Published by: ADDitude
Written by: Cynthia Yoder
I was walking my dog recently, and a small airplane flew overhead. I felt like Gilligan on his deserted island, wanting to run toward the beach with my arms waving, “I’m down here! I’m down here!”
It has been ghastly quiet in my suburban neighborhood during the pandemic shut-down. Even the usual morning dog walkers aren’t out, so any passer-by who peoples my mornings gets an overly enthusiastic (though socially distanced) hello.
I usually love the relative quiet, but I don’t love the quiet of lockdown.
Right now, all my usual worries have been replaced with big worries. My health. The economy. I have several family members and friends who have fragile immune systems. Even as things open, my father remains in a pretty firm quarantine in his Pennsylvania retirement community. And the noise in my head becomes harder and harder to manage — drawing a stark contrast to the National Park-like quietude around me.
When Anxiety Gets Loud
Before the pandemic, I was looking into how anxiety and ADHD may have something to do with my life-long sensitivity to sound — and how I often struggle to separate background and foreground sounds. Sometimes this struggle has given me migraines.
What I learned about myself is this: anxiety plus too many mixed sounds equal brain malfunction.
If I’m talking in a restaurant with a group of friends, and the room is loud, I sometimes have to practice my deep breathing to stay relaxed. Just ask my husband about what works (or doesn’t) as background music when we entertain guests. I feel bad about all this, but as I get older, I realize it’s less about me being annoying as a person — and more about my ADHD brain being annoying as a processing system. Click here to read the rest of the story.