This is the #56 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Sharona (68) 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. Sharona, take it away…
Where are you from?
Originally Delaware, USA, but my adopted home is Massachusetts, USA, where I lived for almost 30 years.
What do you do for a living?
I’m now retired, but most of my life I was a technical writer/computer nerd. I also worked seven years as a radio DJ, have provided content for law firm web sites, and have written a number of novels/stories.
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
Singing! I’m an alto in two choirs. I am also passionate about cats and have been owned by many felines. Currently we are fostering one. And I walk and run a lot.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
It was after I developed fibromyalgia that arose from a terrible car wreck in my mid-forties, but I have always had sensitive hearing and could become easily bothered by repetitive sounds like the clacking of keyboards.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
It was recent, maybe four years ago. I also have misokinesia and have had that all my life.
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
Misokinesia, which is triggered strongly by repeated images of eyes/eyeballs and anything that resembles an insect swarm. I have memories going back to age 6 of these triggers. My sense of smell is acute and can be “offended”, for example, by strong perfumes and also by strong unwashed body odours – but the list is long. I’ve been tested for synaesthesia but was told I don’t have it.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
I told my husband because his eating noises drive me crazy. He’s been quite understanding and accommodating. I’ve also told a few friends.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
I guess it was when I was with a girlfriend and we both found the other’s eating noises difficult and spoke up almost simultaneously!
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
Sound/white noise machines
Background noise of some types. (For example, I usually don’t have problems when eating in a noisy restaurant, but at home where it’s quiet, even conversation is not enough to tamp down my response to eating noises. So my husband and I eat in front of the TV and even converse with it as background noise.)
Leaving the trigger area!
Telling myself the sound will pass/end
Daily exercise outside to relieve anxiety levels
What are your misophonic superpowers?
I think my misophonia/misokinesia have made me more empathetic and more willing to reach out and help others. I also think it helps me appreciate silence and alone time.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
It’s not my fault, and I’m not acting spoiled or entitled. I have a health problem.
What’s your very best life hack?
Enjoy every moment as much as possible, even the unpleasant ones. And you’re never too old to change!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
Spend time outside, even if it’s just a few minutes, walking around with your own thoughts.
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
The Devil Came Up to Boston by the Adam Ezra Group (It’s quite profane, so be warned if you look it up)
Too many to choose only one
Favourite work of art:
Nighthawks by Edward Hopper
5 things you couldn’t live without:
Music/singing, Running, Cats, Books, Travel