The best thing I ever did for myself was taking charge of my misophonia.
When I say “take charge”, I don’t necessarily mean to say I have complete control over my misophonia. What I mean is that I don’t let my misophonia make me miserable. I do my best to remind myself that getting triggered doesn’t have to ruin my entire day. I also try not to anticipate triggers. If I do that, I’m going to be hyper aware of what everyone is doing and the sounds around me. I’d rather just prepare myself with earplugs and headphones, and if I hear a trigger sound, I have what I need, and I know what I can do to calm myself down.
I’m extremely fortunate to be able to think the way that I do. It’s difficult for other people, or sometimes downright impossible. I am, however, supportive of any new and legitimate research that comes out about a potential cure for misophonia. But while I wait, I’m not going to wallow in despair. I’d rather continue to be positive and keep getting up when I fall. I’m blessed to have a strong support system in my personal life; without that, I would have had a more difficult time getting to where I am today.
It’s not perfect by any means, but I refuse to just not be happy. It’s easy for me to get stressed out, anxious, and feel that intense rage that comes with hearing my triggers. But I practice a lot of healthy anti-stress coping mechanisms, and remind myself that everything is ok, or that it will be. I also have a dark sense of humor, which is good to have as well. Seriously. Let me give an example. I take a stress management class at my university, and I was excited on the first day to learn more about coping with stress. Professor walks in, and when he starts talking, his “s” sounds are sharp. This is one of my biggest triggers. I told my boyfriend that my stress management class stresses me out and my professor triggers me. He was like, “….You see the irony in that, right?” And I said, “Yes I do!” He liked that I could see the irony and humor in that situation. I used to get sensitive when it came to misophonia jokes, but I’m learning to roll with it; at least with people I’m comfortable with.
When I go somewhere, I wear my earplugs and have a spare pair with me, called VIBES. I talked about these in another post, but the VIBES filter out background noise while still allowing you to hear and participate in a conversation. I’ll use one of the VIBES earplugs if I feel like I need to, and one regular earplug in the other ear. Regular earplugs will block a majority of the sound and muffle it, so if one ear is more sensitive than the other, this is the combination I’ll use. I use the headphones mainly in class, or in other loud/triggering situations. I try not to wear them when talking to someone.
When I do get triggered, and I’m talking to someone, I try very hard to focus on what they’re saying, and not the offending sound. It’s very difficult. If I can’t take it anymore, I say I need to use the restroom and leave. Otherwise, I wait until they finish saying what they wanna say, then I leave to cool down. I remind myself that I’m ok, do some deep breathing, listen to some calming noises, and get back out there. If I’m triggered in class, I try to endure until I really need to step out. Unfortunately, I resort to blasting thunder, rain, and white noise in my ears through my headphones if I’m really triggered. I miss out on the lecture and just kind of have to guess. It’s only happening for one class, my stress management class, but still, it’s not the best way to cope. If I’m triggered anywhere else, like a restaurant or party, I just put on my headphones and usually feel fine afterwards. Visual triggers aren’t a problem, usually. I try to just focus on something else, and that usually works.
I look at the sounds and situations I get triggered by as something that just “happens”. There’s something screwed up in my brain, but it’s neither my fault nor anyone else’s. That seriously helps. I could have chosen to be miserable and have the mindset that I can’t do anything I want to do because of my misophonia. I could view it as a curse and that I’m doomed to a life of misery. Instead, I just adapt. I do things I want to do, but I may not be able to do them often. I think that’s ok, because after two hours at a party for instance, I want to go home, regardless of whether I was triggered or not. It’s because of my introverted nature. There are times I listen to my misophonia and leave when I have to, because if I don’t, I’ll get very tired and irritable. I don’t want to do that to the people I’m around. And there are times I push my misophonia to the back and say I’m ok, because I can.
Again, it’s not perfect, but I’m not miserable. I’m happier than I was several years ago because of what I’m doing to cope. I feel like I’ve taken charge. I want to be happy. And for me, I suppose that was enough.
I hope you enjoyed this post. The site was down for two weeks, and I’ve been busy with school and other things in my personal life. I hope to see you soon!