Let’s face it, stress makes everything worse to some extent, but it can send misophonia into hyperdrive.
So why does the misophonia seem to get so much worse when you’re feeling stressed?
When you’re feeling relaxed you have more time and headspace to react to it.
More time to leave the room… to find a way to block out the noise… or switch to doing something else. More headspace to rationalise and think of the different options (or er… escape routes!)
But when you’re already stressed your body goes into red alert mode and you don’t have that luxury.
This is compounded by the face you’re locked in a heightened state of sensory awareness and start noticing everything around you. This can be handy if you’re in a high pressure situation and need to react to things quickly… but not so great if you’re a misophone and already super sensitive to certain noises, sounds or movements.
Suddenly virtually every repetitive human noise becomes a trigger, everything a distraction.
We also compound the stress further by subconsciously worrying about misophonia triggers that haven’t even occurred yet.
A kind of pre-emptive stress where in the back of your mind you’re worried that you won’t be able to complete the task you’re working on because someone or something might trigger you at any time.
You’re actually listening out for triggers
It’s a bit like when you watching a scary movie and you’re just waiting for the knife wielding psychopath to leap out of the wardrobe. Constantly on tenterhooks.
With all this going on, you’re less able to cope with the task in hand because as well as that primary stress, you’re also anticipating and worrying about, on a subconscious level, where the next misophonic trigger’s going to come from.
When the enviable trigger sound does occur, it’s just too much and can send you into meltdown.
The only coping mechanisms I’ve developed, that work for me, are to get away from the situation, even for a short time and focus entirely on something else.
If I’ve got a lot on and I’m under pressure with deadlines, I make sure I can work from home. No sounds or distractions. If I’m in a situation I can’t escape from, I go outside and head to some green space for 15 minutes or so and release some endorphins.
Have you found stress makes your misophonia worse and what do you do to cope?