Today I would like to discuss something a little different from my usual diatribe. Today I would like to discuss my other mental dysfunction misophonia. It is more common that you think.
For people with a condition that some scientists call misophonia, mealtime can be torture. The sounds of other people eating — chewing, chomping, slurping, gurgling — can send them into an instantaneous, blood-boiling rage. Many people can be driven to distraction by certain small sounds that do not seem to bother others — gum chewing, footsteps, humming. But sufferers of misophonia, a newly recognized condition that remains little studied and poorly understood, take the problem to a higher level. -http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/health/06annoy.html?_r=0
I have had it since childhood. My first memory of it was telling my best friend that if she smacked her ice cream cone one more time I was going to literally shove it up her nose. She laughed, I laughed, and I envisioned it still as I laughed. It is not enough that I have OCD and have a problem with smells and textures. I also have a problem with certain sounds. A big problem.
I have a hatred of sounds. I am not talking about a mild annoyance. I am talking about a knee jerk violent reaction that makes me want to scream and punch the offender. I do not act upon it because I am a non violent person. I do however think about it really hard. Hearing my trigger sounds make my jaw tighten, my blood pump, and my rage explode. I can usually only manage a strangled voice through clenched teeth, "Do it again and I will hurt you....I ...will...hurt...you." That has been my mantra for over thirty years. Now, I have never followed through on that threat but I do threaten and mostly people laugh. Sometimes they make my trigger noises just to watch me spin my head around like the exorcist and shoot them a nasty look.
My trigger sounds are licking, smacking, sucking sounds, clicking things on your teeth, whistling sounds from your nose, gulping, and some loud breathing sounds.
I am often told by my grandmother to get a dining room table. I would love to but I will not be able to eat at it. I can hear the swishing sounds inside of people's mouths when the eat and I have to get up and leave. Thanksgiving dinner is hell. Pure hell. I have to choose where I am gong to sit carefully because SOME of my more distant family members eat like farm animals complete with talking with their mouth full and saying it while spraying it. Ugh.
The worst offender in my house out of my two children, my husband, and my four cats is my twenty two pound orange cat Hobbs. Just so you know I got him that big. He and I have a running problem with his rude behavior. He is a licker. He licks constantly. I know it is sign that he is happy but out of the four bedrooms in my house why does he choose to go right next to me to do it? Like there is no place else he can go? I usually snap my fingers at him. He looks at me, I look at him. We have a staring contest. I stare, he stares. I squint my eyes , he winks at me mid lick and then goes back to cleaning himself. I think he is secretly trying to drive me insane. Well, more insane than I already admit to being.
When I here these noises I have a fight or flight response. I can't handle them. I always flee because for some reason punching random people in the throat is frowned upon in our society. I have even pushed someone walking too slow out of my way because a man in the clothing store was walking behind me while clicking a peppermint on his teeth....sorry Mom. She was cool with it and all but I probably should have just went around her instead of body checking her into a rack of clothes like a hockey player....again my apologies.
When confronted with these noises I have often dug my finger nails into my palms until they bled. Just to concentrate on the pain rather than the sound. It doesn't really work that well but that has been all I have in situations where I could not flee. The sounds are amplified in my brain. I can't concentrate on anything else or hear anything else. It is a horrid experience. I seem to get more trigger sounds as I age. I also have to have the t.v. up when my cats eat or drink. The noises are unbearable. I mean why can't they drink from a glass like everyone else? Not having thumbs is not a good excuse. I mean is it my fault that they don't have lips? Well, is it??!!??
All kidding aside, it is very hard to be around noises that are almost painful. It is torture. There is no known cure at this time and I would love for them to find one. I would love to be able to sit at a table with my family and friends and not be like a crazed caged animal looking for a way out. I would love to be able to not have to drown out noises with music or t.v. so I can remain calm. I would love to join in things that right now I avoid due to the rage that isn't really my personality at all. Do you have misophonia as well? If so I feel your pain but I am glad I don't hear it.