This is the #40 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Hannah (19) from Australia. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Hannah, take it away…
Where are you from?
What do you do for a living?
I’m currently living in London so that I can travel to Europe as much as possible.
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
Travelling of course! I like to write and read books, ride horses, exercise.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
I think I was about 11. I can’t remember the first time the trigger occurred but some of the early memories are being on the bus and the bus driver chewing gum loudly, eating dinner with my mum at the dinner table and begging her to turn up the television so I couldn’t hear her chewing. She thought I was being ridiculous.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
When I was about 13, I remember googling ‘hate the sound of people eating’ to prove to my mum that it was a real thing and not me being difficult.
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” ]Usually it’s a lot worse if the person is making the noise behind me. I like to try and get the very back seat on the bus so this doesn’t happen, or if someone is walking loudly behind me I let them go in front.
• People chewing – this was my first trigger and is the hardest for me.
• Someone typing on their phone – not only the sound but if I can’t hear it, even just seeing it in my peripheral vision sets me off and I have to move.
• Someone in my often who clears their throat every 2 minutes! (She just did it now as I was typing this!!!)
• Eating (and gum chewing – even the SIGHT of it drives me insane)[/bg_collapse]
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
With most of my sound triggers, even if I can’t hear them, the visuals set me off too. Especially if I am on the tube (subway), I have to get up and move seats if I can see someone chewing gum, typing on their phone, tapping their foot, drinking their coffee.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
As I mentioned earlier, when I first told my mum she thought I was just being a difficult teenager. It wasn’t until recently that she told me she didn’t believe me until I was about 13 and I had a massive meltdown at the dinner table and cried uncontrollably in her arms for over an hour. That’s when she finally understood it was something more.
As for my Dad, I didn’t tell him until recently and even though he is a psychologist (!!!) he basically brushed it aside and doesn’t take it seriously.
My favourite person I’ve told is my best friend. She used to have braces and that made her chewing a lot louder when we were younger. Now we joke about it whenever she is doing something that sets me off and I can tell her what noise she is making and we’ll laugh about it and it makes it better in that time.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
Hmmm… this is a tricky one as most of my miso-moments have been hard to get through but I think one of them would have to be with my boss who sits opposite me and my co worker to his right. He bites his nails but when he bites them it sounds like he is chewing through a brick!! Every time he does it, my co worker and I always give each other a look and have a giggle about it later.
As much as it’s very frustrating, it’s so loud that it makes it funny – and he doesn’t even notice!!!
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
– Removing myself from the situation (as much as I hate this as I feel like I am fleeing from my problems, it is the most successful)
– Talking to people who often trigger me so they can be a bit more aware of the noises they are making
– If I am really stressed or tired or already in a bad mood, I notice the trigger sounds a lot more. I find if I go for a run or to the gym this helps me de-stress and I can manage the sounds a lot more
– Mimicking the sounds. If I am eating at the same time as someone else, I can generally manage the trigger
– I went through a phase where I could manage it a bit more by repeating in my head ‘I have the strength to control what affects me and this does not affect me’ whenever I heard the sounds. Sometimes it works/sometimes it doesn’t and it depends on the environment/what mood I’m in
– Staring daggers at the person making the noise
What are your misophonic superpowers?
I definitely feel like I have super sonic hearing when it comes to these noises as I can hear someone from a mile away.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
That I’m not mad and I’m not alone in all this. I’m so grateful to find out that there is a whole forum out there of people going through the same thing and they understand.
What’s your very best life hack?
If you cook a massive batch of Bolognese (onions, garlic, meat, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste + carrots, zucchini, eggplant if you want) you can split it into so many dishes such as Spaghetti Bolognese, Shepherd’s Pie, Lasagne, Chilli con carne (add kidney beans to meat). Love making this on a Sunday and having all my lunches ready for the week.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS!
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
Cairo – the Pyramids are incredible.
Rise Up – Andra Day.
Will always be the Harry Potter series.
Favourite work of art:
The Thames Below Westminster by Monet.
5 things you couldn’t live without:
Travel, Dogs, Books, A Pen, Camera
I feel wherever I go, I am magnet to noises. When we go out for dinner, it is the table next to me that has the loudest talkers and laughers. I don’t know why, but my Misophonia is exacerbated when the loud talking is in a foreign language. Does anyone else feel this way?
At the opera, the one person drinking from his glass (yes, unfortunately this is allowed) sits behind me, and I hear the ice cubes clunking and clanging..
At plays or at the movies, the person who is diving into her plastic wrapping of candies, or bag of chips, is sitting next to me. Even though it is announced before the movie or play begins, for people to not do this.
My Misophonia prevents me from focusing on the dinner, movie, play or opera. I become so angry it interferes with any enjoyment. Luckily, I have an understanding husband. He doesn’t snore, but his breathing…heaving, sighing, mouth noises keep me up. I have had ear plugs molded so that helps.
Love the song Hannah – thanks for sharing it, and your experience with misophonia.
Steph (your miso neighbour in New Zealand)
Thanks for sharing your misophonia’s hard experiences and moments. I guess we have to figure out how we can live with this impairment which is not quite understood among people. I believe we owe ourselves the fact to literally retrieve from hard situations that trigger our incapacity to handle sounds. In final, this triggers our sympathetic system that keeps on knocking and knocking endlessly to ignite our fight/flight response, leaving us helpless and unable to reconnect instantly with our surrounding.
Wow wow wow!!. I am a dad who recently found out my daughter has this same condition. She is now 13 and appears she has had this for at least the last 18 months.
Reading your story i felt as though it was my daughter writing it. I had no idea there was such a condition. She researched the condition same way you did.
Thank you for sharing and I will definitely be paying more attention to this condition.