This is the #12 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Theodore (47) 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. Theodore, take it away…

Where are you from?

Oswego, New York, USA

What do you do for a living?

Technical Instructor (funny that this is my job, standing in front of people and teach, some of who make my trigger sounds). I love my job, and the misophonia is my only complaint.

What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?

Sports and auto repair. I can crawl under a car and stay there all day!

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

I remember at a very young age, maybe 10 years old or so, having sounds that bothered me.

When did you first find out it was called misophonia?

About a year ago. I thought to myself that there has got to be someone else in the world who has these same conditions. After an Internet search, I found the term ‘misophonia’, realized it was the symptoms I had, and my passion to find out more about it grew from there.

What are your 3 biggest triggers?

I wish this question asked for my ten biggest triggers! My absolute #1 trigger, and one that drives me into rage if I don’t get away from it, is gum popping and smacking. AARRGGHHH!

My next two, if I had to choose only two more, would be 2) dogs barking, and; 3) music bass thumping, where you only hear the bass and not the music. I have a list that I keep on my desk and add to it from time to time, and there’s quite a variety of trigger sounds I have.

Do you have any other sensory quirks?

I guess it goes along with the misophonia, but just seeing someone chewing drives me up the wall. I don’t even have to hear it, if I see it, my rage erupts.

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

I have told one person, the individual that I share an office with. He didn’t seem like he understood it, but he did say to let him know if there was anything he was doing that bothers me. Historically, I haven’t told anyone because I didn’t know there was a name for it, and I honestly thought I was the only one in the world who has these symptoms.

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

I was at a meeting at work, and someone passed around gum. Of course, the chew-fest started, and my heart raced 1,000 beats a minute. I told the chairman I was sick and needed to go to the bathroom to throw-up, but anybody reading this story knows I wasn’t sick, that I just used that as an excuse to leave the room.

What helps you to cope with your misophonia?

As far as coping is concerned, I don’t really have anything other than to stay away from it. I will leave the room, leave the store, go outside, etc. Whatever I can do to run away from the noise.

What are you misophonic superpowers?

I have learned to cope with being by myself a lot. I have friends, but I live alone, no neighbors, in an isolated house. Being by myself, and having hobbies that I can do alone, has taught me to appreciate the work I do, because I alone do the work. If my (fill in the blank) project/hobby fails, it’s my fault. If my project/hobby is a success, then I get the good feeling. So, seeing others that work alone in life has made me appreciate their works even more.

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

That I’m not alone. I thought for 46 years that I was the only one with this. I blamed other people for popping gum at me, or purposely having their dogs bark at me. I still have those rage moments where I blame the other person for purposely making that trigger sound, but the blame game that I play is very slowly fading away. I see now that there are people all over the world who have this and I feel better knowing that.

What’s your very best life hack?

This is a hack for earbuds. Tie a knot in the cable next to only one earbud so you can very easily tell which one is left (or right).

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

You’re not alone! Wow! So many years went by believing that my hatred of gum popping, etc., was only me. I hope and pray that every person with misophonia tells others so they will be educated.

And finally! The quick fire round…

Favourite place you’ve visited:

Italy. Very beautiful country.

Favourite song:

Any Led Zeppelin or Sarah Brightman song

Favourite book:

I’ve read maybe two books my whole life. I’m not a big fan of reading.

Favourite work of art:

Mona Lisa. The mystery behind it intrigues me.

5 things you couldn’t live without:

Movies, pizza, Pepsi, a daily shower, and a comfy bed.

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