By Jo Moss in The Mighty.
I find hypersensitivity one of the hardest myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) symptoms to cope with as it can be so isolating. Hypersensitivity comes in many forms: hypersensitivity to light, touch, noise, smells, foods, medication, chemicals, heat, cold and irritants like pollen and dust. All of these things can cause pain, nausea, fatigue, headaches and migraines. The slightest stimulus heightens our senses and causes palpitations, sweats, tinnitus, dizziness, chest pains and difficulty breathing.
The only way to avoid this pain and scary symptoms that accompany hypersensitivity is to avoid contact with the stimulus that causes the harm — this is the isolating part. I have no option but to live in a darkened room. I have to avoid noise, strong smells and touch from loved ones. My sense of smell is so acute at times, I can smell a bar a chocolate from the other side of the room — not the best superpower, but it’s quite impressive. My diet is so restricted and I am unable to take most prescription medication which may be able to relieve some of my discomfort. Loud noises like fireworks are unbearable and traumatic.
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