Over-Stimulation

With M.E. it becomes difficult for the brain to process information and to filter out excess stimuli. If you often find yourself over-stimulated and unable to rest properly, observe when this happens. Are there any particular things which tend to trigger it, or any activities which help or which do not trigger it? Television, noise, caffeine and clutter are all stimulating. Some activities are more stimulating than others. I find skim reading particularly bad as my brain canít select only the words I want to see and gets overloaded (see Reading for tips on this). You may find gentle physical activity, such as having a wash, less over-stimulating than mental activity; it may help to alternate the two. Try to pace your activities carefully and do only one thing at a time (See section on Pacing). Stress can contribute to the problem of over-stimulation, so look at ways of reducing and managing stress (See Coping Strategies). Practice relaxation techniques to help you rest as deeply as possible (Resting). Wearing a blindfold and earplugs or ear defenders during rest periods minimizes the stimulation reaching your brain. Blindfolds are available from some chemists (e.g. SUPERDRUG), or if you know anyone who is travelling, airlines give them out on long flights. Once over-stimulated you may need a long rest to give your brain time to wind down. Frequent short rests may help you to avoid becoming over-stimulated. The place where you spend the most time should be as visually peaceful as possible. You may be able to position mess so that it is out of sight or cover it with a sheet. Bookcases are visually busy so they do not calm the overactive brain. Putting a piece of material in front can be enough to make it more restful (choose a quiet design). This can be put on a curtain rail or attached to the bookcase with Velcro or hooks. When decorating, it is worth bearing in mind that busy wallpaper can be over-stimulating. You might also prefer plain bedding. If you are sensitive to touch and find showering difficult, see if it helps to bounce the water off your hand onto your body.

Bed : Pacing : Paperwork : Reading : Resting : Shopping : Visitors