Great topic Jess.
I actually did an article a little while back on this because it’s one of the biggest, most difficult issues we face:
I don’t want to be the harbinger of doom, but if you find fidgeting a problem, it sounds like you may also have Misokinesia as well. It’s fairly common for misophonia sufferers to have both (I have it).
My top tip for helping someone else to understand either condition would be to encourage them to read up about it themselves. Tell him to look up “misophonia” online so that he can research and digest the information in his own time. People tend to absorb difficult news better when they feel like they’re arrived at the conclusion themselves. Hopefully when he reads up on it, things will start to fall into place and he’ll realise: “Ah ok, that’s what Jess has been going through”.
Then he can come to you with questions afterwards.
When he does, and this is hard, try to put yourself in his shoes – as someone who doesn’t have the condition.
If he does ask you how it feels, try to give him examples he might be able to relate to.
The most important thing is to try not to make it about him (because it’s not) and instead describe how due to the way our brains are wired up, certain sounds are heightened to such an extent that it’s unbearable. A bit like someone’s turned the sensitivity up on a microphone and all you can hear or focus on is this one noise, to the point where you want to scream, or lash out, or run.
I’d also soften the blow by trying to use examples that relate to other people you know, rather than him. If he knows you have the exact same issue with other people you’re close to (for example your mum) he’ll realise that it’s about the condition, not him.
Tell him that you know it’s totally irrational (and that’s one of the hardest things) but that it’s a brain override which you cannot control. However with the right coping mechanisms and some understanding you want to try to manage it as best you can. So for example this sometimes might mean subtly removing yourself from the room sometimes when it gets really bad.
I hope this helps. If I think of anything else I’ll add to this.