I hate eating close together with anyone because I hate having to hear the noises they make when they chew. Recently, for instance, my mother was biting down on an apple as I was talking to her and I had to leave the room. I had suddenly wanted to yell at her and rip the apple out of her mouth.
It sounds silly, but for those who suffer from misophonia, it's no joke. In fact, misophonia--the decreased tolerance to, or even hatred of sounds--can cause panic attacks or severely limit one's daily life.
One thing I've realized is that most sounds that bother me are man-made. I don't typically get ticked off by natural sounds; in fact, I welcome them. The sounds of cows mooing, trees swaying in the breeze, rain falling. All of that is soothing to me.
However, someone slurping on their coffee, repetitively clearing their throat or sniffling, even someone breathing heavily can all set me off. And look--all of those sounds I just listed come from a human being. Like anyone else, I can get easily peeved off by a car's loud bass or heavy equipment, but nothing enrages me like someone biting their nails or sucking on a cough drop.
I've mentioned my experience with misophonia on the blog before, talking about how even my dad's loud voice would drive me to tears. I would have to wear headphones to block him out, or worse, avoid him.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, all of this may sound silly and like a huge temper tantrum--or just a pet peeve. But misophonia is a neurological disorder. The noises that upset us vary, and can be noises you don't even think about. "Sucking on a cough drop," for instance. This one gets me every time, and is one that confuses the heck out of my mother. It's not even a loud noise to her. It's not even a loud noise at all, really. And that's one of the mysteries of the disease.
It wasn't until I was diagnosed with Lyme disease that I even heard about misophonia.
My Lyme Literate Medical Doctor asked me questions like
"Do noises bother you?" or
"Do you get upset at your family members when they make certain noises?"
That's when it was explained what exactly was going on with me, why I wasn't crazy, and how I had managed to become a "misophonic"--through Lyme.
Many people with Lyme disease suffer from misophonia, and many understand what is going on. However, many do not. There's also the fact that many sufferers of misophonia understand what is going on yet may have Lyme disease, unknowingly.
Misophonia isn't the most common thing to happen to people in the world, but it still deserves attention and awareness.
I'm not saying, "Stop making all the little noises that you make because it could potentially trigger someone."
I'm saying, "If someone asks you to stop making a noise, please stop it."
I'm saying, "If you think you may be triggered by noises to the point where you hate the source of the sound, seek knowledge and help."
Even though there is not yet a cure, there are a few ways of managing misophonia.
The best and easiest thing that works for me, which may sound too simple, is actually headphones.
There is also cognitive therapy, desensitization therapy, etc.
Just make sure you are doing what is best for your body, and look out for the well-being of others.