I’d like to first start by saying that misokinesia (hatred of movement) is a term that oversimplifies things. Research-wise, there’s not enough to go on to say whether or not visual triggers are different from misophonia. They might both be related, they could be part of SPD, or they could be two interlinked disorders. The research simply isn’t there. We also don’t know whether or not all, most, or some sufferers also have visual triggers. For the purpose of this I am just going to use “visual triggers” or “visual stimuli”. I’m not going to simply attribute it to a name or disorder before there is proper research.
My visual triggers are just as hard to handle as my audial triggers. Sometimes they are worse. I find it nearly impossible to escape a sight in the room. Even when I close my eyes, and even hours or days later, the memory is still there. I want to cry as I think of these triggers. Legs shaking, people swaying, fingers and toes tapping. Even improper grammar have been known to become triggers. Double spacing after periods is so intensely anguished, that I’ve had to block people from communication.
I’ve had people tell me, that have misophonia, “You can’t have visual triggers, or be triggered by grammar”. This has been frustrating. As I fight tooth and nail for advocacy, to be told by my own community that I am “wrong”.
Having severe visual and audial triggers has made life more challenging. The grammar and typing, and light effect triggers are so severe that I find it nearly impossible to surf the web, play video games.
I have the following strange, and life-altering visual triggers:
- Two spaces instead of one after a period
- Use of “u” “r” or “ur” instead of full words
- You’re/your used improperly
- An overabundance of punctuation, especially “!”
- Legs and arms in places that are strange to me (one leg up, one down)
- Arms leaning across car doors
- Untied shoelaces
- Effects in video games
- Bright lights
- Pinwheels, windmills, and all other “rotating” circles
- Bags (being swung on an arm)
- Anything flipping or breezing
- Words used improperly
- An improper ellipsis (more than 3 consecutive dots …)
- An over use of ellipses.
- Chewing (the visual, no sound necessary; actually I am bothered more by the look than the sound)
Do you struggle from similar? For me, visual triggers have been harder to explain because even our own media doesn’t do enough to explain. Of course, I can’t fault us – there simply isn’t enough data (scientific or otherwise). Sometimes it’s hard to handle visual triggers because I can’t wear earplugs for my eyes. I suppose I could wear a blindfold, but this has impractical applications. I am also more likely to remember visual triggers and never want to go back to the place. If I have been visually triggered somewhere in the past, I will not want to go back.
I have had dreams of these triggers. I have had waking nightmares. These visuals are so deeply intertwined in my brain that they haunt me, like a ghost. Sounds might go away… but the visuals remain.
I have stopped having text conversations with many people because they don’t understand. I get it but it’s hard for me to socialize. It’s become further isolation atop of my isolation. I’m not sure what the answer is, but one thing is for sure, we need more research (and don’t worry, we’ll fight for that!).
Want to learn more? Join a Workshop with Dr. Jennifer Brout or Duke CMER at Misophonia Education.