This article may not be for everyone, but I need to get this out there for those who might be in the same position I am.
I am a Catholic Christian. I was born in a Catholic Christian home, where I was reciting prayers ever since I learned how to talk. My personal walk of faith seemed to be going great, until at age 10 I noticed my sudden hatred and rage towards my dad’s “S” sounds, and the sound of my family eating and clanking silverware on plates. It was a living hell at home for about five years because my family thought I was being a brat and an attention seeker. Even after I told my family about misophonia and they started being more supportive, as I got older, I noticed that I had become distant from God, quite unintentionally.
As I grew, my misophonia got worse. It got bad to the point where I had to sit in the foyer during the mass where I couldn’t hear what was going on very well, so I wasn’t enjoying the mass like I should. I try not to do that very often because on most days I go, I sing with a friend during the mass, and I love doing that. That used to help me because I was focused on singing and knowing when to sing. I would also occupy my mind by singing the songs in my head and making mental notes on projecting and which notes to watch out for. However, recently (as in about two years ago) I can’t even sing without getting triggered most of the time. As I sit and listen to the priest or the readers, I get very triggered because every sound is amplified by the microphone. Before, simply plugging one of my ears would help, and I would sit and try not to cringe if I got triggered again.
However, I now need to put on over the ear headphones during certain parts of the mass. I can’t just plug my ear anymore; my misophonia has gotten worse still, and I’m only 21. Plus, I’m sitting in the VERY FRONT, where everyone can see that I’m putting on headphones. If I was sitting with the crowd, I wouldn’t be so self-conscious. It gives me extreme anxiety knowing that there are people watching me and judging me as I put on my headphones at certain times. They think that I’m listening to music or something, or just generally being disrespectful. Plus, as I sing with my friend, he triggers me sometimes and I just want to stop singing and leave.
Because of all of this, I can’t seem to enjoy the mass as much as I used to. I feel very uncomfortable going to mass now knowing that I may cause a distraction to some people who think I’m being disrespectful. I want to be able to know what it feels like to experience the mass the way I did a long time ago, when I sang in the kids choir at St. Mary (my old elementary school), and have my faith renewed. I don’t feel that anymore. I want to make an announcement at some point and educate the church goers about misophonia, however I don’t think the priest will allow it. Since it’s not about church events, I doubt the priest will let me do it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t ask. I really want to let the community know that I have this condition, how debilitating it is, and that it’s incredibly hard to live my life with it.
Maybe I’m just overreacting, and no one probably thinks that I’m being disrespectful at all. But in my mind, that’s what I fear, and I want to clear things up. Perhaps “feeling” like my faith is renewed isn’t going to work for me anymore. All I feel is stress, anxiety, unnecessary anger, and hatred at all the triggers around me. I may need to find a new way to strengthen my relationship with God. Until I figure out what that is, I’ll continue to pray for healing, patience, strength, and hope.