Confession: I hadn’t even heard of misophonia until my (very smart) 8-year-old suggested the Grinch likely suffered from misophonia.
“Misophonia is an extreme emotional and physical response to seemingly innocuous, repetitive sounds like chewing, lip-smacking, and even breathing. Translated from Greek as ‘hatred of sounds,’ people with the condition experience a fight-or-flight response to these noises, along with physical tension, disproportionate anger, and hatred or disgust toward the person responsible for the triggering noise.” (Source)
Phew. Yup, that’s me.
It’s probably the worst with chewing, snoring, or smacking sounds, and my response is usually exacerbated when I’m tired or trying to concentrate.
Trigger sounds make me feel like screaming or punching someone.
Since I’ve got a pretty firm handle on consequences for either of those reactions, I just hold it inside. Or move away. Or plug my ears. But here’s the thing: moving away or plugging my ears isn’t always acceptable.
Eating dinner and someone is slurping or swallowing loudly? I can’t always just get up and leave the table. Is it inappropriate for me to tell them how loud they’re being when they clearly have their mouth closed? Technically, manners are being followed.
Someone snoring alongside me when I’m trying to fall asleep? As much as I’d sometimes love to, I can’t slug him (Love ya, hun!). Should I really wake up my husband if he starts snoring? I mean, the man wakes up at the butt-crack of dawn. Who am I to get upset if I can’t fall asleep faster? I’m also going to say I owe both my sister and my grandmother an apology for having to sleep in the same room as me because I admit I was a tyrant when I couldn’t fall asleep due to their snoring.
Most recently, a coworker was chomping (maybe just chewing, but it sounded like chomping to me) on apple slices during a meeting. I get it, she’s trying to eat her lunch. But, even halfway across the room, the sound was making my skin crawl. I tried to subtly plug my ears, but I’m sure a couple of other coworkers noticed (the glares I shot in her direction probably gave it away). Am I allowed to ask her to choose less crunchy foods on meeting days, just because it makes me cringe from across the room?
I promise I’m not this crazy uptight person.
At least, not as much as I used to be thanks to anti-anxiety medication. So, why are these noises so triggering? Surely I can’t be the only one to react so strongly to the sounds coming out of a person’s mouth?
I guess I’ll just chalk it up to misophonia because it’s definitely a real thing.