I experience audial, visual and tactile triggers.
I must confess, at first, my audial triggers were more prevalent, because I can close my eyes and avoid touching certain things, but I can’t always avoid a sound. Both visual and tactile triggers, usually are coupled with, and therefor, overshadowed by, an audial trigger. With visuals, I physically put up my hand, or some sort of prop, or close both, or even just the one eye receiving the triggering stimuli. I know that this can look very strange to others around me, but I cannot handle it passing through my sensory receptors. When triggered, in unfamiliar situations, around other people, I will either leave, or plug my ears, put in headphones or earplugs. When triggered in my comfort zone, or if I cannot block it out, I can sometimes get embarrassingly, angry, mostly at myself. I haven’t lashed out at others, since I was a kid. Now, instead, I get self destructive, and can, sometimes, exhibit immature, tantrum-like behaviors, such as growling or sighing aggressively, even stomping my feet, smacking, or banging or, the most shamefully relieving, slamming. This is on really bad days, but it does happens, embarrassingly so. I have to do something to let out all the tension, and adrenaline, swirling around in my body and mind.
Some things, that I can hear and see, when they are repetitive, pushes me to my limits. For example, when some one wipes their hands on their pants after every single bite of chips with some sort of powder or salt on them. A lot of people are incessant and do it every single mouthful, like they aren’t about to stick their greasy fingers back in the bag, to grab some more things, put their hand up to their mouth, and then crunch and chew on some more, and take twenty minutes to finish the bag. I cannot stand hearing, and shy away from touching, cardboard, paper, Styrofoam, velvet, fabric, jeans, carpet, the ever dreaded four cup drink carriers from fast food restaurants. I will avoid experiencing any combination of these things rubbing up against each other, at all costs. I carry lotion everywhere, because the sound, and feeling of dry skin rubbing up against dry skin, or practically anything else, especially anything listed above, sends shivers up my spine.
I instinctually pay extra close attention to my surroundings, and actively avoid experiencing triggers. This causes anxiety, and sometimes involves me seeming a tad preoccupied and acting oddly. When I am triggered in a situation, I have to evaluate whether or not I want to, or have to stay, if the answer is no to either, I’m gone. If the answer is yes, then I try to cover it up, with my own voice, tapping, or with background noise, if I can. I block my view, act very exaggeratedly, and energetically, and usually express the shock and detest, however, blaming the cause on something else. If none of that works, and I just can’t escape, I plug my ears, shut my eyes, practice my deepest breathing, to where I’m the only thing I can hear in my head, and try to find muster up the strength to still feel human afterwards. Even though, I am very aware that I can look ridiculous, I cannot change this about myself. It is not me. It is the disorder that I am stuck with, my life lesson, and my battle. I am strong and will not let it defeat me, but it is still a daily issue.
I sincerely apologize for my chronic resting b**** face.
Want to learn more? Join a Workshop with Dr. Jennifer Brout or Duke CMER at Misophonia Education.