Challenges of Overstimulation When Living with PTSD

One of the challenges I have run into my whole life is how my brain gets overwhelmed and becomes foggy to the point that it shuts down and I cannot focus or remember what I am reading and learning. Also, I have difficulty following directions and conversations at times because of what I label as a prefrontal cortex shut down. My thinking and learning both become disorganized, thereby, increasing my anxiety and causing another prefrontal cortex shut down. This is what has made life and learning challenging throughout my entire life and why I developed such an art of dissociation. Over the last 10 years, I have gained appreciation for my innate heart, brain, mind, intuition, and body intelligences. I can see my own brilliance in many ways. However, I have not been able to cure my fogginess and dissociation, nor prevent my brain from shutting down, nor have I been able to eliminate the confusion and disorganization of my thought processes as a result.

Just trying to write and organize this blog is an extremely difficult challenge for me and produces great anxiety which causes my prefrontal cortex to shut down for several reasons.

First, ever since computers and technology have come on the scene I have had difficulty with them because there is too much information on an individual screen. It made my career life extremely stressful for the entire time. Now, on the internet, there are too many steps and too much stimuli. I easily become overwhelmed. Even to use this WordPress program I need to have the assistance of another person, my husband, to walk me through the steps each week so far. I even have to walk away from the computer while he is doing it because my anxiety becomes too high and I start to dissociate and constrict. In fact, the reason why I am trying to keep down the stimuli on this blog page is because I cannot function on busy blog pages, it is too overwhelming for me and my brain shuts down. I also avoid Facebook for the same reasons.

Second, another significant challenge is trying to organize how I want to proceed on this blog along with trying to organize my disorganized thinking. To be successful, I need the assistance of another person, again my husband. This is how I have made accommodations for my PTSD.

I need to make these accommodations to realize my wants and needs which are 1) to break my silence of living with PTSD, 2) to share my story of coming through what Thomas Moore calls The Dark Night Of The Soul to this place of acceptance and accommodation, and 3) to find a community of others who live with the daily challenging effects of early and long term trauma. These three wants and needs are some of the things that are giving my life meaning, purpose, and joy while I manage the distress from being overstimulated while living with severe, chronic, complex PTSD. In order to have these essential pieces in my life, I have to depend on the assistance of other people and even then it is always distressing and anxiety producing. This is what I need to negotiate every day if I want a full and purposeful life despite my disability.

4 thoughts on “Challenges of Overstimulation When Living with PTSD

  1. Catherine Beller

    I could have written this. I get easily over stimulated. Hate crowded places and noises places. Was diagnosed with PTSD in 2016. I deal with the effects mostly alone, everyday. I’m drained.

    1. janetcate Post author

      Your right! It is very draining to live with PTSD. I am worn out every day from it but I have managed to create a thriving life with it. It has taken me 13 years but I have found a peaceful way to live with the suffering. I have also had support from two wonderful people in my life. I hope you are able to find someone to support you. If you need a sounding board I am here.

  2. Missing In Sight

    You have identified exactly what I’m going through. When I blog and tend to social media, I get overstimulated and start to dissociate. I must have complete silence and darkness to recover. Thank you for putting words to what I’m going through.

    1. janetcate Post author

      I need darkness and silence as well. I need it as a regular practice. I am getting better with social media but only in short burst. Thanks for your comment. Glad it could help.


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