This is the #50 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Veronica (59) 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. Veronica, take it away…
Where are you from?
Brooklyn, New York
What do you do for a living?
Dean, Higher Education
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
Around 6. I shared a room with my sister and could not stand to hear her breathing at night when we were going to sleep.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
Maybe two years ago when I looked up on the web, “Why does the sound of typing drive me crazy?”
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
I do not.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
Only my psychiatrist.
To this day my mother makes fun (in a very sadistic way) that certain noises set me off. She even provoked me as a child. It is something that I am afraid of sharing with others.
I do suspect others of having though, but perhaps not to such a degree as mine – my father, one friend, and then sometimes I have watched as others in public have asked a stranger to stop chewing gum, slurping, or eating so loud.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
Gosh. None of them have ever been funny. I do recall one day when I switched to a new job and there was a meeting of about 12 people in a large conference room, 8 attendees opened laptops and began promptly typing while 3 were chewing gum. I thought I had transferred into hell.
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
1. Leaving the room
2. Running a fan at night so that I don’t hear traffic
3. Lorazepam when I am trapped (Editors note: always seek your doctor’s advice before taking prescription medicine)
4. Sometimes trying to calm myself and saying, it will pass, or the person chewing popcorn behind me is doing nothing wrong
Others include a sound machine in my office, sitting in the back of the room, not sitting next to someone with a laptop, sitting in the last row of the movie theatre or last seat on the plane (although this is getting very old).
What are your misophonic superpowers?
I am deeply sympathetic to people who have trouble controlling their emotions, particularly when they are in the moment. My goal is to help them soothe themselves. The worst thing you can do with someone with misophonia is try to soothe them. It doesn’t work and only infuriates a misophonic. They must soothe themselves.
Because I am so vigilant when it comes to sound, I find that I have keen observation skills, and I have had a number of people, at a number of points in my life, comment on my unbelievable quick wit and how nothing gets past me.
I also say that I notice the back beat. That is, most focus on the harmony, whereas I focus on perhaps the bass or a deep, deep baritone that is the underbelly of a song. People who notice the back beat are generally considered very cool (!) by their peers. (!)
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
That other people have it, and that it is a real condition. That it gets worse with age.
What’s your very best life hack?
Take each day one hour at a time.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
Only that I am deeply grateful to you and others for focusing on this.
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
Burning Love by Elvis
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
Favourite work of art:
Andrew Wyeth’s Maga’s Daughter
5 things you couldn’t live without:
1. My first born son. 2. My middle son. 3. My third and final child, my son. 4. My three sons 5. Everything else is just gravy