Does the sound of people chewing bug you? Like really bug you?
You are not alone! My name is Ashley and I have a Misophonia - A sound sensitivity to specific noises that trigger anxiety, mental anguish, and anger. Misophonia is considered a sensory disorder, possibly linked to OCD. To me, there is nothing worse than hearing other people eat. A loud eater turns my favorite person into a digusting beast whose very presence fills me with rage. When I hear mouth noises, people chewing food or gum, eating crunchy foods, lip smacking, and other repetitive noises, like clocks ticking or taps dripping... it drives me mental in ways that are painful, like someone is literally drilling a hole in my head and I want to scream at the top of my lungs. I thought I was crazy, and maybe I am a little, but this is a real condition and it's affected me since my teens. I've even seen a hypnotherapist about it trying to get to the root of the issue, which did help for a little while but it's creeped it's way back into my life. Somedays it's worse that others, but when it's bad, it's bad.
To cope, I always have headphones on me, just in case, but those don't always work. I will avoid certain places or situations all together. And sometimes I just have to leave the room. I always ask my mom to spit out her gum. My partner Chris has to take down the ticking clocks when I'm at his place and he receives multiple evil glares from me at meal times. I get incredible anxiety in confined spaces with people, especially going on long airplane and bus rides. Everyone chews gum on a plane!!! There is no popcorn allowed at movie nights with my family, and don't even get me started on the movie theatre - it's pure torture - a room FULL of people chewing crunchy popcorn and opening very noisy bags of candy. Ahhhhh! I went to the movies with my partner Chris a couple of times - I wore big headphones, a toque and put up two hoods to cover my ears. This helps a little. But I can still hear that person chewing three rows behind me... and I start to plot their death.
Like many other Misophone's, when I hear mouth noises it triggers anxiety and I can become filled with rage. (Imagine the Hulk... that's me.) It can get pretty dramatic. When somebody chews food or gum, something crunchy, slurps or lip smacks, I imagine my fist going through their mouth and ripping their tongues out so that they may never eat again. Blood squirting out everywhere. Gruesome right?? Like I said, the Hulk in me takes over. In most cases, unless I feel comfortable to be my crazy self around you, I manage to contain the rage inside my head, or I just get up and leave the room. People I'm really close to though know to watch out. They get a look or an earful about how incredibly rude and loud they are, or told to shut their mouth.
With all the self help and spiritual growth I've immersed myself in these past four years, I feel like I should know better or be able to turn it off. I really don't enjoy reacting in this negative way and there has to be something I can do about it. I am the creator of my own life. I know that I can choose my reaction in every situation, I can choose peace and to be calm, and let it go but this really is the hardest thing I've ever dealt with. I even get pissed when I look in my rear-view mirror and someone is chewing gum in the car behind me... Who do they think they are chewing gum like a fucking cow in their car? Don't they know I can see them, and therefore hear them with my mind?
Apparently Mispohonia has been linked to OCD, and I get that. It's easier for me to prevent an episode when I'm really distracted or excited about something. I've been at parties and not picked up on the ticking clock for hours...but once I do...that's all I hear. Tick tick tick. If I have learned one thing from life it's that:
There are opportunities within every obstacle.
The upside to Misophonia is that I have this incredible single pointed focus, and good hearing! Having the ability to pick up on that ticking clock in a loud, crowded room and hear nothing but the tick tick tick is pretty incredible when you think about it. It would be great if I could shift that focus and use it to my advantage during meditation and creative endeavours and I think I already do in some cases. Doing research I have learned that Mispohone's may be prone to highly creative talent. The talented and creative Charles Darwin had extreme Misophonia/sound sensitivity and he accomplished revolutionary things, thinking outside of the box and changing the world.
It makes me feel better that others react the same way I do. I've learned recently that I'm not the only insane person dreaming of a world without chewing. It's also been interesting to read online that others don't react to animals noises as bad as humans. I am way more forgiving of my sweet darling bulldogs chomping on their bones than my poor boyfriend who deals with my backlash at meal times. When we eat I have worn headphones and blasted music in my ears. We also blast the tv and I do my 'best' not to freak out, but come on - I'm dating a raw foodist - he takes an hour to eat his super giant crunchy-ass salads. A whole HOUR of very loud chewing!!!! A misophoniac's worst nightmare.
So this is me publicly acknowledging my issues and apologizing to my family and boyfriend for my glares and swears and snap reactions. It's me, not you. I do love you when your mouths are shut. I've often thought about becoming a breatharian and living alone in the woods but I would miss you dearly. Until then, I will try not to be so mean and be more understanding of your regular ears that don't hear everything amplified like a megaphone.
I'm sorry for the things I say when you are chewing.
I was inspired to write this personal blog post on Misophonia after reading this fantastic article on it here: http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=67614
-I hope people will still invite me to dinners after reading this...
Ashley Clark is a Holistic Health Coach, artist, photographer and the owner/operator of Naturally Ashley Nutrition. This prairie girl from Saskatchewan Canada loves to nourish her body positive thoughts and ripe seasonal fruits! She wants to share everything she knows about holistic living to inspire others on their journey to create a happy, healthy lifestyle naturally.
Ashley received holistic health coach training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has been following a raw vegan diet for three years. She has healed many health issues such as candida, gallbladder inflammation, chronic hives and allergies, sinus problems, digestive issues, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic urinary tract infections and more. She now feels lighter and brighter with abundant energy to pursue her dreams!