Ever since I was a little girl, I loved singing. I would sing in the shower, sing in public, and sing at church. I joined a choir when I was still in elementary and remained a part of that choir up until I graduated from 8th grade. I sang in a choir in high school up until I graduated. Now that I’m in college, I am part of a youth choir that sings at different churches.
Singing has always been a part of my life. When I first started experiencing misophonia, I wondered how this would affect my singing. It didn’t. Not at first. I was okay to sing in groups and do a solo every so often with one ear plug in.
As I got older, triggers got worse, and words got lost because all I could hear was the trigger. It scared me. I didn’t think I’d be able to continue singing because the noises around me angered me so much. I almost quit singing. I had to wear headphones while I sang so I wouldn’t get triggered. I didn’t know if I was being too loud or too soft. I had to look at people’s lips to know if I was singing on beat, something I never used to have trouble doing until I started wearing headphones. The thing I loved best, I almost quit because misophonia just made it so much harder.
Fortunately, I couldn’t just stop singing. It would hurt too much. I sang when people bullied me and it made me want to disappear. I sang when I was happy, sad, or angry about something. I sang when I was in love.
I sing because it takes away the pain. I sing certain songs just lift my spirits. Other songs speak to me when I’m in a horrible mood, and then that mood just gradually goes away after I sing them. Sometimes, the person singing the song triggers me, which is frustrating. If that happens, I find a karaoke version of the song and sing it.
Singing a particular song after I get triggered helps me calm down. It’s called Gasoline, by Halsey. For those who don’t like to hear or read bad words, there’s at least two mentions of the “F” word in that song. But the reason I sing (and listen to) the song is for these two phrases: “Are you insane like me? Been in pain like me?” Another one of my favorite phrases in the song is “Do you tear yourself apart to entertain like me?” I can relate, because it feels like I try so hard to “entertain” people by being friendly and holding back my triggers (“Been in pain like me?”). They wouldn’t understand how much pain I’m in because normal, everyday sounds don’t anger people to the point that it can be called disabling.
Misophonia makes me feel insane. But after listening to and singing this particular song a few times, it just makes me feel better. It’s like I’m talking to the “normal” people about misophonia, only I’m doing so inside my head.
When I sing, misophonia is just gone. I’m in my own little world, singing to my heart’s content. Singing misophonia away.
This article is also featured on Misophonia International.
See you next week!