This is the #47 edition of our My Misophonia Story series. This week features Valerie (25) from Canada. Each week we’ll feature a new reader story, so if you’d like to share yours, please drop us a line. Valerie, take it away…
Where are you from?
What do you do for a living?
Auditor – I work in an office
What are you passionate about / what are your hobbies?
I love watching Netflix and running. I also love the outdoors and going for walks.
How old were you when you first realised you had an issue with certain sounds?
As far back as I can remember. I remember being a young child and getting mad at my sisters during supper time.
When did you first find out it was called misophonia?
When I was a teenager.
What are your 3 biggest triggers?
Do you have any other sensory quirks?
The sight of seeing someone chewing with their mouth open triggers me – seeing someone eating something crunchy from far is a trigger (for example seeing someone eating celery from across the room even if I can’t hear it). Watching someone reach for crunchy food such as celery or a bag of chips is also a trigger. I think it’s the anticipation of knowing the sound is coming.
I used to only be sensitive to the sound of food. Throughout the years, it has evolved to whistling, coughing, yawning, sneezing, sniffling. Basically any normal human function. One of my triggers is actually when people call misophonia an annoyance. Such as “oh ya that noise annoys me too” because they don’t understand how crippling it can actually be.
Have you told other people about your misophonia and if so what was their reaction?
Yes. My husband is pretty understanding – he has a mild case of misophonia as well. My In Laws have said things such as: “Well it’s not fair that you make me feel like I can’t eat” (which was not the point of me telling them). Most of my friends have been understanding.
The problem is, is that sometimes when I’m not triggered, I’ll become triggered because they’ll ask if their chewing was bothering me. If they hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t have been triggered. I finally told my doctor and therapist this year and they have been very understanding and have been trying to get me the proper treatment.
My sisters have been the most supportive and will try to not trigger me and will tell their significant others how to chew in front of me.
What’s your funniest/most ridiculous misophonia-related moment?
I went to university with my now-husband. We were sitting in class and the girl behind us crunched very loudly into an apple, triggering the both of us to turn around. As we both did that, we made eye contact and smiled and we became friends.
What helps you to cope with your misophonia?
I listen to music at my desk, I wear ear plugs, I try to repeat over in my head that the sound is almost over (for example if they’re eating a bag of chips, eventually the bag will be done). I will excuse myself to the bathroom to practice deep breathing. Finally, I have started therapy for OCD.
What are your misophonic superpowers?
I am very observant. Because I am always scanning a room for possible triggers, it makes me notice little details that regular people might not notice. I also am very sensitive to sounds so I am good at eavesdropping.
What’s the single most useful piece of misophonia related advice you’ve learnt?
Reading this blog. Someone referred me to it. Reading everyone’s stories and realizing that I am not the only one that does certain things or gets triggered constantly. I think the best thing for my treatment has been discovering everyone’s stories and being able to talk about it and relate. When I am deeply triggered, I come onto the blog and read people’s stories and it helps calm me and understand that I am not alone.
What’s your very best life hack?
Keep an Agenda. The worst thing that can happen is that your life is more organized – you’ll get more things done, you will forget less and you will feel more accomplished at the end of the day when you see how many tasks are crossed off.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow misophones?
Try not to blame others for your misophonia. I was guilty of doing that for many years and it hurt some of my relationships. It’s not their fault for wanting to eat, it’s not their fault for sneezing, having a cold etc. But it’s also not your fault for being triggered by it. You have misophonia – there is nothing wrong with you and it’s simply important to learn to live peacefully with it. We’re all in this together. The more we talk about it, the closer we get to a cure.
And finally! The quick fire round…
Favourite place you’ve visited:
Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Favourite work of art:
Anything painted by my mother Sheryl Boivin
5 things you couldn’t live without:
Netflix, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, my husband, the outdoors