When I was a little girl, I was excited to start school. I wanted to make new friends and have fun. Of course, little me soon realized that people can be mean for no particular reason, and bully you for the tiniest things. I hated school from then on, and couldn’t wait to go home at the end of the day. I couldn’t stand all the whispering people did around me, cause I feared they were talking about me. This leads me to my worst trigger: “S” sounds. Perhaps this is my worst trigger because I associated it with people talking about me. Therefore, any sort of over emphasized “s” sound I hear drives me up the wall.
However, I don’t care what people in school say about me anymore. I’m a college junior, and I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what sort of hurtful things people may say about me. But there’s one problem when it comes to going to school and sitting in a room full of students, and it’s not the potential judging I may receive. Instead of seeing potential friends, all I see is a room full of triggers. This has been the problem since my junior year in high school.
Going to college is a must for me. I could have stopped after high school. But as a personal goal, I have to get a degree and find a job when I graduate, as well as look for my own home and settle into my new life.
However, for the misophonia sufferer, the means of getting to that point is downright frightening and anxiety inducing. Sitting in class is the worst. Whether it’s a 1 hour or 3 hour class, the triggers in the classroom are always present, and there is a longing for peace and quiet. Plus, getting up from your seat in the middle of a lecture is always embarrassing (but sometimes necessary).
I will now tell you what I do when I get triggered during class. I have no secret way to get through my three hour classes, and I think students looking for that perfect, secret way need to realize that. What I will suggest is probably what you’ve heard a million times already, but it’s the only thing I know how to do. Not only can this apply to students, but to anyone else. If it doesn’t work for you, share the information with someone else. It might work for them.
Since I’m in college, most of this stuff might not apply to high schoolers unless you get a doctor’s note.
When I’m sitting in class, I always try to have my phone charged to almost 100%. This is because I have downloaded a white noise app–which comes with different noises as well like rain, train track, pink noise, etc–that I will turn on if I get too overwhelmed with triggers. The only downside is that I can’t understand the professor very well. Secondly, I take deep breaths and try to concentrate on the words coming out of the professor’s mouth instead of focusing on the trigger(s) around me. This helps for a small bit before I’m triggered again. Third, I just sit there and remember why I’m there. I’m there because I want to learn and do something with my life. That’s basically what it comes down to: sitting there and doing the best you can (I say this because there is no official treatment for misophonia, otherwise I would have mentioned it here). Step out if you need to, but always come back in. I don’t like giving up, so this has become my current mindset. I encourage you to continue fighting, and not let misophonia drive you to give up. Don’t throw away your life or education because of misophonia. Live your life and finish school, because this is your only chance.