Noise Sensitivity and Sustained Mild to Moderate Anxiety

Today I had a number of errands to run and appointments to go to.  For the entire duration of the time I was out, I was experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and intense noise sensitivity.  I believe both of these conditions are related to my bipolar disorder but was wondering if any of you have ever experienced them?  I will try to describe in more detail what I am talking about.



I have an elevated heart rate, I am sweating more than normal, I feel nervous and embarrassed. My muscles are all tense and I tend to try to do things as quickly as possible; so that I can get back into my car where I feel safer.  I am very self conscious, the fact that I am overweight, that my hair is not done perfectly, that I am wearing clothes that are not as flattering as I would like and so forth, all play on my mind. I am paranoid that people can tell that I am anxious and I desperately want to hide it.  I stumble over my words and am forever apologising for little things that are meaningless.  All of this goes on the entire time I am out in public, it doesn’t actually stop me from achieving the things I went out to do, but it comes very close.  In between tasks, while I am driving to the next errand for example, I often cry, then compose myself again, ready for the next thing I have to do.

When I get home I fall apart, usually having a full blown panic attack and having to medicate myself and use all of my knowledge on how to calm myself down – eg. meditation, being in a dark quiet room, deep breathing, being held by my husband if he is home and so forth.  It usually takes about an hour for me to start feeling normal again.


Noise Sensitivity

Separate to the sustained anxiety, today I was experiencing intense noise sensitivity.  For me this is like someone has turned the volume up all around me.  I can hear every little noise as though it were very loud, especially voices.  If there are a number of people in the room, I hear all the conversations as though they were right beside me and speaking loudly.  I find it very difficult to filter all the noises I am hearing, so that I can concentrate on the conversation I am trying to have.  This intensifies my anxiety and especially my social anxiety, because I look stupid when I can’t understand or follow the conversation I am having with one person.  Today at one point, I was having a conversation with two people at once (my dentist and his assistant) and this multiplied the problem.  I find myself easily distracted by unimportant noises and the distraction confuses me greatly.  I very rarely get noise sensitivity without first having anxiety but it has happened on occasion.

Do any of you experience either of these conditions?  I’d really like to know whether I am alone in this or whether it is common.  I would really appreciate your feedback.

Thank you,
Emily Jane

6 thoughts on “Noise Sensitivity and Sustained Mild to Moderate Anxiety

  1. Sandra Burns April 8, 2015 / 8:50 pm

    I certainly have the same anxiety leaving the house on my own, and experience a sense of hyper awareness of noises around me. I worry especially about car noises because if I break down I will have to manage the situation and strange people and will most likely irritate people. I am trying to make my car a centre of mindfulness where I can feel safe and relax but it isn’t easy. I think if the car part could be less tense then i would be in a better shape to manage the actual things I have to do. The sweating and heart rate are common even at home if I am on my own, but I don’t want my son to feel too responsible for me and restrict his life so I just divide what is happening into stages and deal with each stage. When I am out on my own and get anxious sometimes instead of being scared I get mad and am rude to people, this makes me feel even more awful and I spend weeks waiting to bump into them so I can apologise but of course I don’t see them again. When I am home alone I can’t even go out into the garden – all my anxiety just balloons up into my chest and head. You shouldn’t feel stupid, it may be daft but you are certainly not alone.

    • emilyjtelfer April 8, 2015 / 8:58 pm

      Thank you so much for writing me. It makes me feel so much better knowing I’m not alone in this. Take care of yourself. Kind regards, Emily Jane

  2. Kay Goodwin April 9, 2015 / 8:00 pm

    Reading this is like reading about myself, i stay away from my church because the music is so loud & i am very sensitive to the banging of the drumbs i love going to church but not now i feel very tied when i get home & I’m stressed from the morning out.
    Now i know I’m not making up excusses , There are other people out there that suffer the same thing. Thank you so so much.

    • emilyjtelfer April 10, 2015 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you for sharing, it gives me peace of mind that I am not the only one. Kind regards, Emily Jane

  3. Teresa April 25, 2015 / 12:11 pm

    Too many noises and too much busy-ness going on around me really bothers me. Makes me just want to leave wherever I am. Even family get together bother me if there is too much going on and too many people talking at once.

    • emilyjtelfer April 29, 2015 / 5:51 pm

      Hi Teresa, sounds like our experiences are very similar. Thanks for writing me. Emily Jane

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