How misophonia is affecting my volunteer training

I recently started training as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer, and so far, training sessions are very triggering. Over emphasized “S” sounds are my worst trigger, and that seems to be all that I can hear when I’m there. The room has a slight echo, so that doesn’t help.

The sessions last for three hours, twice a week (except this week). There is also an online portion that we have to complete before our next in-person meeting. The online portion is the only part I really enjoy, because I can do it in the quiet of my room. In-person sessions are harder to sit through because of the “s” sounds. And it’s even more difficult when I’m trying to write something, and people are talking all around me.

However, I have tried some ways to cope while I’m there. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • I asked the facilitator, after the first day of training, if I can wear over the ear headphones without anything playing. I told him about misophonia and that it’s hard for me to learn while being triggered. He said I could wear them, which was awesome.
  • I always wear earplugs, but the first time I went, I tried going without them. Unfortunately, this didn’t work, so I decided I needed to wear them every time I go the training.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t helped a whole lot. It’s helped a little, but I’m still triggered to the point where my ears internally hurt. I’m worried as to how I’m going to get through the rest of the sessions. I have these other things in mind that I’m going to put into practice next time I go:

  • Take a break. There’s a restroom right outside the room we’re all in, so when I’m feeling too overwhelmed, I’m going to go in there and chill for a little bit. I have done this before in other situations, and usually do some deep breathing. This helps calm me down a bit before heading back out.
  • Stress ball. I bought one of these awhile back and used it for awhile before I decided I didn’t need to. Now, however, I think I need to use it. I can’t just escape to the restroom every few minutes. I need something other than my skin to grip and dig my nails into.

Hopefully, practicing these will help. There is a positive thing about this. The fact that I’m even trying to make something of my life is huge. It’s stressful right now, but I’m looking forward to when I start volunteering. My goal as an advocate—when I’m sworn in—is to help children find a permanent home. That’s a goal I’m willing to pursue, and misophonia is a huge obstacle. I’m determined to fight it and tell it to get out of my way. And if I can’t, it’s not the end of the world. I look at it this way: If the door of being a CASA is shut, that means there’s another open door somewhere else. Maybe there will be several open doors. Perhaps I’ll find something else more fitting for me if being a CASA isn’t. Right now, I’m just seeing what I can do, and taking failures as opportunities to learn.

I’d like to apologize for such a late post. Has it been a week since I posted? Gosh… I’ve been busy with real life responsibilities, such as volunteer training, as well as fun stuff. I had my birthday on July 24th (I’m 22!) and I had an amazing day. However, this isn’t me making excuses. Just telling it how it is. I’ll post as regularly as possible if things don’t get too hectic. I hope you all had a great week last week. It’s summer, so stay cool and drink plenty of water. I’ll do my best to see you all next week!

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