One thing that has been particularly frustrating about my misophonia is that the trigger sounds I’ve had have increased and evolved over time, and I’ve even developed certain visual triggers. When I was in middle school, it seemed like the only thing that really triggered my condition was the sound of people smacking their lips when they ate. I was mostly bothered by people who didn’t chew with their mouths closed. If they ate something crunchy but their mouth was closed, that was fine.
I can’t remember the precise order, but eventually crunching bothered me, and gum popping, and then even the sound of a food packaging rustling. Perhaps because I associated that noise with the trigger noises of eating that would soon follow? Then there was nail biting, then anyone picking at their fingernails.
One day I sat by my mother in church and just began noticing her foot tapping as she had her legs crossed. I found this incredibly disturbing because I was feeling the same emotions I would feel from hearing a trigger noise. But this wasn’t a noise. At that point in my life, I did not know about the condition I had and that others had it. I was certain that I was losing my mind, and I worried about what could possibly be next for me.
I’ve since learned through research that many people with misophonia also have visual triggers like foot tapping or seeing people put their hands near their mouths. Others have reported particular trigger feelings such as having one’s chair kicked repeatedly in an auditorium. That last one is another trigger I have.
This year, breathing noises have started to bother me. Learning this was devastating. You can still have normal interactions with people if you’re bothered by chewing noises; people are not constantly eating. But they are constantly breathing. So far, the only person whose breathing upsets me from time to time is that of my partner. I started to notice it one night when I was trying to fall asleep next to him, and I panicked. It doesn’t bother me all the time, but I’m worried about what it could mean if my breathing trigger worsens.
Having sounds that trigger anger and anxiety seems bad enough, but when those triggers evolve or get worse, it makes it harder to cope. I’m curious: have others with misophonia found that their triggers evolve? Have the triggers gotten worse? Have they ever gotten better?
Hey, I can dream.
If you’re curious about the story that goes with the photo in this post, read that story here.