Gisselle - From childhood irritation to coping mechanisms

S1 E1 - 11/13/2019
In this episode, Adeel talks to Gisselle from Denver about her experiences living with misophonia. Gisselle shared how she's been dealing with misophonia since her childhood, initially mistaking her sensitivity to sounds for issues related to manners, such as people not chewing with their mouths closed. She finds headphones indispensable, especially for coping in public spaces and during her commute. Gisselle, a student nearing the completion of her degree, discussed how smaller and quieter classes have helped her concentrate better. She also revealed that she was recently diagnosed with ADHD, which has impacted her studies and how she manages her misophonia. Notably, she hasn't sought any official diagnosis for misophonia but has self-diagnosed based on the symptoms she experiences. Other methods Gisselle mentioned for coping with misophonia include using brown and pink noise as well as a fan for white noise to help her focus and drown out triggering sounds. Adeel and Gisselle also talk about the potential of using THC and CBD as therapeutic measures, though Gisselle mainly uses THC recreationally, she is open to exploring its therapeutic benefits for misophonia. Towards the end, Gisselle expressed her interest in learning more from others' experiences through the podcast and the upcoming convention.


Adeel [0:04]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is episode one. My name is Adeel Amman and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Giselle from Denver. She was, I think, the first person to sign up as soon as I dropped some hints about the podcast on Reddit. Remember, if you want to be a guest, just go to and click the be a guest link to easily grab a time slot. Most slots are booked for the rest of the year, but keep checking back. Before we get started, just a reminder that I'm adding some brown noise to the background of all these interviews in case you're wondering why this sounds so different from other podcasts. I'd love to get your feedback on that or anything about the show. Just email hello at or through any social channel. I'm getting stickers with the logo and want to give them away, especially to early listeners. So if you want to email a mailing address, I'll send you some. All right, that's more than enough from me. Here's my conversation with Giselle. So welcome, Giselle. Glad to have you here.

Gisselle [1:06]: Yeah, thank you.

Adeel [1:07]: I guess let's start. Tell me a little bit about you. Where in the world are you? There's probably listeners from everywhere.

Gisselle [1:14]: Right now, I live in Denver, Colorado. I've lived here my whole life. So yeah, Giselle.

Adeel [1:19]: So what do you do? Are you like a student or do you work somewhere in an office or?

Gisselle [1:23]: Yeah, I go to school downtown. Yeah.

Adeel [1:27]: Yeah. So I was at the convention last week in Denver and there was definitely, this is the first time they had two tracks. They actually had a family track because there's a lot of students, a lot of people who have problems in school. How is it, I guess, at the school you're at?

Gisselle [1:43]: So now that I have like smaller classes, now that I'm wrapping up my degree,

Adeel [1:49]: it's a lot better because a lot smaller classes there's not like 200 people or 100 people in a lecture and it's also like older students too for the most part so that could be good or bad but yeah yeah definitely so okay and then um and so how do you are you coping with it like what are you i don't want to get too much into like you know triggers because they you know they can kind of like set some people off um

Gisselle [2:11]: like you know what how do you how do you handle it with i mean i see you got uh airpods on so i'm sure having stuff in your ears as as for me is key yeah um i had never really made the association but like since my freshman year of school i've always just have headphones on when i'm walking or like on the bus or anything yeah so that's definitely the moment class is over headphones go in and then it's like that when i'm at the library um on the bus home always. Yeah. So headphones are definitely super important. Can't leave the house without them. Oh yeah.

Adeel [2:44]: Do you only have, do you have a, do you only have AirPods or do you have other form factors?

Gisselle [2:48]: So yeah, I had the, the beats, like the actual headphones that those were really nice. I just like, yeah, I just snapped the thing. So I don't use them anymore, but they still work. Um, and then I have the beats wireless. before I got the AirPods. And I like those a lot too.

Adeel [3:03]: Yeah, I always have Bluetooth. And then I always have wired too. Like something that's wired in case I lose batteries.

Gisselle [3:11]: Exactly. The AirPods is really convenient though because like... The carrier for them charges them. So it's super cool.

Adeel [3:19]: So I don't know if you've seen the pros, but the pros that are coming out next year have the... So for me, the normal AirPods don't fit in my ear, but I need the in-ear and these ones have them.

Gisselle [3:30]: So I'm like... Yeah, I did see that. And then like they also are like saying that they are noise cancelling too. So I wonder if they're better than these. Yeah.

Adeel [3:37]: That'll be interesting to see how they do that with... Yeah. Well, I guess if they're in-ear, it'll be easier to noise cancel, but... I switched to Pixel because I wanted to keep the small headphone jack. So Google's coming out with something later this year too. So I'm excited about that.

Gisselle [3:53]: Nice. Cool to hear that it's not completely obsolete, the audio jack.

Adeel [3:58]: Yep. Yep. For now, at least.

Gisselle [4:00]: Definitely.

Adeel [4:01]: So I guess, so yeah, that's kind of how you're coping with it now. So going back, how long have you had this?

Gisselle [4:09]: So as far as I could remember, because I have I have two younger brothers. Um, they're actually my half brothers. So their stepdad, like, I feel like he was the first person that would really trigger me. Just like eat with his mouth open and, and it'd be like really noisy and just like really gross. And then my brothers, like he modeled that behavior for them. And then they would do the same. So I'd be sitting there and it'd be like two or three of them. And I'd be like, Oh my God. And then, yeah. And then after like. Your mom too at all?

Adeel [4:42]: Or was it mainly your dad?

Gisselle [4:44]: So my stepdad went eating. Yeah. My mom would just kind of like be making like sounds with her teeth and that kind of bugged me or like, yeah, but mostly my stepdad and brothers really, so like, probably the biggest triggers like chewing and hearing and eating like seeing people like chew their mouth open or hearing it that's probably the biggest one you know that's interesting i i just remember just a few days ago at the convention there was like almost 10 of us around some table and everybody's first triggers was their dad specifically like yeah and he's like my stepdad so there's even more like yeah he's just like this volatile person all in all so yeah and then i had never really so like today i took um some survey questions for a study about that like someone was asking for people to take a survey in the misophonia um subreddit so i took it and then yeah i was asking like who triggers you and i had never really that this person was just an awful person in my life period so it's kind of crazy so your relationship outside of the misophonia is not is not ideal saying that this is just kind of adds to it or it's just uh I feel like this is where it began and then it kind of follows me elsewhere yeah yeah like even at work hearing people eat like yeah it's a lot yeah or tapping and stuff in class too like people shaking their leg I can see it and hear it a lot so I'll do um I'll sit in the front of the class

Adeel [6:18]: always so i don't see it yeah oh so you can't you're right so is there another thing that came up that i know is like visual triggers accompany misophonia a lot and i'm hearing more of that or at least it's being identified like people are trying to make or starting to make that connection 100 yeah triggers are are yeah part and parcel definitely so going back going back to your i'm just curious when you first kind of like when they first started bothering you how did you how did you handle it then obviously you didn't know what the term misophonia was i was wondering were you confused was it like oh this is definitely the mouth and there's something like did you ever feel guilty like i'm you know something guilty kind of yes for like yelling everybody and stuff but then i also had like

Gisselle [7:00]: When I was growing up with it, I was like, it's a manner thing, like manners, like an etiquette thing. Like, just please chew with your mouth closed or like, please don't smack your food. So that's not like I thought it was just like these people don't have table manners.

Adeel [7:13]: Yeah.

Gisselle [7:13]: But yeah.

Adeel [7:15]: And then you and then the triggers then in the in your life kind of expand beyond that, then obviously the tapping and.

Gisselle [7:24]: Yeah, definitely. Even like breathing sometimes, even like elementary school, like we'd be taking like a standardized exam, right? And then everyone has to be quiet. yeah, someone's breathing or like just like bottle noises, like the body makes kind of. Right.

Adeel [7:39]: Yeah. Yeah. I know all about that. Yeah. And so I guess, um, and so, um, you know, you, I, you accommodate it. Well, at least you cope with it with headphones or does the school do any kind of accommodations for you? Have you talked to anybody there or is it just like you're bottling it up for now?

Gisselle [7:56]: Yeah. Kind of more like me just dealing with it. And then also, um, I would say like maybe, um, Less than a year ago, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD. So that has helped me get back on track in terms of college. I haven't asked for any accommodations in terms of that, but I feel like I should for an exam to be able to take it. in complete silence would just help a lot. So I should definitely reach out to the disability section of my institution and check that out.

Adeel [8:26]: Yeah, I'm curious about that. So you were diagnosed officially with ADHD. Any official diagnosis for misophonia through, I don't know, audiologist or anybody, or that's just not...

Gisselle [8:37]: not quite yet um yeah just like definitely just self-diagnosed because like the rage and all these things yeah um but yeah actually i have not followed up with um a therapist for my therapist i definitely should to do that gotcha and it has the so whatever i don't know you know i don't know what your therapist or whatever are doing for adhd i'm just curious has do you think um a is that getting better and it has working on the adhd helped your miso at all or is it totally separate so being medicated has helped me a lot so we're treating it in that way and it's helped me a lot um and just like actually being able to focus in class um and kind of direct my focus a little bit better but um yeah i feel like it helped not pay attention to the noises my classmates are making especially if i'm sitting at the front and stuff like that um so that helped Also, just feel like in this one class I have, there's not just many people don't eat and stuff in class. That just takes away the issue to begin with.

Adeel [9:39]: Right. Yeah, it's interesting. I'm not a therapist, but when we were at the convention, one of the bartenders was saying a similar thing where she's like, I can hear everything across the room. Everything seems like it's at the same volume. And the, I won't say who, but one of the therapists there said, you know what I tell my patients is to kind of listen to like extremely loud music and just your ears are too sensitive. Just deaden them.

Gisselle [10:01]: Yeah.

Adeel [10:01]: I wouldn't, I wouldn't, you know, I'm not, I'm not going to tell anybody to do that, but that was just an interesting thing. And she's quite serious about it. So.

Gisselle [10:08]: Yeah. I mean, if anything, I feel like I've aided in like my hearing loss. Cause I would like, when I was younger, I'd fall asleep with like headphones on and my parents would be like, don't do that. like it's not but like yeah i've always liked loud music and stuff but regardless still like the trigger sounds are still a lot and i can still hear them so yeah but loud music it's always turned all the way up does help a lot on public transportation and stuff so obviously it sounds like you know your family doesn't doesn't seem to like

Adeel [10:38]: you know, know much about it. Yeah. Do you have anyone else around who are, who is supportive? Like, have you told other people or is it just completely just, it's just you basically?

Gisselle [10:48]: Yeah. So I share this with me with like my brother, but yeah, not usually most people just because it doesn't come off like the top of my head to bring it up.

Adeel [10:57]: It's not mainstream yet.

Gisselle [10:58]: Yeah. Or if they are making this noise, I go out of my way to just put my headphones on or remove myself from the situation or like leave. But yeah, I feel bad telling people like, hey, please don't eat like this or that. I would feel guilty almost telling them. So that's why I just remove myself from the situation.

Adeel [11:19]: So how did you self-diagnose initially? Did you just read it? Did you Google for it? Or did you come across an article or something?

Gisselle [11:26]: Yeah, I came across something that was like, oh, this thing is a disorder. And I was like, oh, my God, there's a name for this thing? I didn't have to kind of research. It was like, oh, no, there's a name for this thing. And I know I have these symptoms. these triggers and these issues so how does it make you feel was it like a relief or was it like emotionally just like oh my god this is explained so much and i'm just like i wish i definitely feel like it's a relief definitely when i learn these like things or that could explain like disorder that like put everything yeah make everything make sense so yeah so it's like okay it's not entirely my fault that i'm being irrational like i'm not the only one i'm not just crazy so that was nice but yeah and then just like but reading about that there's not really like much to do other than control our response to the stimuli. That's kind of bittersweet. I don't know.

Adeel [12:20]: Right. And in your readings, obviously there's headphones, but there was one lecture or whatever talk last week about trying CBD. There's devices you can put in that are not iPods, but they're just a white noise kind of thing. Have you gone to that list to kind of like research other stuff or? Sure. You're just like, oh, well, you know, headphones are enough. I mean, me personally, like headphones are kind of enough for me for now, at least. And I can remove myself from the situation, too. Of course, yeah. I'm just curious if you've heard of other mechanisms or tried anything or curious.

Gisselle [12:59]: Yeah, sure. So actually a few weeks ago, I like came across something or like an article or something talking about like white noise and brown noise and pink noise. And I was like, OK, cool. It was more like to help focus. Right. And I was like kind of like looking up things to help me be more efficient with my study time. So I came across this. Yeah. And then actually really like it. I really like pink noise and brown noise because they're at a lower frequency. So, yeah, I do like those things a lot. I always have my fan on in my room, and I didn't realize that that is a thing that acts as white noise and neutralizes sound. So it kind of also made sense. I was like, okay, that's cool. But yeah, I definitely will do that. It helps, again, when I'm in the library or trying to study. It really does help block out noises.

Adeel [13:46]: Yeah, definitely. So this podcast, I'm planning to put brown noise in the background just because... I don't know what we're going to hear, so it might drive me crazy, or I would have to drive everybody crazy. I think in the background, it would sound like we're basically in a rainforest or something. Or I might actually use a beach sound or whatever.

Gisselle [14:06]: No, yeah, that's super awesome.

Adeel [14:07]: I think we'd be the first podcast to have injected sound, I think would be...

Gisselle [14:12]: That would be really cool. Yeah, I like that. And that would control for a lot of like sound things. Yeah, 100% because I definitely feel that when I listen to it.

Adeel [14:19]: It would be cool to ask the guests, like, what would you like in the background? And everyone is kind of different. It could be death metal or it could be just white noise.

Gisselle [14:27]: Yeah, maybe have themes. Yeah, that'd be kind of cool. When you listen to a podcast and you can hear all of these things in the back. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Adeel [14:37]: Exactly. Cool. So, okay. So there's nobody else. So you don't have any friends or that habit to, or you have, are there any meetups? So I know I went to the convention last week, but I'm just curious if there are, if you've reached out for any like meetups and stuff. One thing that I've noticed since the last convention is there has been kind of a push. Maybe that's one reason why I started the podcast to have more like. in real life kind of like meetups because people have found that these conversations kind of like at least when we get together just kind of helps a lot i'm just curious if you've looked around in denver for stuff like that or yeah actually i do have like a coworker and we've touched on this topic and yeah we both are like actually yeah we're very like sensitive to these things and then it's kind of funny because like

Gisselle [15:20]: like when we eat together it's like both very mindful almost right like like we don't want to i'm i'm conscious of the way i eat right because i would hate for other people to feel like i almost imagine other people here that amplified as i do or react the same way so It's kind of funny, yeah, how she also has these feelings. So, yeah, how she carries herself around, like, dining and stuff is interesting.

Adeel [15:44]: Yeah.

Gisselle [15:44]: Other than that, yeah.

Adeel [15:46]: That was interesting about being at the convention. It was like the first time that we were all especially mindful because it's kind of like being in the other person's shoes. exactly and so and and your uh your other co-worker uh do you can modify what kind of work that is like i'm sure um yeah me and my friend baked together so yeah oh interesting okay so i'm just curious like what yeah gotcha gotcha yeah like edibles with like thc and yeah Right. I was curious because, you know, some like if you're sitting in a cubicle, that can be a terrible thing. But if you're baking, then have music on.

Gisselle [16:21]: Yeah, it's a really relaxed environment. Yeah, we're hanging out, kind of doing stuff. Yeah, that's why I'm saying I could just remove myself. If like people start eating, I'll just like leave, go somewhere else, go outside. put my headphones on if they're not already in.

Adeel [16:33]: Well, that could be part of the therapy too. I mean, I would sign into one of those, you know, talk on CBD.

Gisselle [16:40]: Cool.

Adeel [16:41]: I haven't tried that as a therapy yet, but I was quite curious. So that'd be interesting if it kind of like works in with your work, some potential therapies for this.

Gisselle [16:53]: Yeah, definitely. I use THC regularly, but I've never thought about it

Adeel [16:59]: like to use it as therapeutically for this so yeah that'd be kind of cool yeah yeah for that i'm still kind of researching that stuff too but uh yeah there might be something there but you know this is a neurological uh you know this is a neurological thing ultimately so 100 we're still early in the research for that but uh hopefully we'll figure things out yeah Well, yeah, so I know, you know, a lot of people are out there who are used to bottling this up, so they're all going to benefit from hearing this, and we'll be able to really... 100%.

Gisselle [17:32]: I'm excited to hear about others' experiences.

Adeel [17:35]: Well, obviously, I'll be talking about, like, the convention and the upcoming next year. I think it would be cool to have... Yeah, if you can try to make it up to Philly, that would be... Definitely, that would be cool, yeah.

Gisselle [17:48]: um it's an interesting little little group um no yeah check that out it would be really cool to learn more just continue to learn more about this so yeah definitely want to check it out cool well um yeah thanks so much for being on no yeah episode of this new miss funny podcast of course no thank you for doing this and thank you for having me

Adeel [18:09]: And that's our first episode. Thank you for listening. And make sure to subscribe to hear more stories of Misophonia. I have people from all over the world coming up on future episodes. I'd love to hear from you. Email hello at Follow on Twitter at Misophonia Show or on Facebook and Instagram at Misophonia Podcast. Theme music is by Moby. Until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.