This is the #24 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Julie (53) 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. Julie, take it away…

Where are you from?

Melbourne, Florida, USA

What do you do for a living?

Attorney working for the State of Florida

What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?

Traveling, reading, music, anything odd/paranormal (UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, etc.)

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

I was about 16. My mother used to make this awful tooth-sucking sound after she finished eating and it would pierce my soul. It made me irrationally angry (and almost violent) and I couldn’t understand why. Naturally I felt horribly guilty because I love my mother!

When did you first find out it was called misophonia?

About a year or so ago when I turned to Google to try to figure out why I felt like such a freak. My sister sent me the attached pic which made me think I might not be so alone after all.

What are your 3 biggest triggers?

1. All mouth noises (crunching, smacking, slurping, swallowing, tooth sucking, gum popping/cracking)

2. Certain voices

3. Low engine rumbling

Do you have any other sensory quirks?

OMG, how much time do you have? I have misokinesia. I can’t stand it when people repetitively touch their faces, pick their teeth, bite their nails or otherwise fidget – I have to turn my back on them. It makes me nervous.

Ironically, I am very soothed by the sight of someone stroking their hair or rubbing their fingernails – it makes me very sleepy and relaxed (I guess that’s ASMR). I also like the sound of typing and shoes crunching on leaves or gravel.

I’ve recently developed an aversion to the sound of certain voices, especially those that are nasally or have vocal fry. That has become almost as debilitating as regular mouth noises. I have a co-worker whose voice makes me irrationally angry and I have to work with my door shut and use a white-noise machine just to get through the workday.

Also, I get overly-stimulated if I spend too much time in a store or other crowded place (the lights and sounds and people get overwhelming after a while) and I have to leave.

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

My husband knows all about it (poor guy!). He thinks it’s odd but is generally supportive (he tries to suppress his crunching as much as possible).

My family also thinks it’s weird but they don’t give me any grief about it. I’ve told a couple of co-workers, one of whom thinks she has it too. The other has dryly remarked “I think you’re getting worse.”

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

I can’t really think of anything funny about it. It’s a very difficult thing to have, especially when you go out to eat a lot. I’ve told my husband, only half-jokingly, I should enjoy the time I can spend in public because one day I won’t be able to leave the house!

What helps you to cope with your misophonia?

My white-noise machine has been a godsend at work. I couldn’t cope without it. If I can leave the area of the offending noise, I do. If not, I try to talk over it (not very successful) or covertly put my finger in my ear. If it’s my husband making the offending noise, I ask him to please stop. Sometimes mimicking the sound helps.

What are you misophonic superpowers?

I don’t know if it’s related in some way to my misophonia, but I have very sensitive hearing. I can hear noises that most people cannot. When I was young, I couldn’t go into a particular store at the mall because as soon as I crossed the threshold, I could hear a tone or a buzzing sound no one else could. I can sometimes hear electronic sounds coming from my computer.

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

That I’m not alone! I honestly had no idea this was a real malady and I always thought I was suffering because I’m impatient or difficult or bitchy or too much of a “delicate flower”. It was such a relief when I discovered it actually had a name.

What’s your very best life hack?

I have a real problem with procrastination. I always waited to do something until I felt motivated. I finally learned that motivation comes from action, not the other way around. So whenever I have to get something done when I don’t feel like it, I just take one small action and that usually supplies the motivation to get the ball rolling.

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

Thank you for speaking up and telling your stories. It’s not easy because most people just don’t get it. Hopefully we can get more research into this and maybe one day find a cure.

And finally! The quick fire round…

Favourite place you’ve visited:

Whitby, England

Favourite song:

Anything by The Cure (the moodier the better!)

Favourite book:

Anything by Wally Lamb

Favourite work of art:

Anything by Chihuly (his glass sculptures make my heart sing)

5 things you couldn’t live without:

My family, my kitties, traveling, music, chocolate