Misophonia: Bringing Awareness Through My Experience
An introduction to my blog, defining misophonia, and my story.
Hello! The purpose of this post is to bring more awareness to a neurological disorder called misophonia. I write a weekly blog in which I talk about my experience with misophonia, and always end on a positive note. While a substantial amount of people view my blog, I believe I need to reach a lot more people, and what better way to do it than on Vocal? I hope this introduction is informative. I will provide links for you at the end of this post for your reference. Thank you for reading!
My name is Sharon, and I have a rare neurological condition by the name of misophonia. The simple definition of this is the hatred of certain sounds. I divulge on the definition in future posts to give you a better understanding, but for the sake of introduction, this will do.
Misophonia triggers a fight/flight/freeze reaction when I hear a “trigger” sound. For example, my worst trigger sound is S sounds. Any emphasis on that sound and I feel intense rage, and must get away from the sound or drown it out. I have other trigger sounds that I will reveal with each weekly post.
So, here’s my “misophonia story.” I have been affected with misophonia for about 11 years. It started when I was 10 years old. Can you believe it? I forget what it feels like to walk into a room and not have to worry about sounds that will trigger such a strong negative reaction in my brain.
When I first started experiencing this, I had no clue what was going on. It was only happening with my family too, so I thought I was going through some kind of weird rebellious phase. That went on for about five years. Five years of scolding, feeling angry at the sounds my family made, and wondering if there was something really, really wrong with me.
Perhaps it wasn’t a rebellious stage after all, I thought, when sounds started affecting me outside the house as well. I finally decided to get on the computer and search “why do I hate sounds.” And the word “misophonia” popped up. At first, I wasn’t sure that this was what I had, so I read a lot of articles before coming to the conclusion that I do have it. I was so happy to know that there was a name for what I was going through. I showed my family the research I did, and I thank my lucky stars every day that my family believed and supported me as best they could since that day.
Eventually, sounds at school were becoming hard to deal with. Sounds my teachers and classmates made. I started wearing earplugs, and they helped immensely. They seemed to filter out every offending sound, and I was able to concentrate better.
Unfortunately, my ears got used to the earplugs, since I was wearing them every day, 24/7. Because of that, I became more sensitive to sounds than I ever was before and they found their way through my earplugs and into my ears. The sounds feel like small knives piercing my ears and my brain. I wanted to tear my eardrums out, tear other people’s tongues out to make them stop talking. For awhile, the violent fantasies depicting ways of making people stop talking were recurring. I'm happy to say that, because I've been practicing healthier methods of coping, as well as distracting my mind, these violent fantasies are only rare happenings.
Let me remind you, this has all been going on for about 11 years. Plus, this condition has gotten worse with age. Now at age 21, I find it difficult to get out of the house. I have isolated myself from people, and as a result, it’s hard to keep up my friendships. I hate shopping at stores with loud music (loud music = more emphasized S sounds). I tend to prefer shopping online. I get anxious when anticipating a trigger sound. I dig my nails into my skin and sometimes end up causing injury to myself. I also didn’t go visit family as planned one year because of all the triggers that I knew would be there. I could go on and on and on. But there is some good that comes out of this.
I am lucky enough to have made some very supportive friends. They do their best to help me be comfortable and ask if I’m ok. And that, honestly, almost brings me to tears every time I think about it because I have amazing friends and know that there are those who don’t. The people without anyone suffer alone. Their families are no help either. That pains me every time to know that there are people who just don’t get it and fail to be supportive. I am incredibly lucky for my friends. I can’t thank them enough. Not only are my friends and family supportive, my boyfriend is as well. I think if he wasn’t, I would probably be a little more insane than I am right now. 😅
To conclude this introduction on how my life has been affected by misophonia, I want to emphasize the importance of support. That is key, whether one suffers from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, etc. I have found my support in my community, but others may also find it in online support groups. Sharing and venting to others who understand can be therapeutic.
The focus for my blog is on a few things: coping, awareness, positivity, and support. I hope you like what you read and share with your friends because misophonia needs more awareness. If you think you have misophonia, I highly recommend searching “Misophonia International” on Facebook. It’s a website much like mine, but more professional and with a team of people working, posting, and researching. Fun fact: I am on their team as one of their writers! It has been a pleasure writing for them. I hope that whoever finds this blog sticks around and finds what I write useful and helpful.