Sunday, July 20, 2014

Noise Dysregulation and Running Regulation

Saturday evening started out rough for me.

Our neighbors had a party and we could hear their music in our house. And I know that people are allowed to have parties. And even though I think that after you reach a certain age, you are supposed to have parties where the music only lives inside your own house, I know that people have parties with loud music.

Unfortunately, music seeping into my house from the outside is one of my biggest sensory nightmares. It completely dysregulates me. I have to wear headphones with my own music blasting, but I still can't do much that is functional. I get agitated and stressed and a rock drops into my chest and I have to escape.

It's pretty horrible, honestly.

Fortunately, on Saturday, I had someplace to go.

I had signed up for an 8K race that started at 8:45 at night. I was an early arrival thanks to my fleeing the house, but at least I had plenty of time to decompress.

The bummer of the whole thing, however, is that I had absolutely no desire to run five miles, especially after my rough early evening. Adding to that is the fact that running has been really tough for me lately. There are a lot of reasons for that, chief among them being that I barely ran at all in May and June because of everything that was going on in my life. In addition, I don't know if you've noticed, but it is damn hot out there. And humid. And generally horrible.

Saturday night was cool and dry though. And two of my running friends who were running the race also met me at there. They are super fun to be with and by 8:45, I was relaxed again.

Sadly, I still didn't want to run five miles.

Happily, I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter, as I was lined up in the race corral wearing a number and my running shoes, plus my friends probably would have been confused if I'd just sat on the ground instead of moving forward.

So move forward I did.

Step step step step/breath. Step step step step/breath.

I started to run and with each quartet of steps and each breath, I felt better. My body loosened and relaxed and I settled in for the next hour of steps and breathing. Because when you really look at it, that's all running is—steps and breathing.

As it turns out, everything I needed after getting away from my house that night was steps and breathing.

I returned to my house late Saturday night, happy, tired, and (thank god) to a neighbor who had turned off his music.


  1. That exact thing creates SO much dysregulation for me, and hence a ton of anxiety. It even starts as soon as I hear anything that sounds like party prep coming from next door. I sit with headphones on but whatever I listen to has to be very loud and fast to combat the auditory intruders, so it doesn't make it any better but just allows me to make it through. And being dysregulated at midnight is a lot harder to manage. I'm glad you went to the run and that it made you feel better, it's a good reminder. Steps and breathing.

  2. Barbara Eisenberg QuintinJuly 21, 2014 at 4:50 AM

    I am so sorry for your discomfort. I hope they don't have many parties. Good for you on the run!!!

    I am not on the spectrum but I live in a condo and I so don't like disturbing noises. They irritate me. I guess in my old age I am getting grouchy. I have a neighbor who blasts music during the afternoon. BAD MUSIC!

  3. I totally agree with this about running - it is sometimes the only part of the day that my mind is totally quiet. I love it.

  4. So glad you had a good escape and that you had a good run. The weather was nice Saturday evening. Hugs to you!

  5. I love this story! I love how doing this thing you did not want to do, but that you knew would be good for you, was just that. You could have bailed on it and stayed home miserable feeling like you had been driven under a rock, but you didn't. Small perseverance, big rewards. :-D

  6. Completely get this.
    Happy that your race helped!
    Hoping that once you meet your neighbors, they're very nice! And, that you can gracefully say, "hmm, ya know, I worry about noise in the neighborhood. How about you?"
    That might not be realistic, though.

  7. This just occurred to me: once you know your neighbors better, they will invite you to their parties, and you can go, or not.

    Also, living in an apt building can have disadvantages. I don't move very often, however...
    One place had upstairs neighbors who had hardwood floors [no problem!] and who walked around at 3AM [slight problem].

    Current place is nice, though a bit ... quirky.

    Also, I just wish the smokers would move, although they are officially permitted to smoke, per Montgomery County law [Yep, I checked].
    Now that the A/C is on, the smoke is slightly less objectionable. However, I might stop by the office to *suggest* that they remind everyone to keep their doors closed. Because, really. I don't smoke, and would appreciate if you'd keep your front door closed. Thank you.

    Now, I want to go for a walk.

  8. Yeah, apartments are hard. I don't think I could share walls (or a ceiling/floor) again. I'm sorry you have to deal with the smokers. That is tough. I hope you went on that walk. :)

  9. I'm sorry you have to deal with that. I'd be grouchy too.

  10. There are so many reasons that i love you, but one of them is that you say things like this:

    plus my friends probably would have been confused if I’d just sat on the ground instead of moving forward.

    yup. love.

  11. This can't be verified or not, easily at least. But I may be one of the first Aspiegirls (my word for females with Asperger's) in the country. I was diagnosed in 1994, when DSM-IV came out, which was the same year Asperger's became a diagnosis in this country and girls aren't as easily recognized as boys on the spectrum, at least if high functioning like me.

  12. At least, it was virtually unrecognized in this country, before then, as it was unofficial.


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