Close your eyes, open wide and take a bite. Now listen. That sound that you hear, crunching in your ear? That’s the sound that drives me to a madness I am certain I need a diagnosis for and its only one of many annoyances that push me to the brink of insanity day in and day out.
I am no psychiatrist but I am certain that I need to see one, you see I am pretty sure that I suffer from a condition called ‘Misophonia’. No, I don’t hate all sounds… only most of them. I don’t complain about your noises because I want to irritate you, I complain about them because they genuinely are the reason that people like me want to injure other people. It is an almost uncontrollable rage that creeps over me and all that I can do is plug my ears and hope it will end soon, before I do or say something I regret.
Over time, I have learnt to block out some of the sounds but it is impossible to block them all out. I am human after all and my hearing is one of my senses that is still near perfect, to my own detriment. Add my unexplained hatred for noise to my obsessive compulsive disorder and we have a healthy combination of crazy in a crusty bucket.
Ask anyone that I have ever shared a bed or a room with just how much I can handle a snorer. Simply put, I can’t. I grew up sharing a room with my sister, most of that time in a bunk bed, many a night spent kicking her in the back through the chipboard to wake her up so I could sleep. It was not uncommon for her to wake up with her nose inches from a pillow that I was contemplating suffocating her with (I am not actually going to admit to trying to suffocate her here). Ask my husband about our nightly ritual and it will always involve me going to bed and falling into a deep sleep before he is even permitted to lay down – Heaven help him if we watch a movie or something on the laptop in bed and he dozes off. I have been known to pinch his nose closed, throw water on him and sometimes get out the threatening pillow. (Again, not going to admit to any suffocation).
I really wish people did not have to breathe. (No, that is not the reason for my pillow suffocation antics – not that I have ever suffocated anyone). I have tried to explain to too many people that we have noses through which to breathe in and mouths with which to breathe out – Alas, some people have never mastered that co-ordination and breathe in and out of their mouths alone thus allowing for an awfully loud huffing sound with every breath bound to try drive me nuts. I don’t think I would have a problem with mouth breathing if it could be done quietly but every oral inhalation is generally accompanied by a raspy throaty noise that cannot be explained as anything other than gross. I get that you need your mouth to breathe when your nose is blocked but there is no need to do it in my ear, on top of me, in my face where I can neither run nor hide.
And if you are going to breathe through your mouth because your nose is blocked and you are ill, I suggest you avoid sniffing and sputtering at the same time. The thing about Misophones is that we see sound, which probably explains why we hate it so much. The sound of your sniff gives me visions or mucus travelling its path from your nose to your stomach – If that sentence did not just make you want to be ill, I don’t know what will. Don’t sniff. Just don’t. It is unattractive, unhealthy and unintelligent anywhere near me and a pillow.
If you are not swallowing your snot, I commend you. That, however, is not license to turn your oesophagus into a drain. It is possible to drink or sip quietly and swallow sweetly without pain and injury. Walking around listening to people swig liquids like they’re auditioning to be a roto rooter drain cleaner is hardly my idea of a good time.
The sound of silence is beautiful, silence or some really good music through my earphones. Seeing you munching on your talons is a sure way to kill my sound of serenity. I don’t even have to physically hear you chewing or biting your nails to get annoyed because if I see you doing it I am already imagining the sounds… the sounds of the teeth on nail, grinding and gnawing away. Not only am I now hearing that unnatural crunch, I am imagining you swallowing those talons and feel sick all over again.
I appreciate it if you are not biting your nails in my presence but that doesn’t mean that you should be rubbing your hands together instead. Why do people even do this? The only time a hand rubbing is effective is when Gargomel in The Smurfs does it and that is because he is EVIL and wants to kill Smurfs. Are you evil? Do you want to kill Smurfs? No? Then WHY are you rubbing your hands together. If you are rubbing your hands furiously like you are trying to start a fire, perhaps you should consider moisturiser. Only dry hands sound like scratching sandpaper.
And of course, chewing.
There is no sound worse than the sound of someone eating. Other people, myself, pets, babies. You name it, I cannot hear it. Every meal of the day is eaten while trying to block out the sounds of gnawing and squishing and squelching and crunching. At one point, this irritation was so bad that I had to eat a meal in a different room from my husband and children altogether because the sound of them eating would cause me to snap. Most of the time I have learned to deal with this irritation but after a long stressful day, even the softest sound can set me off and eating is bound to be one of those sounds. I have been at such a point of desperation that I have used a pillow on myself to try and drown out the sound of the chewing but alas, this is near impossible.
Now that I have successfully worked myself up by replaying all the sounds that annoy me most in my mind, it is time for dinner – Wish me luck.