When I think back to having a selection of quick, go-to articles that would’ve made my life a whole lot easier when I was sleeping for 22 hours a day (more on this here), the post I’m about to write would have been really helpful to me. During CFS, you don’t actively realise that you need help with this, but as you start to get out of that ‘always sleeping’ phase, learning how to cope with noise and sounds during CFS becomes vital.
Why do sounds bother me so much?
The truth is, we become hyper-sensitive to anything and everything when our body is hibernating or in ‘shut-down’ mode. I developed allergies (probably due to an overdose of this stuff), and became so used to spending so much time sleeping in my room and being alone that anything out of the ordinary really upset and shocked me. Any sudden sounds, such as someone dropping something, forget it- my heart and head would be racing and pounding for hours to come (brain fog can bring us to our knees when we least expect it).
Eventually (and it will be eventually, believe me!), you will come to see this sensitivity as a strength, not a weakness. We come to realise that our body is protecting us in our fragile state in the only way it knows how, and for this, we should be very grateful. The alternative doesn’t really bear thinking about.
Here are 6 ways to cope with noise and sounds during CFS:
1) Get the hell outta there
Sometimes, the most obvious, ‘what do you take me for?’ advice is the thing we need to hear the most. If you’re feeling extra sensitive, don’t dive into a shopping centre or a crazy supermarket (my own personal sounds hell-holes). I get it, by being in these places, you get to feel like a ‘normal’ member of society again, but just imagine the feeling of hitting that wall of sound and then having to head home again feeling disappointed and embarrassed. If you’re with someone who gets it and you think you can cope with it, great, but if you can’t, there is absolute no shame is not wanting to subject yourself to what can be an utterly overwhelming situation.
Don’t go there, literally. Do what you have to do and get the hell outta there.
2) Have a back-up plan
Maybe you want to go to a shopping centre, but you’re not 100% sure if you can cope with it. Is there a smaller town or area with less people on your way? Is there an alternative which involves being out of the house for a shorter time or can you get away with shopping tomorrow when you might be feeling a little stronger?
I know the temptation is to use the little energy you have in one go, but sometimes, the best way out is around. We don’t have to be so rigid all the time (something I’m definitely still learning for myself).
(Click here for my number one essential CFS recovery tip- incredibly simple, but life-changing).
3) Go with someone who gets it
I know that you might argue that a family member or friend might never truly ‘get it’, but it’s a lot easier than going on your own. I know you feel like an elderly person who needs to be accompanied everywhere, but when you’re in the midst of CFS brain fog and a crowd of strangers, you need someone who can link your arm and point you towards a cup of tea or some open space.
Even better, talk to the person going with you before you leave (maybe about point number 2) and reassure them that you’re ok, but if you’re feeling wobbly, they have full permission to ask if you’re ok and drag you home if need be.
4) Earphones or Headphones are your best friend
I’m not talking about drowning out all the other noise with some death metal or trance, I’m talking about just popping some headphones and letting them do a little bit of ‘damage limitation’ for you. Plug them into your phone and everyone else will just believe that you’re listening to some funky tunes.
If you’re feeling edgy or like you’re ready to take on more ‘audio’, downloading a beautiful podcast (like these ones by Connie Chapman) can really help to soothe you and calm you if you’re feeling panicked. Some uplifting music is a must as well. This gorgeous mantra by Deva Premal is my ultimate go-to track when I feel as though my breathe is becoming a little bit shorter and all I want to do is dive into the ocean.
5) Take along a calming kit
If you’re at that stage in your recovery where you know that shopping for an hour is do-able, but any more than that might be tough, take along a little calming, ‘survival’ kit with you. I always used to do this when I would go window-shopping with my Mum and it really helped (the headphones and earphones in point 4 can form part of this kit too.)
Click here for more healthy snacks which might help to maintain your energy levels.
6) Trust your Gut
Your intuition and body never lie, so learn to trust the messages you are receiving. Today might not be the day to do a mad trolley dash, or meet friends for lunch, and that’s ok. I relapsed on many occasions because I fell into the trap of thinking that my friends would abandon me if I didn’t show up. But you have to do this thing on your own terms- don’t be ashamed or scared to step back a little. Your energy is your savings account.
I really hope some of these tips help you my love. Let me know below, do you find it difficult to cope with noise and sound? How do you find your way through it?
Love, Katie xxx