Ayla - High Schooler's Journey with Misophonia

S3 E14 - 1/6/2021
In this episode, Adeel talks with high school student Ayla from Montana about navigating life with misophonia. Ayla shares her experiences attending a virtual misophonia convention, being a high school student managing misophonia, and finding a misophonia-friendly job at a doggy day camp. Music, especially genres outside of rap and fast-paced pop, serves as a helpful coping mechanism for her, offering a sonic shield against triggers. A unique challenge she faces includes being sensitive to certain words and speech patterns, triggering her misophonia. She also explores how visuals can act as triggers even in the absence of sound. Ayla's proactive approach to informing teachers and friends about her condition and seeking accommodations underlines her assertive handling of misophonia. The episode also touches on the potential relationship between trauma and misophonia, exemplified by a newfound trigger after encountering someone with speech patterns reminiscent of an unsupportive coach from Ayla's past.


Adeel [0:00]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is episode 14 of season 3. My name is Adeel Ahmad and I have Misophonia. Welcome to the first episode of 2021 which is a year I know most people have been looking forward to. I'm super excited because there are some big ambitious plans for the podcast and also inspired by the podcast and I'll of course share them here later in the year. Today I talked to Ayla, who was at the virtual Misophonia Convention a few months back, and she reached out to be on the show. Ayla is in high school in Montana. I get a lot of requests to hear more about the high school experience, and we've had some great episodes already with young people, and this is yet another one with some super helpful advice and tips. Don't forget, you can book interviews for next season, which will happen, the recordings will happen in March, and that's going to be season four. It's all over Zoom, super easy. There is a Be A Guest link on the website, misophoniapodcast.com, where you can pick a time slot. All right, now here's my conversation with Ayla. Ayla, welcome to the podcast. It's nice to have you here. So I saw you were at the conference last weekend. I'm sure we did introductions, but do you want to tell your listeners again where you're located?

Ayla [1:25]: Yeah, I'm from Montana, so a little bit of a random place. I know a lot of people find Montana like, oh, my gosh, do you guys even have electricity? I have gotten that question before, which I find really funny. because I live in a metropolis like which it's really funny but yeah so I'm from Montana I've lived here my whole life ah okay cool yeah no that's uh that's great yeah my mom um actually was born in Australia which is interesting and then my dad grew up in rural Montana so got all that background

Adeel [2:03]: yeah yeah okay yeah i know i know a number of people who kind of vacation there or uh have retired and and uh built their house built yeah i live which is the big ski town and big sky yellowstone club all that fun stuff so we actually have yes nice okay yeah i'm actually we're planning a maybe a road trip through yellowstone next year so that should be uh That should be fun. Yeah, cool. So you can see you were born and raised there, it sounds like. What do you do now? Like you're a student, working?

Ayla [2:33]: Yeah, I'm a high school student. So I'm a sophomore in high school. And then I also recently got my first job, which has actually been a perfect place for me with my misophonia because I barely have any triggers.

Adeel [2:46]: Oh, that's amazing.

Ayla [2:48]: Most people my age end up working in restaurants, which that is kind of my worst nightmare. So I work in a doggy day camp. So I'm with dogs all day. So it's perfect for my triggers.

Adeel [3:02]: Did you intentionally look for a job that would be kind of, you know, sonically peaceful in a way?

Ayla [3:07]: Yeah, I actually, this completely kind of just fell in my lap a bit. I've worked with dogs. I've had a pet sitting business for eight years, I think. I love animals. And so I take care of our, one of my good friends, her mom ended up purchasing one of like our big dog supply store. It's our local like higher end store. big dog supply store. And so they have grooming and day camp and then retail too. And she was like, Hey, so one of my day camp employees just put in her two weeks. Are you interested? And I was like, Oh my gosh, this sounds perfect for me. And so I started and it is, it has been great.

Adeel [3:52]: Fantastic. Yeah. Okay. And yeah, so some people get triggered by animals, dogs, but obviously you don't.

Ayla [4:00]: Yeah, I know. I find it really interesting. Pretty much all of, I mean, I have two dogs. I have my own and then my dad has his puppy. And all of their sounds, if a human was making those sounds, I know for a fact that they would be a trigger for me, but they're very endearing to me when a dog makes them. Which I find that really interesting, but I think it's a little bit of a, oh, they don't know better thing. Even though a lot of the times humans don't know better too, but it is that kind of mindset of, oh, they're just these like innocent little animals. They have nothing.

Adeel [4:36]: They don't have the type of free will at least that humans do. And yeah, that's, yeah, it's interesting. It just doesn't trigger that fight or flight sensation.

Ayla [4:45]: Yeah, it really doesn't.

Adeel [4:46]: You don't feel that danger. On the flip side, do the animals, when you're maybe in a trigger or coming down from a human-based trigger, do animals kind of help comfort you? Do you feel like they're therapeutic?

Ayla [5:01]: They do help a lot. They also are, like, if I come there after a really hard day at school where I was not doing very great and my mood was not good and I had lots of triggers... And I come in there, it typically, it really does help calm that down. And I feel so much better when I leave, which is really interesting.

Adeel [5:25]: Yeah. In the morning, do you kind of give them an extra hug? Oh, yeah.

Ayla [5:30]: I love, my dogs are like, they are very good for me.

Adeel [5:35]: yeah that's great well yeah speaking of uh yeah i've had a number of people want to hear more from high schoolers so yeah i'd love to hear kind of what what it's like for you then and uh and i guess you're are you over there are you in doing the whole in-school hybrid are you all yeah we are in school two days a week um so they just split us halfway down the alphabet and a through l i think is on monday tuesday and

Ayla [6:03]: I think M through Z is on Thursday, Friday, and then there's some people who chose to do all remote. But so I'm at home Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, doing school online, and then I'm in school on Thursday and Friday, which has actually been pretty good considering there are six people in a classroom at a time. So it's a little bit less of that, but sometimes it is a little bit worse. considering there's less going on to mask those sounds.

Adeel [6:35]: I was going to say there's probably less background noise happening.

Ayla [6:39]: Yeah, I do. The background noise helps me a lot. Yeah.

Adeel [6:43]: OK. And so are you do you let the background noise typically be your be your mask or do you also wear headphones?

Ayla [6:51]: Yeah, I usually just put in earbuds and listen to music pretty much all day. And just all my teachers are like, yeah, it's fine. I know one of my teachers, it was kind of awkward. She teaches like mindfulness and how to work better. And we did a whole unit on why music is bad for your learning and like why music and headphones are bad for your learning. And I was like, oh, OK, well, I'll do all these assignments. But then I had to email her and be like, hey, so actually not having music in. makes it harder for me to focus.

Adeel [7:28]: Makes me want to kill you.

Ayla [7:29]: Because of this. Yeah.

Adeel [7:33]: What were some of the, I'm just curious, what were some of the points that she made for that music, listening to music and learning were bad?

Ayla [7:39]: Is it just a distraction thing? Yeah, it is the distraction thing. And then it also goes along with the multitasking, how you're not actually multitasking. You're kind of switching in between those tasks. And so she was like, and I usually don't even know what songs I listen to during the day. I couldn't tell you what playlist I shuffled. because it's just there and it's that masking thing of that is way less distracting to me than say you making this sound. Right. Are you listening to music? And usually it would be the other way around.

Adeel [8:14]: Yeah. And are you always listening to music or do you have, do you do, you know, white noise or?

Ayla [8:19]: I usually, white noise does not work for me. It just, it makes me really uncomfortable. I don't like the sound. So I usually do listen to music. I've had to kind of figure out which different music genres work for me because some of them actually are a little bit of a trigger for me and then some of them are super calming and then yeah i do do um like rain sounds and stuff like that but just like the fan noises Of white noise, those are not.

Adeel [8:48]: Yeah, what I meant, white noise. Yeah, oh, okay, gotcha. So even the natural white noise kind of, or the fan noises and rain sounds make you uncomfortable?

Ayla [9:00]: Yeah, it's just a very, yeah, it kind of, it's a little bit of a trigger, but it's not like a full trigger.

Adeel [9:06]: Yeah.

Ayla [9:07]: But it's way worse than music.

Adeel [9:11]: Right. What type of genres are triggers for you and what are not?

Ayla [9:14]: Yeah, actually rap has been, it's actually a pretty big trigger for me. I used to really love listening to rap because I know my mom has always, she loves 90s rap. And so she's always had us listening to that. And lately it's become more of a trigger for me. And classic rock is so, it's like one of my favorites. Or it's very calming for me. And then also like R&B. Pop also is a little bit of a, it's a little bit, I think the fast paced music sometimes is very like, it's good for like if you're exercising or something, but when I'm just sitting there or doing schoolwork, it makes me kind of lose focus. I do like the slower stuff. to just have that sound in the back. And then I've also found different podcasts that are, I've had to kind of search through podcasts to find which ones didn't have triggers and which ones did. And there's a few that I absolutely love and listen to all the time while I'm working. And so I've kind of had to figure out the ones with music in the background help a lot.

Adeel [10:30]: Right. Okay. Gotcha. Uh, yeah, no, I'm just curious what types and if there was maybe, um, some commonality, like the way some, like pop music, a lot of pop music is compressed for the radio a lot. And so it can be kind of, it all has kind of the same sound. It can be kind of harsh sometimes. So there's some commonality there.

Ayla [10:52]: Yeah, it does. It's very not calming for me.

Adeel [10:55]: And 90s, in 90s rap, definitely there was basically one or two drum machines that were used. Yeah, that's right.

Ayla [11:02]: Yeah.

Adeel [11:03]: yeah um cool so yeah so you're you got like six people in the class yeah in some ways it's better some ways it's worse how about it like um kind of before all this happened uh what was it like at high school like uh with everybody around was it uh like how how do you friends know about your condition yeah so um that has been quite an interesting thing because i know a lot of kids my age are insensitive about it

Ayla [11:32]: So I am pretty cautious to tell people. I'll tell my teachers and be like, hey, here's this because it does affect me a lot in their class.

Adeel [11:42]: When you tell your teachers, do you talk about the ADA? Do you talk about ADA accommodations, bring anything to your doctor, or do you just tell them?

Ayla [11:54]: Yeah, I'm in the process of getting a 504 right now, but it takes a while. We are learning. So we're in that process, but I just emailed my teachers and was like, hey, here's an article about what misophonia is and just... This is what I have and it affects me. So wearing headphones helps me a lot or being able to leave if something does trigger me helps a lot.

Adeel [12:19]: That's cool. So you're waiting for your 504, but in the meantime, you're able to, you know, anyone can kind of approach their teachers. As long as you have some supporting evidence, then any reasonable teacher should be able to give you some help there. That's great.

Ayla [12:36]: Yeah. and and people yeah so when you were so about with about friends when you're or other high schoolers students um when you tell them did you ever have any like pushback or kind of negative yeah i have had a couple pretty bad experiences yeah that's here i'm sure you're not the only one two of my actually closest friends which kind of it hurt definitely um but they are pretty insensitive about neurodiversity and they don't really understand it um And so I know I told them and I was like, so I do wear headphones a lot. Like I just do this. It does some of like, this is my trigger sound. I'll take care of myself with that. And then immediately it was the, oh, does this bother you? And makes this sound or like, does this bother you? And makes this sound like right in my ear. And it still kind of goes on like at lunch sometimes before I get my headphones in, they'll start chewing like in my ear.

Adeel [13:37]: To this day?

Ayla [13:38]: Oh, yeah. Still to this day. That's made me a bit more cautious about it. And then one of my friends was amazing. And I asked her to spit out her gum because we were in my room hanging out. And I was like, hey, so would you mind like... spitting your gum out or do you want me to step out for a little bit or put in my headphones while you're throwing you out the window like oh yeah sure and just um spit it out so some people have been really great and then there was one girl that was quite an experience i um so i last year in english class we did silent reading time all the time And that's kind of a worst nightmare for me. And so I'd go sit out in the hall where like, if there are sounds, people are moving and there's other stuff going on and I can like kind of tune that all out. And so I was reading in the hallway and then I came back in and she was like, why did you go out in the hallway? And I was like, oh yeah, I just have this like brain condition that makes it really hard for me to be around people for the trigger sounds. And she was like, oh, yeah, do you have misophonia? And I was like, yeah. And she goes, oh, yeah, my sister had that. And she was like, we make fun of her for it all the time. And I was like, oh, okay. And then she just started telling me like all the names that they call her sister who has misophonia. And I was like, oh, okay.

Adeel [15:03]: Like what? I'm curious.

Ayla [15:04]: She was like misophonia freak or stuff like that. It was all the stupid like kids stuff. And I was like, oh, okay. And I have learned this year that she is not a good person for me to be around. Not just from that. So, yeah. I've had some good experiences and some bad experiences. Wow.

Adeel [15:24]: Um, yeah, we should maybe try to get that sister on the podcast.

Ayla [15:28]: I know.

Adeel [15:29]: Poor, poor girl. Um, okay. So yeah, that sounds like, yeah, I mean, that's kind of what I honestly, I would expect about high school people that age is just all, all across the spectrum. I'm curious. I mean, you're two close friends who, who still kind of, um,

Ayla [15:44]: make fun of you they must have some redeeming qualities that make you still want to be their friends right or has it affected love those two um they are so good for me to be around when they're not eating um okay and we always have a lot of fun and like they like going on adventures with me and stuff like that and they are really good people they just don't really understand some stuff

Adeel [16:09]: Yeah. And is it mainly the eating triggers? Yeah. It's mainly the eating triggers then with them and most of the rest of the time it sounds like it's pretty under control. Okay. Okay. Yeah. So why don't we go back a little bit to when you kind of started noticing all this happening?

Ayla [16:26]: Yeah. So my first trigger was actually a smell and it was in sixth grade art class. I was sitting there and my art teacher pulled out this certain type of eraser and And the smell just made me lose all sense of safety. And I was like, what? This is so weird. Like what? And so every time for the rest of the year that he would pull out those erasers, I had that like loss of safety and that like fight or flight response. And that was really interesting. And then I have never seen those erasers again. And that has never triggered me ever again. And then it started to be around my parents. They'd be eating and I'd be like, hmm, like this sound makes me really uncomfortable. Why? And so I didn't speak up about anything. This was maybe in sixth and seventh grade. And then I was with two of my best friends and this was when mukbang videos were getting super popular on YouTube. No idea what that is. I'm too old. So influencers would do it a lot where they'd have one of their friends over and they'd go get food and eat it and just talk about life.

Adeel [17:43]: Oh, okay.

Ayla [17:43]: And so we were watching one of those and I was like, why is this making me so uncomfortable? Why am I feeling like this? Why is all of this emotion coming to me while we are watching this YouTube video that they're both loving? I was like, what is this? And so that was really weird. And I didn't really know what was happening. And then my triggers around my parents started to progress a lot. And they still are two of my biggest triggers because I am exposed to that a lot.

Adeel [18:15]: Right. And have you told them?

Ayla [18:17]: Oh, yeah. they they know my mom um both of them have been great about it once we kind of figured out what misophonia was we didn't know for a long time we were like okay and so i'd kind of just sit at the table put in some low quality ear plugs and just kind of sit there and then we did some research and it turns out there's this thing called misophonia and that's what i have so that's it's been quite a little ride

Adeel [18:47]: Right, so how did you find out what it was with your parents? Was it kind of Googling around?

Ayla [18:52]: I actually don't know how my mom figured it out.

Adeel [18:55]: Oh, so she's the one who did. Okay, cool.

Ayla [18:57]: Yeah, she was the one who figured it out. She was like, I want to know what is happening and why she can't be around me when this is happening or why she's having so much trouble sitting near me. Um, and so she, I think she Googled around and she was like, oh, and then she emailed me this article and I was like, oh, that is sounds like exactly what is going on. Yeah.

Adeel [19:22]: Do you remember which article that was?

Ayla [19:23]: Um, I do not. It was like years ago. I think, I think we figured it out last year, maybe like the beginning of ninth grade, I think is about when we figured it out. And I know I didn't speak up for a long time. I was kind of like, hmm, this is weird. What's going on? I'll just deal with it. And then I was like, maybe this is actually something that can be explained, kind of.

Adeel [19:52]: Yeah. No, I think there's more and more articles now. So it is kind of easier. I've talked to people who, you know, Googled for it like years ago and it was harder to find stuff. And I think now there's just more people writing about it, more people talking about it, more people searching about it. So I think Google is able to kind of connect the dots a little bit. So hopefully people can figure it out a little bit faster. What did your parents do after you got that knowledge?

Ayla [20:22]: I started wearing nicer earplugs at the dinner table. Now I turn away from them because I do have some visual triggers. Or I just go sit on the couch if it's a pretty bad day. I can usually just put in my earplugs. and turn away and i'm all good um sometimes they do try to talk to me but i can't hear them um but i know we've always done family dinners and like we've always sat with each other at the table so it was interesting to not be having like conversations at the table yeah do you have siblings too no i'm an only child okay okay so yeah then you don't have to focus on those two problems yeah and uh

Adeel [21:15]: So, um, yeah, they, so it sounded like, um, a flack or like smells first and then sounds are a big one. You haven't been triggered by smell. It sounds like, you know, in a while, right. Since that eraser incident.

Ayla [21:30]: Yeah, I have not. I don't think I have a smell trigger right now. I have a touch with just like certain feelings.

Adeel [21:39]: Okay, okay.

Ayla [21:41]: Yeah, I've heard a bit about that. Yeah, and then I have certain words and speech patterns that do really affect me, which I find really interesting.

Adeel [21:51]: Okay, were you talking about that at the convention? I think so. Yeah, there are certain words. You want to talk about that? Because that's something that I haven't really talked to anybody on the podcast, but I've certainly seen people ask about that on various discussion groups and online groups. So I'm curious if you can kind of talk about how that affects you.

Ayla [22:11]: Yeah, the words are, I know some people do have words that they use a lot. And so some people are hard for me to have a conversation with because like they'll use this certain word as like their little catchphrase or their little. I know I was I went out to talk to a client the other day at work and. he kept saying this little phrase and I was like, oh, and he just kept repeating it and repeating it when I was giving him information. And I was like, oh boy. And that was one of my trigger phrases. And I'm sitting there like, oh boy, okay. But I still had to finish giving him that information. So sometimes it is really hard because sometimes you do kind of need to finish that conversation.

Adeel [22:59]: Right. So, yeah. So that's another thing that comes up is like having having this power through and and for you, at least knowing maybe knowing that, you know, you're you're. you need to finish this transaction. It's going to be over soon.

Ayla [23:13]: Yeah.

Adeel [23:13]: Kind of can maybe help you out a little bit rather than if you were, you know, living with somebody who had that, who had some annoying catchphrase. Well, I don't want to say actually triggering catchphrase.

Ayla [23:25]: Yeah. My mom used to say one of my trigger words all the time, but then she stopped once I told her and I was like, Hey, so this is one of my trigger sounds. Could you maybe like switch to a different word? And so there have been that. It's interesting.

Adeel [23:43]: Yeah. So you'd have the similar fight or flight sensation.

Ayla [23:46]: Yeah.

Adeel [23:47]: Okay. Okay. And, and the visuals too, it's the same fight or flight.

Ayla [23:52]: Oh yeah. Yeah.

Adeel [23:53]: And is it visuals for visuals that accompany a sound or is it kind of not always?

Ayla [24:03]: Some of them do. Yeah, some of them do accompany a sound. So like I had that sound trigger first and then now the movement or sight that goes with it is now also a trigger. But I also have some random ones that don't go along with the sound. but are a trigger.

Adeel [24:23]: Oh, okay. Interesting. What are some examples of those?

Ayla [24:30]: Yeah, so there are certain ways that people will lay their hands. I know when we're sitting, I know my mom, when I'm in the passenger seat in the car and she's driving, sometimes she'll rest her hands different ways that just they're a trigger for me. For some reason, the way that she will lay her hand down.

Adeel [24:50]: In that way. Right. They're not necessarily even moving. Yeah. Okay. Okay. It's so weird. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, I was going to ask more about your friend circle. When you're meeting new people at school, do you kind of suss them out for misophonia? Yes. Because it seems like your best friends you're kind of okay with most of the time. But I'm curious if you've become more suspicious of strangers that might become friends.

Ayla [25:30]: yeah um i know in class sometimes um i know last year there was this one girl who sat in the lab table behind me and she was making all of these trigger sounds always and i would always like swerve around and look and be like who is that and i remember that glare down oh yeah it was i probably looked so mean but um So I'm sitting there and I'm like, okay, well, maybe you're not going to be my best friend. And so it is really interesting. I do. I like sitting at the back of the room because I can see kind of who is making those certain sounds.

Adeel [26:09]: Yeah, but are you afraid of that becoming like a visual trigger sitting at the back? There's often a debate. I don't want to give you that. I don't want to kind of now make you notice, but there's always a debate back or front. And I kind of tend to fall into the, well, I haven't been to school in a while, but... know, if you just put some headphones on, then you can kill the sonic triggers and the visual triggers. Yeah. Unless your teacher is right in front of you and it's a trigger.

Ayla [26:39]: Yeah. I like I've liked sitting in one of the back corners. So I'm kind of just tucked away back there and I can have my earbuds in and just be there and sit there. And then I usually don't hear the sounds unless I only have one in because the teacher is giving instruction. And then during work time, I just put both of them in and I'm like, okay, and just focus on myself and my work and kind of just tune out everything so that I can get work done and that I can focus.

Adeel [27:13]: Yeah. So now I remember what I was going to ask. After your parents found out what it was, did they try to get you maybe – therapy or an audiologist?

Ayla [27:27]: We have actually been looking into that lately. So I've been seeing a therapist for years and years, since I think sixth or seventh grade. I actually was very lucky because the first one I met is one that I really vibe with and that we she works great for me and i know some people have to kind of feel out different people and figure out yeah figure out who works for them so that's been really nice but yeah and so i um we started i know uh at the beginning of this um when we didn't know what misophonia was it was a little bit of a witch hunt um for what was the culprit of this um and i know i got tested for epilepsy and um because sometimes i do freeze when stuff happens and I just, I, I, nothing is going on in my brain. I mean, stuff is obviously going on, but I don't notice what people are doing or what people are hearing. And my mom thought they were, I think they're absence seizures. And so I got tested for epilepsy and that was a no. And we were like, okay.

Adeel [28:31]: So people thought that your, or you guys thought that your fight or flight, your freezing from your fight or flight possibly could be a symptom of epilepsy?

Ayla [28:44]: Yeah. And so I got tested and did all the EEG stuff and it was a no. And then, yep, it turns out I have misophonia.

Adeel [28:54]: Yeah.

Ayla [28:54]: And then, yeah.

Adeel [28:57]: So the initial therapist that you went to from sixth or seventh grade, that was to try to figure out what was happening with you? Actually, I went there for depression.

Ayla [29:07]: I started having depression and anxiety in about sixth or seventh grade, I think. And then we had misophonia, which my misophonia is very linked to my anxiety in that my trigger sounds tend to be worse when I'm having a really high anxiety levels day. rather than when my anxiety is really low, my trigger sounds tend to affect me less.

Adeel [29:33]: Right. Yeah, I've definitely heard that. And what are, I guess, I'm sure people are curious, like are in a similar situation, like what are some of the ways that work for you to reduce your anxiety that, you know, potentially also help your miso?

Ayla [29:54]: Yeah, I use I have I bring fidget toys everywhere. I keep them in my backpack. They're on my nightstand. I just I keep them everywhere. And they're most of them are pretty like low key. I can have them under the table and just play with them. I also like well, healing crystals are also great because they're super smooth. And so they're like that texture is very nice for me to just put in my hand and kind of rub. And so I use stress balls a lot, but just certain fidget toys help me a lot. And then I also, I diffuse lavender and burn lavender incense in my room usually, pretty much all the time because it is very calming for me.

Adeel [30:40]: Okay, very good. And so your anxiety and your miso, they kind of reinforce each other, but you still consider them

Ayla [30:53]: um they developed separately right it's not like oh yeah my anxiety came along first yeah and then the miso started kind of settling in

Adeel [31:02]: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Well, it sounds like, um, at least your music, um, you know, obviously it triggers you like it triggers trigger effects, affects all of us, but, uh, you're, you're able to kind of like talk about it with some kind of humor at times, which is, uh, which is good. Are you, and I'm sure I'm, I'm hope you're, I hope you're finding humor is that it's also a good, uh, coping mechanism as it is for any of us.

Ayla [31:26]: Very good.

Adeel [31:27]: Are you able to laugh about it with anybody at, with your, I mean, it sounds like your friends, maybe not because they tend to make fun of it, but are you able to, you know, riff about it with anybody? Other in person or online?

Ayla [31:40]: A little bit. I do. I joke with my mom sometimes. I know at first she took it very personally. She was like, why am I your only trigger? Because like she was one of my biggest triggers. And so I know she took it very personally at the beginning, but now she's like, okay, this sound affects you when you're around anybody. And yeah, I don't really joke about misophonia to too many people.

Adeel [32:06]: Yeah. Well, that's what the beauty of things like the convention are.

Ayla [32:11]: I know. It was amazing. That was my first time actually having a conversation with somebody else who has misophonia.

Adeel [32:17]: Yeah, it's surreal. And I think it's even more surreal in person just to kind of be around all these people.

Ayla [32:25]: Yeah.

Adeel [32:25]: Yeah, I'd recommend doing that at some point. Online as well, have you kind of done any of the... some of the big groups are kind of overwhelming.

Ayla [32:38]: Yeah, I haven't yet. I'm going to look into that because I think that would be really good.

Adeel [32:44]: There are now a number of high schools that have come on. I might, I don't know, I might round you guys all up in an email thread or something and just be like, hey, you know, why don't you guys, if you want to chat, here you go. Maybe start a little community for different age groups.

Ayla [32:59]: Yeah.

Adeel [33:01]: Do the show. That might be useful. But no, that's interesting. Yeah, humor is definitely a good coping mechanism. It's good to have people to talk to about that. I'm curious about your dad. So you've talked to, you said your mom kind of found this out for you and has been, you've been talking to her about it. How has he done? Has he just kind of been, okay.

Ayla [33:24]: He's really, he's a funny guy. He, we bond a lot over construction projects and, And like redoing my room or stuff like that. And so he was very like, hmm. But I actually, I think he does have it a little bit.

Adeel [33:44]: He's really funny.

Ayla [33:46]: My mom, she was like, I have never had any sounds that affect me. But my dad does have a few little things that do. Seem to kind of trigger him. So I do wonder if he has a little bit of like low scale misophonia.

Adeel [34:01]: Right.

Ayla [34:01]: Um, which is really funny, but I know he's very like, okay, cool. I'll just not make this sound around you. I'll try. You can wear your earbuds when you're in the car or whatever.

Adeel [34:14]: Yeah. So we're recording this, like, you know, in October and with holidays coming up, I'm curious, like, do you have certain rituals or escape plans around extended family, if you see them?

Ayla [34:27]: Oh, boy. My extended family is a lot. We pretty much only see my mom's side and they are quite something. Very loud, very like up in your face. They're all lovely people. But sometimes I know both my dad and I, we wilt very quickly when we're around a lot of people and we get super overwhelmed and we usually need some space. And so usually my dad and I just escape. We stay at my grandmother's usually when we go down to Denver to visit everybody over the holidays. And we usually just we get the whole basement to ourselves of my grandmother's house. And we just if my dad and I need time, we usually just go down there. I'll watch a show or something and then go back up and.

Adeel [35:15]: Yeah, recharge and come back up.

Ayla [35:17]: Yeah.

Adeel [35:18]: That's a great, that's kind of an ideal situation.

Ayla [35:21]: Yeah, it definitely is. I know we have, we're planning a whole big family trip to Grand Lake, Colorado next year. all renting a cabin to stay in. Like it's a big like house for us all to stay in together. And my dad and I were like, oh boy. So we're thinking to rent out another little place for my family to stay in.

Adeel [35:46]: Yeah.

Ayla [35:46]: That we can kind of separate a little bit and hang out with everybody, but also have our own little space because it is really hard for me to spend a ton of time around everybody.

Adeel [35:54]: Right, right. Yeah, that's the classic dilemma for anyone. How do you deal with those large family situations? But at least you can plan ahead like your dad and yourself are doing. Well, yeah, I'm curious now. I guess maybe we should start to wind down a little bit. But I'm curious if you have anything that you want to tell people. I know there's a lot of high schoolers that are interested in hearing about other experiences for other high schoolers. But, yeah, I'm curious if you have any message or you want to tell listeners anything.

Ayla [36:30]: Yeah, it really sucks. Yep. Oh, my gosh. It sucks. But it actually my like learning how to control it and kind of how to figure out like what works for me and what doesn't. It's been a lot of trial and error for me. of like um searching through different tv shows because i do i love watching shows and movies um but some shows do have a lot of trigger sounds for me and so like i found a few shows that i absolutely love and that i can watch to kind of unwind and certain music that i like and certain podcasts that i love um and then also like um Teachers, I know I walked into my eighth grade guidance counselor's office and was like, so I think my mom figured out what I have. Do you have any like input on this? And she goes, what, what is that? Like that, that doesn't exist. And I was like, oh, is this not valid? Like it's valid. Just not everybody knows about it, which is really interesting because I did have that moment of like, is this like, should I just let it go? Or like, what? Because should I just deal with it? Or like people are telling me to? Or what?

Adeel [37:58]: Yeah, right. No, I mean, and that's what leads to a lot of, I'm glad you're a little bit more assertive about it. And hopefully other people like your age are more assertive about it because it leads to a lot of guilt and shame because we have to bottle all this stuff up. And we watch how it affects relationships.

Ayla [38:16]: um it's getting glad that you're uh taking a little bit more of a proactive approach and trying to uh yeah it also i know it's helped me a lot because i love hanging out with people i love like having my friends and we hang out and we like do something together but finding things that have low triggers to do with people i know my mom and i both like dancing so sometimes we'll just put on loud music and dance oh yeah perfect and that's not a trigger for me personally um And then also with my friends, like we like pulling all nighters and walking up to Pete's Hill to watch the sunset or like stuff like that or sunrise, whatever. But like just figuring out things that you can do with the people who you really like hanging out with, because I know I did kind of start to isolate myself. When my triggers started, I was like, oh, let me just like shut myself up in my room and just be there always. And I still do that sometimes. I still like being in my room by myself. But it's also really good for me to hang out with my friends. And I know I've become a lot more of an introvert since my misophonia set in.

Adeel [39:27]: Yeah.

Ayla [39:28]: Which is really interesting just because I know my Myers-Briggs just like completely changed. once my misophonia started coming in which i find really interesting i still am an enfpt which i find really interesting um just that i am considered an extrovert but i'm like 51 extrovert and 49 introvert which is interesting because i do i get a lot of energy from being around people but i've had to find different ways to be around people

Adeel [40:02]: yeah i mean it's it's yeah it's what yeah it's what this kind of forces us to do but uh but i like that you have a lot of different options like you yeah you can still escape to your room but you can find ways to interact with people in ways that are not triggers and these yeah i've actually yeah coven has actually been really good for that um

Ayla [40:22]: Because once lockdown started to be lift, my friends and I were like, hey, do you want to do like a little like bring our hammocks down to this park and sit a little a bit apart and outside and just hang out? And I was like, that sounds perfect because I'm not right next to you and we can still have picnics now. As long as I can like turn a little bit away, but I can still be kind of in the conversation because we are spaced and there's a park and there's stuff going on around us. And so that's been really good, actually.

Adeel [40:58]: Yeah, I think in near to medium term, at least, I think there are some really good habits and behaviors that I think could really benefit misophones coming out of the whole tragic COVID situation.

Ayla [41:12]: Yeah.

Adeel [41:12]: But yeah, that's great. Yeah, well, yeah, I just want to say, yeah, unless you have anything else you want to share with folks, this is really interesting. Yeah.

Ayla [41:23]: Yeah, I actually I had one really interesting thing that I kind of figured out at the convention when Marsha was talking. She was talking about how trauma is kind of related to it. And I was thinking about it and I had this swim coach. I used to swim. And so I had this coach that was super hard for me to be around, like not kind to me, not. not very supportive and he had a certain way of speaking and it wasn't a trigger for me at the time but now i haven't seen him in a year and a half and that's actually pretty nice um but i haven't seen him in a year and a half and this kid walked into my science class at the beginning of this year and he had really similar speech patterns and now his voice is a trigger for me which is really interesting because he has those same speech patterns, but now that's one of my trigger sounds. So I found that really interesting. I just figured that out. And I thought that was really interesting.

Adeel [42:26]: Yeah, no, it's interesting. I mean, triggers kind of probably imprint in your brain somehow. It's a process that's not fully understood. And yeah, because I had mentioned one of the interesting things I'd heard is, and I think talking to teenagers was a couple of people, their first triggers were just following the loss of a very close grandparent and then getting... triggered at a subsequent funeral and then everything explodes after that. So yeah, there's, I definitely think there's something to do with trauma there. And that's, that's kind of an interesting little data point there.

Ayla [43:02]: Yeah. It's really wild.

Adeel [43:05]: Yeah, well, thanks again, Ayla, for coming on.

Ayla [43:07]: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Adeel [43:09]: Yeah, it was good to see you at the convention. It would be great to have everybody in person. I know, I hope we can do that. Yeah, but yeah, it was great to hear your story. And I think this will help a lot of people, especially high schoolers, young people who I hope are getting a lot more information than us old people did back when we were struggling. So it's very inspiring to hear that you're able to start coping with it early. So thank you for sharing that.

Ayla [43:37]: Yeah, I'm very glad that I got to know what it was early on. And now I know and I can start. I'm very glad that I am young enough that I have this information that's out here now that wasn't a while ago.

Adeel [43:53]: Yeah, I'm glad that your career is starting off on a good foot.

Ayla [43:57]: Yeah, me too.

Adeel [43:58]: Yeah, that's inspiring too. A lot of people are freaked out about jobs.

Ayla [44:03]: Yeah.

Adeel [44:04]: That's great. Hopefully that continues for you.

Ayla [44:06]: Yeah.

Adeel [44:08]: Thank you, Ila. Indeed, hope to see her and more of you at a future convention or just reach out anytime on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast or Twitter at Misophonia Show. And I should say you can also email me at hello at misophoniapodcast.com. If you're enjoying the shows, please hit the five stars in Apple Podcasts. Music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [44:40]: Thank you.