This is the #52 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Hunter (37) from the USA. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Hunter, take it away…
Where are you from?
What do you do for a living?
I’m a phone counselor for a distance-education program.
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
Writing, reading, basketball.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
My best guess is eleven, possibly earlier.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
Two years ago, from this site.
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
I’m skittish. If someone taps my shoulder from behind, I’ll jump a mile in the air.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
I told my counselor and one of my sisters. My counselor had never heard of it but was open to the idea. My sister was grateful to hear of it, as she’s had problems in this area herself.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
The first and primary triggers of my misophonia were noises from my dad. Whenever I was in the same room with him, even into my teenage years, I’d lie down on the sofa so that my right ear was mashed closed on a pillow and then I’d drape my left arm over my left ear to mash that closed. It was a ridiculous position to spend one’s childhood in, so that despite the trauma of it, I guess I’m far enough away from it that I can smile about it.
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
The biggest breakthrough I’ve had is with EMDR therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (Editor’s note: you can see more information about EMDR here). My counselor knows it, and after one session, it reduced the pain I experience from my dad’s noises by about 70%. I’m able now to look my dad in the face when I visit (he lives in another state, so I only see him twice a year) and for the first time I’m able to start building a relationship with him.
I would caution people not to be taken in by YouTube videos that claim you can do self-EMDR: in my experience, it can powerfully trigger you, send you into a panic, and make you think the therapy is worthless. It’s meant to be done in the context of counseling so that he/she can correctly administer it and help you holistically address the memories and feelings that come out during the process.
For noises my coworker makes in the next cubicle, I put on headphones with music. In non-work social situations a little (moderate) alcohol buzz helps create a mental buffer to the trigger. Also, I either make miniature mimics of the noises myself or go to the bathroom and make them louder in there.
Another person’s story had a tip about being grateful for moments when there are no triggers. I do find that a happier mood gives me about a 10% reduction in the pain from the triggers.
What are your misophonic superpowers?
My EMDR experience gives me hope there are possibilities of a solution to the suffering, even if that one therapy is not 100% of it. If that helps someone else, it’s a plus to me.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
I’ll keep to my EMDR theme. That therapy is the one thing that has given me palpable proof of a possible long-term way of treating the problem rather than short-term dealing with the symptoms.
What’s your very best life hack?
Keeping quiet when I want to say something in an emotionally charged moment has been the advice I’m most grateful to have found. It’s spared me from a lot of pain and regret.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
I hope if you find something that works, you share it with the rest of us. A win for one of us can be a win for all of us.
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
St. Petersburg, Russia
“Failure’s Not Flattering” by New Found Glory
The Devils by Dostoevsky
Favourite work of art:
The Sistine Madonna by Raphael
5 things you couldn’t live without:
A room of my own, a car, a roommate, hope, vision