I prepared this graphic for you to give an idea on how I plan for a potentially triggering day. I’ll explain what’s on the graphic in more detail. At the end of this post, you’ll be able to download/save your own “Misophonia Planner” if you so choose. 🙂
Alright, so tomorrow I’m going to a stargazing event with my boyfriend. There’s going to be a presentation first before the stargazing, and he wanted to go to that as well. Normally, when I go to the event, I skip the presentation and just go stargazing. This is because I am prone to getting triggered while listening to the presenter. But I am going to toughen up and see how the presentation goes, which gave me an idea for a misophonia planner. Using this helps me figure out what I need to do before I leave to go somewhere, while I’m there, and what I should do when I’m triggered.
Mentally prepare. For me, mentally preparing myself a day before going to a place where I know there are going to be a lot of triggers helps a lot. What I do is tell myself that there will most likely be triggers, but to remember why I’m going. I love stargazing, and doing it with my boyfriend will be so much fun. So after the presentation, the stargazing event will happen, and that is something to look forward to.
Ask questions. Examples: “Who’s going to be there? Anyone I know who is a huge trigger?” “Will there be food?” “Is it acceptable to leave as soon as I’m triggered, or should I stay until I can’t stand it anymore?” These are just some of the questions I ask myself when I think about going somewhere. If these questions don’t have promising answers, I tend to get uneasy. For instance, if I think there’s going to be someone I know that triggers me, going becomes less desirable. It’s even less desirable is leaving early is considered unacceptable. Letting whoever is in charge know that you may have to leave early because of sound over-stimulation would let them know you’re not being rude, but that you’re leaving due to something you can’t control.
Organize things to bring: headphones, earplugs. This varies from person to person, but for me, this is what I bring with me everywhere I go. My “survival kit” if you will. I make sure my phone is on me as well so I can play something through my headphones if I have to (I use “a soft murmur”). I also make sure to charge my phone and headphones (they’re bluetooth) before going somewhere.
Search for exits and restrooms. This is pretty self-explanatory. Knowing where these are right away will help if you find yourself getting triggered. Bathrooms give you time to breathe for a second before heading back out. Exits give you much needed fresh air. When I went to the stargazing event last time, I went to the bathroom and did some deep breathing to calm down.
Mental encouragement. These are things I say to myself like “It’s ok, nothing’s going to hurt me”; “Breathe, girl”; “You’re strong, beautiful, and brave”; “The fact that you’re fighting the urge to scream right now is awesome”. Things like that. It doesn’t make me feel any less triggered, but I’m better able to keep contain myself and leave the place calmly if I need to.
Distract yourself if possible. I tend to play with my phone stylus or my hair in order to distract myself from whatever may be triggering me. If I can help it, I won’t play with my keys, because the noise I make with that would distract others. I’m thinking about getting a fidget cube, which is different from a fidget spinner. Not a huge fan of the spinner, but I could use a fidget cube.
When to flee. You and only you know when you need to get yourself out of a situation. If you need to leave as soon as you’re triggered, then do so. Do what works for you if you can. For me, I leave when I’m close to snapping. It’s not the best time for me, because I’m flustered and anxious, and don’t want people to talk to me. I’ve only snapped at a few people, but I’ve been getting better at leaving before I’m close to snapping.
These can be little reminders for yourself if you start feeling down about something (leaving from somewhere early, canceling an outing, etc). What I put in the graphic is what I tell myself if I feel bad or embarrassed about something. I tend to get embarrassed about wearing my headphones. If you want to use the planner and can’t think of anything, you’re free to use what I’ve written.
Times Miso is the Worst
I’ve laid out when my misophonia typically gets bad for me. Doing this can help you plan your day accordingly to how you feel. Knowing this information can help you to better help yourself (in terms of getting triggered less), and potentially those around you. It’s most likely not going to be the same everyday, but it can give you an idea what to expect. And, you if you want to get more detailed than this, you can mark in your calendar (on your phone, or if you have a paper calendar) any changes you notice on a day to day basis. Then, if you’re consistent, based on the patterns you notice, you have an idea of what–maybe even who–to avoid in the future.
I truly hope this was beneficial and helpful to you. Here’s a blank misophonia planner, as promised:
This is just the way I personally customized my misophonia planner, but you can customize it however you want! You don’t even have to use this template, and can make your own suited to your own needs.
See you all next week!