Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Disease I Never Knew I Had

Mrs. Gamgee from Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings clued me in to something this evening. Ever since I was a child I always had a vehement dislike for certain sounds, and it used to drive my parents absolutely crazy. The sound of someone eating, especially crunchy foods, sends my skin crawling and can even make me nauseous. There are other sounds as well - breathing, snoring, typing, a ticking clock and whispering - that do the same. I cope by wearing ear plugs, but as a child (when I didn't know about the wonders of such things) I would be completely antsy until I could leave the room. I would wolf down my meals and leave the table in record time just so I wouldn't hear the chewing. When sleeping in hotel rooms with my family, I would have to sleep in the bathtub with toilet paper wadded in my ears as ear plugs so I wouldn't hear anyone snoring.

Apparently I am not crazy, and this condition actually has a name. It's called Misophonia, which literally means "hatred of sound". In reading the Wikipedia article about it, I'm absolutely amazed. I feel like I'm reading about myself. "Most will simply avoid the offending sound by leaving the area altogether, while some will try to block it with earplugs or music." " Some people may feel the compulsion to mimic what they hear." I did that and still do it - although now I use earplugs rather than joining in eating chips or something. If I'm in a situation (like a test) where I cannot leave or eat, I will rustle my test paper loudly to block out sounds.

I feel a sense of relief that there are others in the world just like me, because as I child I thought that I was the only person in the world that had this problem. Psychiatrists and psychologists said "oh you have OCD" and gave me medication which did nothing to help dull the effect of these sounds. Sure, I probably have OCD as well (I mean who doesn't have it?), but that wasn't the problem as all the doctors felt it was. I can go on living and using my ear plugs - and if people ask, I can tell them about my condition because it actually exists! :-D So there you go, mom and Shira, I'm not nuts. ;-)
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