Too Sensitive? Yes, proudly!
Last updated: May 2019
Constantly managing my exposure to "ordinary life" and experiencing regular breakdowns leaves me feeling small and helpless at times.
I have compared myself to a toddler many times. Less kind people have said I'm "too sensitive", implying that I am choosing to be "high maintenance". And that I should toughen up.
I have said, "Think it's hard hanging out with me? It's harder being me." (Which is also a reply when someone grows weary of listening to details of living with a chronic condition...or two...or three...)
Before I ever experience my first debilitating 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.
For every overwhelming café, grocery store (one of the top three places for bulldozer migraines) or social gathering, 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 videos that try to illustrate the experience of sensory overload these "insensitive" folk may fail to understand. After all, they can easily watch the latest action movie or attend concerts without a flinch.
I have to avoid even ordinary commercials. A superhero flick? A laser light show? Out of the question.
It's a two-way misunderstanding street, as I am boggled by the way others fail to register the cachophony around them.
Being hypersensitive has been a blessing though. I have compassion for others (how loud we humans seem to whales, cats, or wrens) such as those with autism, anxiety, or ptsd. 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. Or can only sleep with a light.
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 reading; and please, share your experience, speak up when overwhelmed, and keep raising awareness.
See the article that inspired my story at
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?