I don’t know how to explain what that means anymore than I know why pretty much everyone knows the feeling.
It isn’t a migraine- but every sound is grating, every touch, everything. For people with PTSD, this feeling often comes right before or after a panic attack. I’ve learned over the years though that it isn’t something only people with mental illness experience.
Things you can do:
1. Cocoon yourself. They make weighted blankets, and if you experience this often enough(and have the cash to shell out for them)- they’re pretty cool. But if not, get as many blankets as you can and wrap yourself in them. You want a solid, stable sensory experience. For whatever the reason, the weight helps slow down the racing heart and may even allow you to sleep.
2, Take a shower in the dark. Take a night light or something like that in there with you- if you won’t be able to do it in the total dark. Make sure everything is as quiet as possible, and then either take a shower or bath in the dark. I prefer almost too hot water myself. Showers in the dark are great for sensory input, because turning off the lights makes you pay more attention to your other senses, and you get physical, auditory, and smells too.
3. Going in public? Wear a jacket. If you can avoid over heating in one- that is. Wearing a jacket will help add sensory input- and keep your nerves from picking up every stray accidental touch/whisper of the wind. Also carrying a grounding object in your pocket that you can rub/squeeze can help.
4. Plank. Or really- any sort of thing that puts strain on a lot of muscles. Personally I like holding push up position, or doing downward dog. You probably don’t want to be doing something that requires you to move/touch too many different things- which is why you want things that put tension, but require you to remain relatively still.
5. Joint Compressions. Start with your your shoulders- work your way down to your fingers. and then from the hips own the leg to the ankle. They advise doing each joint three times. A lot of children who have nerve issues are advised to get special brushes (they have soft bristles- and lots of them) so that they brush along their arms and legs in order to help calm them down.
6. Beanie babies or other weighted dolls. Once again, this is something I learned from working with children. I’m not sure why it works, but it has. It’s probably that the weight provides a more solid sensory input- and the fact that it is a doll- it can also be a comfort toy of sorts.