Misophonia is defined by Misophonia.com as “a condition in which a person reacts extremely negatively to certain sounds that most people take little or no notice of.”
I have misophonia. I only named it in the last couple years but I’ve always had it. Ever since my mother would click a pen or tap her pencil nervously while thinking and my sister and I would both yell at her to stop. I guess that means my sister probably has it also. Come to think of it, my dad would glare as my mother chewed an ear of corn at the dinner table. Well, that answers where the misophonia comes from.
Still, I have coping techniques. Most of these require leaving the immediate vicinity of the offender.
Today I’m trapped. At my daughter’s gymnastics’ class, an already noisy hell that I attend weekly, head down usually in a book or in my phone, I manage to turn the hundreds of noises around me in to one huge thrum. This, I let kind of wash over me as I periodically check the clock.
Once home, I go into a quiet stupor that no one is allowed to enter for a couple hours as I come down from the attack to my nervous system that is every week. Come to think of it, I should probably sit in the car for the hour it takes my daughter to tumble and flip. (Though Shen does look for me in the stands.)
Today, however, my tuning out is not working. My seat neighbor is chewing gum, smacking it loudly against his teeth as he opens and closes his mouth over and over. I look to either side for seating options but the gym is full. Plus, I always fall into this not wanting to offend mode when things like this happen.
smack, smack, chew, swish, smack…
I’ve memorized the rhythm of his chewing. Not only that, but the other noises are starting to creep in one by one. Where now I can here individual voices and the springs from the boards as students sprint and jump across the mats. I’m watching the clock more closely, too. The minutes ticking much too slowly but I can’t leave because the time left is shorter than the time spent. And still the chewing goes on.
Next week, I’ll check my seat mates habits a bit more closely before settling in. Maybe I’ll even have the courage to get up and walk away if it gets this bad. Maybe.