This is the #32 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Susan 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. Susan, take it away…
Where are you from?
Originally Houston Texas – Colorado – New Mexico.
What do you do for a living?
I was an emergency and pediatric nurse and then a fashion and interior designer.
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
I am passionate about anyone who is homeless, hungry, lonely and in pain, especially children and animals as they have no comprehension of why they are suffering. My interests are interior design, cooking, reading, gardening and animals.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
As early as I have memory.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
From a NYT article about 8 years ago. Before that I assumed I had a weird form of OCD.
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
Gum… even the thought of it sends shivers! Snoring. People who whistle when they talk. High pitched whistling with the Sssss Sound. Anything buzzing – fluorescent lights, refrigerators – any high frequency noise that I can’t escape from. Smacking, nose whistling and any breathing noises. Breathing should be silent.
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
People who eat and chew gum slack-jawed and bovine like a cow. If someone is even chewing gum and I can see them out of my peripheral vision I have to move. Noises behind me I have to check if it’s food or gum. If it’s gum I’m postal!!! If it’s say popcorn then I’m ok even though any eating noises should be quiet.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
When I found out about misophonia I told anyone who would listen that I had found my people – my tribe! What comfort! I was so relieved and excited.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
Because of gum snapping in a waiting room in the medical center in Houston, I asked if I could wait in my cousin’s room who was donating skin to science as she had had skin cancer. Well, soon I was donating skin from my back for a cancer study for a non cancer control study. We were hysterical with laughter!
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
Avoidance if possible. Stuffing tissue in my ears. For example I always plug my left ear with tissue when riding with my husband because I can hear him breathe. Turning up music helps. I practice behavior therapy if I can’t escape. Medication.
What are your misophonic superpowers?
Yes… it is a strange question. But, I am more sensitive to suffering of any kind. I have great empathy.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
That there is such a thing as a misophonia.
What’s your very best life hack?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
Rainbow Connection by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher.
Favourite work of art:
Paintings by my friend Russ Potak.
5 things you couldn’t live without:
A heartbeat… that’s about it.
Oh, gum. I hear you, Susan. Everything about it makes me want to crawl out of my skin. The sound, the smell, the sight of slack-jawed mastication. And those people who seem to feel it can’t be enjoyed unless it’s snapped. Loudly. I don’t even like the sound of the word! Thanks for your post. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. I’m so glad to have this website.