This is the #42 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Clare (28) from the UK. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Clare, take it away…

Where are you from?

London, UK.

What do you do for a living?

I market books.

What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?

In no particular order: swimming, yoga, surfing, reading. Generally learning new things and living well.

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

About 9. I used to share a bedroom with my brother and the sound of his breathing at night drove me mad.

When did you first find out it was called misophonia?

My brother found out about it online about 5 years ago. He has it too.

What are your 3 biggest triggers? 

Do you have any other sensory quirks?

Yes, I have Synaesthesia – all numbers and letters have colours. My brother also has this too. There’s clearly a gene in the family.

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

I’ve only recently started to open up and talk about it. Some people have heard of it, others haven’t, but everyone so far has listened and tried their best to understand.

Because of the lack of awareness, and the unhelpful narrative that goes with it (selfish, intolerant etc.), I’ve spent years managing it on my own, but I’ve recently accepted that it’s not my fault and by speaking up I can begin to shape my life in a way that’s less triggering.

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

Missing a train because I’d forgotten to pack earplugs and I refused to travel without buying some first.

What helps you to cope with your misophonia?

• Earphones and Spotify
• Earplugs – there’s a particular kind called ‘Muffles Wax Earplugs’ you can get from Boots (a UK pharmacy) which are amazing
• Physically moving to another seat or removing myself completely from the room – always the best option
• Not being able to see the trigger – I’ll sit in a certain way or put an object in the way to block my view
• Taking regular breaks throughout my day – I’ll go for a walk or sit somewhere quiet
• White noise such as is very good for drowning out clicking sounds
• Having the radio or music on in the background when eating with noisy eaters
• Always opting for the quiet seats e.g. on the end of a row, at the back or the front of the room
• Surrounding myself with calm and considerate people
• Self-care – particularly sleep, avoiding things which can make me more sensitive (e.g. caffeine, alcohol, sugary treats), exercising, scheduling quiet time.
• Not being too hard on myself and knowing that I’m not crazy!

What are your misophonic superpowers?

It makes me hyper-aware of how noisy our world is, how far removed we’ve become from living in-line with our true nature and how agitated most people are (the amount of nervous, twitchy, shaky body language I notice!). Consequently, I spend a lot of time reflecting on what it means to be human nowadays and how we can best live in the world we’ve created.

It also led me to become a yoga teacher. Finding peace in my external world is hard, but yoga and meditation mean I always have a way of accessing quiet within myself. This for me is the ultimate life skill and why I learnt to pass it on to others.

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

To notice the moments where it’s good i.e. you’re not being triggered. It’s easy to focus on the negatives but actually there are lots of times in the day where it’s fine.

What’s your very best life hack?

Drink water. Lots of it.

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

Just that it would be great to meet one day!

And finally! The quick fire round…

Favourite place you’ve visited:

Sri Lanka

Favourite song:

Because the Night by Patti Smith

Favourite book:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Favourite work of art:

Birthday by Dorothea Tanning

5 things you couldn’t live without:

Loved ones, lip balm, books, hot water bottle, a kettle (for nice teas and filling up the hot water bottle)