Apple crunching, children chewing, pen clicking madness …..

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I know there has been some debate (and for those who do not know, or do not care, seriously people actually talk about this…. and stuff) as to what Misophonia is and whether is a psychological condition, or a learnt behaviour, or a sensitivity to certain environmental elements (much like an allergy would be).

As usual the guys over at Wikipedia explain it simply enough

Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound”,[1] is believed[2] to be a neurological disorder characterized by negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) triggered by specific sounds. The sounds can be loud or soft.[3] The term was coined by American neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff[4] and is often used interchangeably with the term selective sound sensitivity.[5] Misophonia has not been classified as a discrete disorder in DSM-V-TR or ICD-10.

The disorder comprises a unique set of symptoms, most likely attributable to neurological causes unrelated to hearing-system dysfunction. It can be described as an immediate and extremely negative emotional response accompanied by an automatic physiological flight response to identifiable auditory, visual, and olfactory stimuli. The disorder disrupts daily living and can have a significant impact on social interactions.

A 2013 review of the most current neurological studies and fMRI studies of the brain as it relates to the disorder[6] postulates that abnormal or dysfunctional assessment of neural signals occurs in the anterior cingulate cortex and insular cortex. These cortices are also implicated in Tourette Syndrome, and are the hub for processing anger, pain, and sensory information. Other researchers concur that the dysfunction is in central nervous system structures.[7] It has been speculated that the anatomical location may be more central than that involved in hyperacusis.[8]

I am not sure of what it is, and why it exists. I do know how sound effects me – and changes my mood, and my ability to cope rationally in a situation.

I have always had a sensitivity to sound – I am 41 now, and have always found many noises make me anxious and stressed.  It is not always how “loud” a sound is, it is often the type of sound.

I suffer with Chronic Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

When my Depression and GAD were at their worst, I found that I was unable to process and deal constructively with “everyday” sounds.

My kids eating dinner would send me into a rage.

My husband eating a crisp green apple in bed would make me wonder if I could kill him and bury his body in the yard, could I get away with it?

The drive home in the afternoon (fetching kids from school) is an hour of torture. By the time we get home, I am so tired, exhausted and irritated, I usually go and sit in a room by myself for an hour or two to try to come down from what can only be described as a “very bad mood.”

For quite a long period I believed I had my Depression and my GAD under control, and was off medication and treatment for several years.

Of course I was not in control, and my condition was worsening, until I had a real all-fall-down in 2011 – I sought treatment, both with a psychiatrist and a cognitive behavioural therapist, and was eventually admitted to a clinic because I was not coping with anything.

I started on medication and it took some time to find the right balance.

By the end of 2011, I started to feel a bit better and more in control. My misophonia also started to subside.

Certain noises still do make me irritable and I can’t bear to be near them – but I no longer feel as anxious, and “under threat” as I used to, so for me the side effect is that noises do not bother me as much.

I have realised that certain sounds are a problem, and as much as possible I try to avoid them.  I understand that to people who do not understand how sound effects me, they think I am overreacting or just being a total drama queen – and they are entitled to their own opinion.

I have realised that some of the triggers for me are:

  • Music radio
  • Reality shows with constant changes in pitch, screaming, clapping and then the dead silence as you wait for an announcement
  • E (Entertainment Channel on DSTV) – this channel makes me feel anxious, stressed and eventually anxious – I used to use this channel as background sound, and now I realise how bad that was for me.  I stop in from time to time, and watch 10 – 15 minutes every now and then, but it still is a bit of a catalyst so best avoided.
  • Chewing – good god!  I really understand how why in medieval times they had those huge tables and people sat 15 metres from each other.  Totally get it now.
  • That sucking sound that people’s lips make when they drink from one of those squeezy bottles!  Totally does my head in.  Connor’s favourite trick is to come and stand behind me whilst I am working and phut-phut-phut in my ear.  Then I kill him.  With my mouse.  Silly boy.

I have also used the CBT training to try to “think” through a situation when there is a sound and I can feel myself reacting – it does not always work, and I do eventually have to remove myself from the situation, but it does help me to process my emotions.

I am not sure if anyone else has experienced a link with depression/anxiety disorder and how their symptoms of Misophonia are effected.  More importantly an aversion to sound is a good enough reason to avoid “keeping up with the kardashians” at all costs!

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