This is the #54 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Amelia (19) from England. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Amelia, take it away…
Where are you from?
What do you do for a living?
I’m a film student and support worker
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
Film (obviously), being outside/running, true crime, cooking, I’d love to make nature documentaries and am very passionate about animal rights
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
Around 13 or 14
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
I started doing research when I was 16 and found the term
What are your 3 biggest triggers? [bg_collapse view=”link” color=”#eb9500″ icon=”arrow” expand_text=”Click to Show Triggers” collapse_text=”Click to Hide Triggers” ]Coughs/Sneezes/Sniffles
Any mouth sounds like chewing or breathing
Women’s laughter (?!?!)
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
I can get triggered just by watching someone eating without even hearing the noise, and my symptoms worsen or improve depending on my mood. Some days, I won’t notice a single sound (unless someone brings it up). On others, I will be triggered by any sound made by a human, not just my main ones. Even reading the word chewing gets me mad haha.
Also, for some reason I do use/have ASMR, just not if there are any mouth sounds. Whispering is nice 🙂
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
Mixed reactions. No doctor I have ever spoken to has heard of it and it feels like most people don’t believe that it is a real thing. I have a friend with misophonia who is hyperaware and very nice, most other people try not to trigger it.
Often people will attempt to trigger it for a joke, or try and trigger my OCD. There is a huge lack of understanding of how much distress it causes, even people close to me kind of think of it as a funny quirk I need to ‘get over’. Because of this instead of asking people to try and be quieter I just leave the situation, in case they do it more.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
Christmas 2015 (or was it 16) was a fun one, I sat through the whole dinner blasting music everyone could hear through my headphones as my family like chewing with their mouths open. I made sure to play the most aggressive, non-Christmassy music I could find.
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
My first instinct is to leave the situation. If I can’t, one that really works is mimicking the trigger noise. I will start chewing food or cracking my knuckles and it relieves some of the stress when I draw attention to myself doing it. I also try and distract myself by fidgeting with my hands or using touch such as running my hands through my hair or lightly biting my tongue. Anything to draw attention away from the noise.
Sometimes I just get really rude with people (I try to do it jokingly) to relieve the tension and highlight that they are being too noisy.
What are your misophonic superpowers?
I am hyper aware of what goes on around me and can notice small details. If I am feeling stressed after getting triggered I often try and turn it into something productive, such as going to the gym or isolating myself and getting work done.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
Sound mimicking has eased a lot of stress, but in general just knowing it has a name even if it is difficult to get real help.
What’s your very best life hack?
Write plans for everything. Even if you ignore half of it when you come to it at least it is written down somewhere.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
Don’t tell teenagers you have a problem which they can trigger literally just by moving their mouth. Demand more from your/ your children’s school!
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
Hard choice, it changes every week. Let’s go with The Primitives Talk – Zach Hill
Eat & Run – Scott Jurek (Very inspirational for runners)
Favourite work of art:
Organic Sea by Nancy Wood
5 things you couldn’t live without:
Nature, my mother, my boyfriend, lists, a saute pan
I agree there is a huge lack of understanding about the stress/distress caused by triggering, especially when it is done deliberately by so-called ‘friends’ who think it’s a huge joke. I had a miserable time with misophonia during my teens (I’m now 64) when my dad kept telling me ‘It’s time you’d grown out of that by now’.
I am in my 70’s, my miso has not gotten better, or easier. Going to restaurants, plays, opera, has always been stressful and filled with angst. Who will be talking, crinkling plastic wrappers, or laughing behind, in front of, or next to me? Someone talking loudly, especially with an accent, exacerbates my miso. Staying inside with my husband, during this epidemic, not going out, has helped. My husband who huffs, puffs, pops, grunts in his sleep is a nightmare, even though I have custom made earplugs. So good to know I am not alone in my misery.
Nicely told Amelia! Similar story of course for most of us I suppose, even the meal with the noisy relatives! My earliest recollection of Misophonia was when I was very young (I’m now 60) and I ‘exploded’, so to speak, on my poor Dad…..the incident is never discussed!! Sounds like you’ve got some good coping strategies so keep safe and well. Martin
When I read about the last of the three triggers, I just thought “Yes!”. I was wondering for a while if high pitched voices and especially (usually fake, attention seeking) female laughter still count as misophonia, but it makes me extremely angry against that person and whatever triggered the happy reaction is completely lost and I just stare at the source of annoying noise (or go away if I can).
The mimicking helps me so much. For a long time I didn’t even know why I’m doing it Only when I read about misophonia it finally made sense. People were asking me why I’m doing it, I usually told them it’s a reflex and it’s there to support their efforts. Works at least on sneezing, coughing and (worst) throat clearing. It feels like an instant quick release of the anger.
Love reading these and the comments. We’re not alone, nor crazy…maybe a little. 😉