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Sensory Overload

Sensory Overload

“It’s too much. All these people racing down the sidewalk, the traffic, the noise… I feel like I can’t breathe, like I’m being crushed.” This was my assessment of the streets of Boston as my husband and I were returning to our apartment after seeing my new headache specialist.

You might assume I have an anxiety disorder. A therapist definitely thought so after I explained the “meltdowns” I had in stores. I described feeling totally overwhelmed by the lights, sounds, and smells, and being unable to think clearly or make decisions. I carried that diagnosis for five years before realizing these so-called panic attacks were actually the early stages of migraine attacks. Migraine sensory overload makes me as irritable as a hangry three-year-old.

This video, which depicts the sensory overload experienced by a person with autism, perfectly depicts how I feel when a migraine overloads my senses so much that sights, sounds, smells, and touch leave me incapable of coping. The world becomes so painful that I want to curl up in the fetal position and withdraw from all sensory input

(Caution: This video contains loud and bright images. If sensory input triggers migraine attacks for you, you may want to skip watching it.)

I once told a friend how much I identify with the sensory overload that people with autism describe. “The difference is that it never goes away for people with autism,” he said. He was offended, believing I was appropriating the experience of autism to explain my own. That was not my intent. I don’t know what it is like to live with autism and have no desire to rank my experience in comparison. I do know that this video resonates with me.

The drive through the streets of Boston that so overwhelmed me occurred during the Worst Year of My Life. My migraine attacks were vicious and unrelenting. Accordingly, my sensory sensitivity was constant and severe. Even now, when my migraine attacks are much more manageable, chronic migraine means my senses are always heightened. The sensory sensitivity is worse the more severe an attack is, but is always present. I breathe a sigh of relief to live in a less busy, less crowded city than Boston.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • glassmind
    4 months ago

    So true!

    I have compared myself to a toddler. Less kind people have said I’m “too sensitive”.

    Before I ever experience my first dibilitating migraine, I was always hypersensitive. Even between attacks, I am so. Sensory overload is always “on” for me.

    And while such sensitivities can lead to mood disturbance or migraine, I am genuinely happy to be so sensitive.

    Why?

    For every overwhelming café, I have also found joy in moonlight dancing on leaves, beauty in the complicated dance of a gnat swarm, comfort in the brush of a feather on my skin, and harmony in the footsteps of a beetle.

    I know it hard for folks to understand. I’ve heard so often “Just ignore it.” Or “That? I didn’t even notice.”

    Even watching such a video, these “insensitive” folk may fail to understand.

    It’s a two way misunderstanding street, as I have always been boggled by the way im which others simply fail to register the cachophony around them.

    Being hypersensitive has been a blessing in being able to have compassion for others (how loud we humans must seem to a whale, a cat, or wren) such as those with autism or anxiety. And it has been adventageous when I request a lowering of volume or lights and others say “Yes, that is better, thanks.”

    I know there are folks so accustomed to noise that silence is a source of fear.

    But I keep thinking, feeling, that the whole world would be a bit nicer and healthier, if we would all “tone it down”.

    Light pollution and noise pollution are real threats to health (even plants).

    Those who are hypersensitive might just be the canaries this coal mine earth needs.

    Thank you for sharing the video and your experience and raising awareness.

  • drmadden
    5 months ago

    This is so real to me. I have lost jobs in the past after being told I was a “trouble maker”. I cannot tolerate things like having a paper shredder being placed right next to where my work station is and then having someone feed paper through it for the greater part of a day. When I asked if it could be moved, I was told I wasn’t trying to be a team player and why should anyone else need to put up with it over me? People deliberately putting bubble wrap in their pockets and randomly popping it whenever I would walk near them. I am incapable of understanding why someone would find this entertaining. The random proliferation of television sets in medical office waiting rooms has added new torture to getting sent for lab work, etc. Just wondering if anyone else has had issues like this.

  • MCinNC
    3 years ago

    I’m not crazy! did you hear my big sign just then… I get super agitated at “things” and then my head begins pounding. My husband says I gave myself the headache, but now I see that it was the warning sign I did not know about. This comes usually in the midst of a great day, 180 mood swing. One of the sensory feelings I get is restless legs, or I feel like I could run a marathon, but then not! I too am irritated by loud noise and have thought it was my ears!

  • Hope and a Prayer
    3 years ago

    It had been a while since I had tried to go to the movies. A great flick was playing in a small, old theatre that did not have the massive, ridiculous sound systems that the new ones do. My first attempt had been at a something-plex and it was not fun. I tried taking short breaks but eventually, just left. Next time was in a theater over a bookstore which had about 20 seats and a basic sound system that the owners did not feel compelled to test it’s full potential. That, with the help of earplugs, was a fun experience, unlike the 3rd attempt which was awful. Did you know that saying, “Can’t hurt to try” is very, very wrong? I stayed through the whole movie because I didn’t want to disappoint my Mom and sister (and the movie was good) but that choice cost me. When the movie ended I couldn’t stand up, was shaking and crying. I could hardly think. I felt as though the light and the sound had turned my brain to quivering mush overlaid with misfiring wiring. I was in complete overload. I have chronic migraine and am always sensitive to light and noise and I think it acts as a trigger at times, as it did that day. But wanting my life to be “normal”, wanting to say yes to my family’s request that I “give it one more go”, wanting to be able to go back to the movies, which I’d always loved led me to walk down the popcorn strewn path to disaster. Movies are off the can-do list and I’m going to be OK with that.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi, Hope and a Prayer!

    Thanks for sharing your story, I absolutely understand what you mean. I have sensory issues related to migraine, and my children both have Sensory Processing Disorder. For us, OnDemand is a blessing. We may not make it to the theater when the movies are new, but as quickly as they hit digital release, we’re not long out of the loop. We can control the volume/reverb, the intensity of the lighting, we totally avoid the crowds, the cost of snacks doesn’t break the bank, and we can lounge comfortably. As they’ve grown, they actually prefer “Family Movie Day” to going to the theater. Maybe you could talk to your mom and sister, about starting your own family movie day.

    Thanks for being part of the community! -All Best, Donna (Migrainecom team)

  • GinaD
    3 years ago

    I can relate 100%. I work in midtown Manhattan and commute via train, and it is complete sensory overload. I wear sunglasses, hat, ear plugs, and find myself often holding my breath. I would feel so much better if I could work from home where I can manage the environment, but employers don’t understand that.

  • sandshadow
    3 years ago

    Thought this one was my particular demon…. I’ll be out in the car or at the grocery store and realize that everything is “too much”. The overwhelming need is to get home – NOW. It’s not a panic attack, it’s sensory overload, a need to be quiet and still. I always know a migraine is coming on when it happens. I never heard anyone else describe it until I read this article. Thank you!!

  • Savta45
    3 years ago

    Had to comment on this. It’s ironic, as I have a migraine now, about a 4/10 on Norco, & I’m sitting in the living room, where my husband is watching tv with headphones, so he can hear it, but I can’t. Thank G-d for headphones! This way, I can be in the living room with him, at least for now. If the migraine gets worse, I might now be able to be in the same room as the TV, just because of the flickering light.
    Obviously, I’m still able to be on my iPad at this time. However, walking isn’t so easy, & that was before the Norco. The jarring motion of stepping hurts, makes me nauseous & I also am unsteady, somewhat disoriented. So, the Norco doesn’t make much difference, as far as the unsteadiness is concerned.
    I had to retire early due to the migraines. I actually went out on disability. One of the problems at the work place was what I called ambient noise. Not only did I have to deal with the sounds I had to deal with in the course of my doing my job, but also the sounds of others, either doing their job or talking among themselves, whatever. It was horrible. It all blurred together, making one giant, unrelenting noise. It didn’t cause my headaches, I don’t think, but it sure antagonized them.
    Smells can instantly trigger my migraines. There’s no doubt. Skunk smell is one of the most obvious & worst. But strong perfume, oh please–do these people realize they practically leave a vapor trail behind them? By the time I realize it, it’s too late. Smoke, same thing, from any source.
    Anyway, I could go on, but I think people get the idea. I avoid crowds, loud noises, bright lights, strong smells, etc. as much as I can. The probability that something will either being on a migraine or make one I already have that much worse is not worth taking the chance over.

  • Newdancerco
    3 years ago

    Thank you! So often i feel like I’m the only one forced into using opiates to control the pain (after 20+ years, I have tried everything else offered, most multiple times- including surgeries) and I often leave migraine.com for weeks or months at a time after getting hammered about how I shouldn’t use opiates, I’m wrong to do so, etc. Like after that long I don’t know!
    It’s just nice to know I’m not alone out here, and remember that you know your medical history and experiences with medications better than anyone. Not even your doc knows what you feel when you try something and it fails, or when someone berates you for just trying to participate because your migraines dont follow the same rules as their’s do.
    I hope someday they can find something that allows you to watch tv with your husband all the time, in the meantime, I’m getting mine headphones!

  • kim716
    3 years ago

    Sensory sensitivity is definitely an early migraine symptom for me. I’ve never really thought about it being a trigger for me, but the more I think about it, it definitely could be. And all I know is that there are days when the noise, lights, smells, etc around me are more like a dull roar and I can ignore it easily. Other days, it’s like each different sound or light or smell comes at me as a separate assault and I have to try to ignore each on a separate level.

    I work in a very noisy, public, gov’t office. When I’m feeling overly sensitive, it makes me really irritable. But I also have anxiety so when I’m out of my comfort zone and feeling overly sensitive, it also makes me feel not only irritable, but also panicky. Definitely sharing this one.

  • Jojiieme
    3 years ago

    I showed my partner the video, and he started to appreciate my hell for the last 3days… What’s missing, for me, is not only the aromatic dimension but also the physicality of it all.
    I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems as if over the last year nearly everything slices through and reverberates in my abdomen. Not ‘echoes’, that’s too short a word for how long these internal earthquakes last. And not ‘gut’, because it’s higher, just under my lungs where that spare tyre sits. I’m assaulted a hundred times a day, physically recoiling from internal body blows no-one else perceives.
    So when my senses and reactions are already so heightened, and then a new light or forehead-muscle twitch brings on that ice-pick-in-the-eye… Please don’t tell me ‘oh, you’re so reactive, aren’t you?’, or’youre just over-thinking yourself into this’ as some colleagues and medical staff have commented.
    I also slip into a version of Alice in Wonderland perceptions with some prodomes, so you can imagine how difficult it is some days to act normal.
    I’m grateful to have this Community, for sharing and learning.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi, JOJ! Your tummy symptoms sound terribly uncomfortable. Have you talked to your doctor about adult abdominal migraine?

    We’re glad that you enjoy the community and we’re glad that you’re here! Please visit our Facebook page if you haven’t already. We’re always here to listen. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Brooke H moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi JOJ, We are glad you’re here!! It can be hard to deal with people who just don’t “get it”. Your experience is your own in spite of how others, including medical professionals, respond. I’m so sorry you’ve been experiencing so much abdominal pain associated with you migraines. Good to hear that your partner was able to understand some of what you’re going through by watching the video. I thought you may appreciate this article on the individuality of the migraine experience: https://migraine.com/blog/no-two-people-are-same/. Please share here anytime! Warmly, Brooke (Migraine.com team)

  • Diana
    3 years ago

    I agree with Katie Golden. The Sensory Overload video definitely depicted me. I’m 65 and have suffered with migraines since the age of 5. As a young person I didn’t realize what was prompting migraines. Then I began to see a pattern that when I went to a carnival, a concert (with psychedelic lights) or a dance with loud music the result was a migraine with vomiting.

    Growing up in the country my world was pretty quiet so any venture to a noisy city or something out of my norm would induce a headache. My parents thought I had a brain tumor and in those days doctors were not much help. They were told I was a “nervous” child. Luckily, my parents knew better and never labeled me.

    However, nothing worked to squelch the “demon” in my brain. The migraines were severe. I would go to my dark room with my cool cloth (now, like others, I opt for frozen peas) and cry and grab my scalp and hold onto my hair and pull it because oddly, that seemed to help. They usually lasted only a day or two. I would vomit and relief would begin to come. For me sensory overload is very real.

    My mother and grandmother both had them as well so they understood. However, mine were more frequent. When my mother and grandmother went through menopause theirs stopped. Mine have not. But sumatriptan works for me. I am so thankful that I found it! I just wish every sufferer could find a solution, however, I always have more headaches than pills.

    Avoiding trigger foods and gluten have helped, but sometimes headaches just come and yes, sometimes I don’t avoid the triggers and then the migraine usually comes. But sometimes I take a Benadryl pill after eating some gluten and the migraine doesn’t come.. so obviously, I have some “allergic migraines” as one doctor told me. But I can’t run around taking Benadryl everyday and sleeping my life away.

    As I read JanetH’s comment it made me think of a book I read a few years ago that really helped me appreciate my own nuances. It’s called “Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto” by Anneli Rufus. I believe, being a migraine sufferer, we sometimes lose who we really are. We also have a hard time figuring out who we are to begin with because the migraine life changes what we can and cannot do. Now that I’m older I laughing tell my brother “I might have been president without the migraines!”.

    By the way JanetH…. I loved your comment: “‘a quiet life’ as part of that person’s treatment. I would love to see doctors now prescribe this for various conditions, and for insurers to take it seriously.” I certainly need that quiet. It’s hard in our society to not feel guilty for making that needed quiet in our lives, but for some of us it is an absolute necessity.

  • Diana
    3 years ago

    Hi Kerrie Smyres,

    I’m sorry I said Katie Golden and it was your Sensory Overload article. I enjoy both of your writing and am so grateful for the time and effort all the contributors make to this site.

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    When you read old novels, you sometimes come across that a character’s doctor recommended, “a quiet life” as part of that person’s treatment. I would love to see doctors now prescribe this for various conditions, and for insurers to take it seriously. For myself, I’m fortunate in that my spouse is also an introvert, but my first husband was not, so I know well that struggle. It’s not as simple as handing out pills (much as I appreciate my neurologist). Many of us have had to make significant changes in lifestyle, and it feels like we are swimming upstream in an increasingly noisy, crowded, fast world. I grew up in the country, went to college in a relatively small town, and now work at a Big Ten University. My spouse and I sincerely hope we can both make it to retirement and to a smaller community such as we both grew up in.

  • Greyson Stoehr
    3 years ago

    Please tell your friend that you are NOT appropriating the overwhelming overload situation that autistics often experience.

    I am autistic. I also have migraines. The overwhelming overload experience is mostly the same. The differences come in that migraines also have auras, while most autistics do not experience those…unless they also have migraines.

    Greyson 🙂

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your very unique perspective as a migraineur on the spectrum, Greyson. That’s what makes this community great, thanks for being part of it! -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    Thanks for that, Greyson. Sometimes folks are very quick to take offense, and it sounds like the author ran up against that. (It’s not just autistic persons; can be just about any group…..)

  • Dar
    3 years ago

    This happened to me for the first time not to long ago in the dentists office. I was in the waiting room and the sounds of people talking, moving around, the phone ringing and OMG the smells. I’d never experienced anything like this before and didn’t initially understand what was happening. I felt like I was going to come out of my skin and then the pain in my head started.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Dar, you’re not alone in this, we have several articles that discuss sensory overload. Have you found any tricks that you’ll use the next trip? -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    I feel ya; that is rough. Ugh.

  • 6t0dcf
    3 years ago

    Sensory overload is a huge trigger to my migraines, probably the main culprit next to changes in weather. I can watch an action movie on TV (which I don’t do any more), spend to much time shopping in a department store, be exposed to flashing lights, sound, the list goes on and on. All of which more than likely will trigger a migraine and severe dizziness. My migraines began after a severe attack of vertigo which look me 5 months to get over. Since then any kind of sensor overload will set me off. One can try to avoid sensor overload but you never know when something may happen like coming up on an accident while driving and emergency vehicle have their lights on.

  • Leilani Siplon
    3 years ago

    My migraines started after a severe bout of vertigo as well.

    Back in 1996, I attended Grad Nite at the Magic Kingdom. It was crowded, lights and music were blaring and bright. I had what some call a panic attack. Now I look back and I can honestly say that it was all sensory overload.

    I still get that way now, 20 years later. My husband (who was there at Grad Night, too) thinks I’m just overacting. I can’t stand it when he says stuff like that to me. Honestly it takes a doctor, a look at my doctor’s notes, or a neighbor to say “that’s how I get, too” for him to finally understand. Sometimes he says the meanest things and he doesn’t know that he’s doing it. Then he doesn’t understand why it was so hurtful.

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    I have a hard time with lights flickering. We have some lightbulbs at my house that need to be replaced, and they are LED. Some seem to vary, and I can see them kinda flickering, which is bothersome.

  • Secondchance2010
    3 years ago

    So real!! My PCP said I am depressed and gave me medication…ugh!!
    After years of requesting a referral for a new neurologist (old one gave me ginger root after trying tomamax, since I had a reaction, said there was nothing out there for me) I finally get to see new specialist in December. Supposedly she treats migraines and aneurysm. I’m excited and can’t wait. Praying she helps. Depression medication!! Please!!!

  • arden
    3 years ago

    Low dosage of amitriptyline (anti-depressant)is one of a very few tested and proven preventatives for migraines. Check out the medical tests and conclusions before you reject it automatically.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi arden and a872vb, we have several articles which speak to the use of antidepressants in migraine treatment. We would definitely advise you to discuss this matter with your doctor because of the danger of Seratonin Syndrome, as SSRIs and SNRIs naturally raise serotonin levels and Triptans interact directly with serotonin receptors. Also, because your doctor will be able to anticipate any other potential drug interactions with existing medications.

    Thanks for joining in the conversation, and for being part of the community. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • GavMitri
    3 years ago
  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    I went to a workshop on introversion, and toward the end, the presenter talked about HSP. I was the most introverted person in the room (according to a little quiz we took), and also fit a lot of the HSP criteria. Explained a lot to me about things in my life that I just thought were quirky, and had sometimes felt bad about.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Janet, Have you ever taken the Myer-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI)? I’m an INFJ (1% of the population), and I had much the same reaction you did. It explained a lot of my idiosyncracies (and boy there are many!).

    Thanks for sharing! -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Christopher
    3 years ago

    Excellent information. I find heightened sensitivity to exterior stimulus to be a precursor to my migraines. I think it might be interesting to perform brain scans for migraine suffers whose migraine precursor symptoms include heightened sensitivity and compare them to autistic individuals as well as pregnant women. This is not to be insensitive to the individual needs of these three vastly different groups of people, but to see if the stimulus triggers in particular region of the brain for individuals regardless of which group they fail under. If the brain scans show similar brain activity, it would be reasonable to assume that anything that can reduce that activity might be helpful in all three sets of individuals. Note: I included pregnant women as I know they can suffer heightened sensitivity to smells during the early stages of pregnancy. Sensitivity to smells is definitely one of my migraine precursor symptoms.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Christopher, very interesting points! Both of my children have Sensory Processing Disorder, a CNS disorder in which an individual can be over-responsive or under-responsive, in varying combinations, to sensory input. It would be very interesting to see if the origin of the sensitivity affects the location or the expression of the sensitivity, or if there is a commonality. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Pam<3Tide
    3 years ago

    This article explained what I feel driving 60 miles round trip daily to work. Not to mention the panic attacks at church, graduations, stores, etc. I lost my job in Feb because I couldn’t keep up with my work for being out w/migraines. No word from Disability Application & will be living on the street in a month or two.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Pam<3Tide, I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time. Please know that you are not alone and that we are here to share information, support or just to listen.

    There are a couple of avenues you can pursue in regard to emergency rental assistance. Check with DHS in your municipality in regard to their Homeless Prevention Program as well as their Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and with your local HUD office regarding the Emergency Solutions Grant Program.

    To help you better understand the process of your SSDI application, you may want to read Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. And in the case that you need to appeal, you may find How To Appeal a Social Security Disability Denial published on our sister site.

    We hope these resources will bring you some peace till your claim is approved. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    I sincerely hope things come through for you. My understanding is that disability can take a long time, so try to hang in there.

  • KateMcC
    3 years ago

    I, too, get sensory overload. I haven’t figured out if it’s a migraine prodrome or trigger for me. Sunday mornings at church are the hardest. I wear FL-41 sunglasses, and often wear earplugs when out, but it’s so hard to get others to understand. I only go out shopping or restaurants during non-peak hours. I miss being out and about with friends, and it’s a challenge for my very gregarious extroverted husband.

  • e75briscoe
    3 years ago

    Hi KateMcC,
    I also have a lot of trouble at church. I end up missing most Sunday’s out of fear of the overload. I end up having these weird spells – my neurologist does not call them seizures, just spells. I also wear earplugs or play pink noise through headphones if the noise is to loud for earplugs.
    i hope you have more good days than bad!!

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi there KateMcC,
    Thanks for joining in on this topic! I am sorry to read that you too like many others experience sensory overload AND the difficulty of I am sure trying to find any balance of “normalcy” with your outgoing hubby! I am sure this must very challenging. I though you might find our article “Trigger versus Prodrome” insightful as you mention having difficulty determining.

    Thank you for being part of our community!
    Warmly,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Maureen
    3 years ago

    Kerrie, I can also identify to some degree. Thankfully, this is not my usual migraine reality, only occasional. But your explanation reminds me of me trying to explain to my daughter what it feels like to know you are about to faint. I have a history of fainting in conjunction with dehydration and migraine, and as my system is overwhelmed and shutting down I incrementally lose the ability to react and respond, even as I know I am losing it. And when I am having sensory overload, there is a similar slip-sliding away that becomes a crash-crashing away. Then, BAM, your gone. Shut down. Game over…or migraine full-blown, or Oh No! Not again!

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    I don’t have sensory sensitivity like you do. I am affected with scents/odors/smells. The other day someone asked me if essential oils bothered me or just fragrance. I replied “They have a smell don’t they?” There is a place I like to go when I can go to socialize at potluck dinner. Many times when I open the door to go in a wall of “toxic air” hits me. Sometimes it is stronger than others but always there to some degree. Even a mild odor will bother me. If I can’t open doors to get fresh air blowing through my time there is very limited. The aloneness in my world gets heavy at times.

    I am recovering from having a bridge extraction. Above both teeth was a chronic abscess. Only found by 3D x-ray. When this heals then the other 7 teeth will be pulled to make way for a denture. Am not counting on it too much but still hoping this will make for overall better health. Cheers.

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    “and to smell absolutely NOTHING!” Oh, isn’t that absolute bliss!

  • AFFoster
    3 years ago

    And Luna, as a bank teller I agree, paper money smells more than people realize! At my last job one of the boutiques in town always brought cash that smelled so strongly of the owner’s perfume I couldn’t keep it in my drawer or count it without washing my hands multiple times afterwards, and the greasy smells from fast food place deposits and chemical/fertilizer smells from the hardware store were overpowering and nauseating!

  • AFFoster
    3 years ago

    “They have a smell, don’t they?” Sometimes I think I need this tattooed on my forehead. On migraine days I think I could put a pack of bloodhounds to shame! All I want is a cold, dark, quiet bedroom and to smell absolutely NOTHING!

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    Yes, some smells are more than just irritating, aren’t they.

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    Donna, My friends understand as best anyone can without having the problem themselves. Only people who are sensitive to smells can begin to understand how much everything smells to me and it doesn’t have to be a strong smell either to get to my brain. Do you realize how much smell there is in the plastic bag that frozen veges come in? Some plastic produce bags are worse than others and all plastic grocery bags smell. Have you ever smelled paper money? Clothes I wear out in public take on the smell of whatever buildings I have been in. These have to air out outdoors as soon as I get home. My hair has to be kept covered because odors do not shampoo out. Thanks for your response and concern. Cheers.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi, Luna, I sympathize. Some plastic bags smell like that goop we used to get as kids that you plopped on the end of a straw and made bubbles from. Clothing is terrible, new clothing has that acrid textile smell, and yes, when you wear them out in public, or even after cooking, have to be changed because the odors they pick up are pervasive. I’m glad you’ve found ways to manage the scent triggers! Thanks for sharing. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi, Luna, I’m sorry to hear that your friends are having a hard time understanding your triggers. You may find Healthy ways to enlist help with trigger avoidance and Migraine Awareness: Getting People to Really Listen helpful in breaking the ice on the subject with them, and in alleviating that aloneness.

    We’ll be thinging of you and hoping the dental work does bring you some relief. We’re glad you’re here! -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

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