The extent to which a person might be pushed as a result of misophonia is not to be taken lightly – we’re talking to the absolute precipice of “The Verge.” As we speak – oh, the irony! – someone is tapping above my apartment, and I feel this murderous rage coming over me like an insatiable wave.
No, I’m not kidding.
I’ve popped in my trusty 44 decibel earplugs (thanks to my amazing husband), and turned up the soothing “Get High” by the beloved Rob Zombie. “I’ve been stepping on the devil’s tail. . .” Uh, NO. But so someone is seriously stepping on mine right now!
Anyway, misophonia was recognized more recently as a *air quote* condition *end air quote* (oh boy, thrilled to have one of those!) But I can remember struggling with sound sensitivity for…well, as long as I can remember. This article suggests that those of us with misophonia have had bad experiences in life and somehow our wires got rerouted straight to the anger-zone as a result. Hmm. True on the experience part, but most people have SOME baggage by adulthood. Human beings, hello? That thing called life, psycho bosses, and bad exes?
There is some tie, per the above, to the emotional circuit boards when “trigger” noises are heard – on the one hand, I like that my anger can be explained by a trigger prodding my emotional headquarters with a hot poker. I *kind of* feel redeemed. But I also feel like there’s suggestion of emotional instability. Of course that depends on whether we are we speaking about when the noises are occurring or the overarching picture (minus the noises.) Thanks-a-lot, anterior insular cortex.
According to other sources, such as this one, there are indeed biological cerebral differences in those with misophonia, and those without. You better believe my frontal lobe and anterior insular cortex would be doing some kind of Martial Art should it be subjected to an MRI while simultaneously being exposed to chewing, breathing, tapping, or other noxiously incessant sounds. My brain vs. Floyd Mayweather? Man’s lucky he’s already famous.
Yet other science folk say that it’s okay for me to “blame my brain.” That’s nice. . .have a scapegoat at the ready. . . But I feel a little disloyal tossing my gorgeously grey matter (how gloomy and gothic!) under the bus.
“Yes, my elegant encephalous…under the wheels you go! . . .Aaannnd the wheels of the bus go round and roundddd…!!”
On top of what’s already ailing, the same article claims that there’s extra activity occurring in:
- My ventromedial prefrontal cortex (more emotional stuff, self-control, risk alerts, fear mechanisms)
- My amygdala (motivation, emotional behaviors…uh-gain), AND…
- My hippocampus (short, long-term, and spatial memory)
Geezuz, for someone who hates parties, what the hell?! (Maybe they’re doing extra workouts? That might make some sense…) But then there’s the whole I-love-heavy-metal thing – I’m not sure I’m able to reconcile the discrepancy save to say that metal sounds uh-mazing. Chewing, scratching, neighbor’s-baby-crying? Doesn’t.
I’m glad at least there’s a community of us Misophonians (yes, I made the word up) with whom I can commiserate. I liked 10 Things Someone With Mispohonia Wants You To Know for exactly such support. The fact that someone made this image (below) also gives me some comfort. . .(it shouldn’t give anyone ELSE any though, since I punch things for fun.)
There isn’t a cure for this sensory sensitivity but I guess in a strange way I’m thankful (maybe not WHEN the chewing or tapping is going on. . .but after!)
I recently was observing a three year-old boy with autism for a graduate class that I’m taking. I noticed his propensity for reaching towards his ears and asked the teacher whether he had headphones or earplugs, as I wondered whether the crying (which he exhibited about 75% of the time or more) might calm a bit. Well…yesterday I heard from a classmate that the teacher tried headphones, and the child is crying FAR less. What a joy to hear that news! ❤
As much as I want to seek-and-destroy the things that make my ears scream like banshees…the idea that I might have helped one person as a result is amazing.
I’d also like to – very loudly – note that my husband is a trooper through it all. He is always incredibly conscientious because he knows how painful this truly can be at times (and that it really ISN’T my…or my brain’s…desire to be that way!) Support is key (so long as it’s silent.) 😉 *LOL*