Sensory overload so intense I can't go outd... - Meningitis Now

Meningitis Now

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Sensory overload so intense I can't go outdoors. Anyone else experience this?


I haven't left indoors since Sept 5th because everything is so loud. My hearing and movement is off. My chest gets tight to loud noise.

17 Replies

I too have had phonophobia since getting VM in July (as well as photophobia & headaches). All have continued to get better slowly. I wear earplugs whenever I know it will be too loud for me (or whenever anyone else will be watching TV with me). I really can't tolerate music anymore which is devastating but I'm hopeful this won't be forever either. The earplugs have helped tremendously. I've also had to dim all screens, wear special glasses to decrease the glare & tint of computer, I wear hats & sunglasses frequently, had to keep shades drawn inside for a long time, etc. I still decrease screen time as much as possible. Any sensory overload makes my headaches worse. I think CBD oil is helping as well as time. Hang in there, try to remain positive - it helps!!

Thank you for replying. Did you ever have problem with watching movement? ... It's super scary not being able to leave apartment since Sept 5th cause noise intolerance has kept on getting worse. I live right beside a 5 lane road so Doesn't help

Sunny308 in reply to Sunny308

My ears are constantly ringing.

It reallly really will get better!! It just takes a long time! But one day you will forget to put on sunglasses and then you know you are getting better and better. Even with tv or supermarket. It’s slow but tiny tiny steps are being made every day. Try to believe in yourself and rest rest rest!!

Did you guys ever get chest tightness and a your head go numb at all? While typing on phone or from loud noises?

Rowi in reply to Sunny308

I also get chest pain when using my devices. I am also having reflux and burping and am intolerant to tight clothing. I am not sure if the devices affect me, my bodily position or what. My chiropractor gave me material showing that problems with the first vertebrae can cause reflux. I have to imagine that the kind of problems viral meningitis causes, e.g., pain at the base of the skull, could cause similar problems. For a while I was sort of sensing loud noises in the middle of my chest, a very strange sensation.

This is familiar - yes - and I wasn't sure if I was just aware and much more sensitive to every sound and movement at first.

Mine is much better four years later. I'm not sure if you can test a little at a time or there are people who could help with small trips out? Perhaps trying to be outside for small amounts of time and try different places. And it's hard to see progress sometimes - my postie saw me in the garden yesterday and shouted over that it was nice to see me out. I plan a lot then only manage to do a few things and know when to stop and come back home to rest a bit more. I'm still adjusting to being near somewhere I can lie down and rest.

I realise it might be frustrating but hope you are not putting too much pressure on yourself to be like you were before, or to cope with too much - this is easier to say than to do! Working on trying to stay calm is also a work in progress but I wear earplugs, and look down at the ground when movement makes me feel seasick.

Good luck with it all :-)

Sunny308 in reply to 0101


I'm so frightened, my noise intolerance and sensory overload has lasted almost 3 months it didn't get intense until the beggining of the third month after VM infection. Sounds like everything got turned up volume wise. I'm terrified because I can't even leave my apartment because of it. My chest gets tight when I type or hear loud noise. Some movement is hard for me. It's not right. And I'm completely fatiqued. Is it normal at all for this to happen after. Will I get better or am I getting worse

Rowi in reply to Sunny308

This sounds like me. It takes time and patience and rest. But I think it’s good to try things that might alleviate some of the symptoms, as many have suggested on this site. I make sure to always schedule a nap in the middle of the day. For many months I just let myself sleep as much as I could. Chamomile tea. Deep breathing several times a day. Stretching. Meditation. Things like that. I find I have to be very regular about that or I slip back into panic mode.

Sunny308 in reply to 0101

Yes aware of every sound, movement, and commotion is a good description

I'm so sorry to hear - and sorry to ask daft questions but do you have a healthcare practitioner/GP who knows this? It sounds like some support would be good and to see what might be going on. Fatigue and overload can be really common but there are lots of things, like other people on here have posted and tips that might be of use. When I went from not knowing what was wrong, to knowing, then to knowing my life was very different it took a few months to grasp. Trying to keep hopeful and positive through this is tough but is possible.

What you describe does sound 'normal' in recovery from what can be life threatening, and serious and you are likely to need time, rest and help to recover. It's great you're expressing how this is affecting you - next stage is to work out what's going on, if it's after effects or something else. Either way it can be handled. Hopefully then allowances can be made to allow you to carry on as much of your day to day activities as you can. Physical symptoms can mimic anxiety and cause it too or it might be unrelated. I used to jump at noises before I was ill, so now it's turned up to 11 ;-).

I still occasionally get terrified which is odd to admit to those who haven't been through similar when it can be even attempting to walk up a path. It takes effort to keep breathing and think straight. I'm four years in and things are stable now, and I get out and about a bit, but it can be a tough ride, so I feel for you. Please don't beat yourself up - after all I keep proving medical professionals wrong!

Hi sorry I don't have any good news for you, but maybe I can throw some light your way, I had my meningitis back in 1980, have suffered with migraines ever since and in more recent years with tinnitus as well, one of the other effects of tinnitus can be a sensitivity to noise, the tight chest etc from what you say sounds like anxiety/panic attacks.

Any chest tightness should be reported to your doctor just to be on the safe side and if nothing else will give you peace of mind.

When you get the tightness etc try taking a deep breath (as deep as you can) and hold it for a few seconds, this helps me on occasion, my heart slows down and stops trying to escape my chest I am on meds (duloxetine ) and it helps to cut that feeling down to a minimum.

Sadly meningitis seems to like to play dirty and it affects us all in different ways, what works for one doesn't work for another.

Best of luck!

Hi I was like that too and it took several months to recognise I had developed migraines and this was why everything was so loud. Once I settled the migraines a bit it was no longer too loud. But it took six months to realise I had migraines and two years before I treated it with preventatives and then Botox. Go see a neurologist and get them to help you. I had incredible amount of pain both head and joint muscle, I took endep five years ago and still on it, very helpful,

Sunny308 in reply to Claudeminh

My head goes numb to stimuli? I haven't gotten a headache at all. But everything loud and 7 months later feel like headache coming

At first every car made me shake mows it's just screaming kids and bright lights but a visceral response so when pps say it only visual they don't understand

It started with cars for me too then got more intense, sometimes hard to watch people talk and move. Does your head ever go numb? I'm hyper sensitive to car noise

How awful

All lights seem like on high beam

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