This is the #15 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Monique (17) from Belize. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Monique, take it away…
Where are you from?
I’m from Belize.
What do you do for a living?
I am currently a student.
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
I love to read and travel. I’m passionate about certain bands/music and the people I love.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
I remember saying that I didn’t like people chewing with their mouths open when I was 9 years old, but I didn’t realize something was wrong until I was about 12 or 13.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
I found out about misophonia last year when someone at Refinery29 wrote an article on it.
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
My three biggest triggers are chewing, flossing, and snoring.
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
I react to excessive hand gestures just about the same way I do to sounds. I also react that same way to certain scents that don’t seem to bother my family that much. Something that I find strange is that I’m compulsive when it comes to fabric (clothes, blankets, etc.) that I can feel: it has to be straight and not bent. For example, I have two sheets on my bed and a blanket; if I feel one of the sheets overlapping itself under me when I’m about to sleep, I have to get up and straighten it all or I won’t be able to fall asleep.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
Yes, I’ve told three friends and my mother about it. Two of my friends are supportive and try to understand what I’m feeling, however, the other one seems to have forgotten that I told her about it. My mom tries to understand but she often forgets that I don’t intentionally react the way I do.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
A group of my friends, including me, were sitting around a picnic table doing our own things and two of my friends (who are dating) were making these kissing sounds and the like. I tried to ignore it but I just couldn’t and I ended up yelling in the middle of everything for them to stop, and the whole table went silent. The couple just stared at me while another friend mouthed “Thank you.” When I apologized, everyone started making jokes about PDA.
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
Whenever I get triggered, I usually leave the room or put in earphones with the music turned up. If I can’t leave, sometimes I politely ask the person to stop, I remind myself that I’m being irrational (but honestly, that doesn’t help), or I make another sound to distract me from it; for example, when people are excessively clicking their pens in class, I repeatedly tap my fingers against my thigh and focus on that. For snoring, I’ve gotten myself a pair of earplugs that work about half of the time. Sometimes I pray about it.
What are you misophonic superpowers?
I can hear sounds people don’t really notice or can’t hear. It’s helped me to locate and fix a lot of things in the house that had problems. My super-hearing also keeps me alert when I’m walking on my own and basically every other time I’m alone. It has also helped me to empathize with people by trying to understand what they’re going through — it’s helped me to see people differently.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
To remember it is not my fault (our faults) that I react this way.
What’s your very best life hack?
For every cup of soda or artificial juice you drink, drink two cups of water.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
The people you get angry at for making sounds usually aren’t doing it on purpose, and I’m sure you know that, but try to remember that anytime you’re about to explode with rage. Remembering that has calmed me down sometimes and has prevented many arguments.
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
At the moment: Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Buble
Slammed by Colleen Hoover
Favourite work of art:
An imitation of Bold and Brash by Squidward Tentacles that my friend painted for me
5 things you couldn’t live without:
Books, my family, music, friends, God