This is the #22 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Callan (20) from the USA. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Callan, take it away…

Where are you from?

Pennsylvania, USA

What do you do for a living?

I’m currently a student, studying music.

What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?

I’m very passionate about music, and I love geology and caves.

How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?

14, though I didn’t realize that sounds were the cause of my extreme reactions at first.

When did you first find out it was called misophonia?

I looked up the term when I was 15.

What are your 3 biggest triggers?

Any kind of eating sounds, snoring, and nail clippers.

Do you have any other sensory quirks?

I’m also autistic, so I have sensory processing disorder as well. Aside from that, I can’t stand watching people jiggle their leg or watch them eat or sleep, even if I can’t hear them.

Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?

I try to tell anybody I interact with a lot in hopes that they’ll try not to trigger me. A lot of people have never heard of it before, so they think I’m just being overly dramatic. Most people act like they understand but then forget about it a week later.

What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?

Before I realized I had misophonia, I had no way of coping with my reactions because I didn’t know what was causing them. Because of this my reactions got so bad that they gave me physical symptoms, such as extreme abdominal pain and cramps. We went to many doctors, but they didn’t find anything because I wasn’t actually physically sick. I didn’t connect the dots that those reactions were caused by my early misophonia until I was 19.

What helps you to cope with your misophonia?

I usually use headphones or just end up leaving the room, but sometimes just leaning my head on the hand closer to the sound and subtly plugging my ear with that hand works. I’ve also found that creating characters with misophonia has helped me justify my experiences, and writing those characters as happy despite their misophonia has helped me maintain hope that I can be happy, too.

What are you misophonic superpowers?

I’m a musician, and the fact that I have certain sounds that I hate has helped me to establish which sounds I love and pour my heart into those sounds instead. Also, because I have to judge the safety of every situation, I end up thinking of non-misphonia things that I might need and am always prepared.

What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?

Be merciless in your justifications of your misophonia. Tell your loved ones that it’s a serious problem, and if they don’t believe you keep reminding them how serious it is. When I first told my parents they never realized how awful it was for me until I started walking away whenever they would eat. Your safety is important, and you should never be lenient with it.

What’s your very best life hack?

Always remember to celebrate the good things in life. If we only ever looked at the negatives, life would be a dark place. We have the power to fill it with light!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?

Stay strong! Misophonia is exhausting, so take care of yourself, rest when you need to, and never let it ruin the things you love the most.

And finally! The quick fire round…

Favourite place you’ve visited:

Luray Caverns in Virginia

Favourite song:

Somewhere Only We Know by Keane

Just love the sound of the ocean and the wind in our sky and trees.

Favourite book:

The Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat

Favourite work of art:

III from Sara Kipin’s Suit of Swords

5 things you couldn’t live without:

Music, stuffed animals, bright sunny days, dogs, my phone

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