Living with Misophonia

Growing up, I remember being extremely aware of everything around me. 

The sights, the smells, the sounds. 

Many of my childhood memories are closely linked to the senses I’ve associated with them: the bright colors of exotic-looking flowers in my grandmother’s garden, the aroma of my favorite fruits in the market…

And as for the noises around me, I remember most of them in a fond light, like the soothing sound of rain on my windows or even the sound of my mom’s calming voice.

But ever since I was a kid, I knew something was different. 

I remember my younger brother and I always shared a room when we visited my grandparents’ house. Almost every night, I would wake up to my brother’s breathing and suddenly feel overcome with inexplicable anger and frustration at the sounds he was making.

On the off chance we had to share a bed, I would “accidentally” kick him, hoping that somehow, he would stop making the sounds that made me so angry.

It sounds completely irrational and ridiculous- I know. For years and years, all I could understand was that certain sounds felt worse to me than others, but I could never find the words to explain the frustration I felt because of them.

When I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (and Depression, but that’s another story), but I kept seeking answers about my condition.

It wasn’t until I was around 15 years old that I stumbled upon an article that mentioned a condition called Misophonia. 

The Misophonia Institute defines Misophonia as a “severe sensitivity to specific soft sounds and visual images [which] cause an immediate extreme reaction...such as hate, anger, anxiety, rage, and resentment.”

That was it. That was what I had struggled with my entire life. And I felt like a weight had been finally lifted off my shoulders.

TODAY:

As of 2018, Misophonia is not currently listed in the DSM-5, aka the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but many think it could be categorized under Other Specified Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders.

I still struggle with Misophonia on a daily basis. It’s hard to deal with a disorder that isn’t technically a diagnosable disorder yet.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m glad that society is beginning to destigmatize the topic of mental health. But I think it’s time for us to start talking about mental disorders that are less common than depression and anxiety. 

Bipolar disorder, OCD, Misophonia, and other uncommon mental disorders deserve to be talked about and destigmatized too.

So, let’s start a conversation. By talking about mental health and supporting our friends who suffer in silence, we can make a ~positive change~.