“Don’t get so triggered”

It’s Christmas! I hope everyone has received what they wanted. I certainly did. I asked for the book “

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” by Shaylynn Hayes. If you haven’t got it yet, I highly recommend it. I’ve spent this morning reading it and it’s incredible.

On the 3rd January, I come back to school and straight to exams. Unlike other students in my year, I don’t actually get nervous or anxious about exams because I revise and am confident in my knowledge. If anything, I’m perfectly fine with having 3 weeks of exams and no lessons. No teachers telling us to “sssh” and no shouting or yelling or anything of the sort.

Being a teenager in a public school suffering with misophonia is likely my biggest challenge in my entire school life. Although I’ve suffered with severe social anxiety and what is likely PMS for a few years now, when I discovered misophonia it added a whole new level to the difficulty of going to school. The problem is -and I’ll be honest- that my generation is horrible.

My generation is filled with kids and immature teenagers that believe mental illness or physical disabilities are humorous when they are in fact not. I’ve received disgusting comments about my older sister who is in a wheelchair and I’ve heard countless conversations based around making fun of health problems. It truly does disgust me. I know that not all teenagers are like this; I’ve met and have been friends with teenagers who are genuine and kind and caring. However the vast majority do not fall into that category. I cannot go one day at school without hearing rude comments about someone young with a walking stick, a boy using crutches with no cast on his leg, someone with glasses, etc. Even the simplest things are made fun of. I say simplest, though I mean the most common health problems, such as bad eye sight or hearing.

The teenagers that do make fun of these sorts of things are usually ones that have never had to deal or live with any kind of problem. They’ve never been severely ill, or been told they have something that will stay with them for the rest of their life. They’ve likely never had a family member who’s ill either. If they have- then I am utterly shocked at the disgusting behaviour. So, in a way, I can’t blame them for being unable to grasp the concepts as easily. But that does not mean they have the right to disregard those who are ill in any way and refuse to understand and respect them.

With misophonia, this is much worse.

As a sufferer of misophonia in school, I try to avoid explaining the disorder to anyone. To fellow classmates, to friends (though I only have 3) or even to teachers.  The last time I attempted to inform my school, with the help of a doctor’s note, they simply told me I could wear my earplugs around the corridors but not in class. In actuality, class is the main issue. In class is where teachers use the “Sh” sound a million times, where students and teachers yell across classrooms, where kids tap with their pens or drum on the desk. In short, my teachers suck.

In my school, I am a prefect. This means that once a week I have to go to a specific area of the school and watch out for anyone misbehaving. I take my role seriously, unlike almost everyone else. Last year, I was on duty with 3 other boys who I didn’t like much. One of them started saying “Tut” repeatedly and that was a fairly new trigger for me. In response, I started backing away and holding my head, just trying to do anything but run away or punch the wall or cry or scream. The three noticed my reaction and started laughing, saying things such as “Are you triggered?” and “Oh my god don’t be so triggered!” loudly. Teachers passed and did nothing, despite how I was at the other end of the corridor, crying and hyperventilating. Once I could get my breath back I yelled at them, saying that I have Misophonia, a neurological condition that causes a fight/flight/freeze reaction to certain sounds, called triggers. I highly regret explaining it.

Looking back, I should have just run away to somewhere quiet.

Because since then, they continue to purposefully try and trigger me. They laugh and tell me not to be triggered. I will never know how or why the word “trigger” is a meme or is funny, seeing as it is related to multiple serious conditions. But that is how the teenagers at my school act. They don’t care if you’re in pain- if they get a reaction, they carry on. And like I said, it’s disgusting. This is why I don’t get along with people my own age, and why I’m noted as antisocial by many.

I honestly don’t hate people. I hate ignorant people that refuse to acknowledge or respect simple concepts, such as “Don’t make that noise” and so on.

One of my points here is that the words “trigger” and “triggered” are not funny. They are not memes. They are not used to make fun of people. They are related to serious health problems and conditions that make others’ lives hell. Yet whenever you try to correct people on the internet, they go on to call you “triggered” which completely proves the point of their ignorance.

Triggers are not funny. Misophonia is not a joke.

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Tim December 25, 2017 - 1:18 pm

Alexandra – I can totally relate to people not taking your condition seriously. I told my family of all my triggers a few years back. My father was my biggest trigger, and it ultimately led to a falling out with family and me being disowned. My family has purposely triggered me ever since. They didn’t like my outbursts and lashing out after being riggered, and assumed I was using Misophonia as an excuse for being of poor character and a downright jerk of a person. I moved 2,000 miles away, and they spread the word around my new community about what an “evil” person I was and told them of my triggers. So now I am purposely triggered in my new community. I am a pariah wherever I go and cannot seem to get away from it. If I could do things all over again, I would never have told anyone…and I would have walked away when triggered instead of getting angry and lashing out. I couldnt help it, though. Nowadays, I know I cannot lash out…so I keep it all inside. Keeping it inside results in massive anxiety and fight or flight. As bad as the outbursts were…they made me feel better. I no longer have that luxury.

gegleicher December 25, 2018 - 1:33 am

I never tell anyone about my misophonia anymore. If I am triggered and act strange or need to get away I tell them that I have anxiety. That way they don’t take it personally because I’m not blaming it on them. Everyone gets offended if you tell them that something they do is bothering you. It always makes the situation worse. At least that’s been my experience.

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