A large problem with misophonia is the lack of public awareness. I’ve been advocating to fix that in every way I can. There’s not a lot I can do – but I can share my personal experiences. From what I gather about misophonia – there’s a lot of instances that are the same for a lot of us. However, it’s important to note that everybody is triggered by an array of different things. If one person with misophonia hates whistling – the next might, but they might be bothered more by chomping or chewing. Some are even seriously bothered by breathing. It’s important to note that I also have ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These conditions can seriously impact my personal reactions. We’re not all the same, so that makes it even harder to raise awareness. However, regardless of what a person is triggered by, we’re still triggered, and it’s bad.
It’s hard for me not to think of Shakespeare’s quote “full of sound and fury signifying nothing“. Shakespeare, talking about life itself, sounds like he might have been about a ten on the Misophonia Activation Scale. This quote perfectly expresses the disorder. There’s no logical reason to freak out – we can feel crazy, guilty, and down right ridiculous. It’s full of fury. We’re angry, we’re furious – we’re in a world wind of emotion that usually takes a turn toward self-inflicted misery, or worse, anger directed at the sound. The simple clicking of a pen can feel like we’re trapped in a cavern with a jackhammer.
What happens when I’m triggered: The sound comes at me like a crashing wave. Before the trigger I’m usually fine. I’m sitting or standing there living my life, minding my own business and then – whoosh – Tsunami. I can’t breathe, I’m angry – terrified, pissed off. I want the offender to stop. I blame them for all my problems. Words like “rude”, “annoying” and “horrible” describe that person. I try to isolate myself. If it’s a visual trigger (like leg shaking) I try to hide it from my vision. If it’s audial – I put in ear plugs. But I know it’s there. I can feel its presence in the room. I shake from within. The anxiety builds and I want to throw up – and at that point all I can do is run away. Sometimes I shake violently and I cry. Sometimes I sleep for hours when I should be in school. I feel self-pity. I want to live my life. Then, I feel anger. Why does this disorder exist? Why me?
I wish I could leave you on a note of hope. I want to tell you that it gets easier, and that it’s all just some silly misunderstanding. I can’t do that. That’s why I’m pushing for advocacy. The world needs to know that we’re not getting angry on purpose. It’s not something to make fun of or use against a person. It’s real, it’s terrible, and it’s ruining our lives.