I seem to be overwhelmed with problems. I tend to get very irritated at almost anything and I’m not sure what the cause of it is. I can’t think straight and I have a very hard time focussing on anything. I feel overwhelmed by guilt (for everything — even if I just spend money on anything). I try to rationalize with myself but I can’t. I am super sensitive to noises and many sounds make me extremely angry. The sound of people eating is the worse. (I can’t even eat dinner with my family anymore.) There are also a lot of other sounds (and feelings — like the feeling of wind in the car) and when I hear them, it takes everything in me not to start screaming and breaking things and crying. I tend to have this feeling (the anger) within me all the time (sort of like butterflies in your tummy but X 10 and in my whole body.) I’m not sure where this feeling is coming from and so far biting myself is the only way to even start to release it. I also tend to think irrationally when in these moods and often contemplate hurting myself. The angry outbursts have caused many problems and has creating tension and distance between me and my mother. I am also very worried with school going back into sessions in a few weeks. I am not very social and I have a hard time connecting with people (I tend to push them away). I am afraid to go to school and have these problems get worse. I am not sure if I should take medicine or not. (My mother and father both take prozac). Any advice on medication or ways to deal with sensations would be appreciated. (age 19, from U.S.)Sensory Issues, Anger and Anxiety Problems
Sensory Issues, Anger and Anxiety Problems
A: Thanks for writing in with your question. Before I would recommend medication or any other treatment, I would suggest that you get a complete medical and psychological assessment, including screening for neurological conditions. If you aren’t sure where to start with this, contact your family doctor. You can print and take your letter and my response with you to help justify your concerns. It’s always a good idea to rule out physical causes in cases like this.
I’m not an expert in this area but there has been some research on “highly sensitive people” and this sounds similar to what you are describing. I’m including a link from one of the most well known authors in this area: http://www.hsperson.com/
Rather than hurting yourself (biting) as a means to cope, educate yourself on what could be causing the problems and what you can do about it. Finding a therapist with some experience in this area would be beneficial as well. You may also benefit from some mind-body focused techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and even therapeutic massage. Learning to manage the physical and emotion feelings that you currently find overwhelming is possible and will lead to an improved quality of life.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts