In other words, “you’re not special bitch”
When I screenshot and posted about Misophonia on my Instagram story, I was not expecting 15 different people to DM me about it. I’ve never felt unique for having this condition–I just never realized that so many other people do, too.
According to WebMD Misophonia is “selective sound sensitivity syndrome.” Simply put, when someone is chewing near me or I can hear them breathing, I want to scream. The sound is disgusting and horrible and bothersome! Most times I can’t sit in the same room as whoever is eating breakfast near me.
My earliest memory of having Misophonia is from when I was in middle school. My dad came into my room one afternoon, crunching chips. He was literally just eating bbq potato chips by the handful, but the sound was so grating and absolutely disgusting to my ears that I demanded he, “GET OUT!!!!!” I felt almost panicked by the sound it was too…..gross.
The thing is, I don’t just hear the crunch. I feel like I can hear every grinding squelch made by your teeth and your tongue, and as I type this I feel my shoulders protectively gravitating towards my ears.
Harvard Health Publishing says that Misophonia is “a real disorder and one that seriously compromises functioning, socializing, and ultimately mental health. Misophonia usually appears around age 12, and likely affects more people than we realize.”
They found that “persons with misophonia showed much greater physiological signs of stress (increased sweat and heart rate) to the trigger sounds of eating and breathing than those without it.”
I can’t handle whispering sounds (I would rather die than listen to serious ASMR) or breathing. You know, that thing everyone does that allows you to take in oxygen and continue living your life. I had a college boyfriend who would breathe so freakin loudly when we watched TV, I wanted to strangle him. I used to joke that he should hold his breath, because I could barely hear the show. In response, he would purposely breathe into my ear. Strangely, that is not why we broke up.
I can eat with other people in restaurants (the sound of the restaurant covers up the chewing) and fall asleep next to someone snoring (I think this is because I snore?) I can also watch that little red haired ASMR girl (you know the one) on a low volume because I think she is hilarious. The sound of my own self chewing doesn’t bother me either but that’s because I think I know what’s coming.
I have told other people in my life about this feeling that I get when I hear things aka wanting to scream and run away/strangle boyfriends and have been told I’m just being oversensitive. BUT DAMN. AFTER I POSTED ABOUT IT ON INSTAGRAM, IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYBODY HAS THIS!!!!
“Omg I have this!! Glad to know I am not crazy”
“My mom and I have it. It’s MISERABLE”
“I’ve had it for as long as I can remember”
Those are just a few of the–no joke, 15 DMs I got from people saying they have this condition. So like…..does everyone have Misophonia? I decided to investigate.
If you Google, “Does everyone have Misophonia?” a bunch of tests pop up. There’s even one from Buzzfeed! I’m so glad I can find out which Crazy Rich Asians character I am and if I have extreme sound sensitivity!
I found a Reddit thread called, “Surely everyone can have misophonia” where people were debating that very topic. Some posters were saying they have Misophonia so terribly that they want to harm themselves and others when they hear certain sounds and that people who are simply “disgusted” or “bothered” by noises shouldn’t qualify as having the sensitivity….which seemed kind of discount-y. I wondered if there might be some kind of sliding scale and there is!
There is tolerance scale to diagnose the severity of your Misophonia. It’s called “The Misophonia Activation Scale.” So while you may not feel like stabbing whoever is chewing near you in the throat, you might feel so bothered that you have to listen to music/leave the room and still have a form of misophonia.
So yes, probably a lot of people have this disorder, just not to the degree that they feel like self harm. Although there is no known cure, you should definitely see a mental health professional if you feel like harming yourself or others.
Am I glad we could all bond over this? Yes and no. It’s always nice to put a name to the thing that is plaguing you, but I’m sorry if you’re suffering.
Please don’t chew near me in quiet spaces and I will try not to breathe too loudly around you.