Cory - Utilizing Art and Environment to Manage Triggers

S2 E13 - 7/22/2020
In this episode, the host converses with Corey, a California-based artist and teacher, who explores utilizing art as a therapeutic and meditative technique to manage his misophonia. Corey elaborates on how art provides an escape from daily triggers and delves into his personal experience of grief intensifying his sensitivity. The transition to working from home surfaces as a significant topic, highlighting its advantages for individuals with misophonia. Furthermore, Corey shares insights on the positive sounds he enjoys, despite the condition, and the significant role of community in coping with misophonia.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 2, Episode 13. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Corey, an artist living in Long Beach, California, who's also a teacher. In this episode, we talk about art, not just as therapy, but a form of meditation, grief and loss as an aggravator of triggers. And we discuss the still very relevant topic of working from home and its pros and cons. Make sure to check the show notes for links to Corey's art on Instagram, plus a link to an interesting documentary about highly sensitive people that Corey mentions during our chat. Now, in the spirit of the talk of dogs in this week's conversation, I want to give a shout out to Hip Dog Creations, one of the many misophone-owned businesses on It started as a hobby for the founder, Jennifer, and has since turned into a successful operation that she hopes will eventually get her out of her office day job. She does custom pet art and portraits. Link in the show notes or at M-I-S-O-L-I-S-T. Remember, if you're at a business owned by a misophone or employs misophones, please let me know. You can go to and click the add button. This is how we can all support each other's livelihoods. All right, now here's my conversation with Corey. Welcome, Corey. Welcome to the podcast.

Cory [1:33]: Thank you.

Adeel [1:34]: And I want to say,

Cory [1:36]: I want to say thank you to you for doing this podcast because earlier I was thinking about how this helps people like you and me who have this to express ourselves, to bond with other people, to know you're not alone. But also I think it can be a great tool to educate people that don't have it because that's kind of the flip side of it when you have relationships with people. You have your part of it that you have to deal with, but you live with a family or you have a partner or friends. And they need to have at least some understanding. And so this podcast is great in that way, too. So I just want to say thank you for doing it.

Adeel [2:14]: I appreciate that, Corey. Yeah. And yeah, that's what it's all about. I think a lot of people read the articles in CNN or New York Times and sometimes they're helpful, but they kind of can be a little click-baity sometimes. So I think it helps to let somebody talk for a while about their entire experience and hear how it kind of interacts with the rest of their life.

Cory [2:39]: Yeah, because it can be so multifaceted. Exactly.

Adeel [2:43]: Exactly. And how did you find out about the podcast, actually?

Cory [2:48]: Let's see, how did I? So I do listen to a lot of podcasts. And I think I just did a search in, can I say the name of the streaming service? Yeah. In Spotify. I think I just did a search in podcast in Spotify for Misophonia. And it was interesting to see what comes up. Comes up, yeah, yeah. So, yeah, so that is how I found this podcast. I was like, oh, wow, there's a podcast about it, you know. So, yeah, so through a search.

Adeel [3:10]: Cool. Well, we're connected on Instagram as well. And I know that listeners can read the show notes, but your account is going to be there. And it's got some amazing art. And that's obviously one of the things that I think we'll touch on is the fact that... you think a lot about therapies for misophonia and art is one of your therapies. Do you want to maybe start there and talk about how you've used art to deal with misophonia?

Cory [3:44]: Yeah. So let's see. Originally, art became therapy for me after my mom died. And I noticed that when I started doing a little painting or drawing. It just made me feel so much better. And then I, you know, of course I kept doing it. And then it kind of snowballed from there, I guess you could say. It wasn't until a little later that I realized that I could use art as therapy to help me with misophonia. And what I realize now is that when I'm painting or working on a collage or drawing or whatever it is, I escape into this. It's kind of like escaping into another world, really. It usually involves having headphones on my ears or earbuds playing music. But I definitely fall into this other place and escape from the real world, I guess you could say. And I enjoy existing in the real world. I love people. I'm very social. But after a while, the noise can take a toll on when you have misophonia. And so my triggers, even though I live alone, I'm single, I don't have any kids, I'm still triggered on a daily basis because some of the noises that I am triggered by are everyday noises out in neighborhoods, places we go every day, such as dog barking. So it's something I have to contend with on a daily basis. And because of that, there are certain sounds that can be controlled. door slamming is one of yours then you make sure your family understands don't ever slam the door please and they understand why and then you can control that but if i go for a walk in the neighborhood there are going to be some dogs barking and i have to um you know i just have to face it and do whatever i have to do to deal with it but uh with my art as a form of therapy and in addressing misophonia in particular it really is about escaping and what i've noticed is that I used to want to meditate. I used to really want to, you know, I do yoga. I've heard so much about meditation and I read, you know, read a few books here and there about it. And then I would kind of try to do it. And, and I didn't really feel that I succeeded at it for whatever reason made the effort. But what I did notice is that when I'm making art, I'm actually meditating. I mean, I'm sitting for hours and quiet. I'm not confused. concerned with what's going on around me. I'm not being triggered. I truly am in this other place or whatever you want to call it. And so first and foremost, my artwork gives me that escape.

Adeel [6:32]: Yeah. You're kind of in your own zone. You've shut, you shut everything. You're kind of in control. I think that's one of the, uh, that's a theme that comes up a lot with folks is, uh, after being out in the real world, quote unquote, when triggers can come out of nowhere and you're not in control, it's good to center yourself and create something.

Cory [6:51]: Absolutely. And so if, if I'm triggered when I'm at work and out and about at the gym or whatever, and then, uh, get home if i it's kind of like what you were just saying like if i can then have control over my dominion if you will my home that you know put on my white noise machine so i don't hear the dogs and the dogs next door um you know and put on whatever music is going to uh block out any other noises that might bother me and then i'm in control and that it sort of balances it out on a daily basis. So if I had to go through a whole day of just being triggered, triggered, triggered, I really don't know. I don't know if I would ultimately become desensitized to it and I would end up being fine at the end of it, or if I would completely just break and lose it, I don't know. But what currently exists for the most part is that I'm triggered for a portion of the day, maybe 20, let me put it this way, I'm not being triggered 20% of the day, but I spend about 20 to 30% of my day being around other people and possible triggers, but then the other 70% or what have you, that's when I have that control. And so when I can exercise that control, it balances out the day. Does that make sense?

Adeel [8:06]: Totally makes sense, yep. And when you are working on that art scene, when you've put yourself in that zone, are there some themes that you're creating, or is it just the act of creating whatever it is, is kind of a... I guess what I'm saying is, is your art inspired by Misophonia, and the imagery, is that inspired by Misophonia as well?

Cory [8:34]: Interestingly, it isn't really. I think I've only done one literal piece that related to misophonia. And I think I called it Triggered. And that piece sold someone. What's interesting is someone identified with it, but not in a misophonia way. It was a different sort of mental illness, I guess you could say. And so I found that interesting. But that was really the only literal one I did. Um, otherwise I tend to, uh, go into kind of create these other worlds, delve into these other worlds. Um, so that I don't even have to think about misophonia, you know, I guess. Yeah.

Adeel [9:17]: Yeah. So it's a way to, it's a way to, yeah, it's, this is how your mind kind of relaxes itself. And, um, absolutely. Absolutely. So do you do, are you showing your, actually we should talk about, uh, where you're located, I guess. Um, sure. I think you're in California.

Cory [9:33]: Yeah, I'm in California. So I live in Long Beach, California. But at the moment, I'm in Palm Springs visiting a friend who has a place here. And part of the reason for that is that I suffered a loss of one of my closest friends two and a half weeks ago. And I did want to talk about this at some point because I think this could help other people to realize an aspect of it. So what I noticed is that after I lost my friend, I was being in this and probably will not come to us as a surprise to you or anyone else who listens to this. But what I noticed is after I found out, um, I was being triggered very, very easily. And so, um, you know, I did what I had to do to deal with that. And eventually an opportunity came up to come to Palm Springs, which is a completely different environment from where I live. It has just a completely different vibe uh you know just everything looks different and it's it's a place i come to to relax and so i came here to you know to get away for a change of scenery and i thought that that might kind of uh shift something or kind of shake me a little bit and uh because since i found out about my friend i haven't been able to make any art so i've been creatively stuck too so i've been in in a little bit of a bad place but at the same time i knew i needed to experience the grief and go through it so instead of spending this time working on art, I've been doing a lot of, uh, you know, like TV watching, you know, like, like, you know, binging and what have you. But, uh, just as of yesterday, uh, that has changed and I've kind of, you know, some people say like, oh, my muse has returned. So it's kind of like my muse has returned. And so, um, so I live in long beach, but I'm in Palm Springs for about a week. And it, that change of scenery has just done wonders for me. And also. If you don't mind, here's I just sometimes I have a stream of consciousness. And if I don't say it now, I'll never remember. But someone asked me earlier when I because I told him I was going to be doing this podcast today. And he asked me an interesting question. And he's only the second person who's asked me this question after I told them I had misophonia. He asked me, so are there any particular sounds that you really like? And I said, absolutely. totally a flip side to all this. You know, I'm a huge fan of music and that's just one example. But the thing about Palm Springs, coming back to living in California, in Palm Springs, I hear some of my favorite sounds and there are a lot of birds around here. So there's a lot of chirping. That might get on some people's nerves, but I really like it. And what I really love is when it gets breezy or even windy and you hear the palm fronds rustling. They're just kind of rubbing against each other. And it's just so... It's like getting this auditory massage. And it just feels so incredibly cleansing. And then you have these beautiful mountain views and these tremendous palm trees and it's just so bright and sunny and bright pink bougainvillea. It's just a beautiful place. And so the long answer to your short question... No, I love long answers. You know, like... Living in Long Beach, it's much more, you know, it's not as urban as Chicago and New York City, but it's more urban. And it's more heavily populated, you know, more traffic, just more people. And so it's more congested. And Palm Springs, on the other hand, is, you know, it's pretty, it's kind of empty right now and very quiet and serene.

Adeel [13:21]: Yeah, Palm Springs is a pretty tourist-oriented, right? So it's going to be pretty empty right now.

Cory [13:28]: yeah yeah it did pick up a little from memorial day but it's uh but overall still the whole vibe is just very just very chill you know yeah yeah i've been there once um yeah it's beautiful it's a whole other world yeah i've been to the salton sea as well there's another literally another world over there yeah i did a little short film about that because it was so it that place is just striking yeah it's like what is and i have of course i had to read about the history and everything um but you know it's just basically a failed ecosystem that man created you know it's like okay let's take a look at this and learn from our mistakes but it's as an artist going there and visiting there's it's it's fascinating you know yeah i took a bunch of photography there amazing people

Adeel [14:15]: So going back to, yeah, going back to, you know, after the loss of your friend, being triggered more, you know, a lot of people get triggered more in times of stress, like work kind of stress. Was this a similar kind of thing, you think? Just the stress of having lost someone close to you?

Cory [14:36]: i guess so um you know and it makes sense it didn't it hasn't come as a surprise to me and i just you know i would tell myself well corey you just got to ride this out you know you go through the stages and whatnot and feel it you know i don't want to suppress it and not think about it you know drink or something i want to go ahead and face it head on and uh sort of um get through it so that i can you know start celebrating her life more and uh you know i'm actually creating a a piece i'm looking at right now since i kind of got creatively unblocked yesterday i started working on a collage a large-scale collage of her um with uh you know she was really into flowers and so i've gone through her instagram and looked at all the flowers that she posted and using those flowers and i'm putting them in the mural all around her and so so i've got my therapy back so i'm doing so much better that's great yeah that's great

Adeel [15:29]: So you were working, I guess there's a reason why you haven't completely moved to Palm Springs. You're working in Long Beach. I assume that's where you're working. So what do you do for work?

Cory [15:44]: So up until the quarantine, I primarily supported myself as a substitute teacher, and I did some tutoring, and then some freelance proofreading for an educational publishing company. And so who knows when I'll be teaching again. So what I've been working on is basically two things. How to show and sell my art online more often and have a better approach to that. And then do, I really want to work from home. And so this kind of, this is definitely linked to misophonia. Before I returned to substitute teaching. So okay, so here's, this is interesting. As a substitute teacher, People would say, wow, you're a substitute teacher, you have misophonia, doesn't it drive you crazy because kids are noisy? I'd say, yeah, kids are noisy, but here's the thing. When I'm the teacher, I'm in charge. I'm in control of the situation. So I can set the tone with my own volume of voice, with turning off one of the lights and making it a little bit dimmer and playing a quiet game for a moment or whatever it is, making it a little contest and just kind of quiet the room. just to sort of set a baseline, I guess. And then from there, just kind of relax into it. Then I know at least I'm not being triggered and then I can function, you know, 100%. It's fine. But I have control over it because they're kids. And I'm, you know, 99% successful at that, I'd say. Now, when it comes to trying to get other adults to quiet down so that you can do your work, that's actually a lot more challenging. And with that comes, you know, comes diplomacy and nuances and how you approach it. And you don't want to bribery. You know, and so that can be extremely challenging. And so what I've, the realization I've come to is that I just need to work from home. I want to edit manuscripts. You know, really what I'd love to do is just be sent manuscripts for books and just take one at a time and just spend a month or whatever it is and thoroughly edit the whole thing from my couch or sitting at the beach or wherever. And that's going to help me a lot with misophonia and how misophonia can impact my work performance because it can. So I'm taking the whole control of the situation and applying it to an even larger scale and deciding just work from home. You know, and that doesn't mean, you know, some people say, well, I guess they're not saying as much anymore, but I want to work from home. You know, you're home by yourself all day. I want to be around people. And I said, well, here's the thing. Being kind of stuck in an office with coworkers that don't understand the sophonia and they start resenting you because you're asking them to be quiet so you can do your work. You know, that's a tough thing to go through. And it's stressful, of course. And then by the end of the day, you're kind of exhausted from dealing with all that. And so you don't have as much energy to go be social with your closer friends that you really do want to spend time with. So if I work from home, I'm home alone all day, getting my job done even faster than if I was around anybody. And then when someone says, hey, let's go to dinner, you know, I can say, heck, yeah, I've been alone all day. That sounds great. So the people I'm with are it's going to be more quality time because I'll be with people that I want to be with. Does that make sense? I don't want to sound rude or anything.

Adeel [19:20]: It absolutely makes sense. Yeah. I mean, I work from home. I work from home. I've also worked in offices before. So I know the whole dynamics of happy hour and working, you know, side by side with people solving problems. But if you have dysphonia, yeah, I mean, I would say now it's time to pursue and see if working from home suits you by looking for, like you said, jobs where you can edit things online. Or, you know, you said you were trying to get into more selling your art, maybe setting up kind of online e-commerce. That's something you can... not only do for yourself but if you acquire those skills you can offer that as a service for other people as well and maybe you make some more income hey thanks for the idea yeah absolutely so um yeah i would yeah whatever you're acquiring for yourself i i always say just um you know if you need something chances are thousands of other people do too so um think about that as you're thinking about um you know things you can do working from home

Cory [20:21]: Thank you for that. I really appreciate that.

Adeel [20:24]: Interesting. That would be great. Working from home. What you said is important. You can socialize with other people after if you get that nice rhythm going where you're working and then you're socializing later or a different time. It doesn't always have to be with your coworkers. I think a lot of people do their social life is tied very closely to who they meet at work. It's probably based on their their home life or where they live. But if you're in a dynamic place like where you are, you can get your work done and there's probably tons of friends around or new people to meet in Long Beach.

Cory [21:02]: Oh, absolutely. All the time. Yeah. That's really cool. And that's the thing. I love people and I'm very social. I have a lot of friends. But it's... It kind of goes back to the dog thing. I also love dogs. You know, if you happen to look at my Instagram, you'll see a lot of portraits of dogs. You know, people commit me to do paintings of their dogs. Now I'm going to do some cats. But, you know, I love dogs. I just hate, hate barking. You know, it's one of the main triggers. But it's like I don't hate the dog. I just hate the barking. But it's just like with people. I don't hate you because you're being loud and I can't edit this right now. I hate that I can't edit this, but I still like you, you know, and it's like, it's hard to get people to understand that. And it's, you know, it's when you have this, it took me a long time. It took me a long time to understand that I'm still understanding, you know?

Adeel [21:51]: So again, going back, yeah. Going back. When, when did you first realize you had misophonia?

Cory [21:57]: I first noticed that I have the, you know, of course I didn't know what, that I had a name and that was a condition. When I first noticed, I first got triggered. When I was about six years old and my little sister was about one and we would be sitting at the table as a family eating dinner and she would engage in open mouthed eating. Of course she did because she's one, you know, but I had never noticed that before. I noticed it. That really bothers me. And I remember telling my mom, like, mom, please tell her to close her mouth. And this word I use and I still use this word for it. is smacking, you know, close her, tell her to close her mouth. She's smacking. I can't take it. And so she would try, she would do her best, you know, but it's, it was just, even when it happened, I thought it was so bizarre, you know, like, what is this? And then I didn't really get triggered that much. Like in school, you know, I was pretty well socialized in school and did perform pretty well. And it wasn't really distracted, you know, all through pretty much through high school. I didn't notice it, start noticing anything again until college and, when I would go to the movie theater and people would have popcorn and they would, they kind of pop in their mouth and then chomp on it and then close their mouth. And that doesn't work. So if you want to be quiet when you eat popcorn, put it in your mouth, close your mouth and then chew. That should come on the, on the bag. Yes. That would be great. I might start going to the movies again. But, um, I started noticing that around college and, uh, I event and I'm a huge movie fan and took some film classes in college and whatnot. But I had to quit going to the movies. I finally realized, you know, and it was it got bad because I was OK if I went alone because I could just move to a different part of the theater or just leave. But if I went with friends, you know, I don't want to put this on them. I don't want I don't want my misogyny to be a burden to anybody. And I don't want to burden my friends who are just trying to relax and watch a movie. You know, it's not fair. So I first just said, I'm not going to go to the movies with anyone anymore. And then eventually I just said, I'm just not going to go to the movies anymore.

Adeel [24:15]: Yep. Are there any, do you remember any movies that were particularly bad for me? So, and I'll get this out if it starts to trigger people, like the names of movies.

Cory [24:27]: I don't remember. Well, I do want to say this. One of the last time, this is how I knew I need to stop going to the movies. I went and saw an X-Files, the last X-Files movie. And there was a guy chopping up popcorn and then he had his straw. I won't make the noise because I won't trigger anybody, but he was moving the straw and making that noise and shaking the ice. And it was incredibly distracting. And then the movie finally ended. And I say finally because I couldn't get into it. And so it ended. It's like, okay, I can get out of here. And I was like, God, that movie, that sucked. So, I don't know, a few years later, I was like, let me give it another shot without anybody making noise around me. And I watched the movie again. I was like, hey, I actually really like this movie. It was good. And I didn't even notice these other subplots that I was really interested in. I never caught all these nuances because of the noise, you know, it was being triggered. So that kind of cemented it for me, but it wasn't the movie itself. However, there are times, and this happened recently, I had to turn the volume down, when someone will be eating something, and it was something very recently, someone will be eating something, and it's that open mouth chewing, and they're smacking, and usually they're trying to show that this character's obnoxious, or doesn't have any manners, he's just a big pig. They're trying to illustrate that point. That's usually what it is. So I just turn the volume down and look away for a moment, you know.

Adeel [25:56]: Have you ever seen a movie that has maybe reflected someone with schizophrenia at all? Like, have you ever seen that trait in a character in a movie? I've always wondered that. I'm always thinking that one day somebody's going to, you know, create the great American movie where Misophonia is kind of the tragic hero. I'm wondering if you've ever seen Misophonia portrayed anywhere in film.

Cory [26:23]: Not in a feature film, not in anything scripted, but I've only seen it in documentary form.

Adeel [26:32]: Gotcha. Like in Quiet, Please? Yeah.

Cory [26:34]: Yes, that one. And there is another documentary that isn't particularly about misophonia, but it's about high sensitivity. And Alanis Morissette is one of the people who was interviewed in the documentary. It was really good.

Adeel [26:51]: I didn't realize that.

Cory [26:53]: So she doesn't say that she has misophonia. She describes it's more of a sensitivity thing. Yeah. And but sound, if I remember correctly, sound is part of it. So it's a little bit. I mean, you know, you can maybe argue the misophonia is part of it. Um, but she, you might, I wish I could remember since I think it's called sensitivity or something, but it's on, I saw it on, um, what's the name? Um, Oh, I'm so sorry to edit this out because I can't remember the screen. It'll come to me later. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Adeel [27:28]: Well, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu.

Cory [27:30]: Um, it's one, it's, Oh,

Adeel [27:33]: Hoopla. Hoopla, okay, I haven't heard of that.

Cory [27:35]: Yeah, so it's called Hoopla. I get into all these kind of obscure, I mean, I have very particular interests, and so I end up finding these little more obscure streaming services. So there's one called Hoopla that I get through LA County's library system, kind of like Canopy. So if you ever find Hoopla, just do a search on sensitivity, and it'll come up. I think it shows a woman walking on a beach. Let me tell you, I want to watch it again. It made me feel so much better about my own sensitivities you know because the thing is just you know because sometimes people will say like oh i forget you're so sensitive and it's like wow thanks a lot you know you take it as or i take it as an insult initially but it isn't necessarily an insult it's like right you're sometimes people are saying you're so sensitive and it helps you to be a kinder person or you're so sensitive and it helps you with your artwork or you're so sensitive you're a better teacher because of it it's not necessarily a bad thing you know

Adeel [28:31]: Right, right. I think where it feels like it's a bad thing is when you realize that it's more than just being a little sensitive. They don't understand the fight or flight that we feel. Right. I think that's kind of what we're, yeah. Exactly. Looking kind of like annoying some people. And then, yeah, so, I mean, kind of going back to kind of maybe, so it looks like you got out of school okay with Miso. Did it start to get bad, like, around... I don't know, sometime in your early adult life?

Cory [29:03]: Yeah, it did. In fact, so yeah, I don't have any recollection of anything happening from first grade through 12th grade that was misophonia related, like ever getting triggered, ever.

Adeel [29:14]: So you're, okay, so wait, just to clear up, just kind of like, we talked about your sister, your parents were not triggers?

Cory [29:22]: Okay, so let me clarify that. speaking just about school environment or school life yeah yeah i managed to get from first grade to through 12th grade and i don't ever remember getting triggered at school um but at home yes it was the smacking thing and then i i made a few friends and they would when they would eat they would smack and i'd ask them to not smack and you know you know that interaction is different with different people some people understand some people get upset you know but not i didn't really notice it in school for some reason however when i was in i was around 30 i decided i want to return to school and maybe get a master's or maybe study to become an actuary uh because i heard it's a good job uh and so i took a statistics class and another math class and i was sitting in the in the statistics class one day and listening to the teacher lecture and this guy probably about 20 years younger than me is in his desk right behind me and kind of leaned up toward the front of his desk and he's chewing gum and he's not closing his mouth. And his mouth is literally about five inches from my ear. And I, I thought I was going to explode. And it's, it was so over the top. It's like something from one of those movies where they're trying to show how obnoxious somebody is. And I just, I didn't say anything. I just turned around and looked at him. I don't know what look I had on my face. I think it's like big eye glare. Like it may be a glare. You know, I don't want to have a confrontation, but I just kind of like need to let him know, like, stop, you know. And so I just looked at him and then turned around and he did stop. Thank God.

Adeel [31:03]: Did he see you? Did he do it based on that?

Cory [31:05]: Oh yeah, because we made eye contact. Yeah, because our faces were five inches away from each other. You know, it's like, dude, that's my ear. You're smacking gum in. Come on, really? But yeah. But aside from that, yeah, like going through school, I don't ever remember So I think a lot of people say it gets worse as you get older. So having heard that a number of times, I decided I'm going to try to get ahead of that. And so I'm going to figure out, I'm going to try to do my best to understand this and figure out how to cope with it socially so that I'm not upsetting people. And what are some things I can do to deal with it when it happens and to help me overall in life to have less stress so that I am going to be triggered here and there, but I I wanted to jump ahead of it. And I think I have. And I think mainly it's through my art. But I do a few different things that have really helped me.

Adeel [32:00]: Yeah, let's hear those.

Cory [32:02]: So, of course, art, I have to say, is number one. Number two, and I know you've heard this before, number two is exercise. Yeah. It just, I mean, in general, it helps people to be less stressed. And I just noticed that sometimes if I hear the dog next door barking, and I'm being triggered, I can leave. I can go for a run or go for a bike ride. And when I come back, I'm not even thinking about that dog. So I went from being that blankety blank blank dog next door is driving me blanking crazy. And then I leave, go get some exercise, whatever it is, come back. I've completely forgotten about the dog. And so that tells me a lot right there. And that's I'm letting my emotions get the best of me. And that's kind of the third thing that I've started learning in the last year or so. I can't take credit for this. I learned it from someone who has an account on Instagram called Goodbye Misophonia. I think you follow her. She follows you. She has a blog. Her thing is Goodbye Misophonia. She has Misophonia, but she, of course, doesn't want to have it. And she's noticed that for her, she breaks it down into, and I'm sure this is Probably oversimplifying it, but I guess maybe that's the best thing to do since I can't go into all of it and don't have a deep understanding of it. But what I have gathered from it and what I've started applying to my life and it's helped me is to, when I get triggered, try to separate the reality or the realistic, the thought, the objective truth of what's happening, separate that from my emotions and how I feel about the trigger. And so I've started doing that. So when it happens, I'm like, okay, I tell myself, okay, you're being triggered. What do you notice? What are you feeling? What are you thinking? How does your body feel? Do you feel hot? What do you want to do? And so I kind of, I explore it kind of, kind of like, kind of like going through grief, you know, like I want to feel this and understand it. You know, it's sort of like facing your fears head on. Like I want to understand it. And then when it happens next time, I do it again, separate those two things. And it's. almost like breaking it in half and i can't physically stop the dog from barking but i do this might be controversial but this is the place i'm at right now as a person with misophonia i can't stop the next door neighbor's dog from barking but i have power over how i'm going to respond to it i truly believe that now it doesn't mean it comes easily and it doesn't mean oh, my misophonia is gone now. No, it's just that I truly believe that. And it really helps me. Does that make sense?

Adeel [34:56]: Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, because I've been noticing that if I'm being triggered and I can tell myself in the moment or maybe even a little bit before if I suspect something's going to happen, if I just tell my brain that whatever happens or whatever is happening, it's not going to hurt you. I think my brain somehow feels like it's not got control of the situation. I thought it actually meant that I was just kind of giving a proverbial massage to my fight or flight. But maybe that's what it is. It's that control. And also I try to think about, you know, this period is going to be over in about 20, 30 minutes. So that also kind of like lets me know that or maybe give myself permission to leave a situation within a reasonable amount of time. And that also is kind of control. Yeah. I don't know. Do certain themes come up when you do this over and over again during Trigger? Like in terms of what you're feeling and what you're exploring?

Cory [36:01]: You mean as of more recently since I've been doing this?

Adeel [36:03]: Yeah, yeah.

Cory [36:05]: And by the way, I've talked to her through Instagram and she featured that painting that I did about the one called Triggered and so we communicate here and there and she calls it And I think she got this from another from a writer, but she calls it taming the tiger. So when you have that feeling like, you know, the dog's barking and I want to I want to kill the dog or I want to kill someone or I want to run away or I want to smash the wall. I don't actually want to do any of those things. I love dogs. They're all over my Instagram. I don't want to hurt any dogs, but it's just that over that fight or flight. So I'm sorry, what was the question?

Adeel [36:46]: No. It's so multifaceted.

Cory [36:49]: You can go off in so many different directions, you know?

Adeel [36:52]: Absolutely. Yeah, I was wondering, because you were saying you were splitting it into two and trying to explore, trying to really consciously explore. Yeah. I was just wondering if certain themes had come up as you were doing it over and over, or I don't know, if every situation was different.

Cory [37:10]: I do notice that there is a pattern with it in terms of What comes to mind is, I guess, left brain, right brain. Like I think about that. And so what I have noticed is that I've been able to do it with different triggers. So I have other triggers that when I've tried it with that too, and it helps. And I also have been doing, I read this somewhere, and it's what you just said. about how I only have 20 minutes left of this period, that that relates to this next thing I'm going to mention, which is I started telling myself, this is temporary, this is temporary, this is temporary. And it's kind of a mantra. And I've even started doing it not even, I'm kind of only half thinking about it. At first, it was very conscious, and I'm being triggered, and I'm upset. But I tell myself, this is temporary, this is temporary. But now I notice, now that I've done it a few times, I get triggered, and I just start saying it, and I'm... I'm able to calm myself pretty quickly.

Adeel [38:13]: Yeah. Interesting. And, uh, and then the people around you as you're being triggered, are they, um, well, like let's say your friend, they're friends of yours. Like how, how do you, I mean, do you tell your friends, like, uh, I guess like how many of your friends know about your misophonia and what kind of, what is your reaction from other people?

Cory [38:32]: So I've decided once I learned what misophonia is, there's a name for it. Other people have it. People from around the world have this. It's not just me. Once I realized that and started learning more about it, I made a decision to tell everyone who was important to me about it and explain it to them so that they understand it. So when I get triggered, they know not to take it personally and they know what to do. You know, you really don't really need to do anything. I'm going to be fine. Just know that I might suddenly start acting weird. Like I might suddenly get up and go in another room for a while. Or I might seem suddenly agitated and you have no idea why. Maybe I'm being triggered. So I explain it to them and I tell them what the trigger sounds are. And different people take that differently. Some people... But what I notice is that everybody who is important to you and everyone who does care about you, no matter what, eventually everyone comes around to your side.

Adeel [39:24]: So some people... Right, that's interesting. They might not come around to it initially. Right. But hopefully they do.

Cory [39:32]: Yeah. Yeah, you just have to give people time because some people that I've told, I'll tell them. So I tell them what it is, tell them the name, and I tell them an example of a trigger sound, which is the smacking thing. A few people, as soon as I say that, they deliberately start smacking. Yeah, we're all like... You know, so it's like, okay. You know, and at this point, I just kind of laugh about it. I just think, okay, this is going to be one of the ones that takes a little longer maybe, and that's okay. You know, and that's the other thing. Find the humor in it. Try to find the humor in it. That's huge.

Adeel [40:07]: Yeah, humor has come up as, yeah, exactly. That has come up as a coping mechanism.

Cory [40:12]: Yeah, I think that's huge. But some people, you know, most people, I would say, they're interested because it's kind of bizarre. I think it's a strange thing. It's invisible, and it's something that, like, you could just be making up, you know, cause you're high maintenance or you just want to have something, you want it to be about you. And it's like, no, believe me, I wish I could just make this disappear. I don't want this, you know, but most people are, they find it interesting. And what I've noticed too, is a lot of people say, misophonia, what is that? I tell them what it is. They'll say, Oh, I think I have that. Cause they'll say, Oh me too. I hate when people smack when they eat. Oh my gosh, I hate that. And I'll just kind of shake my head and laugh and, I'll tell them, you probably don't have this because you're just annoyed by it, whereas I'm going into fight or flight mode.

Adeel [41:02]: Yeah, it's interesting trying to explain that line.

Cory [41:06]: Yeah. I want to ask you something, though, if you don't mind. Yeah, go for it. To your podcast and to you and to your guests. Yeah. One day I was listening to one of your episodes and I was on a hike. And it was a young woman in another country. I can't remember where. But I was into the podcast and her story. And she was talking about her own triggers. And then her dogs started barking. And I was getting mildly triggered. It wasn't a full-on trigger because it was, first of all, secondhand. You know, it's prerecorded.

Adeel [41:49]: Yeah.

Cory [41:50]: It's not happening. right now it's not right in front of me and the the dogs are in it sounds as though they're right outside or in another room and so it was a mild trigger um but i i it was it was annoying me enough that i had to just go to the next episode or whatever it was um but and you know and that's fine i wasn't upset i wasn't mad at it of course it is what it is um however i find it so interesting that There are so many common triggers among us, but I hardly ever hear people talk about dog barking being a trigger for their misophonia. And it's my number one. It's my number one trigger. Do you know many people that have that?

Adeel [42:34]: Yeah, I haven't heard about that one that much in particular. That's interesting. I mean, I have definitely heard of people who have triggers that might be very different from others. and so sometimes, I mean, uh, if you actually, if you're talking about, um, you might be, I don't know if that was the Marjorie episode for, I think she was in Panama, but she had an, she had an odd, um, well, I don't want to say odd, but an unusual trigger of, um, of her dad rubbing his hands together. So there are definitely, um, triggers that, uh, I think are different. Um, but it's just, it's, yeah, I mean, but obviously they're all related because they're kind of sound based. Um, So I don't, yeah, I mean, the jury's out as to how that works, but it just happens that, you know, mouth and eating are the most, the most popular quote unquote, but.

Cory [43:29]: Yeah.

Adeel [43:31]: see how dog barking is one um yeah who knows how that um you know that develops but um yeah i have not no short answer to your long long answer to your short question uh i haven't i haven't heard uh i haven't heard that one that much um but i'm sure people listening uh are could probably identify somebody can Well, yeah, that's part of why I wanted to kind of just throw that out there.

Cory [43:58]: In case during future interviews someone else might say, oh, by the way, like that other dude, I hate dog barking too.

Adeel [44:04]: If you're listening, please hit us up, both of us, on Instagram. I think, Corey, we'd both love to know if dog barking triggers you. Because, I mean, everyone has, you know, it seems like a lot of people have dogs. So if that's a trigger, that is kind of tough in this society.

Cory [44:23]: Yeah, and the thing is, like I said, I love dogs, and I walk my dogs' friends. When I go to my friends' houses, their dogs come sit on my lap, and I pet them, and I just love them. And that's the other thing, too. During this time, because we're recording this during the quarantine, I'm single, no kids, I live alone, and I'm not dating right now. And so what I notice is I'm fulfilling that need for touch and intimacy to some extent. degree by going to visit my friends and cuddling with their dogs. So their dogs come and sit on my lap. Sometimes I have two of them and they're just so cuddly and loving me. And you know, it's, it's great. And when I leave, I feel good because I've visited with my friend who's at least six feet away and we're sitting outside, but I've been able to hug the dogs and there's, there really has been something therapeutic to that. which I found not surprising, but just interesting. So it's like almost a dichotomy. My number one trigger is a dog barking, but as of late, one of my main comforts is to cuddle up with dogs.

Adeel [45:29]: Yeah, that's interesting. But yeah, I mean, strange times call for strange situations like that. Speaking of that, I mean, have you had other, you know, interesting things happen during lockdown related to misophonia? Like, I don't know, maybe things getting better because people are just not out as much, walking around as much, or worse?

Cory [45:54]: It's not been such a matter of better or worse so much that because I'm sensitive, so hearing, I hear, I tell people, like, I hear everything. And so... So behind where I live, I live behind a school and there's a street that doesn't get a whole lot of car traffic. And so it's a good street for bike riding and jogging and walking your dog. And what I've noticed during the quarantine, there'll be times I'm sitting at home doing whatever and I'll hear suddenly hear voices. And it's like people laughing or joking or kids talking to their mom or kids playing. It's like, where are these voices coming from? And then I realized, oh, yeah, people can't go to the gym. They can't go to the beach. They can't go to parks, but they can. take their family and go on a bike ride. So I've been hearing a lot of that. And I, it doesn't bother me. I like it because it's, it's been like this link to other people and it's a nice sound. People are spending time with their family and they're getting exercise, walking their dogs. It's all positive. It's all nice, you know? So that's one of the good things that's come of it. You could say.

Adeel [46:57]: Gotcha. Yeah. Um, yeah, so, um, yeah, I guess, so have you had, um, have you, you know, you're single right now, you're not living with anyone. Have you had, um, has this come up with any relationships, um, intimate relationships that you've had in the past? And you don't have to, if, you know, if you don't want to talk about it, that's fine.

Cory [47:17]: Oh, no, that's fine. Um, misophonia, the people that I've, that I've had, close relationship yeah i guess i can kind of nutshell it like this because i'm i've spent most of my life being single i just i'm i'm just happier that way but i have a few more intimate relationships that were long term but the people that i've been in relationships with have been understanding and they had good table manners so um for the most part it was fine you know because they didn't trigger me themselves the only time would be an issue is if there's some external sound that's triggering me and they have a hard time understanding, like, why is that bothering you? It's across the street, you know, that kind of thing. But they just know, you know, they know what, and then the other thing is I have to sleep with a fan, white noise machine, cause that blocks out all the noise and then I can sleep. And so that can be kind of annoying to some people, but it's a, I guess it's a package deal, you know, as far as that goes, cause I gotta have it, you know?

Adeel [48:25]: Yeah, absolutely. And does that help you go to sleep, by the way, like having the white noise? Is there, there's no situation where you can go to sleep just with ambient?

Cory [48:34]: It does, it definitely helps. In fact, it's almost a Pavlovian effect, if you will. My dad, growing up, my dad always had either the, we grew up in the deep south, in southern Mississippi, in Louisiana, and it's, of course, really hot in the summer, and Even in the winter, though, my dad would either have the air conditioner on or a fan on. And so when it's time to go to sleep, that noise is, you know, it's going to be on. In fact, my mom would before going to bed, she would clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher and then run the dishwasher. So that white noise from the dishwasher is such a soothing sound to me. It puts me to sleep because I have that association. So like it's a feeling of home and comfort and security.

Adeel [49:22]: being taken care of and things are being clean and everything's good you know it's cool air it's like it's like a it's a it's a such a comfort you know yeah um yeah no that's fascinating yeah that is yeah there definitely could be a pavlovian aspect um for a lot of this stuff um yeah i guess maybe we should start to uh Start to wrap up. Actually, one thing I was curious about is if you had maybe reached out to any like audiologists or therapists at all or any professionals or have you just been, you know, learning and treating this yourself, like by far the majority of us?

Cory [50:06]: It's mostly been the latter. I find that, you know, I haven't really spoken directly to any audiologist. I did connect to someone audiologist in florida and we follow each other on instagram and because i i think i followed a hashtag hashtag misophonia and that's how i found them um but i haven't you know i live in a different state of course so i haven't made an appointment with them or anything but i like following them and learning about audiology and the other interesting um for lack of a better word disorders related to hearing yeah but as far as uh professional help. I haven't really sought out any professional help. I, I think one time I, I spoke to a doctor, a medical doctor about it a little bit, but he didn't know what I was talking about. So I just dropped it.

Adeel [50:56]: You know, not, not uncommon.

Cory [50:58]: Yeah, exactly. So I've learned so much from, it's been almost like a global community and sometimes you have to find these people, you know, like this podcast, for example.

Adeel [51:09]: Yeah.

Cory [51:09]: And just, just in connecting with people, and hearing about their triggers and what they do. And just the main thing for me is just, I guess it was about 13 years ago when I found out there's a word for this and that it's a real thing. Just knowing that other people have it, that gave me so much comfort in the way I articulated it at the time is that I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. It's not just me. That was huge for me. So that in and of itself was a tremendous, was tremendously therapeutic. And then from there, I've just been doing the things we talked about between my art and exercise and having control over situations as much as possible, including telling, letting everyone around me know about misophonia so that they can be prepared just in doing those things. I feel like I'm good. I feel like I can function way better than I'm in a much, much better place than I was say 15 years ago, for sure.

Adeel [52:09]: Well, that's great. I think we should end it on that positive note of art, exercise, community, and then just exploring your own coping mechanisms. I think we can learn a lot from each other. Absolutely. Good luck to everybody. Well, yeah, thanks again, Corey. I will have, yeah, thanks again for everything you talked about here, but also kind of the art that you're working on and sharing. I'll have links to those in the show notes if anyone's interested. A lot of artists have come on this podcast, so it's been cool to see.

Cory [52:44]: I've noticed that. Yeah. That's great.

Adeel [52:48]: All right. Well, thanks again, Corey.

Cory [52:50]: Okay, thank you. I really appreciate all of your work, and I really, truly believe it's helping people, so thanks again.

Adeel [52:56]: Thank you, Corey, and thanks, everyone. You can email hello at or find us on Instagram and Facebook at Misophonia Podcast and Twitter at Misophonia Show. Please leave a review in iTunes. And don't forget to check out The Miso List at Music, as always, is by Moby. And for now, until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [53:44]: you