My name is Rana, I’m a 23-year-old architect, who currently studying for her Master’s degree. I have not been diagnosed with misophonia yet misophonia was the term when I was doing my research for finding a solution for my situation.
It all started when I was around 10-11 years old. I was highly triggered by certain sounds around of me and every time those types of sounds would appear I would find myself trying to escape from the situation or the source of the sound. I would avoid eating with other people in a silent environment as far as I know myself. Because even the thought of the eating sounds that the other person might produce would annoy me. These types of noises, which constantly disturbs me, got to a level where I could not keep a healthy relationship with the person who produces that types of sounds especially when we were eating together. I have learned to tolerate that situation as I grow up but I would love to tell a story about it that affected me so much when I was a little kid.
I was around 12-13 years old and I was so excited to spend some time with my best friend at that time and her family on vacation. My best friend and her family were living in a different city and I had to stay in their home for two weeks. Everything was great unless we are having food together. They had a tradition such as eating every meal together and I can not say that they were careful about the sounds they were producing when they were eating. I remember that it was bothering me a lot but there was nothing for me to do. At the end of the day, I was 12 and a guest in their home. As time goes by, I could not stand eating with them at the same table and I could not eat at all even tho I was quite hungry. I remember my friend’s mom got so concerned about my situation and called my parents to ask if everything was okay with me. After 15 days I spent with them I got back home losing so much weight. That vacation that I have spent with my best friend and her family was like a nightmare to me and we never seen each other since then. Because every time I saw her reminded me of that vacation.
Unfortunately, eating sounds are not the only sounds that trigger me. I was living in a dormitory for about one and a half years when I was in university. It was one of the hardest times of my life, to be honest, and it has got me crying a couple of times. I had to share every type of environment with other students when I was living in a dormitory. I had to share the room that I was staying in, I had to study in a common room and every student that was living in that dormitory had to eat together. As I have mentioned I had to learn to tolerate the eating sounds but I can not say the same thing for the other things. For example, studying in a common room was always giving me hard times. Sounds such as clicking a pen, typing on a keyboard, or clicking a mouse were triggering me a lot. But there was no way for me to run away from the sources of these types of sounds. My other roommates were also studying architecture and we had to spend so much time on our computers in order to design buildings. And they were studying in the room that we share from time to time. Even if I would run away from the situation i would catch another one because of the lack of a silent room. I remember that I locked myself in the bathroom for a couple of times and cried my eyes out because I could not handle that situation. Back then I was avoiding to talk about this situation with other people because I always think that I was the problem and I did not want to be the problematic friend.
I can run into the sounds that are triggering me at any time. Growing up with misophonia, I have learned that I can not change the world around of me when it comes to triggering sounds but I can change the level of attention that I’m paying to those sounds. Sometimes I can distract myself from the trigger sounds but it is not that easy for me all the time. For example, especially every time I use public transportation I would listen to music that calms me down and blocks other sounds in order to avoid triggering sounds that might appear. This is the solution that I found after a terrible experience. When I was in high school I had to take public transportation to get to my school. It was really early in the morning and an old man who wears a felt hat. The old man who I realized had a condition was producing a kind of voice I can not even describe today. I believe the closest sounds to the sounds that he was producing is nasal sounds. Unfortunately, I forgot my headphones at home that day because I was in a rush. I was fighting with myself not to come off angry to him and lose myself and start screaming. Instead, I hold myself and clenched my fists until he got off. The worst thing that could happen to me is if I run into triggering sounds early in the morning. That could ruin the rest of my day and put me in a really terrible mood all day long. So that day I ran into that old man with a felt hat ruined the rest of my day as it happens all the time that I ran into a triggering sound. Years later I ran into that old man on a bus but this time I was experienced and I had my headphones with me. To be honest I check my bag to see if my headphones are in it or not every time before I leave home.
The other sound that triggers me a lot and causes me to warn other people is chewing sounds, especially gum. This is an unbreakable rule for me and I would leave the room right away any time I come across this situation. I can easily warn people when it comes to chewing gum because most of people without misophonia even get annoyed by that. So it is really easier for me to do that when I compare it to the other triggering sounds. In other words, people would not label me with words such as ‘’weird, problematic, crazy’’ when it compares to other situations.
To be honest this is one of the hardest sides of having misophonia. It makes me feel like I live under the anxiety of being ‘’misunderstood’’ by other people. And this is the reason for me to hold back most of the time and try my best to distract myself from the triggering sounds. The times that I can not be successful at holding myself back and distracting myself is when I start growing apart from those people who put me in that situation. Even tho it is really a sad thing to me, I know that there is not cure for misophonia and I am used to living this way.