Jono - Creative Exploration of Misophonia

S4 E22 - 7/28/2021
In this episode, the conversation between the host and Jono takes a deep dive into the musician, coffee entrepreneur, and comic writer's life with misophonia. Jono shares the evolution of his sensitivities from early experiences to how it affects him in his varied creative and professional endeavors. From his early realization about misophonia through provocative personal moments to its integration into his artistic output and work practices, particularly in managing audio elements in his digital marketing role. They discuss strategies for handling misophonia triggers and Jono's broader reflections on the condition's role in his life and creative processes. The episode concludes with a hopeful perspective on expanding the awareness and exploration of misophonia through creative channels and community support.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 4, Episode 22. My name's Steele Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week, I finally get to publish my conversation with musician, coffee entrepreneur, comic writer, and serial room leaver, Jono, or Jonathan. There are a lot of creative people on the show this season, and Jono is a perfect example. First, I really want to say to please check out the album, Life in Misophonia, by his band, Baggage. We talk about it in this interview, obviously, but I really love listening to it. If you like indie rock with some punk and shoegazer mixed in, and great melodies, you'll love this. I also want to plug Giano's coffee company, Rootless Coffee. They do small batch roasting and ship everywhere. I actually ordered their variety pack of four types of beans, and it's great stuff. Even mixed some shows under their caffeine energy. As you know, I'm a huge advocate for supporting businesses owned by or affiliated with my Misophonia brothers and sisters, so please take a look here, and I'll have links to all these in the show notes. Plus Jono's Comics, which we will also touch on. Okay, let's get to this interview. But first, I do want to say I've noticed an uptick in people leaving ratings on Apple Podcasts, which is amazing. It's really the easiest way to support the show and get it recommended by the algorithms to more people. So please take a moment to do that in whichever app you're listening on. All right. Now here's my conversation with Giano. Giano, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Jono [1:39]: Thank you so much for having me. I was very excited when you reached out because what a particular thing.

Adeel [1:45]: Yeah. And I know I rarely reach out. I try to let people come and it happens. Like people just kind of, uh, sign up, but you know, you're one of the, you know, you're one of the few people that's like, Oh, I definitely have to get you on. Actually somebody, uh, uh, recommended that I reach out to you. And I was like, of course, you know, so I did a, um, um, I'll babble on a little bit at the beginning here. But when I started this, I also made a Spotify playlist that I wanted to make kind of collaborative so people can kind of put their favorite, either Misophonia specific songs or stuff that kind of helps them get through. And your Misophonia song was one of the first ones that I put on there. And I'm sure we'll kind of tap on that a little bit. I've been listening to that kind of on repeat this week, just in preparation for this. Oh, that's awesome. Um, yeah. And, and actually, yeah. So before I start babbling too much as I am prone to do, why don't we kind of like hear a little bit about you kind of like where you're located and kind of what you do. It looks like you have your hands on a lot of things.

Jono [2:46]: Yeah. So I am, uh, located near Flint, Michigan. Um, I've been around here most of my life. Uh, when it comes to the things I currently do or did, uh, there are a lot of them, but narrow it down a bit. Um, Everything from, I was in touring bands. That's what I was most known for. So I was in a band called The Swellers from 2002 to 2015. Then from there, I went on to write for a few music magazines. I love that I'm trying to make my own bullet points because I'm like, I did a bunch of stuff. So currently, I guess a good way of putting it is I am one of the owners of Rootless Coffee Co. So it's a small batch roaster in Flint, Michigan. I am... in three different bands uh so baggage where i sing and play bass braided veins where i play drums and then a band called no trigger based out of worcester massachusetts um and i met them years ago from early stuff but i was also a hired gun drummer for a few years as well so when my main band broke up i was kind of a free floater as far as a musician so i would hop with other bands and be a hired gun in that way um and then on top of all those things I am currently the creative director for Karma Jack Digital Marketing Agency out of Detroit. And I'm a comic writer as well.

Adeel [4:13]: Excellent. Yes. Okay. Right. So I'm going to have links to all these. But I did notice the comic publication that you just did on Instagram. So that looks really interesting as well. Wow. I didn't realize you had that many things going. That's amazing. The band No Trigger, any relation to Misophonia or was that coincidence?

Jono [4:35]: Oh, absolute coincidence, yep.

Adeel [4:37]: Okay, you found that band, so I figure, yeah, okay, gotcha. Yeah, let's, maybe let's just, there's so much to talk about, about kind of what you do, but maybe let's just go back specifically about Misophonia, like, you know, you're, it's to the point where you're singing about it now, but where, how did it kind of start for you? Like, when did you start to notice it?

Jono [4:58]: there are a few really big moments in my life um that i go back to now um i guess the way i found out what misophonia was was there was a facebook video floating around and i was watching and i got teary-eyed because i was like there's a there's a thing it's a thing i just felt that way and i didn't know know what was going on um so after watching it and like getting this full explainer of going okay i'm not absolutely crazy like i thought i was um i would go back to certain moments so one of them was i remember riding in a car with my mom and my friends and someone was crunching a water bottle and my mom screamed like stop it that's annoying and i was like i i don't think that was a big deal that's weird uh so that was the first time i observed kind of someone else having that i'm like huh And then fast forward, I remember I lived in a Chicago suburb and I think the Bulls won It was like the repeat, the three-peat or something against the Utah Jazz.

Adeel [6:01]: I think we were around the same age, so yeah. The references make sense.

Jono [6:04]: Yeah, to date myself. So TVs were still black and white. But I remember everyone jumping up and cheering, and then I don't know what it was. It was like a switch flipped off in my brain, and I just... was very upset and i'm like this was really jarring and i didn't expect it and i didn't like that so that was the number two moment and then number three which was the most modern version of it um my band went on tour we brought our friend with us and this is the first time i've ever been around a nail biter um and i have never really witnessed that before but there's just and i i know there's obviously triggers when talking about these certain things so i don't want to you know go into hyper detail but it was the first time I witnessed a chronic nail biter. And I just felt this just rage, unexplainable rage every time it would happen. So I would have to start putting on music. And as a musician, You are very literally crammed in these tiny vans with people for eight hours a day. You get to the venue, you sit backstage, crammed with a bunch of people. And that's like, you get a bunch of people eating fast food and smacking their lips and doing the whole thing. So it was kind of this like slow snowball of... one of these things made me feel strange. Then I started thinking about it, which made other things make me feel strange. And then kind of more so in like, I guess this modern era of my own misophonia, I have way more triggers than I used to. It wasn't like this immediate thing when I was born, but I don't know if it was a control thing, a manners thing, a learned thing, whatever it may be. Now it is totally different. Now, pretty much just anything that I feel is unnecessary, I've noticed are the main triggers for me. And that involves lip smacking while eating, nail biting, and then just like unnecessary repetitive noise, which could be from trying to fall asleep on tour and people snoring and then me having to blast music to be able to fall asleep.

Adeel [8:18]: So repetitive noise is not necessarily human made.

Jono [8:23]: noises or uh mostly human made mostly yeah yep uh because i've noticed too so a lot of my friends are very aware especially after you know we'll talk about the album and stuff but like life and misophonia the album that i did uh even my parents bring up the stuff now which is really funny they're like oh is that are you okay is that like making you mad i'm like that's fine it'll be i don't know um water dripping or some some mechanical thing maybe that's like on an exact repetition whereas a human made one i'm always trying to correct it in my brain being like it doesn't have to do that that can be solved right still happening right there is free will within that person and they've decided to ruin my life kind of yeah yeah yeah

Adeel [9:11]: Right. Okay. Okay. So, yeah, it's interesting. So, yeah, just to kind of recap your childhood, well, at least the misophony part. So, it was, yeah, interesting. So, you noticed your mom. So, does your mom have misophony? Like, have you talked to her about it after that moment? Or since you knew it was?

Jono [9:31]: I kind of brought it up, but I've noticed it's only for certain things. So, hers are tapping or... TV commercial volume. And it has to be for her. So, yeah. Like, I haven't gone to length about it, but I've definitely brought it up. And I'm like, I remember this moment. Do you? She's like, well, yeah, it's annoying. It's stupid.

Adeel [9:55]: Yeah, yeah. That's about all I get out of it. Right. And then through, so was it also, like, dinner table with the family? Did it start to, like, expand at that point? Or was it much later that you really started to you have the triggers expand on you.

Jono [10:11]: I remember I was actually on tour in a band when that's when it was like the full on trigger. And it was all based on people eating in close proximity because there's if you have any assortment of people And this mostly being in the band world, you're going to have one superstar and then you're going to have at least one lip smacker for chewing. So and I feel like this will be the revelation that we have later in the show or something. But the thing I've spent a lot of time processing because I'm a writer and I like live in my own thoughts, which is the joy of all this. I've had to force myself to come to the realization that people aren't doing things that are wrong. They are just doing what's natural to them. And the control thing, I am absolutely self-aware of the situation as it happens. And I think that is the upsetting part where I know the stuff is happening and I'll like jolt my neck. Like if my wife maybe bites her nails or something like that. And I feel my head just snap over and stare and then she'll put her hand down. And I'm like, That's awful. I really don't like that my body is acting quicker than my brain. And I don't know if you feel that or other guests have felt that, but I've noticed it's like a strange, unfortunate muscle memory for me now.

Adeel [11:40]: Yeah, I was just talking about this earlier today when somebody asked, like, what do you have, talking to all these people, what do you think this is about? And I'm like, you know, I'm not a doctor, but, you know, it's come up where people kind of theorize whether it's almost like there are two parts of your brain go into action at that moment, where one is this kind of ancient lizard brain that is looking out for danger around you. And then there's the modern brain, which is self-aware and is in conflict with this old brain, which seems to be rewired or unwired or rewired in a way that is kind of assigning danger to all kinds of sounds where your modern brain is And so at least somehow, you know, it seems like maybe there's something dormant or something misconfigured from the past that is coming back to haunt us. I don't know if you've ever thought about it that way.

Jono [12:37]: Yeah. Like one of the first things was the whole fight or flight thing where it's that feeling. So one of the major ones for me, which is it's obviously been a very strange, awful year for a lot of people. Um, but one, I don't know what you're talking about, but yeah, one like really wild thing though, is I, my wife was like trying to not go to many movies because I, when I'm in the moment, it's like, I don't, I don't know how to wear this. Like, let's say like late at night you do something stupid or awful or whatever it may be. And then in the morning you're like, or you go through some type of trauma, let's say. And then in the morning you wake up and then you're like, I feel better now. So then. It didn't happen. OK. And then you move on. So that's how I feel in a weird roundabout way of like if I would go to the movies and people were eating popcorn around me or like maybe whispering or whatever. Again, it's a controlled thing where very literally popcorn is made to pop when people chew it. It is one of my other main specifically made food trigger.

Adeel [13:41]: Yeah.

Jono [13:42]: And I have a very hard time because I'll hear it. I always say it's like having spider sense without any of the benefits.

Adeel [13:50]: Right.

Jono [13:50]: You can't act on any of it. You just get upset. That sucks. But I could hear everything going on. So she kind of like pulled me out of going to movies. And then we started going to like matinees and we started like trying to do different things. And then once COVID hit and movie theaters weren't a thing and I would watch movies from home. And I would be able to focus and like enjoy myself. And then I would start going back to those moments, those fight or flight moments where I would hear someone like unwrapping a candy bar way too loud or like these really dumb things. But I remember it was so bad that I would grab my leg to feel pain. So I couldn't focus on the sound. And I was like, this is such an awful response to this thing. Just so I could say I went to a movie. And I was like, it was, clenching my teeth, grinding my teeth, doing all these things, whether it was subconsciously or willingly to get away from that feeling. And you try and combat this like you said like there's the old brain and the new brain right like there's there's body parts there's wisdom teeth these things that haven't fully evolved and i am absolutely aware that brains can be you know wired in a certain way that's not the same as everyone else what is unfortunate is knowing that and it's still happening um so and i guess not to you know throw a curveball on this but i'm sure you know it's the joy of conversation yeah but i imagine do you probably have a lot of people that deal with anxiety as well oh yeah there's there's all kinds of comorbidities so anxiety ocd uh and then a lot of uh ptsd and cptsd stuff that that has come up for sure and and so the the reason i asked is because i'm i have really bad anxiety um but i've noticed that like since I was a kid, I did like I would randomly just start crying for no reason or just feel like everyone hated me, all these really strange feelings. And then I never knew if the misophonia was a byproduct of that or they were, you know, working in parallel with each other, some kind of thing. Another thing I noticed, too, having been in coffee, you know, we could talk this as well. So when I was working at Starbucks like years ago, I was drinking like six shots of espresso per drink because, A, stupid, but B, because all of us were like, oh, man, this is stressful. Well, we should like power through it. So what we were doing was giving ourselves essentially panic attacks later in the day, but not correlating to it being affiliated with. the withdrawal of caffeine because we would do so much. And then later in the day, like there's one thing, and I'll always remember this, just going to the back room and I was completely fine. And my face started crying. Like my like emotions and physical self just completely split and it just started happening. And I was like, this isn't good. So I like went to the doctor and I'm like, I have something going on, I need help. And the first thing they were like, just don't drink as much coffee. But what I started realizing was, there's obviously a sweet spot. So for me, like mental illness and all that aside, like I always felt a bit lethargic and needed like two hours of brain thaw time in the morning. And I was having these jobs that didn't allow for it. So the first hour in the morning, I am irritable as hell. If someone tries talking to me, I'm already mad. Any sound is just exaggerated. And then I found if I drink coffee to like get myself to zero as opposed to this negative feeling. Then it was fine. So I eased back on coffee, did enough of it, which is, you know, the normal human amount, not the six shots per day. And for a bit, it really did help. I think my misophonia, maybe it was some kind of placebo effect or something, but it wasn't as bad as it was. So I do know personally that over caffeination and adding to my anxiety exacerbated the misophonia itself.

Adeel [18:17]: Yeah, stress comes up a lot as an exacerbator. And so, yeah, interesting. Yeah. Well, I mean, you're on edge when you're waiting for a trigger. So anything that like six shots of caffeine, well, I've never been on six shots of caffeine, but I would imagine that that just kind of, yeah, I mean, that's kind of puts you on edge and doesn't really let you relax, which is another key way of kind of getting over triggers. That, yeah, that kind of makes sense. Interesting.

Jono [18:48]: Yeah. And, and a lot of it was obviously trial and error on myself, unfortunately, because, you know, I'm trying to find a network. So for example, and, you know, not to discount it or anything, because I imagine a lot of the people probably listen to this, but I went into, it was like a, this is around the time of the baggage album was coming out. And I went into a misophonia part of a Facebook, a Facebook group. And I was like, Oh, we could like learn from each other and this will be great. Cause I, in other platforms or whatever, like I'll have one for, um, like comics professionals. So as a writer, I go in there, we all grow together, learn together, musicians, music industry, marketing. Like I I'm in all these different groups, but the one I went to in the misophonia thing, what. I realized there were very few helpful, like, hey, I learned from this, let's all learn together. And it was more of like, my damn neighbor keeps hitting this thing and it sucks. And everyone, you know, it just turned into like a lot of complaining. And I am the most, like, I can be one of the most negative people I know, even though I'm very hopeful and I like see the potential in everyone. But my brain auto-corrects the, everything sucks. I'm going to go complain. So when I saw like a group of that, I'm like, this is not the right place for me because I need someone to like, call me down, talk me out of the, you know, um, I don't know if you've witnessed that at all, but, but that, that's, that's an interesting thing because it's this new, newer concept for a lot of people. Um, but you know, how does the community work together to get through it?

Adeel [20:28]: yeah absolutely i mean i think the cycle of like uh what is a common cycle is like you have mr funny for your whole life that you don't know what it is you find out what it is and you're all of a sudden uh all night you're researching because this is like a revelation then you find the facebook group and it seems great there's 20 000 people and then after yeah after a few weeks you're like this is just like con this is like three sentences of rants like every two minutes from different people around the world um And so you kind of like taper that off. But people are still looking for communities. So, you know, Reddit is kind of the same thing. So, I mean, there's one inspiration for this show is to kind of like be able to talk to somebody for an hour, almost like, you know, NPR or Larry King kind of situation where we can just kind of like talk like friends and get to know each other. Because I've found that, you know, talking to other misophones, it's almost like you've You've known them kind of your whole life, or at least you kind of know this giant thing about them. And so there's an easy conversation and it seems to bring a lot of solace to people. So I a long way to say, yeah, I feel you. I totally agree on the online communities for me. So versus some of the things that I'm in as well. And there's, yeah, there's a need for some other way for us to kind of all, you know, join together and get to know each other.

Jono [21:48]: And that's, you know, the power of podcasts or long form interviews where obviously, you know, this is more of a conversational piece. But what I feel helps is adding all of the information around the bullet points. So you look at the bullet points being, I'm complaining, I'm upset, this sucks, or what do I do? but having context for all that, like how someone was raised, what they go through now. And like, you know, very similar to therapy, like being wildly honest about things helps so many more people. I have never in my life heard the, like when, so kind of to get into it. So I started a band called baggage and we did like two EPs and kind of did some, you know, regional touring, whatever, nothing big. And then for our big album, um, I, that was when my misophonia was at its worst. I was personally going through like a really hard time with a lot of other things. Um, you know, my band broke up a few years prior and I was trying to process, like, I'm not in a happy place. Also this part of my life is awful and I feel like I'm losing control. So I called it life and misophonia. And, um, that is a double play one very literally because that was like one thing it was so bad to the point where getting through the day was just pretty awful um and it was never that bad until that point uh number two being a musician with the hatred of sound because of various combination um and that's kind of like at the time i did a bunch of interviews and it was the first time everyone was hearing the word misophonia and You know, keep in mind, I only heard it like a year or two prior to that. So I was like, oh, my God, I could find some solace in this. I can meet people through this. This will be great. And a lot of my friends, like it was similar to when I used to post like vanity plates I thought were funny. And I had like hashtag Jono plates on Instagram. And it got to like I got to like a thousand posts or however many it was. And then tons of people started doing that. And then it became like an internet thing for a second on Instagram. And then people for years after that were texting me license plates. And I'm like, that's cool. Yeah, you don't have to do that anymore. Like I tried to like politely do it. So same with Misophonia where, not exaggerating, I've probably had 50 people text me in my like people I know and being like, I think I might have misophonia. And then they asked me about it. And I was like, oh, my God, I might be like a spokesperson for this and not realize because like when it comes to entertainment, like you, you have this platform, you don't necessarily realize. So, um, what I wanted to do with the album, um, and it was before, again, I got into even more personal bummer stuff. Band members are leaving like a bunch of stuff to pull a Larry David. It's a whole thing. Um, but, uh, like when I was getting ready to release the album, I reached out to the misophonia association and, uh, the Institute misophonia Institute, I believe. And I was like, I got on a call with both of the heads of those. And I'm like, I want to put our heads together and actually come up with this, like this plan, because I feel like I might have a platform I didn't realize. And I want to include something with our album and like not make it to where I'm benefiting from it. And the conversation kind of like started there. We're like, yeah. And then it was like, maybe we could do like pamphlets or something that we could include in records. And they're like, well, we don't have those yet, but we can make them. I'm like, Yeah, OK, well, we could do that. And then people started quitting my band, like right when the album was coming out and all of all of the like pieces were no longer in place. And then I was like, I'm going to just pump the brakes because I don't want to invest in this big movement or this this thing I believe in if my own medium and engine for it is falling apart. So I kind of just was like, never mind. So I like eased off that whole conversation. And in retrospect, I wish I didn't because I personally would have loved to pursue more and learned more and be able to relay that information. So A, you having this podcast is great, so thank you for doing it. And then B, thank you for having me on it because it's a very nice reminder of, oh yeah, this is the thing that I kind of just compartmentalize so I don't have to think about it. But it is important that I do because repression is a very real thing and it's not a healthy thing for humans.

Adeel [26:33]: Oh, no, thank you for that. That was a really, yeah, really interesting context around the time of the release of that album. I want to talk a little bit more about that. So I'm familiar with the Miss Funny Association and Tom Dozier at the Institute. They've both been on the podcast. And yeah, we should maybe talk after. Yeah, you know, I know you have a lot of stuff going on, but maybe we can just. brainstorm a little bit after after this call but yeah going back to uh i should be writing notes but yeah so around the time you were um so so yeah one thing i want to understand was uh was when you set out to write the album was misophonia kind of one of the main themes that you were going to uh write about i know that a lot of the album is about uh being in a band itself and a lot of the things that come up come with that and then there's a lot of lyrics about miss plenty as well i'm curious did you set out to write the album on mr funny or was that something that you kind of uh um uh you kind of evolved while you were while you were working on it um the

Jono [27:34]: I always write, I guess, from the heart and the gut. So there's, and as you're mentioning, you're working on like a musical concept album, all that. There's something about being a creative where you just let your body do the thing. And then what comes out, you're like, oh, there it is. That's my subconscious. That's what I'm really feeling. I've always believed in doing that with lyrics. So I'd write a melody first. then that would come after um so or sorry that that's not necessarily the case i would just start singing and i would say those words um yeah so i would i started to notice a trend and pretty much all i wanted to do is connect those dots so um the the album is very much to me a half and half of the life and misophonia concept where part of it was i was starting to hate being in a band my life because of it. Whereas I was watching like my friends around that world, you know, in bands and outside of bands thrive. And I was like, why, why isn't this happening to me? And, you know, it was just processing like really strange, primitive feelings. So the song Horseshoe, for example, that's, we played a show in Rochester, New York. And I think like eight people showed up and keep in mind, like this is after the band I was in that like was starting to sell out shows and doing a bunch of stuff. And I'm like, I'm at the time getting closer to 30, um, Just what am I doing? Why am I doing it? And there's a joke in music called the horseshoe where when there's not enough people at a concert, they all kind of like stand spread apart. And it's never someone close up to the stage in the middle. They're the one that's already all the way in the back. And then everyone does the horseshoe shape around because it's too awkward to be close. So that was kind of the whole concept on that end. And other parts of that, too, like our my band fan that i used for years broke down on one of our tours like things were very literally falling apart for that dance in particular um the other half of it was processing like anxiety depression and then what i started noticing was like the misophonia through line through a lot of that so why am i such an uptight person why am i um angry a lot and what things are being affected by that. Because I started getting hypercritical of myself for being hypercritical of others at all times. And that was a very exhausting feeling.

Adeel [30:14]: Yeah, that can cycle, definitely. You mind if I read it? So there's obviously the song Misophonia, but there are a couple other of my favorite songs on the album, like Choking on Nothing. I can't concentrate. They're all watching me choking on nothing. I try to shake it off, but I can't break free. Choking on nothing. I mean, that has to do with the concentration. I don't know if it has to do with Misophonia, but I really felt that... Because, you know, concentration breaking is like glass breaking to me. And I feel like that kind of captures that. And hotel hallway, I love too. Lay in your bed and hope no one knocks. Forget to hang the do not disturb sign next to the lock. The help box soon is too awkward to talk. Every door is the same and you're to blame. Yep. I mean, yeah, we all feel that. But I love that metaphor with the hotel room and do not disturb sign. I hadn't thought of that before. That's great. So for me, I...

Jono [31:15]: for the longest time I had trouble speaking clearly about things that were actually affecting me, but I could speak very openly about cosmetic things, right? So like, yeah, the tour is going great. We're having a good time. Oh, we have a new album coming out, whatever. And then the second I would talk about anything serious out loud without music behind it, I would start kind of like feeling that like breaking down feeling like, okay this is getting too heavy and i would back out and i'd make a bunch of jokes because that's what i do i'm like my brain is very fast so i use it for like comedy as a shield um me too man uh absolutely people people would be yeah sorry go on but but i mean to your point like like conan o'brien for example like he deals with a bunch of stuff stephen colbert like all these very like quick-witted people yeah because their brain is so fast they also are very good at processing negative emotions very quickly. And that's why I feel like misophonia being a byproduct of that as well, because like, why am I generating this thing when I don't want that feeling there? So lyrically, I was just trying to like, how the hell do you explain this to someone? Right. So metaphors. Here's a here's a way you could digest that, like whatever hopeless feeling it may be. And I never There's a line in that Hotel Hallway song. I don't know if you watched BoJack Horseman, but I was a really big fan of that cartoon that was on Netflix. And it dealt with like depression and some really serious issues. And one of the things they talked about was fetishizing sadness and how some people willingly gravitate toward it instead of changing their life for the better and running away from it. And I kind of freaked myself out. And that song being part of that, where I was like, am I like oddly enjoying the struggle so I could talk about it and like, you know, claim it as this thing? Like, yeah.

Adeel [33:17]: I think that's something every artist, yeah, that's probably something every artist kind of thinks about at some point. It's like, am I doing this just because it's, you know, it makes it more productive or, you know, like if I just snap out of it, if I just stop, you know, trying to create the next piece of art, maybe I'll just be happier. I think it's probably something a lot of people think about at some point.

Jono [33:39]: and the flip of trying to suffer on purpose to make better yeah you know and that's such a like toxic awful thing but people get caught in that loop because they hear these sad songs where people are opening up and they're like i want to be like that like no you don't writing a writing a melody is not worth the payoff um so you know back on the misophonia side of things like Because it is a seemingly abstract concept that when people first hear about it, they think it's a joke. So to put it in perspective, the drummer of Baggage at the time, he was like... doing this like mouth chewing thing like kind of as a joke to like a bunch of people and then like kept getting closer to my face i'm like can you please stop man can you please stop i was like what what and he made it worse and worse and worse and then i was like i have an actual thing where this is really bad for me can you please stop and then he did it more and then the other guys had to yell at him and he's like what and they explained what was going on and he was like oh And that's how strange of a thing it is for so many people, as you can attest to for having this podcast and all of these guests. It is trying to explain to someone, oh, so I think most people are wrong in the things they do because my brain tells me that way. So I want to have the control of having them not do that anymore, but I know I can't, so I have to live in that cycle. That sucks. And that's the heavier version of saying, I don't like stones, which that's how people think, right? Like, I'm annoyed by chewing or something. Like, it's so much, unfortunately, deeper than that.

Adeel [35:17]: Absolutely. Yeah, it's a lot more than that. And yeah, another thing that comes up is that it just gets exhausting for us to explain it to the point where at some point we start to calculate like, is this even worth telling this particular person, whoever I'm in front of? because there's the probability that you'll be either dismissed or mocked or have the sound repeated is high enough that you were almost like, I'm just don't even bother. So we just internalize it and bottle it up. And another reason why I think, you know, doing something creatively like you're doing is a great outlet because rather than, you know, trying to explain it literally, which can often fail.

Jono [36:03]: And especially without, well, I was going to say, especially without like a diagnosis, right? Like very rarely it's like, oh, here's my doctor's note for this thing I have.

Adeel [36:14]: Have you gone, have you talked to, I don't know, I'm assuming with some of the other issues, you've talked to therapists in the past. Have they known about misophonia? Have you mentioned it up or brought it up?

Jono [36:27]: First, I went to a doctor who told me to drink less coffee. And I said, no, I'm already drinking less coffee from the last time you told me. And that ended there. And then the therapist I was going to for other things, which is where I learned the beauty of repression and how it could lead to chemical imbalances. It was like this like really nice older lady who just, so to put it in perspective, at one point she handed me a book called the very worried walrus and left the room to go to the bathroom. And it was a children's book about a walrus who was afraid to ride his bike because he didn't want to get hurt. And then finally, after he stopped coming up with excuses, he tried riding the bike and then he was able to do it and it was fine. And I like, I had this moment where I was like, I don't think this is the person to talk to about this because I brought up to her. The idea of misophonia and all that. And she was looking at me like I was speaking another language. And I was like, well, I believe after doing my own research, which obviously people love to hear in professional fields. Listen, doctor.

Adeel [37:32]: Self-diagnosis. Yeah.

Jono [37:35]: WebMD for everything. So I was like this from based on what I've seen and some people I've talked to, it's triggered from anxiety, OCD or anxiety. you know, I could count the rest on all my, my limbs or whatever. Uh, so yeah. And, and it was just like, well, you know, maybe you should just, Oh, so her advice was, um, you should journal the things that you're witnessing. And I was like, okay. So she tried to like play along for a second. So I went to a movie that night, had another awful time. And she was like, well, I want you to work through those moments. And it was like this very, uh, I forgot what the term is. There's one of the doctors from the Misophonia Institute or someone in that world was talking about like the idea of like a positive replacement or reinforcement kind of thing. So I was like, OK, well, I'm going to not pinch my leg until it hurts and I'm feeling pain and I'm going to like be present during the sounds that upset me. And it was 10 times worse. And I was like, this isn't, this isn't fixed because I've, I have a pretty strong will and I feel like my brain is fairly powerful. And that is not a thing that I can just change after going to a movie one time or during the movie where it's happening. So I like, you know, reported, she's like, well, did you try hard enough? I'm like, yup. So it's a dead end, you know?

Adeel [39:10]: Yeah, it's not exposure therapy, but it's kind of like trying to fight through it and trying to change your thinking in the middle of a trigger is kind of the worst time. And so, yeah, that's something that people don't try a second time, I think. yeah typically um so what what are your some some of your kind of i guess coping mechanisms um you know you mentioned the stuff that you do when you're when you're in theater but uh i mean is it typical like headphones and um believing situations as much as possible or um yeah curious kind of how your how your day-to-day is yeah so um it's

Jono [39:54]: I'm glad this podcast is here so I could feel accountable for the things I do. So initially some of the things were, okay, I need, I need a fan to sleep. I now know that after having been on tour and having to listen to music very loud, all the snores. So I was like, okay. And I had to learn how to fall asleep to music just so I could sleep because that's how bad like white noise wasn't even blocking it. Now that I'm home, I need a white noise machine, sometimes like some drops of CBD and earplugs, like that whole combination just to fall asleep. So I'm a very light sleeper as well. But I am a cereal room leaver. And I've kind of unfortunately like like and I'll disguise it with like washing dishes or something. Yeah. So like I'll kind of just like casually get up like, oh, I eat really fast. Crazy. And then I get up and start doing the dishes. And then, you know, my wife's still eating or. anyone need another drink you know something like that yeah yeah or i have to go to the bathroom and check my phone um so like i when i'm at my parents house that happens sometimes or like i could just feel like i i don't know if you feel this way do you ever feel like you have um almost like a level like you're leveling up in oh this is going to be bad this is going to be bad

Adeel [41:17]: Yeah. Um, yeah. Well, yeah. When I, when I go into situation, it kind of like sized up, like who's, who's in the room, like what's happened in the past and try to figure out like, um, you know, how close do I need to be to the, to an exit?

Jono [41:31]: Yeah. So, uh, while I'm in, I kind of have like a few strike rule. And again, like I sound very neurotic talking about it, but like, these are how, this is how I cope. Um, so for example, we'll be with like a, full family like gathering thing or friends or whatever it may be. And I'll, I'll, I'll hear one or see some one person doing a thing and I, and I'll be present for a second. I'm like, okay, I'm going to let this happen. I'm going to, I'm going to hear what they have for me. And then I'm like, okay yeah still bad all right cool got it and then i'll like it's almost like lightning strikes where like i count in between and that's what i mean by like that like that meter essentially like when i like i know it's gonna get to ten so when i'm at like a six or a seven i'm like this is gonna keep going up and i'm going to clench my jaw or do like a snap head turn and look at someone or say the worst thing that i do and i hate that i can't control this is try and allude to the thing in a sly way without being mean, but be like, oh, like, are you eating something? Like if someone walks by and they're like chewing something and I hear them like breathing out of their nose or like, And I do those and it slips out and I'm like, I hate that I do that. And I have so much guilt after because I'm like, I could have just not said anything very easily because I can't do anything. And in my head, I think there's going to be some kind of positive reinforcement or a tweak that I could make for someone else, which is, again, such an awful controlling thing. I'd be like, hey. little comment and then they go, oh yeah, good point. And then they stop and then their behavior changed forever.

Adeel [43:26]: Like that doesn't get an Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan Kenobi them into complying.

Jono [43:31]: Yeah. And then, but like those thoughts make me realize like, okay, this is the control thing because the world isn't operating in the way I want it to. Um, and I, I feel like there is some combination of fight or flight and control that,

Adeel [43:50]: makes this negative cocktail that is misophonia yeah control comes up a lot um and uh yeah i mean yeah you're you're not that now you're you're leveling thing is i think similar to something something i mentioned is um maybe is it's just kind of like being a being aware before a trigger starts and while while it's getting worse that to try to kind of like prepare your mind to kind of hopefully um well i guess you're i mean in your situation you're not telling your mind to kind of calm down maybe you are but i i sometimes tell people like okay if you're gonna sit down and eat or something over the family or whatever just kind of before anything happens just tell your brain look around You know, you're not in the Amazon jungle like five million years ago. Nothing's going to come and jump on you or attack you. And that can somehow if you can catch it early enough, that can maybe lower the stress level in your brain enough to like not react as hard. It's what happens is like when you don't think about it and then a trigger happens and then it's like game on and or almost like game over where it's like it's going to be a downward spiral no matter what you try to do. So, yeah. So I'm going to try that leveling thing, too, is to try to give you give a three strikes or I'm out kind of strategy. See how that goes.

Jono [45:08]: What what I and again, I don't I don't necessarily advise it because I, again, don't know what's right. Whereas. Years prior, a therapist said, be in the moment, work through it like that's a little easier than done on my end. I have literally just reverted to having to get up a lot. Oh, I got to go wash the dishes. Oh. And you know, when I eat, like my wife and I only eat with a TV on, we have TV trays and we sit with the TV on and I'll have to be like, Hey, can you turn it up a little bit? And like, and it's not a her specific thing. It's just like most people. And what the awful thing is like, I'll hear one, whatever the sound may be or something like that. And I think a lot of people, they think the feeling is, oh, I find this sound gross or unnerved or whatever, but they don't realize. And especially like as an individual, the way I feel, I very literally feel my whole body tensing up. I start getting a headache. I could feel my heart pounding and it's from a noise. And trying to explain that to someone that this is an actual physical response, not just a mental thing where I think something is gross or, you know, exactly.

Adeel [46:34]: And.

Jono [46:37]: that that's one of the the most confusing things to explain and keep in mind like if you have a good circle of friends they they totally understand and they're super cool about it and like even some of my friends will like uh my friend sean who owns the uh rootless coffee with me will be somewhere and he'll look at me and go that's driving you crazy isn't it like oh yeah uh And like it's kind of like our nice little like inside joke thing where it's like no one else has to know. It's cool. Yeah. But what I noticed was like I was at the Flint Farmers Market. It's like this really big spread out place. So I could be like 15 feet away from someone at the table. So Sean and I will go there and do some work. And then people like someone got wings and they were like four tables away. Keep in mind how how long that distance is. And they were doing the finger sucking thing. And my personal background is I'm also a germaphobe. So putting your fingers in your mouth was already like a weird thing for me. then you add the sound to it and then it just adds that extra like oh like it was like a almost like a whistle sound but there's this frequency um and i kind of mentioned this in the actual like mr funny song like uh a good frequency means everything to me yes i have that written down yeah and the the reason that is is because um it's like the it's the nails on the chalkboard concept where a like thumb suck sound hits this frequency that I can't explain. And I, again, don't unfortunately know enough about music or sound or whatever, um, where it's just like, it's white pain through my brain. Like I, I literally feel the ache and I can't turn it off. Uh, it seems if you like, if you hit your shin on something, like it's, it's that kind of feeling. And, um, Yeah. Anyway, the long-winded version of that short is there are certain sounds and the lasting effects of them are, I think, very surprising to a lot of people.

Adeel [48:45]: Absolutely. You did mention another thing that has come up a lot is the feelings of guilt and shame about giving the glare or whatever you have to do. Has that come up a lot for you? And it can also lead to distance between whether it's friendships or family relationships or whatnot. Is that something that's kind of...

Jono [49:15]: been on your mind too or have you noticed that in in your life um i i have but if if i'm genuinely friends enough with someone it will bypass that feeling um so for example like some of my friends that i know eat a certain way um i just don't make eye contact i'm just heads down or like eyes down the whole time um I usually will eat really fast to get through it sooner so I could get up and, you know, like I mentioned before, I get up often. But I haven't actually like completely pushed away anyone for that reason or like left them out of a thing. But maybe that type of situation I have. So like it's less of, hey, you want to go out to get food and more of, hey, let's go get coffee. Right. Can't really mess that one up. Right. And so this is one I want to send your way. So slurping sounds were a very big one for me. But a strange one was when I went to Japan and everyone was drinking ramen, like native Japanese people were drinking ramen and slurping it. And someone explained to me, oh, no, you have to do that because it aerates it and cools it down and you get all of the flavors similar to coffee. And I swear to God, it turned that switch off of my brain. I went, oh, OK. And then I had a weird moment where I was like. I think I've just added meaning to this thing and it's now practical, whereas before it was unnecessary. And I like solved that one thing. Have you found that with any of those kinds of triggers?

Adeel [51:00]: You know, that's really interesting. No, I haven't really found that, but that could be linked to just the fact that you've kind of convinced your brain that it's not dangerous and there is some context behind it. Maybe that's what's going on there. And somehow, fortunately, it hardened in your brain and maybe it's forever linked that way. And that's why I turned it off. That's really interesting.

Jono [51:22]: Yeah, because I like I'm. I'm vegetarian and would be traveling all over the world to these different countries on tour. And I remember like, so part of my control thing was like, well, I need to find like a vegan restaurant or I need to find whatever. And then I noticed that I was inconveniencing other people with my personal lifestyle. And then that's what started making me think about it. And I'm like, if I reverse the situation, that's how people think about me when I'm doing this stuff to them. And I was like, huh and you know so i've had these like revelations like that where for example different cultures there are different sounds or different ways of existing that are just different um so i i often wonder like maybe it's i was raised in this way and then when i put in the world and i see other versions of it because so for example like my brother like he's uh pretty intense chewer and like we've talked about it and he was like when I started like openly talking about all this stuff he was one of the first people he's like I always thought you were just being rude but I didn't know there was like an actual thing going on and he like apologized and like you don't have to like I just unfortunately can't like watch you eat but I don't really want to watch anyone eat, to be fair. So there's these certain moments where I could solve something and crack the code, and I add context and meaning to it. And then there's other things where I'm like, I will never understand. Like popcorn. The existence of it is to make a pop because people like eating popcorn. loud fun foods chips another one for me i can't be in a room when people are eating chips because every single bite like is one of my triggers 10 times as loud yeah yeah so it's a food meant to project right so for me, for you, for a lot of people, that that's just like this exacerbated trigger. So I have to remember though, that the purpose of the food and the reason the person likes eating that food are the same thing. Like it's actually a thing people enjoy. So I've tried to like make sense of certain triggers like that. But even then I'd be like, well, you could like, bite the chip, but put your mouth all the way around it. So it's not as loud. And then I start like, you know, I started thinking as you were saying that I was like, yeah, but because it like, like a mouth is a megaphone if you use it a certain way. So like with certain foods and like, well, you put it in your mouth, then you close your mouth and then you chew like, but, but again, I'm sure you've heard, you know, now over a hundred people be like, well, why can't people just do this? That's this thought that we all have. It's hard to disconnect ourselves from that.

Adeel [54:19]: Absolutely, yeah. The ramen explanation, since it actually makes a little bit more, I don't know, plausible sense, maybe that's why that stuck. But you're right, all these other things like chips, I mean, yeah, there's really no difference between... in terms of enjoyment between eating it quietly and eating it loudly. So we're like, just take it easy on that chip. Yeah. So, yeah, we're getting to about an hour. I feel like we haven't even... I'd like to actually talk a little bit about some of your more your creative projects, I guess, before before we go. So, you know, Life of Miss Phonia, obviously, I'm going to make sure as many people as possible. But have you has Miss Phonia creeped into any of your other creative projects or business projects since then?

Jono [55:09]: So the the creative projects, as far as like if I'm doing digital marketing, for example, Um, or rootless coffee where I'm, so I do a lot of, or I do all of our like social media and all that. What I've noticed is when I'm editing video, uh, like lip smacking, all these little things where I'm like, I would change that. And I have the ability to have that control for those moments and be like, all right, like I'm playing cool. Um, So in those cases, as far as like editing others, you have a podcast and I apologize for any sounds I'm making.

Adeel [55:45]: No, I go into, I go into Logic Pro and I edit everything up by hand and I have, now I have iZotope RX8 where I can like, it's got, it actually has a mouth de-click setting specifically for mouth sounds.

Jono [55:56]: oh wow okay uh anyways but uh but that's like that's one of those that one of the things i think about often where yeah i i did um are you familiar with loom like the the video sharing yeah yeah are we talking about yeah yeah so um i did one for one of our clients where i was walking through like a website wireframe yesterday And I realized I haven't had water in a while. And I just was making like really intense saliva sounds. And I watched the video 10 times in a row. It's a five minute video. So it was almost a full hour of reviewing this. And all I can think of was that one time when I start talking, I sound like I have really bad dry mouth. I wonder if they're going to be upset about it. And I just... was like critiquing my, and I'm like, nope, send over, move on. It's like, you know, so in that aspect, sure. I, whether it's me or other people, like I noticed that and we're all on zoom calls and calls and hearing people talking to him, whatever. Another one is if, if people eat on the phone with me, I just don't find that necessary or conductive to anything real. So I, I can't, hang with that. One of my friends... I tell people to stop eating, yeah, on a Zoom call or whatever. I mean, that's just... Yeah, you're eating into a microphone. Like, put it on mute, you know? And that's not even like a... like misophonia thing that's just that's weird you're projecting that sound um so anyway so like that kind of thing's happened a few times uh where i was uh my friend and i were working on a project and we would be on like two to three hour calls and then he would start eating like a salad while we were talking but he wouldn't put it on mute and i like without having to try and explain the whole misophonia thing to every single person i talked to i'd be like hey man, can you put it on mute while you're eating? It's like, oh, is it bugging me? Yup. Then it makes you think, does it not bug other people?

Adeel [57:58]: Yeah, I was like, the fact that I've maybe brought her up suggests that it is bothering me.

Jono [58:05]: I actually like it. Can you turn it up? So there's that version. And then one of the first comics that technically got picked up and then the person kind of just disappeared. Um, but I was, I was working on one that was based on, uh, so since I'm like from the Flint area, like I was around when the whole Flint water crisis was going on and I did one about how, uh, I w I wanted to tell a story about anxiety and misophonia and all of these things through the con the context of, um, a young barista again, but I also did. It was like, it was very obviously like me, all of this was me. But then it was like, how do I throw this into a wild metaphor and make it a thing? So what happened was when this guy had anxiety bad enough, he was able to control things with his mind. So the thing we talk about where I want control, I want control, I want to do this. um it was like the negative side of it of this is what would actually happen where maybe you can't control that and it only happens when you're the most anxious so why would you be making rational choices um so uh i won't say the name of it just in case one day i actually you know give it another shot but um it was politely passed on or you know when it did get picked up guy disappeared so it'll never be a thing probably but anyway i actually very literally had a whole scene about someone eating buffalo wings and that starting to be like the the instigator for this thing where you start seeing him doing the thing that i was talking about like where like you're leveling up and you're like hey can you stop that whatever and then it gets worse worse worse worse and then boom something really bad happens um so almost like stranger things but anxiety driven and not like interdimensional or whatever um so so i i have messed with that kind of stuff in creative projects so that so in theory like all of them other than coffee because i think it'd be really hard to sell a coffee for this coffee sounds good don't worry but you know like i it now that you mentioned it like it really has kind of ended up in a lot of the creative projects i do which i guess is a my way of venting about anything

Adeel [60:22]: Yeah, I think there's a lot of opportunity, I think, to see this and to explore this creatively. Maybe one more lyric to close the show. It's from flying home from a funeral, a far funeral. Instead of questioning what's over my head, I'll try to remember what you said. Do your best to spread hope around. Don't get distracted with the hatred of sound. Those are the last words, I think, on the album. And yeah, I think a great way to maybe end this interview, I want to thank you, Jono, for coming on. This has been really enlightening and it's been great to have you. And I know a lot of fans are going to, and new fans are going to want to hear what you have to say. So yeah, thanks for coming on.

Jono [61:04]: Thanks so much for doing what you do and for letting me be a part of it. I really appreciate it.

Adeel [61:08]: Thank you, Jono. Everyone, please go listen to Baggage. Grab a bag of beans from Rootless Coffee and pick up some comics. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you're listening to the podcast. Music here is always by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.