Print Topic - Archive

BTD Forums  /  The Encyclopedia/ D'Adamo Library  /  Stimulus Filtering
Posted by: TJ, Thursday, January 7, 2010, 5:15am
Several of us here seem to have a common problem in dealing with sensory input (me included).  Specifically, the inability to filter undesired stimuli from our attention.  Anyone suffering this can tell you how frustrating it is to try having a coherent conversation in a room where there is a TV on or other conversations going on at the same time (or BOTH :o).  I think it was mentioned in the ADD thread that you could do some training to improve on this.  I'd really like to read about this, and the condition in general.  Can anyone suggest books or websites?  Also, is there a name for it???
Posted by: Lola, Thursday, January 7, 2010, 6:08am; Reply: 1
individuality! that s the word!;)

I simply avoid such situations.....

I rather concentrate in learning other things which are more appealing to me.
Posted by: Lloyd, Thursday, January 7, 2010, 2:18pm; Reply: 2
Are you referring to 'focus'?
Posted by: Vicki, Thursday, January 7, 2010, 2:47pm; Reply: 3
When I'm disinterested in the topic at hand, anything can draw my attention away from it.  For instance, the hum of an old monitor that is in "sleep mode" in the desks at the back of the room.  When I am interested in a topic, nothing holds me back from absorbing as much as I can.

I work in an environment that is occasionally overwhelming but, often, I'm so interested in the topic at hand, that it doesn't affect me too much.  Sometimes I must explain that the person I'm helping must move or speak up so that I can focus on them because of the overwhelming "outer stuff".  Others seem to understand my request and comply so that we can work together.

If these overwhelming situations became the norm, I'd seek a different position or a different employer.  

For school, I recommend sitting in on a class or two of a prospective instructor, with permission.  See how the class goes and the instructor's teaching style.  Interview the prospective instructor and make sure it is a good fit for your learning style.  Be very selective about which instructors you take classes with, just like any other service you purchase.  If you find you need additional help, seek a peer, tutor, computer training, etc to assist you in meeting your goals.  

If you must complete a boring task, find ways to "distract" yourself while you do it.  Singing or counting or switching between two tasks, etc.  
Posted by: Golfzilla, Thursday, January 7, 2010, 3:05pm; Reply: 4
Quoted from TJ
Several of us here seem to have a common problem in dealing with sensory input (me included).  Specifically, the inability to filter undesired stimuli from our attention.  Anyone suffering this can tell you how frustrating it is to try having a coherent conversation in a room where there is a TV on or other conversations going on at the same time (or BOTH :o).  I think it was mentioned in the ADD thread that you could do some training to improve on this.  I'd really like to read about this, and the condition in general.  Can anyone suggest books or websites?  Also, is there a name for it???


TJ ~ I can relate however mine is related to Tinitus, very distracting :-/
Posted by: TJ, Thursday, January 7, 2010, 10:57pm; Reply: 5
Quoted from Lola
individuality! that s the word!;)

I wish it was so easy.  This aspect of my individuality is a liability, not an asset.  I can't always choose to avoid such situations without foregoing a great deal of meaningful and important experiences, so I need to learn how to work around this obstacle.
Quoted from Lloyd
Are you referring to 'focus'?

Yes indeed.
Quoted from Vicki
When I'm disinterested in the topic at hand, anything can draw my attention away from it.

This is a struggle even when I'm interested in what I am trying to focus on.  The only exception I can think of was during periods of obsessive, escapist computer gaming in recent years, and that was not a healthy state to be in.

I do work in a noisy environment, but I only work 18 hours (or less) per week.  I can usually handle it at that level of exposure.  I have a fair handle on how to live within my limitations; my interest at this time is how can I increase what I can handle?  If I can train my brain to focus on what I want to and to filter out the rest, it will do wonders to help me in daily living.
Quoted from Golfzilla
TJ ~ I can relate however mine is related to Tinitus, very distracting :-/
You have my sympathy!  I don't know of anything short of cutting the auditory nerve to eliminate that problem, and that is a drastic remedy, to put it mildly.
Posted by: Lloyd, Friday, January 8, 2010, 1:52am; Reply: 6
TJ, you might try the Cognitive Improvement Protocol along but regular 'exercise' in the form of some kind of logic puzzle or other mental endeavor is probably needed. Work on details and patterns, problem solving. It builds up over time.

I don't know what was suggested elsewhere.
Posted by: VictoriousLiving, Friday, January 8, 2010, 2:04am; Reply: 7
TJ,

check out this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

This helped me understand synesthesia, which I have, as well.
Posted by: Kristin, Friday, January 8, 2010, 2:14am; Reply: 8
Could you be an HSP (highly-sensitive person)?

"Too-Sensitive

- Yes, this is our major trait. We assimilate everything around us at once. Lights, noises, smells, energy vibrations, they all get absorbed, processed and evaluated. Unfortunately when there's too much activity and noise around us, we can't handle it for a great length of time. For example, what may be a low to moderate level of music for a non-sensitive person could sound like the level of a rock concert to us. Emotionally, we're affected by much of the disharmony in the world. We feel another person's heartache, we are aware of low levels of anger or resentment in a room, we empathize with other people's problems, and feel great sorrow over horrific tragedies."

Check out http://www.hsperson.com/  

There is a self-test to find out if you are indeed an HSP (which is an inherent trait that is part of one's genetic make-up) and also lots of support on this website for being part of the sensitive tribe.
Posted by: Vicki, Friday, January 8, 2010, 3:41pm; Reply: 9
Hehe....

Check this out?

http://www.dadamo.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1262899740/s-new/#num8
Posted by: paul clucas, Friday, January 8, 2010, 8:40pm; Reply: 10
For literature on the  Audio-Psycho-Phonology explanation:

http://www.tomatis.com/English/Articles/literature.htm

Your attention to your senses is first developed before you are born, with sound being first and dominant sense.  Normal development of the listening (consciously focused hearing) function will allow a person to enter a room with twenty conversations and choose to listen to one.

In computational terms this is more complex than the ability of the eye to focus on a visual target.

Neurologically speaking, the ears are partly outgrowths of the cerebral core.  I say partly, since the air conduction impulse travels externally and rejoins the spine.  The external pathways are unevenly long; the left ear nerve is long enough to take 1/11 of a second more to get to the brain.  Stuttering works when the person is listening equally and repeats both "beats" of what is heard.  Stuttering is not a lack of control of the voice, but a lack of control of hearing.  Improve the hearing and the stuttering disappears.
Posted by: TJ, Saturday, January 9, 2010, 4:19pm; Reply: 11
Quoted from Lola
individuality! that s the word!;)

Lola, I hope I didn't come off too sharply in reply!  I will have to eat my words here.  I talked to my therapist yesterday about this same problem, and she said I am the kind of person who likes to be aware of what's going on around me, as opposed to the kind of person who likes to stay focused intently on one thing (which she thought was a very dull way to be).  I agree with what she said.  I guess it would be more accurate to say that I need this skill of focusing in certain situations.

Lloyd, I think the mental/logic puzzles are a great idea to sharpen my mind and focus.

Gloved, thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think synesthesia is my problem.  Maybe I'm just hyper-vigilant.

Kristin, I am most certainly I HSP.  I looked into this last year.  I had forgotten about it.  I lose some of it when I am in the hypomanic part of my bipolar cycle, and when I'm in balance and consistently getting good sleep I feel a lot more resilient against the over-stimulation.

Good one Vicki, maybe I need to start using up my minutes!

Paul, what you have said may be the most interesting thing I've heard yet!  I will do some reading on the Tomitis method later.
Posted by: Lola, Saturday, January 9, 2010, 5:16pm; Reply: 12
no worries! ;)
Posted by: TJ, Saturday, January 9, 2010, 9:57pm; Reply: 13
Paul, I love what I read about the Tomitis method.  Have you used it?  I did notice it wasn't indicated for people with tinnitus.  It makes a lot of sense, and I'd love to try it, but as is so often the case, money is a seriously limited resource for me.  Perhaps I will be able to pursue this avenue in the future when/if I have the funds.
Posted by: Ribbit, Sunday, January 10, 2010, 3:55pm; Reply: 14
You and me both, TJ.  I don't want to hijack this thread.  That's not my intention. But sometimes somebody else giving input helps people say, "Oh, yeah.  THAT."

The problem is, Paul, when I enter a room with 20 conversations, the blood pressure instantly rises, I get very hot (I have learned to dress lightly when I know I'll be around a lot of people), my ears are filled with what I call "cafeteria noise", and it takes a tremendous amount of concentration to focus on one conversation, even if the people are right in front of me. In fact, I can often concentrate better on somebody else's conversation nearby than the people right around me.  I've learned to position myself next to, rather than in front of, somebody I'm supposed to be listening to.  Otherwise I can't hear them.   I zone out and leave feeling rather shaken and exhausted, having gotten nothing out of it.....Unless I dose up on caffeine.  Then the situation is totally different. We've talked about this before.

I feel similarly when all my children are talking at once.  It's very overwhelming--even if it's cheerful chatter!  They're slowly learning that they have to tone the noise down a little.

TJ, people fit into the category of Highly Sensitive Persons because they have Sensory Integration Dysfunction.  Do some googling.  I have worked with children who ACT like I FEEL.  A couple more ticks in that direction and I think it would have pushed me over the edge into their little world.

My hand found DH's hand last night as I was falling asleep.  He pulled his hand away after a minute and I realized I was "stimming" again.  Look up "self-stimulatory behavior".  We all do it--chewing nails, twirling hair, rocking back and forth when we're bored, foot tapping, etc.  I tap out rhythms with my teeth, and I add in other percussion: tapping my fingers (gives me 5 extra parts), blinking (give me two extra parts), two sets of muscles on either side of each eye (4 extra parts), the muscles on the inside of my elbows (2 parts), backs of my elbows (2 parts), two little bumps of skin under my tongue that I run the end of my tongue over constantly (2 more parts), the muscles on the outside of the backs of my knees, and inside the backs of my knees (4 parts), and a few of my toes that I can move individually (about 6 parts).  So I do this very complicated rhythm with all those different parts and muscles going.  It's imperceptible to anybody else (except I might look a little dazed, I dunno--my teachers called it daydreaming; my brothers called it laziness; my mom called it "If she would only apply herself") but I'm never bored!  There's always something pretty entertaining going on in my head.

All that to say when I lay down at night, I have to consciously stop it all.  It annoys DH, although to a certain extent he understands it because he deals with some of the same stuff hearing-wise.  Caffeine calms all that.  Yerba Mate REALLY calms all that, but not consistently.  Stress makes it overwhelmingly worse.  I've been doing it for 25 years and it's hard to stop.  The Bach Flower Remedy white chestnut (I think that's what it is) helps.

I cannot tell you how encouraging it is to have other people say they understand.  I've never been understood and it's really nice, I must say.  I've always been "a little odd" and now I know it's okay.
Posted by: TJ, Sunday, January 10, 2010, 6:35pm; Reply: 15
I've been thinking about this in terms of the BTD vs. the GTD.  I think the coping strategies we can apply to eliminate things that aggravate our sensitivities are like the BTD.  I'm looking for the GTD strategy that will also help change me into a less over-sensitive person!

Quoted from Ribbit
The problem is, Paul, when I enter a room with 20 conversations, the blood pressure instantly rises, I get very hot (I have learned to dress lightly when I know I'll be around a lot of people), my ears are filled with what I call "cafeteria noise", and it takes a tremendous amount of concentration to focus on one conversation, even if the people are right in front of me.

From what I read at Paul's recommendation, the stuff on the Tomatis method could be a fair explanation about the why behind this thing.

Quoted from Ribbit
TJ, people fit into the category of Highly Sensitive Persons because they have Sensory Integration Dysfunction.  Do some googling.  I have worked with children who ACT like I FEEL.  A couple more ticks in that direction and I think it would have pushed me over the edge into their little world.

I did.  I think I have some symptoms of it.  I sent mom a page about it and asked her, "is this me?"  She read and said, "No".  I asked her about it in person today.  She said I wasn't like that as a child, and she figured that was the most important time to notice.  I wonder if I am just on the borderline too, and all the stress of adult life has pushed me over the line.

I do remember a lot of experiences as a child/youth that suggest I have a mild case of SPD (clumsy, withdrawn, difficulty making friends, avoiding sports, driven crazy by socks and seams and tags, irritated by bright light), but then, I did well in school (even if I was really spacy, reading novels or drawing in class) and didn't mind getting dirty.  I am sure I've gotten more sensitive with age, especially to noise (easily startled by sudden loud noise, loud music and noisy crowds drain my energy).

I think there are two factors to consider.  First is the actual sensory processing difficulty, that makes the processing of sensory input very inefficient and draining, or even impossible in some severe cases.  Second is the mental energy used to carry out these processes.  Someone with a high-energy brain could cope with some degree of SPD and look fine until it all becomes "too much".  Someone with a lower energy brain could be obviously in trouble act the same level (or lower) of sensory processing inefficiency.  I'm not in any way suggesting "brain energy" has anything to do with intelligence.  It's more like the fuel supply to an engine.  (Not to brag, but I feel like I have a racing engine brain with a lawn motor fuel supply. :'()

Quoted from Ribbit
I tap out rhythms with my teeth...

Seriously?  I worry that I'm wearing out my teeth, clicking and grinding them in rhythm to the music I'm listening to (at loud or in my head).

Quoted from Ribbit
Caffeine calms all that.

...but it makes the adrenal insufficiency worse, and I have a hard time falling asleep with caffeine.

Quoted from Ribbit
I cannot tell you how encouraging it is to have other people say they understand.  I've never been understood and it's really nice, I must say.  I've always been "a little odd" and now I know it's okay.

So true.
Posted by: Lola, Sunday, January 10, 2010, 6:49pm; Reply: 16
keeping my system free of inflammation, meaning absolute compliance, keeps this LDN,
weird person balanced! :)
Posted by: Ribbit, Sunday, January 10, 2010, 8:05pm; Reply: 17
Mommies don't always know.  I hate to say that, because I feel like I know my children very well, but I don't really know what's going on in their heads unless they tell me.

DH and MIL argue a lot about his childhood.  He talks about being suicidal and very depressed and super-sensitive and she denies it all.  "No," she says, "You were a very happy child.  Blood sugar problems, but happy.  You enjoyed school."  But he says, "No, I hated school because I was totally bored.  I got in trouble for doing my work too fast and answering the questions before the other kids did.  I got yelled at for writing in cursive because the other children hadn't learned it yet."  "But it didn't affect you," his mom argues.  "You bounced back very quickly."  Which is typical of a B, to bounce back, but what was going on in his head was very different from what she thought was going on.

So mothers don't always understand, especially if they're distracted with other children. :B
Posted by: TJ, Monday, January 11, 2010, 11:17pm; Reply: 18
Ribbit, that is very true.  Mom was very busy with my three younger brothers.  Plus I think parents like to think the best of their children.  To admit (even to yourself) that your child is "defective" may reflect badly on you.  I think I will bring this up with my therapist next week.  If anyone can give me good feedback, she should be able to.  Meanwhile, I will keep mulling it over.

Of course, if it is thought that I do have SPD and there's nothing I can do about it... >:(
Posted by: 815 (Guest), Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 3:44pm; Reply: 19
Is that the same thing as being really annoyed by people who crack their gum or snort loudly all day long?
Posted by: paul clucas, Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 7:16pm; Reply: 20
Quoted from TJ
Paul, I love what I read about the Tomitis method.  Have you used it?  I did notice it wasn't indicated for people with tinnitus.  It makes a lot of sense, and I'd love to try it, but as is so often the case, money is a seriously limited resource for me.  Perhaps I will be able to pursue this avenue in the future when/if I have the funds.
I worked at the therapy for a year and a half and at the end my elementary school grades all raised a letter.  

My English went from a D to a B!  The cost was thousands of dollars and the time was effectively like a part-time job, except during the summer when I was going full-time!  I am grateful that my parents sacrificed both the time and the money.  

At 4, my educational prognosis was "He is bright, but don't even think of university."  I succeeded in getting my degree in Mathematics after four years.  I had to adjust to the transition from the Canadian system to the English and other issues.

Tomatis therapy is useful for combating tinnitus; this is how my father alleviates his.  Both of my parents had access to the therapy since activation of dyslexia is environmentally contagious.  If your prenatal sonic environment (what your mother hears - but filtered by the amniotic fluid) is mainly the speech of dyslexic parents, any susceptibility is likely to be triggered.  

Currently I am tutoring students in maths and physics.  The education is still there after twenty years.  I forget the names of situations and techniques, but am able to use them without having to do any research.

This beats other money-making options and is a low stress option.  Considering that at my last job, I gained 40 lbs and enough edema to increase my shoe size, this is important!

Quoted from Ribbit
The problem is, Paul, when I enter a room with 20 conversations, the blood pressure instantly rises, I get very hot (I have learned to dress lightly when I know I'll be around a lot of people), my ears are filled with what I call "cafeteria noise", and it takes a tremendous amount of concentration to focus on one conversation, even if the people are right in front of me. In fact, I can often concentrate better on somebody else's conversation nearby than the people right around me.  I've learned to position myself next to, rather than in front of, somebody I'm supposed to be listening to.  Otherwise I can't hear them.   I zone out and leave feeling rather shaken and exhausted, having gotten nothing out of it.....Unless I dose up on caffeine.  Then the situation is totally different. We've talked about this before.
Yes adjusting your brain activity levels by stimulant or depressants – it is always a temptation.  It’s better to fidget than to coffee up!

I would love to make this therapy more available.  The only option that is likely to lessen the cost is the LIFT program.

Quoted from TJ
Someone with a lower energy brain could be obviously in trouble act the same level (or lower) of sensory processing inefficiency.  I'm not in any way suggesting "brain energy" has anything to do with intelligence.  It's more like the fuel supply to an engine.  (Not to brag, but I feel like I have a racing engine brain with a lawn motor fuel supply. )
Some of that energy is scattered nervous energy that indicates a lack of mental focus.  All your life you have been (unconsciously) engaging in compensating strategies.  We are all meant to be social, communicative beings.  When there is a blockage to that, the drive is to overcome that way.  The usual paths are blocked or choked, so alternative ones are sought.

There is a divide in understanding between neurologically normal and "spectrum" people.  As far as I know only people who successfully go through the therapy can bridge that gap in understanding.  This makes mis-diagnosis likely!

A "Spectrum" label can be put on a neurologically normal person to cover unpleasant behaviour and get the responsibility shifted.  Also a "Spectrum" person who is intelligent enough can pass for a normal person for years.  At the age of four my ability to memorize abstract patterns was double that of what is normal for that age.  This helped me to be the bookworm that I am.
:)

TJ, you could get a listening test.  Apart from the travel, it shouldn’t cost too much.  Then you could know.  There were at least five centers that can do this for you in the US when I last checked.

Quoted Text
Is that the same thing as being really annoyed by people who crack their gum or snort loudly all day long?
This is not a noise-specific issue.  Imagine being forced to really listen to everything that is happening.  All at once, without any slacking!

Imagine being unable to listen to someone if there is any music or repeated sound happening!  The ears function all the time - even when you are sleeping. There is no off switch.  The only control is neurological and unconscious - when it is damaged, there are massive recercussions for that person.
Posted by: TJ, Thursday, January 21, 2010, 10:29pm; Reply: 21
Sorry guys, I've been offline.  My monitor or video card or SOMETHING in my comp has stopped working (just as I finally get internet, of course).

MayF, that isn't very bothersome.  Like Paul said, repetitive, rhythmic noises/sounds are very distracting.

Paul, I like what you said about compensating strategies.  I feel very inefficient, mentally.  All these years I've been spinning my wheels and barely moving.  But I don't understand what you mean about neurological vs. spectrum.
Posted by: paul clucas, Saturday, January 23, 2010, 12:53am; Reply: 22
The difference that I think you are talking about is between neurologically normal people (or non-Spectrum) and Spectrum people.  Since there are many kinds of labels, I use the word Spectrum to include: Autistic, Dyslexic, ADD, ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome, Learning Disabled, etc.

There is little sympathy for people who cannot tolerate noise.  I walked past a house today that was emitting some awful high frequency garbage - I could hear it a block away!  
(disappointed)
Posted by: TJ, Saturday, January 23, 2010, 3:13am; Reply: 23
This whole topic has got me to do a lot of reading today.  Hemisphere dominance, mixed dominance, etc.  There is a lot of (somewhat conflicting) information I read on the web, but I have gathered that it is possible for language centers to be on the right side for some people, as well as the other usual centers to be switched.  This was most likely for left-handed people.  I also read about foot and eye dominance, in addition to hand and ear dominance.  One site claimed that mixed dominance can cause developmental delays and attentional/sensory processing trouble.

This is interesting to me because I am left-handed, BUT I'm pretty sure I'm right eye and foot dominant.  I don't know which ear is dominant, but either way I've got mixed dominance issues.
Posted by: Ribbit, Saturday, January 23, 2010, 2:50pm; Reply: 24
I had speech therapy in 1st grade. They tested my hearing every couple of years in school.  They always said my hearing was just fine.  But I wanted to argue, "Sure, I can hear it just fine, but that's because you only played one tone at a time."  I was too shy and didn't have the words back then to explain it though.

The trouble, Paul, with not having the caffeine is that if I'm in a situation like that, I can't just fidget.  I will get hotter and hotter, more and more sweaty, my head feels like it's going to explode, and I have to get up and leave.

Caffeine helps me deal with the noise.  I still hear it, but I can process it better.

Alcohol helps me deal with the noise as well.  It actually deadens it some.  Or maybe it just makes me not care.  I do this many evenings as I'm cooking dinner.  The children are wild and noisy (sometimes fussy), and I can either get dinner on the table or I can keep telling them to be quiet so I can think.  Can't be both ways.  Except if I have a glass of wine it kind of fades a little and I can hear myself think better.

Here's something strange I wanted to mention.  When I'm doing my daily activities, occasionally the noise fades as if I'm falling asleep (except I'm awake)--or as if I turn the radio volume way down.  Then suddenly it's as if somebody turns it way, way up.  I either hear it too much, or I don't hear it at all.  This is all worse if I've had a rotten night's sleep, which leads me to wonder if adrenals play a big part here.  It's pretty annoying as I miss a lot of stuff, but then when I do hear it, sometimes it sticks in my head for years.  I can remember word-for-word snippets of dumb conversations from early childhood, the type which nobody remembers. I feel like my head is filled with consequential information--trivia--and I don't want to remember such things.  I could list all 20 kids in my class in alphabetical order in early elementary school, but I couldn't remember simple things I was supposed to hear my teacher say.  I couldn't copy things off the board either, but that's a different story. It's like my brain can't decide what's important to remember, so it remembers the stupid things that don't matter.  And yet....I still know my entire times tables even though I haven't used any of it in close to 15 years.

One of the Dr. Who episodes last season had Donna Noble being in a constant dream state.  In this dream state, she caused things to happen just by thinking about it.  She'd say to her children, "Time for bed," and suddenly the children were in bed, all without the whole process.  It was odd watching that episode because I feel like that a lot.  I do things so automatically sometimes that I don't realize I've done them.  I'll turn out of the driveway, blink, and be at the grocery store and have no recollection of getting there.  I just zone out.  (I have wondered if I have petit mal seizures, but if I did, I would crash, right?)  DH and I will watch a movie, and later he'll mention it and I have absolutely no recollection of it.  My famous excuse he's heard many times now is, "If we watched something or did something while I was pregnant, I won't remember it.  Or  if I'm nursing a baby, the hormones flood my mind and make me forget things."  He chuckles.....but this has been going on a lot longer than just the last few years.

I remember my senior year of high school walking down the hallway after school was over and the  halls were empty.  I was zoning out, not really thinking about anything, when suddenly I realized I couldn't get my locker combination to work.  I fiddled with it a few minutes, wondering if maybe I'd forgotten the combination, even though I'd been doing it at least 6 times a day, five days a week, for the last 4 months.  Then I "woke up" and realized that I had walked to the locker I had in 9th grade, and was doing that combination.  I squinched my eyes shut, trying to remember which locker I was supposed to go to, 3 years later.  I thought, "Well, if I walk down to that end of the hallway, maybe it'll come to me.  Sure enough, I found my locker, but I couldn't come up with the numbers.  Then I put my hand on it, worked it without incident--I think my hand remembered the motions of the three numbers, even if my mind couldn't--and I felt really, really stupid.  I've never told anybody this before.

I zone so bad I may as well not be there.  I can snap out of a zone (without even knowing I'm in one) and have no idea what I was doing or how I got there.

Life is but a dream.

My dreams seem more real than real life.

I told DH when I woke up this morning that I think my adrenals function when I'm asleep better than they do when I'm awake.  I remember dreams I had when I was little....but I glanced through part of the Dream Thread last week and with horror read about one of the really strange dreams I'd posted about.  Not horror because it was a bad dream, but horror that I didn't remember it until I read about it, and then it all came flooding back.

I have a lousy concept of time too, and it's always haunted me.  Because I switch in and out of reality (the zoning thing)---and it's possible this is a coping mechanism I developed unconsciously over time---I don't know that time is passing.  It annoyed my mother (who is always "present") to no end because she'd tell me to do something (usually homework), come check on me an hour later and I would have had my name at the top of the paper.  Maybe.  And have no idea that any time had passed.

You know.....if I were 80 I think they would diagnose me with Alzheimer's.

Although when I talked with a psychologist a few years ago he said this is also what happens to people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I don't how much to attribute to whatever happened to me in early childhood (which also happened to my younger sister, which means I should be old enough to remember it), how much of it is adrenals, or how much of it is "being on the Spectrum".  Maybe they are all tied together.  Chronic stress perhaps.

I have filled notebooks with writings that sometimes when I read them I think, "Hey--I like that!  Who wrote that?....Oh yeah.  Me. Cool!"  ::) :B

When I was taking Standard Process brand adrenal support I had NONE of these problems.  But it's terribly, incredibly expensive.

I didn't mean to sit here and drone, but this whole "problem" is very fascinating to me because it's my world whether I like it or not.

It's Saturday and my  husband's home!  I can concentrate on writing all this! ;)

I used to know a young man with autism (I guess he was in his late teens) who I would watch intently sometimes.  (We went to the same church.)  I'd sit there and stare at him because I knew what he was doing!  Every time there was any noise, his eyes would widen slightly and he'd have to turn and look at it.  He couldn't filter out what he needed to listen to and what he didn't.  Any peep from one of my children and for an instant he would glance at them, almost like he had to register in his mind what had made the noise.  I don't have to do that--I can register a noise without having to look at it--but I understood what he was doing.  He was very fidgety and if the noise got to be too much he would begin to look very nervous (which I felt too, but I deal with it differently) and eventually would disappear outside.  Whereas he has to leave, I just zone.  On his birthday I made him gluten-free cake and we all sang Happy Birthday to him.  He looked a little panicky when we started singing, but we had agreed beforehand to sing quietly.  He relaxed and could enjoy the cake in the presence of all of us (which wasn't very many--maybe 15 people).

Now I have worked with children with autism before (I was an Applied Behavior Analogy Therapist for about 3 years), but never anybody older than about 10.  I felt like watching this guy was like watching me, only a little more extreme.  An interesting difference between us was how we sat.  I want to curl in a little ball, shoulders hunched, trying to get away from everybody and not be seen.  It's a conscious effort to not sit folded up.  He splayed all his limbs out.  Everywhere.  He was over six feet (but pretty thin) and took up a lot of space because his arms and legs were everywhere.  The both of us felt ourselves in space differently than most people, but the way we expressed it was opposite.
Posted by: geminisue, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 4:07pm; Reply: 25
I am so glad this was referred to, my computer was crashed at the time it was started, so I did not know of it's existence until today.  I wonder what other important post I missed, I was w/o a computer from Nov 2008-May 2009, if I remember, correctly.

This is so interesting and answers so many questions, being a nonnie, seems to play a role, here from what I read so far.
Posted by: md, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 5:25pm; Reply: 26
Quoted from Ribbit

I do things so automatically sometimes that I don't realize I've done them.  I'll turn out of the driveway, blink, and be at the grocery store and have no recollection of getting there.  I just zone out.  

I zone so bad I may as well not be there.  I can snap out of a zone (without even knowing I'm in one) and have no idea what I was doing or how I got there.


My sister has had similar symptoms and was diagnosed with global amnesia.  I am wondering, now, if that's not what is happening when she goes into a cleaning frenzy at my Mom's house.

Posted by: Ribbit, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 6:18pm; Reply: 27
Hm.  But getting a diagnosis like that would require going to the doctor, wouldn't it?

When I get in a cleaning frenzy, the room is entirely clean.  Unreasonably clean.  Unnecessarily clean.  Down to the little corners of the baseboards.  And sometimes I just repaint the entire room.  I have trouble with balance.

That guy who played in Gladiator.  I can't think of his name.  He also did a movie about a schizophrenic guy.  I can't think of the name of that movie either.  If I had more caffeine in my system I would instantly know.  Anyway, I didn't enjoy that movie because I understood a little what he was doing.  So many of these symptoms overlap and it's hard to peg exactly where you fall.  And ten different doctors might likely give ten different diagnoses.
Posted by: Tom Martens, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 6:46pm; Reply: 28
If I'm watching TV and my wife wants to talk to me or ask me a question - forget about it.

When I'm in the Alpha state- I'm in the Alpha state and YOU don't really exist.

Turn the TV off and give me a few seconds and - presto, YOU now exist and can get my full attention.

A nonnie to be sure.
Posted by: Ribbit, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 7:42pm; Reply: 29
What is Alpha state?
Posted by: TJ, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 7:45pm; Reply: 30
Ribbit: A Beautiful Mind

I've been back on Paxil (20 mg) for the last two weeks.  My Dr. prescribed it because of anxiety, especially because I've had difficulty with sleep.  Let me tell you, it worked!  For the past two weeks, I've hardly gotten anything done EXCEPT sleep.  I knew this would be a problem if it kept up for long, but I figured that after nearly five months of being housed but homeless, I needed rest badly.

Friday I decided that I should be caught up by now, so I skipped it that night with plans to continue Saturday night with half a dose (10mg).  Saturday I felt like a new man.  I awoke well-rested, with enough energy to get caught up on most of what I got behind on.  I felt a lot less sensitive.  The one annoying thing I noticed was that I was very restless/antsy.  I slept well again last night on 10 mg, and I'm feeling well again today, but less antsy.

Also on Saturday, I realized that a lot of what I've been remembering lately about "how I am" has been drawn from the worst times in my life.  It should come as no surprise, with all the chronic stress I've been dealing with over the last year plus.  Ribbit, I am going to say you are struggling with this sort of thing a lot more than I am.  Either that or you have been in dire need of more sleep since childhood!  I suffer with it when I've been under a lot of stress and I'm run down.  When I'm well the oversensitivity is much more manageable.  I still need sunglasses outdoors, and I'm still bothered by tags and seams and poorly fitting clothes, and it's still annoying to converse in a room with a TV or other conversations, but it's not overwhelming.  Maybe this is just the other side of being right on the border, or of being able to compensate.  I don't know.
Posted by: Tom Martens, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 8:12pm; Reply: 31
Alpha state is many things but in this case I mean it as: The brain's relaxed or neutral state. This occurs when we are relaxed and not under stress.  When watching TV you are taking in information and not actively "paticipating" in the "conversation" with what you are watching.  

You are detached.
Posted by: koahiatamadl, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 11:01pm; Reply: 32
Quoted from Tom Martens
Alpha state is many things but in this case I mean it as: The brain's relaxed or neutral state. This occurs when we are relaxed and not under stress.  When watching TV you are taking in information and not actively "paticipating" in the "conversation" with what you are watching.  

You are detached.


Not sure relaxed really comes into it though.  

I work in a large open plan office and I completely lose myself and ignore everybody and everything around me..and all of a sudden I notice a drink next to me that somebody got me when they did a drinks round half an hr ago...when I say ignore what I mean is that unless somebody actually says my name and stands next to/in front of me I won't notice they are talking to me.  

Also works in smaller spaces, perhaps more so in fact because I can sit in a room out at a client with my team and two of them are chatting to each other, one is coaching the junior and another is on the phone and client staff also keep popping in and out, also talking to the team and in the midst of all that I am completely zoned out reviewing work, reading my emails or prioritising my to do list and am oblivious to it all until somebody says "Michaela, did you listen to that? What....."  At which point they normally have to repeat what they said before saying my name because I won't have consciously heard any of it.      

This losing myself is not a conscious effort as far as I can tell, just my normal state when at work, because there is always all sorts of stuff going on and people passing and I could not function and be productive, if I took it all in consciously.  

Writing this, I also noticed that it doesn't work the other way round - if I'm on the phone even just listening, say on a conference call, not even having a conversation, I can't zone out and ignore everything around me.  So the act of listening seems to keep me engaged with what's going on around me.    
Posted by: Ribbit, Sunday, January 24, 2010, 11:48pm; Reply: 33
Very interesting, Michaela (beautiful name, by the way).

Oh, right.  "A Beautiful Mind".  LOL  Well! :B

I believe you may be right.  Stress causes me to detach, and because I've been detached for so long, it kind of follows me through life and rears its ugly head whenever it wants.  The detachment is part of the PTSD.  PTSD ==> adrenal fatigue ==> forgetfulness?

I'm glad you're doing a little better, TJ.  It must be awful to always feel back-and-forth.
Posted by: TJ, Monday, January 25, 2010, 10:26pm; Reply: 34
Quoted from koahiatamadl
I can sit in a room out at a client with my team and two of them are chatting to each other, one is coaching the junior and another is on the phone and client staff also keep popping in and out, also talking to the team and in the midst of all that I am completely zoned out reviewing work, reading my emails or prioritising my to do list and am oblivious to it all until somebody says "Michaela, did you listen to that? What....."  At which point they normally have to repeat what they said before saying my name because I won't have consciously heard any of it.
I'm so jealous!

Yes Ribbit, it is frustrating, but at least there is an "up" and not just a "down".  I sort of tune out when I'm very overwhelmed (or I try to), but that tunes out everything.
Posted by: 8049 (Guest), Thursday, February 4, 2010, 7:43pm; Reply: 35
Well, I think this is more frustrating than anything!

Reading about your experiences Ribbit was a more than a little creepy, as I have many of the same issues.

I wish there was a quick fix/diagnosis, so it would just get better already :)
Posted by: Ribbit, Friday, February 5, 2010, 3:06am; Reply: 36
:-/  Yeah...I've got stuff to do...life to live...I don't have time to be slowed down by filtering stimuli.  And yet....

Welcome to the forums, by the way, Elizabeth!
Posted by: Ribbit, Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 10:07pm; Reply: 37
Attn:  TJ and Paul.

I've got a thought I wanted to run by you both.

I have been wondering lately what the link is between adrenals and sensitive hearing.

Here's what I'm thinking:

Because of the hypersensitivity of all senses (particularly ears in this case), we are hyper-vigilant against pain.  We brace ourselves constantly against all incoming stimuli to keep from getting hurt.  

In my case, the voices of my children actually hurt my ears.  I have come to see that only recently.  Normal talking is one thing.  If they raise their voices even slightly, it causes physical pain for me.  I find myself bracing myself (raising adrenal levels), waiting for somebody to screech "GIVE IT BACK!!!" when somebody else steals something.

So not only to we jump and cringe when sounds bombard us, but we also cringe in advance, knowing it will inevitably come, thus stressing the adrenals.

Does this make any sense?  Does it sound reasonable?

Is it reasonable to believe that those of us who can't filter stimuli have chronic adrenal issues?
Posted by: paul clucas, Thursday, March 18, 2010, 10:07pm; Reply: 38
I don't think that the adrenals are effected directly by lack of normal sound stimulus filtering, but your sense of fatigue is certainly caused by your tense experience.  

When someone without stimulus filtering issues hears a noise that is too loud - it hurts.  The sense of pain is a warning to us that listening capability will be lost with continued exposure.  Those of us whose listening (the ability to consciously focus the hearing sense for communication) ability is compromised have thresholds of noise tolerance that are lower than normal.  Chronic stress, frustration, and pain are the inevitable consequence of not being able to shut out the noise.  Stress - it is what it is, as Golfzilla would say.

Hey Ribbit - I have just thought of something that may well help you cope with what you are dealing with right now!  Do you remember reading about the Holosync system?  I tried the freebie intro CD.  One of the claims that was made of that system, was that it increased your stress threshold.  It was so good at this, that it was claimed that it made dealing with substance abuse issues easier.  Now, I do not think that I experienced the increase in the stress threshold myself.  I just used the demo CD to get better sleep, and get to sleep earlier.

You should check it out and try the freebie.  Do not listen to the freebie if you need to monitor anything important!  It was so good at relaxing me that the only time I dared to use it was just before I was going to sleep.  (sleeping)

I don't know if the CD will fulfil all of the claims made for the system for you, but even if you got the improved sleep, it would help you recharge your batteries for the next day.

There are direct connections between ear problems and other systems; there is one between middle ear dysfunction and muscle tension.  I have a niece (by marriage) who had tubes put in her ears (which damages them).  She is as skinny as a rake (worse than my DD, who is beginning to fill out with BTD!), has constantly tense muscles and a flat tinny voice.  She seems to have mildly autistic qualities, but this is not completely clear to me, since almost all of the rest of her family are dominant, attention-seeking, or both.
Print page generated: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 12:23pm