Submitted Date 03/14/2019

Have you ever heard the sound of a spoon scraping the last remnants of food from the bowl, the sound of someone chewing, or seen the constant bouncing movement of someone's knee and thought, "I just want to punch you right now?"

You are not alone. Misophonia is severe sensitivity to specific sounds and actions. It often creates feelings of anger, rage, anxiety, and pure panic. As someone with Misophonia, it is hard to explain what it truly is and what it feels like. It is a personal hell that no one truly understands. No one but those who also deal with it. Yet, I will do my best to explain what Misophonia is like for me. Perhaps it will help spread light on this forbidden condition.

For many people, going out to dinner with friends or a significant other is a fun and relaxing way to spend time with them. You order food and drinks, converse, and laugh. In general, you enjoy yourself. Having Misophonia changes that.

Personally, I enjoy spending time with my spouse. We have a great time together. We rarely argue, and we thoroughly enjoy each other's company. I can say with all honesty that I have never experienced a connection as this before. And yet, all those feelings can go straight out the door if he eats next to me. Let me try to explain what this is like.

We head to our favorite restaurant, sit down, and order food and drinks. Everything is going great as we chat and flirt with each other. We look like a newly married couple enjoying a nice meal. And then the food comes out. As we begin to eat, I start to notice little sounds. Now these sounds aren't usually noticed by people too much. For most, it is simple background noise. But for me, this background noise is amplified x100. His chewing, although his mouth is shut, is louder than the table next to us. The sound of his knife and fork scraping against the plate as he cuts his steak is like 1000 nails being dragged across a chalkboard. And the loudness of his swallow...well I feel like I am going insane.

I do my best to ignore these sounds. I want to enjoy myself and not go through the same process that happens time after time. I breathe and attempt to focus on any other sound in the restaurant. If music is playing, I do my best to make my ears hear that over everything else. I hum and fiddle with my napkin in the hopes of distracting myself. And yet, once my mind has focused on the noises he is making, nothing will drown them out.

I can feel the panic start to build in my chest. That is when the irrational thoughts and feelings come. I want to do anything to make him stop. If I strangle or punch him then perhaps he will stop being so damn loud. Maybe if I sweep his plate off the table then he won't have any food to make these noises with. Anger. So much anger fills me. No, it's worse than that. This is a feeling of pure rage that cannot be described. The man that I love more than anything in the world sits across from me and all I want to do is hurt him. All these feelings and thoughts are rushing through my head but outwardly I remain calm. I am trying to control this with everything in me. I want to cry, lash out, or just do something. But instead, I sit. I sit and finish my meal with him. Once the meal is over and those sounds have stopped, the panic goes away and normal me comes back.

There have even been times when this reaction was brought upon by my own eating. Our own chewing is already so much louder in our heads and then adding these reactions on top of it is torture. None of this is my or his fault. Logically, I know that the sounds we make while eating are no louder than the average persons. It is simply amplified in my head.

This is my part of the story. Others have it so much worse. Misophonia can be so debilitating. While I am hypersensitive to several sounds, some people can't live a normal life because hundreds of sounds make them feel this way. Before we knew what was happening to us, we thought we were crazy or wrong for feeling this way. But this is not something we chose or can control. We are not taken seriously by most people. This condition has ruined friendships, relationships, and lives. There is no cure and little to none understanding of the condition. This can put the sufferers of Misophonia into depression or hopelessness. Besides having a cure, we need the support of our loved ones. We need you to understand that this is not something we can make go away. We cannot control this. Believe me, if we could, we most certainly would.

We do our best not to lash out or have panic attacks at these sights or sounds. But some days, it is more than we can bear. And on those days, we may say unkind words or do actions that we regret. Misophonia can bring out the "fight or flight" response inside us. If we feel we are not able to flee the situation, we will say or do what we can so that we do not lose our minds.

So, dear friends and loved ones, please stand by our side in our daily battles with Misophonia. We need your help, support, and understanding. There may not be a cure. But if we have you then perhaps it will help make it a little better.

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  • Tanya Marion 10 months, 1 week ago

    Ellen, thank you so much for sharing this! I have dealt with this my whole life, and never knew there was a name for it. It’s not severe for me, but I definitely notice chewing noises more than the average person. When my husband and I were dating and we’d go to the movies, the sound of him eating popcorn right in my ear would drive me nuts. I couldn’t even think about the movie. And forget chips. I can’t be in the same room with him when he’s eating chips. Poor guy, lol.

    • Ellen Gibson 10 months, 1 week ago

      I totally feel you on this. I didn't know what it was for a long time and many people still have no idea what it is. I used to drive my husband crazy until I told him he had to google what it was. It made him be more understanding of it. He is much more supportive of me now. lol

  • Tomas Chough 10 months, 1 week ago

    Wow I had no idea! I can tell it exists and know it bother s a lot of people, but didn't know it had a name. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  • Miranda Fotia 10 months ago

    Great piece! I am very sensitive to sound also, though I only find it debilitating when I am trying to focus. There were many times when I was in school that I would start crying out of frustration because I was trying to take a test and someone was chewing gum too loudly or making too much noise with their pencil. I didn't realize there was a name for this. I have always assumed my issues were due to having ADHD as it causes a very high level of distractibility.

    • Ellen Gibson 10 months ago

      Thank you so much. Misophonia affects everyone differently. But it is a hard thing to deal with sometimes for sure.

  • J Morin 10 months ago

    I have an 11 yr old son with this condition so severe it affects him profoundly as an individual as well as our family of four greatly. He constantly wears sound reducing headphones to stop some of the sounds that bother him the most. However, most social interaction is difficult. He is acutely aware and anxious when people are chewing gum or food or smacking their lips. The sound of a person's nose whistling or even the sound of them breathing brings on great frustration and anxiety. It greatly affects his relationships with family life, social life and within the school setting and it is exhausting as a parent to watch your child deal with this. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Ellen Gibson 10 months ago

      I am so sorry that he has to handle all of the emotion that this condition causes him. I cannot imagine having it to that extent. You all are so strong to be dealing with this and I wish you some peace in this circumstance. I pray that he is able to find some stability and joy even with all of the pain something like this can bring. <3