This is the #57 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Ruby (17) from Scotland. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Ruby, take it away…
Where are you from?
What do you do for a living?
High school student.
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
I love playing/ listening to music, learning new languages and reading.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
I was 15/16 when I first noticed the symptoms.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
I searched up the symptoms immediately (being a hypochondriac) once I realised that this wasn’t something that everyone experiences.
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
I hate seeing people fidget or do a repetitive movement such as jiggling their foot. I also hate it when people look at me eat or if I look at someone eating, as I associate this with misophonia.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
I’m pretty open about misophonia, and by now I am used to having to explain what it is. At first, my family didn’t believe something like this existed, but finally understood that it was a problem for me as I would suddenly burst into tears at mealtimes, and I was allowed to sit out of the conversation and wear personal headphones since.
My close friends were more understanding, but most people I meet think it is a joke and find it very funny to make fun of me me or make the trigger noises to see my reaction (not ok).
There was one time when somebody accidentally dragged their fingernails down a piece of paper, and I reacted to it pretty badly (physically cringed and twitched involuntarily). I didn’t even realise that was a trigger sound, but the other people nearby saw that I had quite a strange reaction to it and a few of them started making that sound deliberately.
It got to the point where I was begging them to stop and was almost in tears as every time they would gleefully make that sound I was flinching and feeling that panic and fear. Probably the worst experience I’ve had with other people, as I couldn’t escape and nobody actually understood what it was like for me in that moment.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
I once found myself in in the situation of an entire room of people repetitively clicking their pens because they knew I disliked the sound.
This was before I really developed a sensitivity to sound, so I didn’t react very badly to it, but thinking back now it was such a ridiculous moment because it is every misophone’s nightmare experience.
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
I listen to music at mealtimes with my family, and when with friends or at school make sure I sit a little further apart when people are eating.
Anything that provides a distraction helps. Sometimes I will click my fingers or make some kind of subtle noise right next to my ear (such as rustling my hair or rubbing my fingers together) to drown out a sound if I can’t access my headphones.
What are your misophonic superpowers?
Misophonia helps me empathise with others who have similar lesser-known issues and don’t know how to cope with it and struggle to make people understand. I can pick up specific quiet noises even if “mixed” with other background sounds (handy when listening to conversations in a noisy space).
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
I’m not alone.
What’s your very best life hack?
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened” – Dr Seuss
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
You’re not alone!
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
Right now? Cherry Wine- Hozier
The Midnight Palace- Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Favourite work of art:
The Persistence of Memory- Salvador Dalí
5 things you couldn’t live without:
My headphones, my guitar, cheese, friendship, a good book