Friday, June 19, 2009

Over Stimulation

Learning dysabilities always seem to come in clusters. There has never been any doubt in anyones mind regarding my status as a dyslexic. A little ADD thrown into the mix never seemed like a very big deal to me. I mean when I can't read, not being able to sit still either feels like a non-issue. I tend to be a very lazy person. I throwly enjoy laying around on the couch all day long, so while I might be ADD, I have a hard time believing I'm ADHD. Still I get distracted very easily.

It isn't so much that I get distracted as that I get over stimulated. I'm good at multi-tasking, and I'm even better at becoming obsessed with one thing and focussing on it for days, weeks, or even months without taking a break. I do, however, have a very hard time tuning out unneeded stimulations. If I'm in a restarant or bar that has a TV hanging on the back wall, I have no choice but to watch it. In overenthusiastic sports bars with a half a dozen TV's, all tuned to different channels, my eyes constantly dart from side to side as I take in all the stimulation. Not looking at bright flashly lights requires way more effort then I'm willing to exert on anything.

Sound is even more distracting for me than vissual stimulations. I hear everything. I am a constant eaves dropper. The worst is when straingers near me are wondering about something I know. It is very difficult for me to resist the urge to join their conversation and tell them what they want to know. In fact, I do join straingers conversations far more often than polite society dictates acceptable.

I don't only hear words around me. I also have trouble blocking out white noise. Buzzing lights and whirling fans often become overwellming. When I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time playing in my closet. I enjoyed hiding in a small space where there was very little external stimulation. Playing in my closet alloud me to focus more intently on one topic without so many distractions.

I recently went on a lovely country stroll on the outskirts of town. The chirping birds really didn't bother me. Their songs came and went and helped add to the nature experience. But the bees drove me crazy. They were so loud, all that never ending buzzing. It was like florescent lights on staroids. Enjoying a peaceful nature scape left me longing to crawl into a closet and hide.

I don't know if this problem is ADD or a mild form of autism. Either way it doesn't matter. Like I said before, not being able to read seems like more of a real issue than getting annoud by buzzing lights and whirling fans. And thanks to many years of phonix training, I can read. Is there similar training available for teaching people how to block out white noise?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,

Sounds like your world is a little distracting.

I don't think what you have is at all related to autism. Autism, in general, is more related to not being able to pick up on human cues. I just read an interesting study on it in "Blink" (find it on amazon) That said that what happens in autism is that the part of the brain that is responsible for picking up on limbic cues does not really function. Instead the object oriented part of the brain takes over. So in essence, to an autistic, a person is processed the same way as an object is.

Your symptoms are very common in ADD ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.

There's a great video series which mentions your symptoms at

There's more info on the subject there than I can remember to post.