I have discussed very briefly in the past that I have a condition known as Misophonia, but I have never really covered what happens to me when I hear noises that trigger it. [I have self-diagnosed Misophonia]
The first time I vividly remember hearing a noise that made me feel like The Incredible Hulk internally was my sister, who was ten at the time, chewing gum. I asked her to chew quietly with her mouth closed, but she defiantly continued chewing like a cow. Internally, I could feel the Hulk growing angrier and angrier, and I lashed out. I think I warned her that I was going to unleash the beast, but she didn’t believe me. So, I pried open her mouth, and pulled out the gum.
A few weeks’ later, I was brought into a child psychologist’s office because my teachers in Sixth Grade thought I had Attention-Deficit Disorder (which is now called ADHD with focus issues). This psychologist was gigantic jerk, making fun of my artistic techniques, and my dad of course, casually brings up in the consult before I began drawing photos that I assaulted my sister because “Her gum-chewing aggravated her.” When questioned why I did this, I told him the truth: she was chewing her gum annoyingly and wouldn’t stop. I was put on Ritalin (possibly for the ADD–I was twelve, I don’t remember), which turned me into a raging bitch-on-wheels (I went on a rant after-school when a woman in a car nearly ran me over when I was crossing the street. I apparently scared my mom). We switched the meds, which turned me into a zombie, and I was eventually taken off of those as well.
From the time I was twelve until I moved into my apartment, I usually ate dinner in my room. Several people in my family eat food like untrained Neanderthals, and when you have Misophonia, those sounds are magnified times a billion. The only time I was forced to eat with the family was on holidays (thankfully only birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas), or if we were at a restaurant. For me, the sounds of people eating is like a million nails being dragged across a blackboard and an obnoxious screaming baby at the same time. It physically causes symptoms akin to those of a panic attack, and I get a “fight or flight” feeling. Oftentimes, I get an overwhelming urge to destroy whatever the offending sound is (I have threatened to toss my dad’s CDs out of car windows, threatened to roll a car window onto my throat so I would have my head away from the offending sounds). Living in apartment is not an ideal place to reside with such triggers.
What are other triggers?
- licking lollipops/ice cream/popsicles
- drinking creamy beverages (my mom occasionally does this when she has Frappucinos)
- Overlapping music (JC Penney is a great example, by having three different zones that each play different music, and if you happen to be standing in the right place, you can hear them all at once)
- Loud TVs (apartment living is a nightmare for this)
- Other people’s music (if I hear your music through the walls or floor, I get an overwhelming desire to maim–another issue with apartment living)
- My cats licking themselves (even seeing their heads moving pisses me off)–this only happens when I’m not wearing headphones.
I was going to write this for an article on a Misophonia website, but I couldn’t be bothered to send an email for approval, so I wrote it here.