Make it Stop!

Have you ever heard of the condition called Misophonia? Many of you probably don’t know it by name but have seen memes or heard people talk about it.  It is a condition that was first named back in 2000 or 2001.  It is basically when you have negative emotions or reactions that are triggered by a specific sound.  A person with Misophonia has an adverse reaction to certain noises. Different people are triggered by different noises.  I have seen videos of people that have been diagnosed with this condition that literally go into a rage when they hear their trigger sound.  They would attack the person making the sound or harm themselves to try to get the noise to stop.  Now , those are the extreme cases and there are likely only a very small number of people that have that crazy of a reaction.  The first time I saw something about this on TV, I honestly didn’t believe it.  I didn’t think that someone could really have that severe of a reaction to a small little noise. Then a few years went by, and I started having reactions to noises out of the blue. I don’t think that I have Misophonia necessarily, but I do have unnatural reactions to chewing and other noises made with the mouth by certain people. I would say that it is more a pet peeve maybe than an actual medical condition, but who knows? You guys know that I love self-diagnosing myself.  I would never tell this to my doctor, though.  LOL! She would think that I really had lost my mind.

It started a few years ago at breakfast when I would sit by my daughter while we ate.  The noise she made while chewing suddenly made my skin crawl. She isn’t a loud chewer and doesn’t smack or chew with her mouth open, but the subtle sound of her chewing would really get to me, and I would have to move away from her.  I could not be near her at all when she was eating.  Of course, I never told her that. I would just come up with an excuse to go do something else or eat in a different location. I kind of thought I was nuts. Then it spread to being triggered by other people chewing. It’s really bad when people are chewing gum around me. Hearing someone smack on gum is like nails on a chalkboard for me. I have had friends of my children in the car with me as they were smacking on gum, and I could barely focus on the road.  It is really hard to describe the way I feel in the moment. It’s almost like my senses zoom in on that noise and it’s all I can hear or think about. You can ask my children and my husband. They know that gum makes me nuts.  

A couple of years ago, there was a lady whose daughter did gymnastics at the same gym as my daughter. She always brought food in with her as many of us did because we sat there for so many hours.  For some reason, I would loose it whenever she would come in with food and would have to get up and leave the gym until she was done. It didn’t happen with other people that ate there.  For some reason, it was just her that I reacted to.  She made this sort of sucking noise when she ate.  It was almost like she was sucking her teeth after each bite.  I literally could not be in the room with her.  One day she came in with a blizzard from Dairy Queen, and I could not take it.  It was worse than ever.  I tried to sit there because my daughter was doing something that I wanted to watch, but I could not focus on what my daughter was doing at all.  All I could focus on was the slurping and sucking noises as the lady ate her ice cream. I had chills up and down my body, and I had to leave.  I just couldn’t do it.  

It’s weird.  Not every person I am around that is chewing triggers the reaction.  It is just certain people and only certain noises.  I don’t know what the difference is.  Maybe it is the pitch or tone.  I really don’t understand it.  It’s also not something that happens every day.  It’s strange. As I have mentioned before, I am a former special education teacher and my specialty was working with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Many of my students made noises all day long.  It could be humming or other strange noises.  It was never quite in my classroom.  People would come in and say they didn’t know how I could stand the noises, but it never bothered me.  Most of the time I didn’t even notice the noises.  It was like I could just tune them out.  That makes the emotion I get from other people chewing all the more weird. Why can’t I just tune out the chewing noises? I just don’t get it. 

The reason I thought about this to write about today was an incident that happened yesterday with my youngest. We were in the car and she was telling me about something and it sounded like she was talking with something in her mouth. I kept asking her over and over what was in her mouth (she has been known to chew on random objects a lot).  She kept telling me that there was nothing in her mouth.  It was like I couldn’t believe her even though she showed me her mouth and I saw there was nothing in there.  The sound was just so different than her normal talking voice and I couldn’t get past it.  Finally after about the 3rdor 4thtime I asked her what was in her mouth, she said she had a lot of saliva in her mouth.  I had to keep telling her to swallow so that her voice would sound more normal and I could focus on what she was actually telling me and not the sound of her voice.  

Only a few people know this about me. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell that I am reacting to something because I just walk away. My friends that know laugh at me and think it’s hilarious to see me react to the noises.   I guess it is kind of comical to think about, and I have to laugh at myself too.  It is real emotion, though. It’s like something flips in my brain when I hear the noise and I can’t control the reaction. I certainly don’t feel the need to attack someone or harm myself.  I just have to remove myself from the situation, and then I am perfectly fine. People that know this about me sometimes get self-conscious about eating around me.  For the majority of the time, though, a person chewing around me doesn’t bother me at all.  There are just certain people that do.  Like I said, I don’t understand it. I can’t pinpoint what makes one person’s noises irritate me and another person’s to not bother me at all. Maybe Misophonia is real and maybe I have it.  Maybe I don’t.  I don’t really think that I do because it doesn’t affect my day to day life and my emotions aren’t so strong that I feel like I can’t function. However, I don’t think it’s normal.  What can I say? I’m just very abnormal all around.  Do any of you have weird things that trigger emotion or reactions from you? Tell me I’m not alone!

Anchored,

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