I have a friend with Misophonia. It took me a while to understand what it was and how it affected their life. Eventually I realized it affects my life as well and not just because they are in my life.
When I first met her, I couldn’t even tell. It looks like OCD from far away, because of the particular situations that bother her. However, the more we talked and hung out the more I realized it was something else. When she told me that she has Misophonia, I had so many questions: what is it, how it affect her life, and how can I help?
From my understanding, which is not a complete scope of Misophonia, it is when a repetitive sound or movement is happening, and it distracts and almost alters the persons thought process, so they cannot focus on anything else. It can be subtle like a foot movement, or a knee bouncing, to the clicking of a pen or tapping a pencil. To people like me it can just be annoying, but to them, especially my friend, it could be a mental break down, or even harming themselves.
I know it sounds crazy that something so small could affect someone like this, but it’s not crazy at all. Something in their brain is firing when the above examples happen, just like when you are faced with your fear. It’s a fight or flight sensation that cannot always be controlled.
When I met my friend, we were in university, and when her triggers would go off, she could not always just get up and leave class to get away from them. Some days it is just the thought of running into the triggers that keep them away from the world. So, it is very hard to maintain an education, friendships and more when the thought of their fears being in their face everywhere they look. Imagine a spider, a very common fear, being in every room, or area you are. Having the thought of what if, what if, and not being able to do anything about the spider. I know to them a spider does not compare but I am hoping to be able to give people who don’t understand Misophonia any kind of idea of what they go through.
The longer I am friends with this person the more I have respect for Misophonia. For them dealing with it, because I am learning how to help and what I can do to make their life easier. It makes you realize even more that you never know what someone is going through. No, you cannot please everyone, because everyone is different, but it never hurts to ask and to try.
After 4 years of being friends I still am trying and learning everyday to do what I can when we talk and hang out. It is not easy, however, I can struggle for a few minutes to a couple of hours, because they struggle all day, everyday.
In university, when we were together, she eventually did not even have to say anything. It would be a simple hand gesture or even if she got tense, I was able to tell that I or someone near by had triggered her. She always knew it was never on purpose on my part or just a random person. However, there are people in this world that once they know about Misophonia, they will do things to trigger them, not caring how it affects the person. These people do not understand how they are affecting Misophonia personal. And if they do, they are torturing humans on purpose.
I know there are people out there who do not understand how the regular world works because their mind is not the same. People who enjoy torturing others is not regular. I am not using the word normal because no one is normal. The word does not exist in most vocabularies anymore. So, the fact that someone wants to trigger another human is terrible. We all have our own problems and situations in the world, why make it any harder than it has to be for each other.
Misophonia is something that affects everyone, even if you’re not the one who has it. The people who do, have nothing to help them. So, we have to. Do not be afraid to ask, they will tell you what bothers them, anything to make their lives easier. You might also like to believe that they are making it up or just have social anxiety, which could be true for people who are striving for attention or people who are not sure how to act with others. The way to tell, for at the least my friend is how strong she is. How she will not back down from a fight because of how many times she has been against the wall. How she knows she should be treated, because of all the mistreatment she has had before the knowledge of Misophonia.
Misophonia has changed my mind setting, on the little movement and mistakes that seem like nothing to me but could make someone else’s life hell.