This is the #35 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Ginn (64) from Canada. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Ginn, take it away…
Where are you from?
I was born in Quebec Canada and we moved to Welland, Ontario, in 1956.
What do you do for a living?
I am a student at the University of Ste. Anne, Nova-Scotia. I consider that I escaped to Nova-Scotia, in 2007, after the death of my partner after her death in May, 2007. I now live in a small coastal community in Cape-Breton.
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
I have lost myself in music for most of my life, where I hide many memories which are safely kept for me and brought up as I need them to help me heal and cope.
I am a writer, with a love of the written word. I believe that words should never be wasted and used only to convey the important messages of life. I take photos of the things in nature which invoke awe in me and I frame my work to enrich my walls. I have been successful in selling some of my framed prints.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
I came to accept that I was different and that my differences took me away from family dinners.
I remember my mother taking the bent fork from my and taking my plate from the dinner table and situating in front of the TV on the coffee table, away from everyone else. That became my norm. I was twelve years old when I really started to notice my lack of tolerance for certain sounds. I would instantly react violently if the unwelcomed sounds came from one of my abusers, or if I hated this individual for good reasons.
Out in public it really didn’t matter who made the noises, like gum popping, whistling, chewing sounds, throat clearing etc. I would sometimes voice the anger it brought out but more times than I can remember, I would leave and find a place to let the anger flow out of my fists. I would hit something that would not give and end up by damaging my hands. Sometimes, I must say, that I didn’t have time to escape to find a release and I would have a reaction instantly no matter who saw or where I was. I live with the shame of those moments.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
I heard about Misophonia while driving in my truck. I listen to CBC radio most days and this particular day, a couple of years ago or so, I heard that I was not alone and that what I have been living with for most of my life, has a name. I had to pull over to the side of the road and I sobbed.
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
I do have other quirks, as you call them. Certain smells like a hot dusty room or the smell of apples, will bring unpleasant memories. I do not often have a trigger reaction to those but I have been known to get sweaty palms and rapid heartbeats. What I do feel right away is hatred.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
I have had to tell people in my daily life that some sounds make me violent and even abusive. I mostly had to explain my actions after outbursts. After I found out that this has a name, I did tell a couple of people in my life. My companion now understands better and he is trying his best to not aggravate me or my symptoms.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
What I consider my funniest moment, though, when you think about it is not funny, is when I wrote a letter to the CEO of Pepsico, D Wayne Calloway, about a TV ad which infuriated me to no end. I sent it to his home, to which he did reply and told me to address any other complaints to Pepsico headquarters. The commercial was pulled and I got three gift certificates for Pepsi products. The commercial was of a boy, along with background people, stranded in the desert and gulping a Pepsi with exaggerated gulping sounds. They also pulled another ad which infuriated me but has nothing to do with noise.
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
Solitude, nature and music are my top coping tools. I will often go for long walks on a secluded beach, where I know I will see no one. I will also spent time playing with my dog or go seek out beauty in nature and do some photography but my most used skill is hiding in music. I can escape for hours at a time. I also became a nighthawk so would can be alone.
What are your misophonic superpowers?
I would say that my super power is my aloneness without being crushed by loneliness. To me it is the lesser of the pain. It took me a while to accept it but now I embrace it.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
I’ve not read much on Misophonia and I don’t know anyone with this, so I cannot answer to what I have learned.
What’s your very best life hack?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
I am just happy to know that I am not crazy or alone and that it has a name!
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
Percé, Quebec, on the off seasons.
Pachelbel’s Canon, and my favorite song is,” My Life” by Billy Joel
Teacher, by Helen Keller
Favourite work of art:
The Three Graces by Raphael.
5 things you couldn’t live without:
1. My music collection
2. My vehicle
3. My sound systems
4. My rings (which give me pause before I strike and this gives me time to calm down)
5. Last but not least, my dog.