What is it?

Oxford's Dictionary defines overstimulation as, "

stimulate physiologically or mentally to an excessive degree." For me, it feels like my life is a plate that has suddenly become full, and any interruption, a person talking or asking me a question, noise, music, light, or notifications on my phone, are HEAPING scoops of new dishes on an already full plate. The blog photo is a good visual representation of what a brain can feel like when it is overstimulated! 

What I tend to do is go into a thing I call "turtle shell"

Because that’s how I want to be when I become overstimulated. I feel like I just want to go into a little shell and have nothing bother me until I can process what’s happening around me and decrease the anxious state that I am in. When I need to "turtle shell," I just tell whoever’s around me I need to "turtle shell" for a minute, but you can find whatever terms work for you!

The truth is that this experience is different for everyone, and can happen for different reasons for different times.


What happens?

 I get extremely irritable because I literally cannot process anything that is happening and everything is extremely overwhelming in that moment. What I like to do in those times is literally put a blanket or a comforter over my head so that I am in darkness, I either turn on soothing music or turn off whatever noise is going on around me, if I can’t turn off the noises I have to isolate and find a place that is quiet and still, then I turn my phone on 'do not disturb' and ask whoever is around me to give me a few moments alone and start my breathing.

This can take anywhere from two minutes to an hour depending on how bad that is that day. But everyone is different, everyone has a different illness or disorder, everyone has a different experience, everyone has different threshold of processing, so overstimulation can look extremely different for every single person.

For example I have a high functioning disorder so I can deal with a lot more than someone with a low functioning disorder. Having a high functioning disorder often makes it hard for people to understand how I’m able to do "successful things" in my life with having such "bad disorders" at such a "bad level" because to them it seems like you can't accomplish great things with 3 mental disorders. This is all to say disorders are unpredictable and unique to each individual person's experience and DNA so it looks different in everyone.


What do I do about it?

It is such an uncomfortable feeling being overstimulated and you often can't think. Don't worry, it will all be okay. Try going into a darker space, grab something warm and comforting like a hoodie, blanket, or stuffed animal, turn off all distractions, and sit still. Meditate on the verse Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. I will be honored among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." NIV 

Sometimes things can seem incredibly big, out of control and out of our hands. But ultimately, God is in control, ALL THE TIME. He knew you would be in this moment and He knows how to get you through it. Trust Him to do His job! Comforter, Redeemer, Friend. 

Other things to try:

Take a break from social media.

Feed your mind with biblical affirmations instead

Building time in your routine for breaks and rests can prevent buildups of overwhelming emotions.

Listen to calming music

Go to a remote place and be still

Do something relaxing and enjoyable (like a picnic, drawing, or painting)

JOURNAL about it!



What can I do to help?

If you are recognizing that someone is becoming overstimulated because they’re getting irritable and overwhelmed, don’t add to their situation by trying and being a superhero, but once they’re able to calm themselves down with some "still time" you can ask them if in times like that would they would prefer to be with a companion or alone and what kinds of things help them in those moments.


If you have been overstimulated, tell us in the comments what that looks like for you




sources: https://www.google.com/search?q=overstimulation+definition&oq=0verstimulation+&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0i13l9.8077j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

1 comment

  • At work I would get so compulsive about the things that i had to get done, that I viewed co workers as slowing me down.
    It was not a satisfying way to Be
    So when it happened I would stop in a single bathroom and stand Still
    and pray 3x slowly
    “ Gods Infinite Love
    and God’s Infinite Wisdom
    Fill my mind and my body
    and I am Grateful for my Freedom”
    At first all I could feel was the force of my anxiousness to get to the copier before someone else did. But I remained still.

    Soon the strength of the anxiety subsided

    I welcome still time with God.

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