Kyle - Teacher embraces misophonia, educates students

S4 E26 - 8/25/2021
In an in-depth conversation, Kyle, a multi-talented artist, musician, and art teacher from New Orleans, shares his journey living with misophonia. The discussion kicks off with insights into Kyle's personal and professional life, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of his experiences with misophonia in various settings. Kyle reveals that, unlike many, teaching in a classroom doesn't usually trigger his misophonia unless students chew gum. This specific trigger has recently prompted him to make changes, such as including a note about misophonia in his syllabus to manage classroom triggers and foster understanding among his students. He hopes to teach them about misophonia, potentially spreading awareness. Kyle also touches on his initial struggles to find therapists knowledgeable about misophonia and his careful consideration of medication due to concerns about addiction, given his self-described addictive personality. Despite the challenges, Kyle sees misophonia influencing his creative endeavors, like autobiographical comics and music, although he hasn't directly tackled the topic in his work yet. The conversation wraps up with Kyle mentioning pop culture references that he feels may relate to misophonia, suggesting a broader cultural understanding and representation of the condition.


Adeel [0:00]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 4, Episode 26. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week, I'm excited to bring a conversation I had with Kyle. There are a lot of conversations where I feel I can relate to the guest's experiences, as I'm sure you can too, but this one felt more than usual. Kyle's an art teacher, an artist, musician, and a dad living in New Orleans. Check out our Instagram story at Misophonia Podcast, where I'll be pasting some examples of Kyle's work. Of course, I'll have links in the show notes as well. By the way, you'll want to follow us on social anyways, because I've got something launching very soon. And that is the official Misophonia Podcast app. That's more than just a podcast player. I'll be talking a lot more about that on later episodes. Remember, if you want to be on the show, I still have some slots for season five open. I'd love to hear from more men, actually. I know for various reasons, it's unfortunately not as natural for men to talk about this stuff, but I think it's important. And ultimately, the numbers show that this hits men just as hard. But right now, please enjoy my conversation with Kyle. Kyle, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Right on. So, yeah, as you just sang, you've listened to a lot of episodes. I'd like to kind of get a feel for where people are located.

Kyle [1:23]: I live in New Orleans.

Adeel [1:25]: Oh, right on. Okay. And, yeah, so what do you do out there in New Orleans?

Kyle [1:31]: So I'm an artist. I'm a cartoonist. I draw comics. I'm a printmaker, mostly screen printing. I also play music, but to make money, I'm an art teacher. I teach high school art. I've been doing that. I've been in my current job about 13 years. I'm married. I have a wife of 18 years. I've got two little kids, a six- and a three-year-old. And recently moved to a new house, so when I'm not doing all those other things, I'm settling into this new house. It's a big part of my life these days, too. Fixing stuff up, I'm assuming. Just getting settled. Yeah, just getting it livable again. Getting stuff out of boxes, all of that.

Adeel [2:11]: Yeah. Yeah. Right on. Uh, okay. Yeah. So yeah, a lot of stuff going on there. Um, uh, I mean, let's, let's talk about maybe the, the teaching part right now, or you, you're not probably going into a classroom at this time. I'm assuming are you doing online teaching? No, I am actually. Oh, you are. Okay.

Kyle [2:29]: Part of the year was, um, yeah, so there was part of my school year that was, um, just at home. But, uh, since, uh, we've had different phases, um, i don't know but currently i've been back at school i don't know a few months um so we i'm there four days a week and then we're off on wednesdays so they can like clean the building and we could kind of have a separation day um and um and my students only come i have a group that comes two days a week another group come another two days a week so yeah i'm in i'm there some i'm on the computer some a little bit of both this year

Adeel [3:04]: Gotcha. Okay. Okay. So with all the things you got going on, um, how is kind of, uh, misophonia playing into your, kind of your present, present life? And we'll, we'll go back to the, to early Kyle days later. But, uh, yeah. Curious what the, what the state of affairs is now.

Kyle [3:22]: Yeah. Um, so yeah, I've heard people say, um, you know, I've heard you talk about in the, in the podcast about different jobs, maybe being better for me though or not. And, um, I could see where for some people being in like a classroom setting might be pretty challenging because, I mean, there's people around all the time. I've never really found that. It's kind of interesting, you know, it's interesting the way, you know, some of us have certain things that trigger us and certain things, certain situations we're fine. And for me in teaching, nothing's really bothered me too much. The one thing that has in more recent years started to get to me a little is when I have students chewing gum. But it's interesting that that's only been, you know, past few years or so that I've really sort of started to notice that more. And so I actually, well, this has been something of like an awakening for me about this whole miso thing in the last few years. You know, from when I learned what it was, that it had a name, and then just starting to take small steps to kind of take it more seriously and like really like acknowledge this is like a real thing that I need to do something about. Um, and so, so at school, um, uh, two or three years ago, I actually put it in my syllabus, um, that I have misophonia and as an explanation for like why you can't, you know, chew gum in class or whatever.

Adeel [4:42]: and um and so i kind of that's been interesting using it as a little brief moment to kind of um spread the word about visa a little bit explain it so this is your yeah so this is like uh the syllabus is just like a teacher bio or something for for kids uh to kind of learn a little bit more about you is it on like the website for the school

Kyle [5:02]: uh it's not on the website it's just the syllabus i give them at the beginning of the class at the beginning of the school year that kind of explains what the what the class is about and then like what classroom rules are that kind of thing ah right and so what's been the uh what's been the feedback to that about you have you had uh anyone push back or be curious or maybe even identify i mean um yes i have had a couple students be like oh I think I might have that or like, Oh, I have that. Or, you know, and I never really got much deeper into it with them than that. But, um, I thought, um, I guess I sort of hoped that maybe like, Oh, maybe I taught them the word for the first time and they'll go learn more about it or something. Um, just a small little way of advocating.

Adeel [5:47]: Absolutely. That's something I've been thinking about. I used to mention on the podcast how I'd like to go to school counselors and try to have more people inside schools aware of it so that they can look for kids who might be falling behind because they just cannot stand it at school.

Kyle [6:06]: Definitely. I've heard you talk a lot about accommodations at school or at work. I know accommodations are a big important thing at my school for kids with different um you know different issues um i've never heard anyone specifically say meso as an issue but um yeah i'm curious i mean surely there are many there are numerous kids at my school that have it and um so i was wondering you know yeah maybe it could be interesting to like try to get them get a club started or something to just raise a little awareness around schools about it

Adeel [6:39]: I don't know. I haven't gotten there yet. Just kind of been thinking about it. Right, right, right. You've got enough stuff going on. But that would be interesting. I mean, there's that UCLA group at the college level, which a lot of people are interested in. So, yeah, it would be great if it was going to spread around at different levels of school. so before so you said uh yeah you didn't really notice it much at school until like a couple years ago before that was it mainly uh outside school like at the home or just in kind of social situations that you were feeling it yeah um so this definitely originated more at home um it started when i was really young uh with my parents um so yeah i was reflecting on um kind of where this things originated and um my earliest memories

Kyle [7:25]: would be, I think I would probably, I must've been five years old. I remember all of a sudden noticing my mom's eating and just really, really being bothered by it. And I just kind of, you know, not understanding like, where did this come from? Like, I mean, I was only five, but I just, I, I remember sort of thinking about like, why is this all of a sudden happening? And I never noticed it before. Did I change? Did she change? Right. Something changed. And it was around the same time that my mom was pregnant with my, my sister. And so I remember thinking in my brain, like, well, this is one thing that changed. Could this be it? You know, and then now I'm like, you know, looking back, like, you know, was I jealous? Was there stress around that moment of, you know, things changing in my life or something? You know, I don't know. I don't know really what the cause is. But anyway, that's where it first started was with my mom and her eating. And then I remember, I guess I must have been really upset or something at one point. My dad kind of pulled me aside, was kind of mad at me, and I was like, there's something about my mom's eating, and he essentially just kind of was dismissive, probably not understanding or supportive. And so I think I really, I learned in that moment, like, you know, just keep your mouth shut, and just, this is kind of like my problem, you know. I got to deal with this myself, internally, and, you know, I don't know that I ever brought it up again, even though it's just like... tortured me yeah childhood and still does but um you know i just knew that the response was like um you know i'm not interested in that like you know stop complaining so uh right never really brought it up again and then later my dad um also became a trigger his eating um and then a lot of things with my actually you know it's kind of i made a list for this so it could kind of think about like what what all the things were and when and um realized like there are a lot of things with my dad too i always think of it kind of starting with my mom but then with my dad there's things around like um breathing sounds like nose wheezing i remember sitting in church like next thing right next to him and just being like please get me out you know right there all i could hear was the sound of the nose yeah just so many things about the way that the mouth moves eating ice cream you know ice cream all these

Adeel [9:40]: my dad that grew over the over the coming years did it um did it so you said like yeah you never brought it up again because you were you know definitely going to be dismissed did it turn into like a uh basically starting to try to avoid uh spending time with your family um as much as you could obviously you have to be taken to places like church but uh just kind of i'm curious how that uh How did it, you know, subliminally, especially in your case, subliminally, because you weren't talking about how it affected your relationship with your other family members.

Kyle [10:13]: I think so. I mean, I definitely remember my strategy during mealtimes because we were a family who would sit at the table together for dinner. I would just kind of keep my head down, focus on my food. I kind of realized, you know, If I could just focus on what I'm doing, my plate, and kind of put my brain on that, then it could distract me from what's going on around me. But my main strategy was like eat and get out of there as quick as I could. And then, you know, go up to my room and spend the rest of my evening up there away from everyone. I don't know because I definitely am kind of a shy kid. I've always been kind of introverted. um kept to myself so um you know maybe part of that could connect to the miso and things i learned from those experiences i think it connects to you know other broader things in my personality and life as well it all kind of comes together to yeah i think uh i've uh tended toward a kind of life of you know keeping to myself more and not being a big social person

Adeel [11:16]: At that point, did you start to, you know, you're going, is that when you start to get interested in art and music? And did you ever use those as kind of a way to, I know for me, I definitely would listen to a lot of music, but also I just remember having like a song stuck in my head. And I think on purpose, just so I can distract myself from anything that was around me. I'm curious if you noticed any kind of connection between using art as a way to distract yourself as well.

Kyle [11:44]: So I don't I don't know that I ever made like a direct connection to that, but I definitely see. I mean, it makes a lot of sense that, you know, art as like a mostly for me, mostly solitary practice and even music making to, you know, like sitting in my room playing guitar and writing songs or whatever. Yeah, it's something I've almost always done alone. and um i mean i love that's i love those moments it's like the best just like being in the zone by myself deep into a project in my own brain um so uh yeah the fact that i'm not having to deal with the stresses of other people's whether that's the sounds they're making or you know other things um i definitely think that probably relates to why i ended up down this path of being an artist

Adeel [12:33]: yeah no that that makes a lot of sense and uh and so you weren't um you weren't talking about it much at home what about at school and with your friends that are growing up was that something that uh were you being triggered by them that doesn't always happen uh i've heard but uh i'm curious if you mentioned it to anybody or if there were any incidents so not really um i do recall a friend like a neighborhood friend who i would hang out a lot with around the neighborhood who

Kyle [13:02]: I was probably like middle school age or something. And all of a sudden one day I noticed the way he was eating. And I noticed that response in myself, you know, same as I was with my parents. And I was like, Oh no, it's not, not him too. You know? Cause I think I thought maybe it was just a thing with my parents. Right. Right. Right. Yeah. So there was that moment. But I don't know. I, I, I feel like I always had this way of a little bit kind of knowing how to shift my brain over like shifting the attention or distracting myself onto something else um when i was feeling myself triggered so so maybe in the future when i if he was eating i would just kind of like focus on tv or something like that and try not to think about it but so there was that one friend but other i don't recall any other friends or people in school growing up i don't remember it being an issue with them for so long it was my parents it was all about my parents

Adeel [13:59]: Yeah. Same here. And then I'm assuming at some point, either college or right after things started to just explode.

Kyle [14:07]: Um, really, I, I would say, honestly, my parents always remained an issue. Um, but the stuff that kind of, that I deal with more these days, it didn't really occur. I'll say more like my, my thirties really, a bunch of other things started to accumulate. Um, I don't know. In my 20s, like, I was away from my parents. So maybe that was like a kind of a relief to not have that input. And yeah, in a way, I kind of think I didn't notice it so much for like a decade or so, you know. I don't know. I was having fun, living life, discovering, you know, I moved to a different town and making new friends. I was drinking way more than I should have been. And just like, you know, in this whole other headspace that I don't know, in a way kind of got me away from that somewhere.

Adeel [15:00]: That's weird. It really parallels my life. In my 20s, I didn't notice probably as much until probably the mid-naughts when I was, I guess, in my later 20s. And then that's probably what led me to start to Google random keywords related to hating sounds and whatever and stumbled upon some articles. But yeah, similarly, we had moved away from home probably, well, living on my own for the first time, so able to control the environment. consuming beverages of various types, you know, and it's, you know, having, having fun. Um, do you know, then what happened, I guess, uh, what, what led, what led to the change for you when things started to accumulate?

Kyle [15:43]: Um, so, um, that's a good question. Yeah. I guess I would point to, um, when dog barking started to become an issue for me. Um, so, um, that was, um, I forget exactly, probably early 30s. I mean, so I'm 42. So 10, a decade ago or so. I lived at a house where there was a dog kind of behind my house that was barking all the time. And I'd never noticed, dog barking had never been an issue before. But I started to notice it and just how constant it was. And it was every day. And then I started to notice, you know, I think this dog situation, I would consider it borderline kind of, abusive or neglectful the way that the owner was kind of neglecting the dog and um you know i kind of had this whole like fear of conflict and you know kind of i think from the way i was raised it's like learned like oh don't you know right no point in um approaching people because they're just gonna get mad at you or whatever um so you know i really struggled with how to deal with that situation and there was a lot of kind of immersion emotional turmoil happening over that. And I did take certain steps eventually calling the SPCA and the police and trying to talk to the owner and all this stuff. And nothing actually ever happened, but it was just such a stressful situation that, um, yeah, the dog barking just, it just started to really just tear me up. Um, and then I moved from there, uh, had about two years without dogs barking. And then at the new house, the neighbors got some dogs and the dog barking. Their dogs, they would mostly be outside all the time, barking all the time. So that just exacerbated it. It just kept building and building and building. So dog barking is actually probably the main one that I really struggle with today. I moved to a new house last summer. The dog barking issue was one thing I was trying to get away from, as well as a few other issues in the previous place. I basically solved most of the problems with the other place by moving to the new place, but not the dog.

Adeel [17:52]: Okay. Okay.

Kyle [17:53]: Um, unfortunately this is my third house in a row where now I have other neighbors who have dogs that bark a lot. And I really told myself, like I went into this very hopeful telling myself, like, um, I knew when I saw the house, there was a dog barking at a neighbor's house. And I thought, Oh, like, I don't know if I can do this. And, um, yeah, but this house is so great and all the other ways that, uh, I decided, like, I'm going to do this. I can do it. I can pull it off. I'm going to cleanse it, you know, with the right attitude. And that just fell apart pretty quickly. So I'm still very much dealing with the dog barking currently.

Adeel [18:30]: It's interesting how that optimism can make us feel like we can overcome anything when we're not in hyper-trigger. Probably when you're seeing the house, there's relatively low stress because we're excited about the future and the amazingness of this house. So our triggers are probably not as... We're not going to get triggered as much as we normally would when you finally buy the house. You're finally sitting on your own and... Now you're ripe to be triggered by that dog. It's interesting how we... kind of overlooked that for the optimism. So are some of the steps that you mentioned that you're kind of, you know, working on the house now, are some of the steps maybe, you know, making it clad, you know, cladding your house in some kind of acoustic material or any kind of acoustic treatments at all? Or that's unrelated? Yeah, a little bit, actually. Yeah.

Kyle [19:29]: So a little of both. But yes, I actually have been doing some things related to the dog issue. So one of the rooms in my house is my art studio, and it happens to be the way the house is laid out, fairly close to the side of the house where this dog is. So I can very clearly hear them. There's not any white noise or anything going on. Basically, I have four different white noise machines around my house strategically placed in points where I can hear them most clearly to block the sound when I'm in those spaces. And then in this room in my studio, there's a window unit in this room because it was kind of added on later room, so it's not part of the air conditioning of the house. And in that window unit hall, I mean, sound just comes right in. So I kind of blocked it up real nicely with a couple layers of wood and insulation and things to really try to minimize sound intrusion. I also, I guess there's different companies probably that make these anti-barking sound machines that you can, they put out like when a dog barks, it's got a, I don't know the terminology, ultrasonic, low-level sound that humans can't hear, but... dogs don't like the way it sounds or something like that yeah and so eventually it kind of trains them that their barking makes the sound that they don't like um supposed to decrease the barking on the fence line um and it seems to help a little bit um i mean they still go to other parts of the yard and bark but they seem to avoid like the fence area closer eventually they'll get it me a little more yeah right I'm considering putting a fence up against, like a wooden, like a really solid wooden fence there, the chain link fence currently. Right. So yeah, some things like that go, yeah.

Adeel [21:25]: Yeah, very cool. Okay. Yeah, I'd be curious to see how that all progresses. Have you noticed like a pretty, already a pretty significant decrease in the sound coming in or still a work in progress?

Kyle [21:41]: Um, I think it's less from the noise machine. Okay. And then really, I mean, really the main strategy that helps is the white noise using AirPods, you know, white noise app on my phone, the white noise machine scattered around the house. I turn on the, when I'm in the kitchen, the vent over the stove, you know, the fan makes a good noise. It blocks it out. Right, right. You know, the window unit running, just things like that that make noise.

Adeel [22:12]: That's my main strategy that really helps. Yeah, classic stuff. The white noise machines around the house, they're just kind of like units you plug into the wall. You don't have installed grill speakers or anything around your house that automatically turn on as you're walking through the house.

Kyle [22:30]: That's a great idea. No, I don't have that. But if I lived by myself, I would definitely do that. My wife hates white noise machines. She tells me that she hates the white noise machines as much as I hate the dogs barking. Okay, okay. So I have to kind of use them strategically. When I'm in my studio by myself, I can do whatever I want. But if I'm, let's say, in the kitchen with the family, I don't want to be annoying them by blaring white noise. So I have to kind of try to balance their needs with my needs.

Adeel [23:00]: Well, you should just cook a lot of smoky food. Then you have to turn that fan on at the stove, I think. Yeah.

Kyle [23:07]: is uh how's how's the family doing then in terms of uh uh well accommodating you maybe like helping you out or not or or just dealing with it so um around the time that i learned the term misophonia and found stuff on the internet um i i i don't know that was probably six seven eight years ago something like that um you know i told my wife about it and uh kind of like, okay, this is interesting. And I felt like it helped, um, her be a little more understanding at that point. Um, but this is kind of a real thing that I'm serious about. And it's not just some like little small complaint that I have. Um, so that helped. Um, but it still was, um, you know, it's been challenging kind of, I think it's been a process between my wife and I have kind of high points and low points off and on of like, um, She's been very supportive, but she also can, you know, take it personally at times and be upset by it, which I think is completely understandable. I mean, it can't be an easy thing to, you know, have to live with someone who has this and is, you know, saying, you know, I don't want to eat in the same room as you or something like that. So, yeah, it's been challenging. But I think my, me taking it more seriously and me, you know, trying to really proactively do things to make myself better and my life better in different ways. I think it helps the situation overall and it helps her see that I'm trying to do positive things about it. I don't know. It's a work in progress.

Adeel [24:46]: Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense. And you said you had kids, right? Are they triggers for you? Yeah.

Kyle [24:57]: So yeah, that's something that's been interesting. I've got a three-year-old and a six-year-old. They, for the most part, haven't been. But I've been very kind of scared of that potential. You know, I really don't want that to happen. But I actually have, in the last few months or year or so, I've noticed with my older kids, a few things starting to, some mouthing, mouth sounds, or chewing sounds starting to bother me. And, you know, I try to do this thing where it's like, I always feel like sometimes there's like this switch in my brain that I can flip on or off. If I'm not, when I'm at my best, like if I'm really de-stressed, like things are pretty okay. I'm much better at controlling this switch in my brain. But when I'm stressed, it's like, I can't control it at all. It's just, I can't do it. So, you know, but sometimes I just feel like I can like kind of, I, you know, say my son's doing something with his mouth and I'm like, I know that could become a trigger of mine if I let it. And so I guess it's maybe about shifting my attention or distracting myself or something like that. I just kind of try to be like, okay, I'm not going to focus on that. I'm going to think about these others, look at this other stuff or whatever until it goes away. Or maybe I'll leave the room or something like that. Because I worry if I kind of endure it and then the sort of... the intensity inside of myself builds and builds and builds. And that's when it's just going to kind of, you know, explode and become a full blown trigger. Um, so yeah, I, I, I've started to notice a little bit with my older kid. I feel like it's probably inevitable that, um, the longer I live with someone, the more just kind of be a thing that I'm going to have to deal with with them. You know, it probably will continue to grow because I know that it's kind of, um, common that, you know, you, you can accumulate more triggers over time, but, um,

Adeel [26:48]: i don't know i'm i'm trying not to let it happen as much as i can i know yeah hopefully it doesn't uh my small theory is that most you oh well i mean there have been people come on and their kids are you know are absolutely uh their triggers it doesn't happen that often so my little theory is just that your brain somehow which is assigning danger to all these other sounds uh you know in a you know uh extreme way somehow realizes that your own offspring are not dangerous to you uh and maybe that's the reason why um they're not triggers uh at least for me that's kind of what i think about when i mean my my kids don't trigger me but the moments when i feel like maybe that sun would normally trigger me on somebody else i try to think of it i try to remind myself that you know it's uh they're not a danger And that's something that I think I try, well, it doesn't always work, but I don't always remember to, but I try to, if when I try, when I can, I try to remind myself as I'm entering any situation that there might be a trigger that, hey, look around, you're not about to get jumped by a random sound or something. So that lizard brain sense of like warning you about danger should kind of chill out a bit. Yeah.

Kyle [28:07]: I've heard you say that, and I've tried that in previous podcasts. I've heard that where you're saying to yourself, I'm not in danger. And I've tried that here and there. And I do think that can help kind of if I can go into a situation and mentally prepare myself ahead of time. It's a lot better than just kind of all of a sudden getting ambushed and feeling trapped and not being able to get out of the situation if I go in knowing. I'm ready for it. I can handle it a little better.

Adeel [28:36]: Do you go on road trips with your family?

Kyle [28:41]: Yeah, we've done a few. Actually, being trapped in cars on occasion have been pretty bad. I've had a few pretty bad moments with some different people in cars with food. Oh, yeah. I feel kind of bad because my wife has this thing she calls road snacks. She's so excited about road snacks. Part of the fun of going on a trip is you get to eat these random road snacks. Chips or just things you might not normally eat. You get to indulge a little bit and have some fun. And then I'm like, please, can you put the peanuts away?

Adeel [29:21]: I feel like you're my white twin, I think. We have so many things in common here.

Kyle [29:28]: oh man well one thing i wanted to say going back a little bit um about the kids was um i was i i think sometimes maybe it has to do with um the intention of the person making the sound like if i think if i think they should know better um it has a lot to do with the kind of building like resentment or something inside of myself and so with my kids they're young so it's like they don't know what you know socially appropriate or whatever they're um so it's a lot easier to be okay with sounds coming from them whereas with i guess with like an adult i would be like you should know by now like how how can you make be standing there making those sounds and not realize like how terrible that is you know so exactly sometimes i think it's not there's definitely cases where the intention theory doesn't make sense but um right it seems to contribute in a lot of situations like with like with my dog for example my dog's mouth sounds really annoy me and I'll have to kick her out of my room sometimes or something when she's making sounds with her mouth. My dog doesn't know better, right? So the intention thing doesn't work there, but it seems to make sense in some situations at least.

Adeel [30:38]: Does your dog bark too? I'm curious why you went out and got your worst trigger to live with you.

Kyle [30:45]: I think I had this dog before the dog thing started. an issue. She's pretty old. So she will bark on occasion, not a lot. She mostly lives inside with us. When she's left outside, she does bark a lot of things. And so I bring her in once she starts barking. And sometimes that can start to really get at me if it's going for too long. But again, that's the thing where I'm like, I'm a responsible dog owner. I know my dog's barking. I should bring them in. And how dare these neighbors not do the same, you know?

Adeel [31:18]: Yeah. If I had a dog, I'd probably feel the same way. Does your dog, I know some people who, I've talked to some people who their dog kind of recognizes when they're going through a trigger so they can, they somehow can kind of provide some comfort and it's almost like they're trying to calm that, calm the owner down. Do you notice that? Does your dog give a shit at all that you're going through a trigger or realize it or that's completely separate?

Kyle [31:45]: No, I've never noticed that. Not that I can think of, but that did make me think about when I'm clearly being triggered and my kids are around. I do think about how they are impacted or I'm aware of how it may be affecting them when I'm really overreacting to something. I worry a little bit about what are they seeing and learning from me and am I responding in a way that fails. learn, you know, bad habits or learn to respond to things in a more appropriate way.

Adeel [32:18]: Do you want to share some of the ways that you've reacted around them? I probably have very similar, I've had similar reactions too. Is it just a lot of glaring and throwing things maybe? Breaking your house and having to move?

Kyle [32:35]: So, well, when it comes to like eating stuff, I feel like I'm at this point, my wife is aware of what's happening. I think my main strategy is just to leave, just to kind of quietly get up and like go in a different room or even just like avoid eating around people in the first place. So I don't have a lot of like outbursts with like other people when my kids are around, but with the dogs, my neighbor's dogs, that's really where I do have some outbursts sometimes that they see. Probably the weirdest, the thing that they would probably think is the weirdest is the mimicking. When I, um, you know, one thing I do when the dogs are barking is I'll mimic the kind of tone and sound of the way their bark sounds kind of, and I'll do it like, you know, pretty loud. Yeah.

Adeel [33:25]: Yeah.

Kyle [33:26]: And, um, you know, that helps, helps release the tension for whatever reason. But I think my kids are like, what are you doing? this is the sound you're making.

Adeel [33:34]: And I'm like, I, so they're doing, they're doing their homework and they look out the window and dad's like, uh, barking at them.

Kyle [33:41]: Uh, yeah. I mean, I'm not like at the fence barking at them, but more like just kind of to myself, but just kind of making that sound back, you know, out loud. And, um, you know, when they see me or hear me doing that, they're kind of like, what are you doing? And I've, I've just, they're just getting old enough where I'm starting to try to, explain it to them just a little bit kind of be like you know i have this thing where certain don't bother me and um the dog's barking really bothers me um and this for whatever reason this kind of helps me a little bit you know i'm just doing the dog sound i don't know i've told them little small things i haven't gotten into it too deep with them but because i feel like um i don't know i don't want to like it's like i don't want to put in their head like that this have them become thinking yeah i've been good at themselves you know but at the same time i want i know they see me and i know they they know what's going on like kids are smart and can intuit things and feel things that are coming from their parents and uh so i want to give them some explanation for like you know this is something i'm struggling with and trying to deal with trying to balance that you know yeah no it's a it's a very common thing that we that we struggle with like how much

Adeel [34:52]: Well, what is, what is that? What does that, what effect could it have talking about it? How much to talk about if to talk about? So, um, uh, so yeah, well, speaking of, speaking of family, uh, you said that, you know, you, you found out what it was, had a name, but what, whatever, so many years ago, have you gone back to your parents and given this information to them? Um, and say, you know, okay. At all. Yeah.

Kyle [35:19]: You know, so, um, I've had somewhat a strained relationship with them for a long time. We still see each other from time to time, holidays and stuff, and, you know, do our best to keep the relationship going. We definitely have kind of political and philosophical differences that have made things challenging in the last number of years. So, you know, there's meso things and things that's the way I grew up and then more recent political things. There's just been a lot of liberal commies been hard with them. So, um, but, um, I'm actually in the process of, um, so I've got a few different, I guess, kind of mental health things that I'm working on. Um, so I actually identify as an alcoholic and I'm part of a program for that. Um, and I'm, I'm 10 months sober currently. And, um, as part of that whole process, there's a whole process with that of, um, sort of working through this program of doing these different steps to like, kind of, I don't know, turn things around, you know, make bright the things that you may have, you know, messed up in your life, um, whether because of drinking or not. Um, so as part of all that process, um, I'm kind of trying to, you know, re-examine, you know, where, where have I heard other people or, um, done things, you know, I wish I hadn't in my life. And, So I'm really looking at my relationship with my parents and trying to see how to, um, trying to actively kind of repair that relationship at least as much as I can from, from my end and, um, you know, make amends in whatever ways I can. And, um, so anyway, so part of all this is, uh, one thing I really realized is, um, I've had a big problem with honesty, with being open and honest with people. It's kind of this fear of conflict thing of, uh, just kind of following stuff inside of myself. And, um, Telling people what they want to hear maybe. And so I'm trying to, yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. People pleasing, that kind of thing.

Adeel [37:23]: Yeah.

Kyle [37:23]: So, um, yeah, I'm trying to figure out how to be a little more real with my parents and more authentic. Um, um, and so I think as part of that process, I probably will eventually bring it up to them, but it's just hard cause it's not something I'm used, you know, I have a lifetime of not doing this kind of thing. I'm not talking about this kind of stuff with them. So, um, you know, I'm kind of waiting for the right moment and, um, taking it one little step at a time.

Adeel [37:49]: Do they know about at least the alcohol recovery portion or do they know nothing? They don't know about that. Bring the grandkids over and that's it.

Kyle [38:00]: Yeah, they don't know about that either. I mean, surely they have some... some little clues that alcohol's been a little bit of a, I mean, I know of some moments here and there where it's been a little bit of a thing in the past, but I'm pretty good at, I think as a lot of alcoholics can be, they're pretty good at hiding it, you know? Like I lived a pretty normal life from the surface level of like, you know, I had the job and the house and, you know, I wasn't like, you know, in the gutter or anything like that. But yeah, so I don't know how much they really even knew and I haven't spoken to them about it yet. I'm trying to ease my way to that, you know, trying to kind of drop little hints here and there and broach things a little bit at a time until I can kind of get to the harder things to talk about.

Adeel [38:45]: Well, I doubt they're listening to the podcast, so I won't give away the surprise here.

Kyle [38:49]: In some ways, that would be easier. Like, oh, good. I didn't have to tell them they found out.

Adeel [38:55]: yeah i don't think they listen to the music right well i'll look for them on facebook and i'll give them a give them some of the mp3 um and so yeah that's i mean that raises the the obvious question like do you find that the do you think the alcohol um usage was maybe a way you were self-medicating specifically for me so or were there other things that you know um was it kind of more of a general general thing um

Kyle [39:21]: Well, it was definitely a general thing. I think it's something, it's just, you know, once I started drinking and realized, oh, this feels great. This relieves all this anxiety and whatnot. You know, it was kind of my preferred tool for coping with the stresses of life for a long time. you know, it kind of works for a little while until it doesn't work.

Adeel [39:44]: Well, yeah, because there's certain... Right. Well, I think in different ways. It's his own health problem, but also... You know, there's certain alcohols that are, I think, more prone to turning on the rant nature of a personality. And so if you're in that state and you're triggered, it's even worse. You know, the trigger, the effect of the trigger is even worse. The misophonia trigger. Were you finding that as well?

Kyle [40:14]: I could see that. I definitely have. I can remember a time or two being like in my backyard at my old house. and you know having some drinks in me and the dogs barking and just sort of you know yelling to myself i mean i never like went and yelled at my neighbor anything too uh too crazy but um just sort of you know responding to myself in a way it was definitely a more extreme response than i might have otherwise if i were um a little more

Adeel [40:43]: Yeah, yeah. So is it fair to say that, you know, outside of, you know, just outside of your family, you don't really talk about misophonia to other people? Like, what about your friends now as an adult? Is this something you're like, hey, you know, I've got misophonia, you know, please stop doing that. Or do you just kind of, again, people please and just kind of try to get through the situation?

Kyle [41:08]: Definitely mostly people pleasing or just kind of quietly getting out of the situation. I did recently post on Facebook that I have misophonia. So, you know, I think part of this whole few years now process of trying to take my mental health stuff more seriously and just kind of get better in different aspects of my life. I don't know. I just decided like, I mean, it was probably honestly partly because of this podcast. Like I've been listening to all these people's stories and different people telling or not telling the friends and family. And, um, I don't know. I just felt like I need to say this. I need to let people know in some way. And, um, Facebook's an easy way to just sort of put it out there without having to like have a one-on-one conversation, which might be a little more scary. Um, so I did that. Um, so I, you know, I don't know who saw it or didn't see it, but you know, I got a couple of responses from some people, um, who, you know, most just supportive. Um, so I did that. Um, I, and prior to knowing about like it being an actual condition and having a name and stuff, um, there was a friend who, um, choose come a lot and, um, who I think, I guess kind of saw me struggling and to tell I was, you know, in different situations, um, couldn't take it. And, um, they were kind of like dismissive, um, just sort of like get over it kind of thing. And, You know, at that time I was like, well, you know, this is my problem. And I didn't have the word, the phonia to talk about it. So, you know, I kind of, I guess I would have hoped that they would have maybe been a little more sympathetic, but they were kind of just like, well, sorry, this is something I do. So whatever. Right. Yeah. So that was a little frustrating. You know, it's in a situation like that, that that's just built and built over time. It's like every time I bring this up, people are like, just shut up. So. And then that's what I just started doing, shutting up and keeping it to myself.

Adeel [43:05]: Yeah, it's it's I'm glad you're glad you're now being more vocal about it. But you're right. I mean, that's what happens. It's like we are reflexes. You know, even when we know what it is, sometimes it's like, well, I'm going to end up with more questions than I then it's actually going to, you know, more questions for the person or that dismissive reaction. So is this even worth advocating for myself? think it is worth keep to keep trying uh it's worth not just for yourself but for the community at large but uh yeah i mean a lot of us we just kind of our reflex is to just not say anything and try to leave well because in so many situations what the person is doing um

Kyle [43:47]: there's nothing wrong with it in a lot of ways, you know, to most people, um, most people chewing gum is a perfectly accessible thing to do. So I just, you know, I feel bad saying, you know, telling someone you're, you're hurting me by doing a very normal thing. Yeah. Um, I, yeah, I don't, I don't want to make them feel bad. Um, so I, yeah, I guess it's a, you got to find that balance of like, when do you need to, um, speak up for yourself, for your own well-being. And when is it better to just sort of step away quietly and not cause trouble?

Adeel [44:23]: Did you ever go see maybe a professional or therapist about specifically miso? Or has it come up in conversations?

Kyle [44:31]: I've seen a few therapists never specifically about miso, but I've mentioned it to all of them. The first time I saw a therapist, I brought it up amongst all the other things that we talked about. And he was kind of like, maybe he'd kind of heard the term or something. I wasn't quite sure, but you know, he was kind of dumb. He's like, yeah.

Adeel [44:53]: Oh yeah.

Kyle [44:53]: I heard of it. He was, his main advice was kind of just about like kind of ideas around mindfulness and being able to kind of direct your attention at other things and, you know, kind of being able to control the way your brain processes stimuli and, um, practicing that kind of mindfulness and stuff, which, um, you know, I, I guess that's a okay strategy. It doesn't seem to always work for me, but, um, it's, it's one thing in the tool belt. Um, I, the thing I always remember from him was, um, he said, well, when you're outside and the dogs are barking, just like listen to that. There are other sounds too. So like birds are chirping. So just listen to the birds chirping. And sometimes I try to do that and it's just like, listen, I'm trying so hard to focus on birds chirping and it's just these dogs, like totally dominating.

Adeel [45:42]: Sometimes they're responding to the birds. So it's like now you're in this conversation.

Kyle [45:48]: Um, so then I, I now see a different therapist and, um, brought it up to him again. He was kind of like, Oh, maybe I've kind of heard of that. We talked about a ton of other things for a long time, but then more recently with these dogs at my new house really became a big issue for awhile. Um, so I talked to him more about it and, um, I don't know. He didn't have any really, you know, he hadn't really heard much about it or know much about it, but he just kind of had his general kind of strategies of, you know, I think mainly with him, it's more just kind of supportive of me kind of taking concrete steps, kind of practical steps in my life to do something about it. Kind of feeling of like, yeah, knowing you've done something, feeling a little empowered, you know, maybe slightly making the situation a little better. That's kind of been his advice, I guess. um i've seen a psychiatrist so i do take antidepressants and was taking some anti-anxiety meds for a while um mentioned it to her and um i don't know didn't seem to really register much with her with her it's more just like here take this medicine so you know try the medicine i don't know if they i'm not really sure if they worked or not how well so i actually quit some of the medicines i'm just on the one antidepressant now Um, oh, and then I did, uh, so I also had some kind of OCD tendencies, um, and that like full blown OCD, like maybe you hear sometimes, but, um, there's definitely some things that have, that I had throughout my life and some that seem like they've gotten worse and more recent years. So I, I actually went and met with a therapist once who specifically focuses on OCD and, uh, talk to him. Cause I kind of thought maybe the meat though, um, could connect to that in some way. It seems. that kind of, uh, you know, ways of your brain thinking seems similar in a way. Um, he, but he was kind of like, well, I don't, you know, OCD doesn't, you know, Misa doesn't necessarily fall under OCD, I guess, you know, technically or whatever. But, um, so, um, I don't know. He didn't really have that much to say about it either. So, yeah, I haven't had a ton of help. Well, all those, all those therapists and people I've talked to just didn't have like a ton of experience with it.

Adeel [48:01]: Yeah, that's very not uncommon. I think it is coming out now that Misfunny is its own separate thing. I've been talking to some of the top researchers who will be on the podcast probably a little bit before this one goes live. So hopefully, yeah, hopefully soon that awareness will change, hopefully within our lifetime and hopefully within this decade. But yeah, it's interesting to hear your responses and also interesting to hear about the effects of the medication. Some people are obviously considering consider doing that or are wondering about that yeah it sounds like in general it didn't really have much of an effect on you especially the anxiety stuff which which would seem like it might be the you know the closest to have a shot of having some effect on misophonia yeah um yeah and i'm always a little wary too of

Kyle [48:53]: I'm aware of things that could be like habit forming, you know, with my kind of addictive personality. I think maybe there's some medications some people could take that I just probably wouldn't want to try because I don't want to go down that road. Yeah. Potential addiction. Understood.

Adeel [49:08]: Yeah. So maybe, yeah, we're heading to close to an hour, but... maybe it's time to start wanting now, but I do want to, I'm just curious if, you know, any of the art or music that you're making now, have you ever like, I don't know, written a Miss Money song or has Miss Money ever kind of crept into your creativity?

Kyle [49:29]: So I've never really addressed it directly, but I know, so I draw comics, autobiographical comics, full stories about my life and stuff and mostly kind of humorous. little anecdotes, but sometimes more kind of, you know, more serious stuff. And so there have been, I know there's been a couple times where the dogs barking and me sort of getting like, you know, yelling or something was in there. But I never really explained like misophonia. It's kind of like, you know, when you're crafting like a story or narrative and stuff, there's, you know, you want the story to work well. And so kind of getting into the whole misophonia thing is like this whole, chapter that i would have to i really need to sort of figure out how i could um introduce it and then start to show examples of it in my life in a way that kind of would flow as a decent narrative you know and i i just haven't gotten to that point with that yet um i mean there's other things too like i've never directly addressed like alcohol issues you know i hint at these things here and there and it comes up in some of the stories but um I've never taken some of these things on. I feel like they almost need their own treatment, like a whole comic just about misophonia or just about alcoholism or whatever it might be. So these are ideas kind of tumbling around in my head I'm interested in. It's mainly just an issue of not having the time between I have a job and kids and stuff. So finding the time to do creative projects is challenging as it is. But maybe down the road when I do... have a little more time, an eventual goal. Maybe I could do a comic about misophonia or something like that. It's an idea in my head at this point.

Adeel [51:14]: Yeah, I'm thinking about, I'm working on some stuff too, musically and narratively. So yeah, maybe we can bounce ideas or something at some point. There have been a lot of creative people on, whether playwrights, screenwriters, musicians, more and more recently. I'm trying to get a little circle going of people that maybe we can just kind of like share ideas, inspire each other a little bit. Are any of your comics published? Is there anywhere I can find them where the listeners can get to them?

Kyle [51:47]: I self-publish them. I have an Etsy. I'll give you that link. I've got one there. Just through social media. I get them around to some stores. There's a couple different comic shops around the country that have them in there. Probably Etsy is maybe the easiest place to find them. I do have a comic... coming out in an anthology soon published by the indie comics publisher called birdcage bought a book So that'll be one of my first actual kind of published by real publisher pieces. That'll be out in the fall.

Adeel [52:22]: Congrats. Okay. Yeah. We'll be, we'll be looking out for that. And yeah, I'll have links to whatever Etsy and anything in the show notes. Anything else you want to say, Kyle? I mean, this is, I feel like we can keep going, but I feel like I'm kind of, like I said, talking to my white, white reflection. So and yeah, anything else you want to share with the audience about your, your experiences?

Kyle [52:43]: Yeah, one thing I wanted to mention, just like kind of funny thing that I thought of when I was kind of reflecting, preparing for the interview, was two kind of pop culture references that I think of sometimes that I think I wonder if relate to Musophonia. One is a Disney cartoon that I remember from being a kid. I think it was Donald Duck. And it's this cartoon where he can't sleep because the sink is dripping and he can't. get the sink to stop dripping and he's just trying to turn it so hard and just up all night you know getting angrier and angrier from this dripping sound and I didn't really think about you know when I saw it as a kid and make that connection but now I'm like I wonder if whoever wrote that had misophonia and then also there's this you know with my dog barking reminding me of before the dog barking stuff happened for me seeing an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine has a a dog barking issue. Have you, you know, that episode?

Adeel [53:39]: Yeah.

Kyle [53:43]: And I'm like, oh, did Elaine have misophonia? I don't know.

Adeel [53:46]: Yeah, I bet Larry David has misophonia. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. Well, always great to end on a Seinfeld reference. I'm always happy about that. So, yeah, Kyle, thanks. Thanks for coming on. This is this is great. Yeah, it's really nice to meet you and talk to you. And yeah, good luck with everything. Good luck with the house and hope you're. you know, are able to isolate that sound and good luck with your, uh, your recovery and all, you know, and the other areas too. It sounds like you're, you're taking some really positive steps and, uh, I hope it all works out.

Kyle [54:19]: Thank you. And, um, thanks for doing the podcast. It's, uh, really been, um, just great to listen to. Um, yeah, just to hear other people's stories and be able to relate. And then it's kind of a community out there. Um, you know, there's stuff online and stuff, but, um, really to me, I mean, I love listening to the podcast in general, um, but I, it's just so easy to pop, you know, my AirPods in and just listen to people's stories. And it's just, it's really been a big help for me. So thanks for doing the podcast.

Adeel [54:46]: Thank you, Kyle. I hope to hang out with you sometime in the future. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast. Music as always is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [55:22]: Thank you.