Many people are envious of material things: houses, cars, money and expensive jewelry. Others are envious of another person’s looks, or relationship with their special someone. Like everyone else, I have been guilty of wishing for those things. In all honesty, the one thing that I will always long for is the ability to have normal hearing.
I have suffered from misophonia my entire life and have never experienced any occasion without trigger sounds. Of course, up until a few years ago, I didn’t know or understand why I hated participating in so many activities. Why the anticipation of going to dinner would prompt me to start an argument with my loved one. Even going to a movie theater was torturous. The other movie watchers with their coughing, or crunching, rattling their skittles… AHHH! It is extremely difficult to enjoy a movie with all those triggers, not to mention the extremely loud theater sounds and music, which feels like puncturing inside of my ears.
“I just want to be normal. I am not ‘annoyed’ by these sounds.”
You cannot “miss” what you have never had, right? I suppose that is true for the most part. But I see all the social media posts of friends with their loved ones, going to family gatherings, out to dinner or an amusement park, and I imagine what it must be like to enjoy these things. What does it feel like to sit in a restaurant engaging in pleasant conversation without the constant fear that someone at the next table will scrape their fork against their plate? How does it feel to be able to eat a meal with my husband at the same table without wanting to shove my fist down his throat? How does it feel to come home from work NOT wanting to drive your car off of a bridge because of the endless triggers that are constantly evoking negative hateful responses? I have accepted the fact that I may never know.
I just want to be normal. I am not “annoyed” by these sounds. I am triggered by them. They make me feel an unjustifiable rage inside. I want to hurt myself, and I want to hurt the person triggering me. Fortunately, the logical part of my brain will not allow me to act on these emotions. Sometimes, I hear the trigger sound once and fly into a rage. Other times, I hear sounds and it will fester inside me, the longer fuse on a firecracker that will explode just as I think I was able to handle the situation.
Misophonia is not fun. My list of triggers is endless, and this condition is extremely debilitating. I cannot do things that “normal” people can do. Just as a diabetic or someone with high blood pressure must make lifestyle changes due to their conditions, I also have lifestyle changes in order to cope with misophonia. Sadly, many of these changes have resulted in sacrifices in my everyday life. As much as I struggle to find coping mechanisms, it is an ongoing challenge.
Now, I can go to the movies, if I plan properly. I always request the hearing assist headphones from the box office. They allow me to stream the movie through the headset, as well as adjust the volume so it doesn’t hurt my ears. I sit in the last row of the theater and always go to the earliest showing of the day.
As far as work, it is a constant struggle. I work from home 80% of the time, and the other days I have rearranged my work day so I am only subjected to triggers a little more than half of the day. Between the work accommodations I have in place, and the ear plugs I wear most of the day, I am still exposed to continuous loud noise and trigger sounds.
My personal life is pretty dismal, I do not engage in very many social activities, which is fine with me. My husband is not crazy about crowds so he is not impacted by my desire to stay home. So why am I jealous? My children! Although they understand misophonia and support my condition, I still feel as if they are being deprived of all of the fun activities that we should be doing as a family. Happy memories that we will never be able to create because of misophonia.
I am not ashamed to admit that I am jealous. I am jealous of all of the people that live their lives without the constant anxiety that a trigger will send them into a rage or meltdown. Misophonia has become my own little green-eyed monster.