What typical normal activities are for me:
- I wake up;
- I eat and drink;
- I exercise;
- I shower;
- I take care of my pets’ needs;
- I go to school and do well;
- I socialize and keep up with my friends;
- I go out to eat;
- I watch movies in theaters.
These behaviors, and perhaps more, are what is considered “normal”. We get out of the house and do what needs to be done, whether that is running errands or getting groceries. Therefore, since I can do these tasks, I can be labeled as a “normal” person.
However, though I can do these things, it’s extremely hard to do them, mostly because of misophonia. Let’s start with the first item on the list: waking up. That itself is already a challenge, especially when I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Less sleep means I’m more sensitive to triggers.
Let’s skip to going to school (since everything else is not worth mentioning, because I can do those without misophonia being a huge problem). Going out, whether it’s for school or to socialize with friends is scary. I’m also introverted and would much rather prefer staying home, under my blanket, browsing the web, text, and sip my coffee. Misophonia has made it very hard to go out, or even go on long trips. I try not to cancel or say no to trips, because I want to have fun and explore. However, I am completely overwhelmed with so many triggers, all at once, and within a few hours I need to escape. Oftentimes I can’t. If I’m in class, I can’t just leave class every time I get triggered. If I’m talking to a friend, I can’t leave in the middle of a conversation if something they’re doing (or something someone else is doing) is triggering me. If I’m on a trip, I have to endure as much as I can before asking if it’s okay to leave an area (but I would never ask to go home early). So when I finally get a break, it is very appreciated, I am completely at ease, and thankful for much needed silence.
Now, going out to eat. That’s probably the second hardest things to endure. I say second hardest because I am free to get up and leave for a break whenever I want (unlike trips and class). Lots of people eating around me, the many eating noises that could send me into a rage, music that could trigger me, and I could go on. When I’m overwhelmed, I escape to the bathroom to calm down. Even thinking about the triggers at restaurants is making me anxious. Time to move on.
Watching movies in a theater wasn’t a problem until recently. It makes me sad because there are so many movies I want to see, but I forego watching because I know I’ll get triggered. Movies played in theaters are loud and triggers are enhanced 10 times more. I pick a select few movies (usually animated) I want to see, and make an effort to see those. Unless it’s Marvel or DC. I’ll make an effort to watch those too. 🙂
But, let’s not forget that I can still do all of these things. Some people are physically unable to do things like go to the movies or go out to eat. Triggers are so bad, they just can’t put themselves through a situation where there will be a lot of triggers. And that’s okay. Seriously. That is your normal. Everyone’s “normal” is different. My normal is probably very different from your normal, as you may not have misophonia, and your day is very routine with minor to severe annoyances. And, if you do have misophonia, your normal is still different. You might not be able to travel with a group of friends or not be able to go to the movies. Trigger sounds might be harder to deal with. Either way, everyone has a different routine, a different way to get through the day. The way I see it, there’s no one definition of normal. Society may tell us there is by promoting certain advertisements, ideas, perfect body types etc., but in reality, it’s all about how you perceive it. And that is perfectly fine.
So, what’s your normal?
See you next week!