A martini is a terrible thing to waste.

Misophonia

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Oct 18, 2011 13 Comments

 

I’m sick….and I have been for some time.  All along I thought it was just me  being an asshole, which unfortunately still is a distinct possibility.

For years the sounds of other people snapping their chewing gum and the sounds of other people eating…chewing, chomping, biting their fork…have driven me crazy.   More than just the simple annoyance of these sounds, they trigger a feeling of anger and disbelief,  so much so that I can’t NOT say something to get the person to stop.  That’s the asshole part.

There is a recently recognized condition called misophonia which sums up my situation pretty neatly.  I was so excited when I found out about it, that other people are as miserable as I am. Literally ‘the hatred of sound’ -misophonia can be defined as being super-sensitive to background sounds (for me gum snapping, pen clicking or open-mouth cereal eaters)  that are generally ignored by other people.  What defines this more  than the individuals inability to block out the annoying sounds, is the  negative emotional response experienced as a direct result of  hearing these noises.

Now, some people really freak out…straight rage,  red faced, heart-pounding and/or shaking and the need to actually run away or attack…but I don’t get that physically jammed up. My reaction to these sounds isn’t as severe as some, but I definitely notice them and I am aggravated more than anyone else I know.   I try to avoid the noises if I can…gum chewing has been banned in my classes (although not during holidays at my mom’s house…my Aunt Francis can work a wad of Dentyne so fucking loudly), I have to play music at a pretty loud level at dinnertime at my house, I won’t sit at the table when anyone’s eating breakfast cereal, etc.

So for someone like me who really likes to eat with other people around, it can be a drag.  But eating around me is clearly no treat either…constantly eating under the threat of redirection because of whether you bit down on your soup spoon or not.  So now we  turn the stereo up a bit more, to drown me out as well.



Comments

  • G-Dawg
    Oct 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

    OMG, Thank you for posting this, I have been trying to figure out for years why I get that I want to kill you feeling when someone is open mouth eating loudly near me. I was so afraid to say anything for fear people would think I was CRAZY…. Most of the time I just walk away and suppress the rage.

  • ojennail
    Oct 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

    All this time my boyfriend just thought I was a huuuuuge you know what. To be honest, I questioned whether it was just me being miserable too. Sweet vindication!I

    I work in a really quiet office and when people in the surrounding cubicles eat, for instance, apples, or yogurt where they scrape the spoon on the side of the container to get all of it out, I have to listen to my iPod at dangerously high volumes through earbuds. When people whisper and all I can hear is the ‘swisp’ sound behind me, iPod. There is also an intern whose shoes weigh 167lbs apparently because he cannot pick up his feet when he walks on the carpeted floors. The iPod doesn’t answer that, I whip my head around to try to send him a message.

  • Kerosena
    Oct 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

    First World Problems?

  • NotSoNice
    Oct 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Not alone!!! My husband and I both have this issue but not for all the same sounds, such a crazy household we are. Some sounds are pure torment to him and causes borderline rage for him.

    People sucking their damn teeth while talking and food utensils hitting their teeth while eating both torment more than anything else. There are times a trip to a restuarant is too much for me, I can see and hear the utensil hitting their teeth and it causes my eye to twitch. The thought even bothers me.

  • Stephanie
    Oct 18, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I HATE HATE HATE the sound of people sniffling – inhaling or sucking their boogers & snot in their nose. It drives me insane to the point where I have to walk away from the person. I have literally had to sit on my hands to avoid chucking a box of tissues at the offending person’s head! Since I try not to the the big bitch I know is lurking inside me, I usually sweetly ask if they need a tissue (unless its my husband, of course, in which case I just yell at him to “stop your damn sniffling!!!!”).

  • Ally
    Oct 18, 2011 at 11:06 am

    describes me to a T! I can’t eat dinner at my parents without plugging my ears or getting up from the table. My mom is actually the one that pointed this out to me and now feels bad for me rather than thinking im a jerk!

  • Nancy
    Oct 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=lucy+chewing+with+mouth+open&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADFA_en&biw=1280&bih=763&tbm=isch&tbnid=J6bNwr_6fBsohM:&imgrefurl=http://laurajul.dk/2011/06/11/peanuts-army-of-vaginas/&docid=06DCujurOaYSFM&imgurl=http://laurajul.dk/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/army-of-vaginas.jpg&w=500&h=435&ei=36mdTuSfI-PZ0QGV1sm5CQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=250&sig=116198541433446374736&page=1&tbnh=130&tbnw=151&start=0&ndsp=25&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0&tx=111&ty=66

  • Sean
    Oct 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Now I know why it used to drive you up the wall when I would bite the corners off of your CD jewel cases on our way to out-of-town gigs. I thought it was because I ruined jewel case after jewel case. Now I know it was the noise that drove you apeshit.

    FYI…this is the least of your issues…but I love to see you displaying a hint of vulnerability.

    PS. Thank you for using the fuck word…..I mean the F word in one of your
    pieces. Your Mom is going to be so pissed!

    Chill Rosey….chill

  • David
    Oct 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    You’re fucking welcome, Dilly.

  • MMMmmm beer
    Oct 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    @ Kerosena….well played.

  • DL
    Oct 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Why so happy? The name may be new but the condition has existed for a very long time. It is an expression/form of narcissism – just about everyone gets it as some point in their life. It is a chronic condition for many who have issues with impulse and behavior control. Pfizer is working on a new medication to treat it which should help its stock price.

  • David
    Oct 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Im happy because its somehow nice to know that Im not the only one who goes through this stuff. It’s the same feeling I had when I first read about my Omphalophobia.

  • Crystal
    Oct 26, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I recently sent an article on this to a friend of mine. It was also a relief to her that other people suffer from the same thing. I know a few people who have this issue. Personally, I had a problem with a former roommate closing doors too loudly at night when I was sleeping so now every time I hear a door close, I have to suppress my rage. I think it’s a similar feeling.

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