, feeling exhausted and inadequate. I think my husband finally gets it though as he understands that I need space and time to recharge after these trying episodes. That being said, I’ve been currently thrust into the bowels of an open plan office at work and I just can’t deal with this. I no longer enjoy going to work as I constantly feel like I’m on display or harassed. I’ve spoken to my manager and my manager’s manager but there is little interest on their part to help me. I’m beyond frustrated so I actually applied for and accepted a new position in our organization. Having your article and the other information on HSP’s will be helpful as I move into my new workspace and set boundaries on my time with new managers and colleagues. Thank you, I appreciate your articles!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting and for sharing your story. And yes, you definitely sound like a classic HSP. 😀 I would be absolutely MISERABLE with an open floor plan too. It’s great that you found a way to escape that environment.


  15. I’m so happy I came across your article. It’s so fitting as I broke down crying in my truck from feeling overwhelmed by various issues that all happened to converge earlier today. I will definitely apply some suggestions and take a look at the recommended readings. I had no idea that HSP was a thing. It explains so much of what I’ve been struggling with throughout my lifetime.

    1. Hi Julianna, I’m so glad to hear the article was helpful. HSP is a thing and knowing about it can really help in figuring out how to feel better. 🙂

  16. Thanks for your site -I’ve literally been reading it all day!
    Your article on HSPs helped me take the little things I’ve noticed about myself and add them up to something that has a name.
    I can’t go outside without sunglasses, headlights at night dazzle me, I can’t deal with being home when the hubby has the lawn mower going! Lately, I can’t handle a too-snug sports bra! it makes me feel claustrophobic 🙂 I get twitchy when another driver starts following me to closely…
    thanks to you, Anni, and all the commenters for the ‘me too’ moments I’ve just had 🙂

    1. Hi Ali, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’m really particular about bras too. And pants. They have to be soft and fit just right. 😀

  17. Thank you so much for writing this. I have been struggling/discovering/acknowledging how sensory sensitive I am over the past several years. Having a child that is a sensory seeking is a primal struggle. Learning from others who are sensitive is key. Thank you thank you!

  18. Over stimulated all the time due to my pre- existing heart condition. I connect with emotionally unavailable women who much like my mom are incredibly compassionate. It’s so automatic and have some empathic qualities. I am seeing an O.T. Tried everything I know to little avail. I have just a deep desire to connect. The fact I can’t do much because of many short comings due to my health. The first time I connected 23 years ago but the fact I can’t work was a big turn off. I am seeing a counselor. All I can do is pray. I know I had been traumatized at birth. Nothing I can do about it. Being realistic as much as I can.


  19. Hello, I too am easily overstimulated like you, and after further testing I found out that I have High functioning Autism/ Asperger’s syndrome, I am a 34 year old woman. And what you describe sounds a lot like a person on the Autism Spectrum.

  20. Great article. I'm almost 28 years old, and found myself taking a long walk out in the winter cold – all because I hit another rock bottom, out of a series of many rock bottoms through out my life, and I didn't know how to prevent them. It was one of those walks where you talk to yourself (or God), angrily yelling and venting out frustration about how you've tried "everything", but nothing works. Asking probing/semi-rhetorical questions such as ,"What am I missing?!" or "Why is it taking me so long to figure this out?!". The general themes characterizing each of my rock bottom's were depression, addiction, giving up on goals, anxiety, self-loathing, etc. As I was walking, and venting out loud, the idea of "over-stimulation" flashed into my mind. I've entertained the concept in my mind before, but never seriously or fully looking into it. I turned back around shortly after, came home, went on my computer and found your article. Everything you've written resonated with me, for the most part. It gave me some hope that this could be one of the missing puzzle pieces I've been searched for.

    1. Hi David,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I can tell you that for many of us learning about high sensitivity and personality type has truly been the missing puzzle piece and I hope it will give you that same clarity moving forward.


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