Another writer for Misophonia International E-Magazine, Sharon graduated yesterday. She messaged the rest of the staff and crew, with concern about the actual ceremony. Not only was she triggered by one of the speakers, but there would be large congregation of people, which guarantees triggers, and automatic anxiety, for Misophones, in general. This magazine has featured an article before, written by Vicki Sladowski, from the position of a parent going to see her son graduate, and struggling to be mentally present for such an milestone event, because of all of the aversive stimuli surrounding her. During her graduation ceremony, Sharon wanted to wear her earplugs that play brown noise, because wearing them, was the only way she felt comfortable and calm, exposed to all of that same stimuli. However, she expressed that her family members may not be too keen about this, probably because it might look strange, and people could ask questions. Graduation are a big day, it should be filled with good memories, yet, neurological disorders do not let up for celebrations. For the majority of Misophones, every day is a day they face their disorder, days that are suppose to be positive and happy, are no different.
Misophonia is serious.
It is a big deal to get through school with Misophonia, it can be a nightmare, and seriously torturous. I would not have survived grade school without earplugs, and even still, I would have to take bathroom breaks often, just to cool down. I listened to music any chance that a teacher would let me, because sometimes I could hear triggers through my earplugs. I constantly looked frightened and annoyed, and was often very socially awkward. It is a miracle that I even graduated. I got very angry, and cried a lot, mostly in secret, because no one believed me when I told them that sniffing, chewing, coughing, tapping, and ticking, were causing me so much distress. I would get home and lock myself in my room. I constantly had loud music or a fan going to drown out my family, which sounds terrible. Growing up, and going through school is confusing, and difficult enough, but add an odd, and unheard of, brain tick, in the mix, its and makes for an even more exciting time, way too exciting, and stressful.
Misophonia causes me act freakish and odd, for far too long, I was ashamed and defeated and sunk into a dark place, but now, I embrace and respect my uniqueness. Yes, it is strange and weird that I cannot physically and emotionally allow myself to repetitively sense a trigger, and not flee, stop, or mute the trigger in some way. Additionally, once I’m wound up from a trigger, I have to consciously calm and soothe myself back down to normal, before I can re-enter reality, and focus, without a charge of adrenaline rushing through me. It’s weird, and it is exhausting, but I have a neurological disorder, that pumps extreme floods of weird hormones, and sensations throughout my body, at the slightest noises and experiences. I live with it, I have no other choice. The sooner all sufferers and those around us, accept that we cannot control being triggered and accommodate it, one isolating aspect of the disorder is lifted, and it becomes a little bit easier to process.
There may not be a cure, and if there ever is, it is very far off. Some of us might be dealing with this, on our own, with internet knowledge, for the rest of our lives. I advocate, and write, for the future generations of Misophones. So that maybe we can gain faster recognition and prevent more blind suffering. Mental illnesses and strange learning and sensory disorders, in general, have risen in children by 16% in the last ten years, so humanity will have to pay more attention to the issue at some point. There are many theories in which people believe that the boom in technological advances within the last 50 years, happened faster than the human mind was capable of widely handling, and this is having some backlash. The younger generations now know how to work a cell phone or tv at one and two years old, yet ask your grandma to work them, and see how that goes. This is terrifying, in a way. Regardless, that is only a theory, as to why the learning and sensory disorders are rising, but it is a proven fact that there is an issue, whether it is chemicals we are consuming or using, or what.
Don’t struggle scared and alone, or be uncomfortable.
It has slowly been coming to light, every single day, that there are a lot more Misophones out there than we all realized. We are not alone. We are all different. We are triggered by different things, and affected in different ways, and we all seem to have very sad stories. I’m tired of hearing sad things about Misophonia. Yes, we have a disorder, but we still deserve to be happy in life. We shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask to put on music, or turn on a fan, or get up and take a breather or stretch when we are stressed, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed when we have to wear earplugs, or headphones, whenever, or wherever. Instead of hiding the reasoning and being passive, use the only weapon we can use over the anxiety, include others, and cope as best as we can. If people ask questions about why we are different, or particular, use it as an opportunity to advocate, explain that you have a neurological condition and how it affects you! No human is perfect, everyone has some sort of battle they face. You have no idea who around you may be struggling too, and being open may create a lot of healthy dialogue. We are not hurting anyone but ourselves by bottling up and feeling ashamed of our biggest hurdle in life, no matter how huge we think it is or how hard we think it will be.
We can still be comfortable and happy; We are still human.
Congratulations Sharon, and anyone else that has completed school with Misophonia, or any other learning disorder, or disability of any kind. Graduate school is very impressive, but even High school is a pretty big feat. You are amazing, and should be very proud, for what you had to overcome to get to that point. Give yourself some credit.
My reply to Sharon…
She wore her earplugs, during her ceremony, and took them out before going up and receiving her associates degree. People probably noticed, but who cares? She was a lot better off, than if she hadn’t worn them. There is no need for a suffer to subject selves to a surefire panic attack, if it can be prevented. For my high school graduation, I wore earplugs. I kept popping the one furthest away from everything, in and out, to hear things around me, when needed, and hid it in my gown to grab my diploma. Sometimes, with disorders, like Misophonia, you just have to do whatever it takes to stay content.
Sufferers: Don’t be afraid to take precautions, or be comfortable.
Written by Rachel TewWant to learn more? Join a Workshop with Dr. Jennifer Brout or Duke CMER at Misophonia Education.