This is the #39 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Eva 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. Eva, take it away…

Where are you from?

San Francisco Bay Area, but currently live in Texas.

What do you do for a living?

I am a former high school science (biology, anatomy/physiology, chemistry). I changed careers six years ago and I’m now a full time author. I write paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction and steampunk novels. I have 18 published works. I am currently working on a novel where my main character, yes, you guessed it, suffers from misophonia. Book cover reveal coming soon.

What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?

I love wildlife education and natural history. I’ve volunteered at a wolf sanctuary, raptor rehab center and currently volunteer with Native Cats of Texas. I love backpacking, camping, hiking, and I hope to train my wire haired fox terrier in agility. Passionate about the environment and green living.

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

I was about ten years old.

When did you first find out it was called misophonia?

Decades after I’ve been living with it. I suffered in silence, not realizing there were others. I found a supportive group on Facebook and then I began doing research. I even found out there is a gene for misophonia. I still need to get my DNA tested, but then again, there is no known therapy.

What are your 3 biggest triggers? 

Do you have any other sensory quirks?

No. Misophonia is my Achilles’ Heel. Otherwise, I’m a fun, social and nice person.

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

My husband, grown children and my in-laws now understand I have no control over it. My editor and critique partner know since I had to explain my misophonia story to them. Like most people they never heard of it. My family think it’s just me being crazy or mean.

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

I’ve never had a funny moment with it since chewing always causes me to go into flight or fight mode. My reaction to noises can be rather weird. I was in a spinning (stationary bike workout) class and the woman behind started popping her gum in rapid succession. I stopped, turned and told her to stop popping her gum. She apologized and spit it out, however, the entire class stopped to stare at me like I was crazy. Never went back to that class.

What helps you to cope with your misophonia?

Headphones. My hubby bought me Bose headphones. If I can’t listen to music or drown out the noise, I leave. Having my dog helps me stay calm.

Being out in nature. The natural sounds are very soothing.

A good laugh. Laughter is very healing.

What are your misophonic superpowers?

I can hear things that others can’t. Also, when I was a teacher at a tough inner city school, I was the only teacher who could enforce the no gum or eating in class rule. Principals were always impressed how my students never dared chew gum or food in class. Even when my back was turned while teaching, I picked up on whisperings, paper rustling and other noises most could not hear.

I also have great empathy towards sensitive people, especially children with autism. I can also tell if animals are bothered by noise or other things. In fact, not sure why, but animals are drawn to me.

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

That it’s not just me. Practically speaking, white noise and music helps me cope with misophonia.

What’s your very best life hack?

Minimize. Minimize by getting rid of clutter, toxic family and friends, and keeping a simple work schedule. Spend at least ten minutes in nature.

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

I plan to publish my miso novel and hope to spread the word out amongst others who have never heard of misophonia.

And finally! The quick fire round…

Favourite place you’ve visited:

Kenya, Africa. I also loved Australia and Israel.

Favourite song:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Favourite book:

So many, not enough pages to list them. It seems like every book is my favorite until I start the next one. I read every genre from hard science fiction to comedy.

Favourite work of art:

John William Waterhouse. His Pre-Raphaelite style paintings are so romantic. The women he depicts look a bit forlorn as if waiting for a lost lover, or perhaps they too are misophones in a world that doesn’t understand.

5 things you couldn’t live without:

My family, dog, coffee, wine and nature.