Matt - A young man's journey through misophonia's trials.

S3 E11 - 12/16/2020
This episode features a powerful conversation with Matt, a young man from Schaumburg near Chicago, who shares his intense struggle with misophonia. Matt's journey includes challenges with family, school, and social settings that exacerbated his condition, leading to mental health issues and hospitalization. Despite these hardships, Matt finds solace in therapy, close friends, and a supportive family. He discusses the lack of awareness and disbelief he encounters, even among professionals, before finally getting diagnosed. The episode touches on the emotional weight of living with misophonia, not just for those suffering but also for their loved ones. Matt emphasizes the strength it takes to endure such a condition and his desire to use his experiences to help others. He explores the idea of isolation as a coping mechanism and reflects on the complexities of family dynamics affected by misophonia. Adeel and Matt conclude by stressing the importance of community, understanding, and resilience in facing misophonia.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is episode 11 of season 3. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week, I have a really, I think, extraordinary and powerful conversation with Matt, a young man who lives just outside of Chicago. Matt is just out of high school, but he's already lived through a lot of darkness and pain brought on by his misophonia, which has had effects on family, friends, school, work, ultimately culminating in a hospitalization last year to treat his mental health. However, our chat is also really inspiring to me because Matt now has close friends that help him, his family supports him, and he's driven to use his pain to help other young people who are also suffering from mental health issues. We even have some good laughs throughout our conversation. I just exchanged messages with Matt last night and he's excited to get his story out and hopes it helps others who may be suffering in silence. I do want to warn anyone listening that this episode does contain several references to suicide and suicidal thoughts, beginning at around the 15-minute mark. If you or someone you know is having these feelings, just know you can reach out to someone. Or there is a national hotline here in the United States at 800-273-8255. I want to remind everyone that you can book your own interviews for next season, season four. They will be mostly recorded in March and you can sign up from the, be a guest link on the website, I'll also have a direct link in the show notes. They happen over Zoom and you don't need to prepare or anything. They're just very casual, like two friends talking. All right. Now here's my conversation with my friend, Matt. Matt, welcome. Welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Matt [1:56]: It's great to be here.

Adeel [1:58]: People are kind of used to me asking just a simple question or run around like, you know, where are you located?

Matt [2:06]: I'm in Illinois. I'm in Schaumburg.

Adeel [2:10]: Okay. Is that near Chicago or?

Matt [2:12]: Yeah, it's a suburb outside of Chicago, like on the west side.

Adeel [2:14]: Sweet. Yeah. I've talked to a couple people from the area. So what do you do in Schaumburg?

Matt [2:24]: At the moment, not a lot. My misophonia hinders me a lot in life and stuff. I have, like, I've been, like, studying and stuff. I've been, like, reading into, like, Andrew Mazkalov, I believe, his name. I've been, like, reading books about him. Right now, I'm starting to create a plan to go into this stay at a hotel or a halfway home place thing and spend a month there and to see how my symptoms react to that, being out of the environment of my house. Because that's where the main problems are happening.

Adeel [3:08]: yeah so just trying to find uh kind of um yeah kind of kind of an isolation spot and kind of like a retreat and just kind of see see things go down so are you singing at home like with your parents and family and stuff yeah i'm singing with my um mom and dad and my um i have a little of a younger sister that's um

Matt [3:30]: Yeah, she's 17, and she's going to high school right now. And my brother is 21, and he's going to a college. He's at Carthage in, like, Wisconsin.

Adeel [3:40]: Gotcha. Okay. Sounds like, you know, your triggers are how a lot of ours begin. So kind of was your family, like, your first triggers, you know, kind of around when you started to notice it?

Matt [3:54]: Yeah, I was, like, around seven. I remember, like, I remember, like, the first time, like, I heard it, because it was so foreign, like, the feeling of it. And, like, I remember that my sister was, like, eating a wafer, and I just, like, for some reason, it was, like, painful for me to hear it. And I was just, like, couldn't believe it. And I was just, like, it was just so, like I said, foreign.

Adeel [4:18]: Do you remember the actual day that you first noticed it, or is it just something that you, it started to kind of creep up more and more, and then... it was like the first day yeah oh okay okay like that exact i don't know like the date or anything like it was around it was then yeah and uh so okay so so you started to start to uh from from that um whatever that day was then what you know did like a bunch of sounds started to is to bother you or was it kind of that that wafer crunching sound and then and then uh

Matt [4:53]: you know gradually more and more people more and more triggered yeah it first started off with just the wafer and then just kept on growing and growing and growing to like it was like anyone who ate food like clocks ticking like like mouses clicking like page flipping like a ton of stuff anywhere like even outside of the house or mainly kept stayed at home for a while At first it was like at my house, but then eventually just got into school and stuff. It was like everywhere for me, like no matter what.

Adeel [5:27]: Yeah, a lot of people have said that, you know, obviously the house is a big part of it, but they somehow kind of like... High school does get tougher, but somehow like they kind of, some people don't notice it too much outside of the house, but it sounds like for you, it really started to kind of like rear its head everywhere.

Matt [5:48]: Yeah, it was really rough for me. It was very hard getting through high school.

Adeel [5:53]: Oh, wow. Okay. Did you tell teachers about it or were you like a lot of us just kind of bottling it up?

Matt [6:03]: I, um, I bottled it up until, like, junior year, and, like, I tried to communicate with my teachers. Like, some teachers, like, were very, like, like, trying to work with me and stuff, like, giving me, like, extended time on things, just trying to really work with me, like, with having it. But some teachers, like, didn't, like, believe it even and stuff, or, like, they thought it was, like, very minimal. Yeah. Like, the amount.

Adeel [6:30]: So no, nothing consistent. It was just, uh, yeah. Teacher by teacher.

Matt [6:35]: It was a roll of the dice.

Adeel [6:37]: Yeah. And, um, and what about, so, I mean, I guess, what about at home? So, um, from that son of the wafer, how did you, how were you starting to react?

Matt [6:48]: I, um, I was like very scared. Like I would say like for like about like maybe a year I like didn't tell anyone because I just felt like I was like crazy or like I was like losing my mind or something. And then eventually I like told my parents about it and they kind of like didn't believe it at all. They kind of like thought I was like trying to seek attention because like I was a little and stuff. That's what I was assuming. And like... Like a lot of my problems got worse because my parents just like, they would like force me to eat with them and stuff at the table. And like, they just wouldn't think it was bothering me. And like when it would act up and like when I would like break down and like cry, they would usually get angry at me for doing that. It was just really tough for me, like growing up like that.

Adeel [7:43]: yeah so um how do you yeah so you described it as uh to them you were describing as like something hurts that it's painful um not so much uh i mean you weren't even being accusatory necessarily of like somebody's somebody's hurting you it was um it was very much you know i mean you're describing like like Like, it is. It's a problem with us. Yeah. And it was just being dismissed. Yeah. Did they at some point... And did you... Did at some point they ever suggest, like, maybe going to see a therapist or audiologist or anything like that?

Matt [8:23]: They... Like, when I first started having it, I would say around, like... when I was nine or 10, I think they brought me to my family doctor and he didn't really know what was up. And I noticed, at least from my experience, almost everyone I told about it, even doctors, they had no idea what it was or had never even heard of it.

Adeel [8:47]: Yeah.

Matt [8:50]: They like, they brought me to the doctor and like, he like suggested going to some audiologists and they just brought me to a bunch of different audiologists and like, they just couldn't pinpoint it and stuff. And, um, it just stopped from there. Then like when I was about like in sophomore year, they, um, I went to like the specialist, like I finally convinced them that it was like misophonia and stuff. And it's like something specific. And they brought me to some specialist. Her name was like Jill Meltzer or something. She was like in Chicago, like working. And she diagnosed me with it. And after that, I've been like, ever since then, I've been going to therapy.

Adeel [9:33]: Wow. Okay. So in your sophomore year of college?

Matt [9:38]: I'm not in college right now.

Adeel [9:39]: Oh, okay. Okay. So sophomore year of high school, you got a hold of a specialist who diagnosed it with. So how did that, was that, I mean, since then, has it been kind of, was that kind of a life changing moment in terms of, you know, getting, starting to actually get some quote unquote official treatment?

Matt [10:02]: Yeah, it was. It was, like, I always knew it was misophonia and stuff. Well, I kind of realized it was misophonia around, like, middle school. Like, middle school back, I had no idea what was wrong with me. Right. But, like, when I was diagnosed, it was, like, I was finally able to show my parents, like, this is, like, something that's actually bothering me. Like, something that's, like, real. Yeah.

Adeel [10:25]: Right, and what did they say? Did they start to believe it and start to turn around and pay attention to it? Or was it just kind of like, meh?

Matt [10:38]: They started actually believing it and stuff and actually seeing how much it's affecting me.

Adeel [10:45]: Wow. Okay. Okay. So you said you started, you knew it was misophonia since around middle school, I guess. So at that point you, you had done some research or read about it online. So you knew that it had a name.

Matt [10:58]: Yeah. I was like looking at a bunch of stuff. It was kind of like really like scary at times. Cause like there wasn't like a lot of things about it and like not a lot of like answers. Right. It was kind of like, it wasn't nice like seeing that and stuff.

Adeel [11:14]: right okay so yeah so you knew how to date me you've done your own research and i mean when you did your own research you you before you had the diagnosis you you took it you took that name around to people and um did you use that the term misophonia and people just still didn't believe you until you got the official diagnosis yeah and kind of passed them too like like my like i had like a bunch of old friends in high school and stuff and they like didn't believe it at all they thought i was like a like a fear but it was like more than that yeah

Matt [11:44]: It's kind of a bad name, but... Yeah.

Adeel [11:48]: Yeah, I mean, it just shows you that how... I mean, even with the official title, well, quote-unquote official title, it just gets a bad rap still. It's bad. Yeah. And speaking of your friends, I mean, how was it trying to make friends and keep friends growing up?

Matt [12:07]: Like, I had a group of friends since I was in elementary school, and... Like, as my problems progressed, I, like, tried to communicate to them, like, about it and stuff. And they, like, didn't really believe it. And, like, they would make fun of me about having it and stuff. Like, I'd be, like, playing video games with them or something. And, like, we'd be at a party. And, like, someone would just start to be like, hey, Matt. And they'd just start eating chips and stuff. And I would, like, just shut off my Xbox. Right, right. It was tough to deal with that.

Adeel [12:38]: So when you came to them with the name, how did you tell them? You're like, I was Googling around, and I found this term, misophonia, and tried to explain to them. Did any of them start to believe you at that point?

Matt [12:52]: One of my friends did. His name was Albert, and he's my best friend right now. He's a great friend of mine. Most of them just said, oh, that's cool, I guess, or something like that.

Adeel [13:04]: Whatever, dude.

Matt [13:05]: Yeah, that's interesting, and I'm like, nice. Yeah.

Adeel [13:09]: But Albert is kind of understanding and is accommodating. Does he help you out at all in terms of shielding you?

Matt [13:17]: Yeah, he's amazing. Um, like out of that friend group, like I left that friend group and stuff. And like, I only stayed with Albert and then eventually I met another person, another friend of mine named Victor. And like, we had just been great friends ever since.

Adeel [13:35]: Okay.

Matt [13:35]: So you're like brothers to me almost, you know? Yeah. Cause they, they were really accommodating. They try really hard to make sure that my, like my life's good stuff and like spending time with them is good.

Adeel [13:46]: That's great. And so you had a bit of a reset in terms of friends, um, through, through high school. Um, so, and then yes, I guess since the diagnosis and, um, getting, getting therapy, how, how has that, has that, has that helped at all?

Matt [14:04]: Therapy has helped me tremendously. Like, um, like I suffered from like a lot of suicidal thoughts, like with the misophonian stuff. And I remember like when I was like, maybe around nine or eight. I remember eating cereal one day and I was just so scared that my own eating would start triggering me and stuff.

Adeel [14:28]: Yeah, okay.

Matt [14:30]: Like I was like, it just, I was just very suicidal and it helped me tremendously. Like, like I said before, like how high school was really hard for me. Like senior year I was hospitalized and stuff. Like I was just like, it was like, it was really taking a toll on me and stuff.

Adeel [14:45]: Yeah. Was there, I mean, were there other, were you suffering from other mental health conditions too? Like anxiety, other issues or, or was it primarily misophonia?

Matt [14:59]: it was um i had like depression anxiety too yeah and did were you seeing therapists with those conditions at all or i was um i i noticed that my like depression anxiety like started before my misophonia and stuff and like the therapist i work with he's like really really good and um he like works with like all of it with me and stuff and I noticed that like when I, um, like it like fluctuates the severity of my misophonia, like the symptoms and like the more confidence I have in myself, I noticed that I can handle it more often, like hearing the noises.

Adeel [15:37]: Yeah, definitely. You know, as we've heard on the show a lot, like stress is a major factor. Yeah. And yeah, if good things are happening outside of sounds, your brain seems to not suffer that fight or flight kind of sensation as much. Yeah. And what kind of things did he, you know, what kind of things did he help you to do or maybe to think about as you were...

Matt [16:06]: going through triggers. I don't really know any coping mechanisms. I'm still trying to deal with that. I usually just plug my ear or something. But he's been really helping me with my suicidal thoughts and accepting the misophonia. As much damage it has done, if I can get over it and stuff, I'll be insanely strong from it. And dealing with this, pain is sadly the greatest teacher and stuff. Because the amount of sorrow you feel from it and stuff, in return, the small things, the good things in life will just be so much better.

Adeel [16:55]: Yeah, that's really interesting. Yeah, people have said on the podcast, as much as misophonia has been such a problem for them, they kind of wouldn't want to necessarily go back and... Well, some people say, yeah, they would. They would want to get rid of it completely. But some people say it's kind of shaped their personality and helped make them stronger. And in that sense, it's... you know, it's been a bit of a positive force, which is a great perspective. I know there's a lot of things about, you know, my own personality that I feel like I'm a much better independent thinker, more creative. you know, partly because, you know, I'm very in tune to sounds and, yeah, kind of learned how to kind of be on my own. And so that's, yeah, there's some good, it's good to think of the positives. Did you, and so you're now at this point where you're thinking about... um going to kind of going to kind of a kind of a retreat is that is that something that uh your therapist kind of like maybe suggested or is that is that kind of an idea that you're pursuing on your own um me and my therapist came up with the idea and because i i noticed that like

Matt [18:19]: just being inside my house just makes it worse and stuff and like with this retreat like i'm gonna like cut all communications from like people and stuff maybe not like with my mom i'll have like a very small communication but i want to like really get my head like my headspace out of it out of like the environment i am in and just really focus on myself and see what that can do and like keep track of it like in a journal like my main goal for it is to like like make like a type of an experiment thing. Cause I wanted to like, I wanted to like have some like, like data or something or like proof that like, if you like that it can get better because like, it was very like, like growing up, like it was very scary not seeing like ways to get better, like things that can help. And like, I tried a lot of things in the past and like not a lot of it has worked.

Adeel [19:15]: like ever like in like missifornia like it slowly progressively gets worse so it's like it just gets more scary as it goes on yeah i mean it does get worse especially um i mean it does get worse yeah as young as as as yeah it gets worse as you get into adulthood but i will say that uh pretty you know everyone i've talked to um While it does get worse, you tend to have more control of your environment. Like I think what you're trying to do right now with this experiment, at some point you do kind of live on your own and you're able to kind of control that environment. Sometimes at work, it gets a bit tricky, but you can kind of either work with your work or work in a kind of environment like I do working from home where you can be out of an office situation. what i'm saying is yeah it's it's um while the triggers can can kind of get worse you can control your environment more so that actually in a way can um help your brain as we said before kind of like relax a little bit like you know it's um it's it's uh like you like you feel like a little bit like having that more having a little bit more control kind of uh can help you calm down from situations so um

Matt [20:35]: and what are some of the things that you um have tried in the past like coping mechanisms that you said like didn't work um i tried like what was it called like i forgot the name of it i should have prepared but um like when so like when someone would eat in front of you like in certain times like see how long you can like handle it or something like obviously that didn't work

Adeel [21:00]: yeah that's exposure therapy that yeah it's come up and uh yeah it's not uh not been too effective at least in terms of the from the people i've talked to on the show so um yeah there's what about like uh you know headphones earplugs those kinds of things oh yeah headphones is like a must for me yeah and i um what do you what do you what do you uh what do you wear

Matt [21:27]: Oh, it's, like, these earbuds I use. They're, like, some, like, Sony things. I forgot what they're called. But, like, they're pretty nice. And I don't know exactly what type of headphones I use. But they're, like, I have, like, a very, like, round head. So I think it's, like, very specific for headphones I need to get.

Adeel [21:46]: Okay. Yeah. I mean, do you go into, like, noise-canceling or anything? Or it's just whatever? Okay.

Matt [21:53]: Yeah. Well, my earbuds aren't noise-canceling, but my headphones are.

Adeel [21:56]: Gotcha. Okay. So that's a mosque like well a lot of us and I mean How does that like having having a pair of those around does that help kind of that? You know Obviously mask but also kind of like help you but I'll put you your brain at ease like you have some tools around Yeah, it definitely does because at least for me I don't I haven't really talked to a lot of people who had misophonia and stuff but um, I

Matt [22:22]: Like, when I would hear noises, like, sometimes when I get out of the environment, like, those noises will keep still playing in my head. And, like, I sometimes can't get them out. And, like, headphones are, like, the best way for me to, like, get into, like, a better mind space. Just, like, to stop having it, like, hurt and stuff.

Adeel [22:40]: yeah so you're talking about the uh once you get triggered there's that uh there's that kind of uh the post clamp climax like trying to try to like recover from that sound but yeah just you're so focused on it and um it's hard to get out even though you're not not there anymore Have you tried to just kind of like maybe just wear headphones around the house like maybe 24 hours or something and just kind of see if that can work as a semi-isolation experiment?

Matt [23:11]: Yeah, I usually just wear headphones around the house anyways. I noticed like it really hurts my ears and like earbuds especially like really. Oh, yeah. And you get like my headphones are like it's a USB plug. So I need to get new ones.

Adeel [23:28]: Yeah, there's definitely pros and cons to having something attached to your head at all times and having it need power and all that. Yeah, so you want to try this experiment. Have you mentioned that to your parents?

Matt [23:45]: Oh, yeah. I've been trying to work with them and stuff with that, trying to convince them that this is a good idea.

Adeel [23:51]: Yeah. Oh, and are they thinking it's not a good idea or trying to convince you out of it?

Matt [23:57]: Yeah, they think I could just, like, get a job and just, like, be fine. But, like, I, like, worked two jobs in the past. And, like, right now I'm just – I was in a really bad spot for a while. like um like the last job i did was like two or three two years ago and like i was painting schools like over the summer and stuff and like like when break time would come i would just have to sit there and like hear people eat and like yeah eventually just wore me down like completely yeah having lunch with co-workers um yeah that can that can be rough um

Adeel [24:39]: I mean, in most jobs, you have the freedom to, you know, have lunch on your own. Yeah. But if you're in a situation where you can't, I'll obviously have you guys wrap. But, you know, you can maybe wear earbuds or earplugs.

Matt [24:54]: Yeah. I should be fair, but, like, I was in a bad spot. Like, just, like, maybe, like, a month ago, I actually really just started trying again in life. Like, and, like, actually wanting to be alive.

Adeel [25:09]: right right well that's just good no i mean uh i mean it sounds like yeah you're thinking about uh ways to ways to um you know ways to manage and uh like i said yeah it does get better as you get as you get uh older and have more more control and um and this becomes like obviously like you know major major you know major kind of uh of problems sometimes and as you can tell by people coming on the podcast but people are you know doing all kinds of things and uh are able to kind of learn to learn to cope and but also like have that control over kind of what's around you um yeah and so that that you know that definitely helps um so uh and do you have um you have like maybe um i don't know family members that you can maybe retreat to or actually i should ask like how's uh it was holidays coming up i don't i don't know when this is going to air like how are other family members in your family um how's it getting together with them do they do they know about it most of my family knows about it like they're not really like

Matt [26:16]: they like, they like know it exists and stuff, but like, they really don't care. And like, they don't like think it affects me as much as it does. And I really don't have like a place to like run off to, or like, I have like, my mom's probably like the most caring, like the only thing she wants for me is just to be happy and stuff. And that's like the only thing I ask for. And yeah, that's about it really.

Adeel [26:46]: yeah um yeah i mean yeah not not not super uncommon where it's kind of uh kind of dismissed by by most people but um but it's something yeah i mean it's something we can you know hopefully power hopefully power through it's tougher on the holidays especially yeah you know that's one of those things where you kind of like if you're gonna get around family you just you know that in advance and then you can kind of like either bring some tools or just tell your brain that, okay, well, you know, this is going to be, like, a few hours or whatever, and it'll be over. And I've heard that kind of timeboxing it that way can kind of, like, help your brain not suffer as much during that time.

Matt [27:33]: Yeah. I would always think it back to, like, when I was in school and stuff. And, like, I've done worse. Like, I've been, like, had to do things that were just awful. Like, I remember one time I was doing finals, like, sophomore year or something. And, like, they weren't allowing any headphones during the test. And, like, they even wouldn't allow me. And they handed out gum to every single kid in, like, the class.

Adeel [28:04]: The teachers?

Matt [28:05]: Yeah.

Adeel [28:06]: Oh, my God.

Matt [28:07]: And I just had to power through that for, like, two and a half hours or something.

Adeel [28:12]: Yeah. so yeah what did you do what did you then you you did you just um uh did you just tell you just to tell your brain that i need to power through this we can you know we can do this let's just let's just deal with it for a couple hours or was it just did you shut down completely i um i usually shut down like it's hard for like i can maybe get like uh

Matt [28:38]: I would get myself to be thinking like, oh, we can get through this. It's just a little bit longer. And it would be 10 minutes, and it felt like an hour. And I'd just be like, oh, gosh. And I would just break down. It was really hard for me to learn and stuff in class and pay attention.

Adeel [28:57]: Yeah, time kind of slows to a molasses state because you're paying attention to every little thing.

Matt [29:03]: Oh, that's crazy.

Adeel [29:05]: So I guess probably no other question to this, but did it start to affect your grades?

Matt [29:12]: Oh, yeah.

Adeel [29:13]: Yeah.

Matt [29:15]: It affected my attendance, too.

Adeel [29:17]: Yeah.

Matt [29:18]: Oh, yeah.

Adeel [29:20]: Okay. Okay, yes. I don't know why I'm laughing, but I guess sometimes we just have to laugh. Oh, yeah. Don't worry. By the way, maybe this is a weird time to say that humor is actually a good coping mechanism that... um people have talked about on the show um oh yeah and uh and you know with you with your couple friends who who actually care i'm sure that they're uh i'm sure that they're uh good about that too and and you guys can have a oh yeah good time um okay yeah so it started to uh okay yeah so grades and intense so i'm assuming attendance is just like oh you know i just i can't deal with a day of triggers anymore so i'm just not even gonna go what did you what did you do you just kind of like you know and just hang out in the bathroom or just not go to school at all, stay at home, call in sick.

Matt [30:11]: I would. I would like sit in my bathroom. My parents were angry at me for always skipping and stuff. So I'd go in the bathroom and be like, oh, I have diarrhea or something really dumb.

Adeel [30:24]: Yeah. Classic.

Matt [30:27]: No, just hide. I got like a really bad habit with it.

Adeel [30:31]: Yeah. So you wouldn't even leave the house. You would just tell your parents that, you know, you were just super sick and you can't leave. Yeah.

Matt [30:39]: Or just tell them straight up, like, I'm not going. And they'll be like, I'm not calling you in. And I'll be like, whatever. And I would just go upstairs.

Adeel [30:48]: Gotcha. So, and then this would be, I mean, would this be also when you got the diagnosis too? Or... yeah um okay this is like senior year senior year was the worst i was like missing at least one day a week it was really bad yeah that's that's uh rough so did you did you end up graduating from high school like getting getting uh or it was yeah it wasn't gonna work luckily they um allowed me to graduate stuff okay and was it partly in consideration of maybe the miso being yeah it was it was definitely that because i was like hospitalized senior year so they're like okay definitely this is real yeah wow okay um do you i i don't know if you want to

Matt [31:35]: talk a little bit about the hospitalization but uh was it was it was it miso related um like was that the cause of it um i was just my um therapist noticed i was just getting worse and worse and worse and like like i said before i was very suicidal and stuff yeah and i was like i was like i really didn't think i would like live past senior year and yeah Eventually, my therapist just forced me to go one session. When I was there, I told them about the misophonia and stuff, and they put me in the chronic problems group, and it was just rough.

Adeel [32:18]: Were you using any substances or anything? How did you think you were not going to survive? Were you maybe abusing something?

Matt [32:28]: um like the suicidal thoughts started like when i was a kid and stuff and like they're getting worse and worse and worse and like sophomore year of like high school um i started using substances like smoking marijuana and like i got into like a bad habit with it and like the thing is like i like when i first started like i knew it was a bad decision but like it um it did help my symptoms But it might have exacerbated my suicidal thoughts. But in the mindset of someone who's suicidal, they think the only way to get help, the best way, is to die and stuff. And, like, someone with the suicidal, like, ideations and thoughts, like, they'll do everything to, like, get themselves to that, like, position. Like, all the bad decisions, all the worst ideas. And, like, yeah.

Adeel [33:30]: Gotcha. So you thought that something was going to happen in senior year that would cause it to be over. That's kind of the depths to where it got.

Matt [33:40]: Yeah.

Adeel [33:42]: Yeah. but, uh, okay. But yeah, you got, I mean, you got, you got past, you got past it. You, um, and, uh, yeah, you're here. You graduated from high school.

Matt [33:52]: Um, quite lucky actually the way I view how my life turned out.

Adeel [33:57]: So, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, uh, And yeah, I mean, obviously you had some issues with work, but so you said like in the past month, you've been kind of, you know, trying again. Other than kind of trying to maybe looking at isolation, like what are some of the things you're, what are some of the plans that you have, like in terms of maybe work or anything else you want to do?

Matt [34:30]: Um, I'm like really into like, um, psychology and stuff. I really want to go into therapy and like, I want to get myself into the position of like advocating and like, I, I still need to get myself to do it and like figure out a good way to do it. And I like my, um, I always, I always enjoyed helping people. Like to me, like the greatest joy in life is to like make someone smile, like drive to like help people. Like it like, It grew a lot because one of my old friends, a close friend of mine actually, he killed himself in a car crash junior year.

Adeel [35:13]: Intentionally?

Matt [35:14]: Yeah. It was really rough on me because he really helped me out in middle school. He was the type of guy... to talk to anyone, no matter who they are, just make people like comfortable. And he was such a nice person. Like every day I think about him. And when I was like at his funeral, when I was like looking at him, like in the casket, like I vowed that like I'll live for him and stuff. And like, I'll like try my hardest to make other people like not have his fate.

Adeel [35:45]: Yeah. That's, that's a, yeah, it's a powerful, it's a powerful reminder that you're your friend there. Um, so you want to take that as a part of the inspiration to, um, to help people maybe be a, be a therapist. Uh, that's great. I mean, I'm sure there's lots of ways to, um, kind of get it, get into that through college. Oh, through, um, like community college even, uh, yeah.

Matt [36:10]: Um, advocating stuff, like just like volunteering. I've been like trying to think about that. I've been looking at it.

Adeel [36:18]: Yeah, what kind of things were you looking at? Miso-related in particular or just in general?

Matt [36:24]: Just in general. When I went to the hospital, it was very life-changing for me, seeing how many people my age were suffering, the amount of people going in and out. It was very alarming to me. And more and more kids have been dealing with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It's getting scary to see how many young people are dealing with this and I just really want to give back or just help them. It's just so painful to see all these kids, such young kids just suffering.

Adeel [37:09]: Yeah, there are, I think there, I know at least one past episode where the guest was in high school, but it was part of a national organization that advocated for mental health for high school students. I will look it up and email you after or at least and also put it in the show notes. Oh, thank you so much. That would be interesting because I know she volunteers and I can connect you with her.

Matt [37:36]: That would be amazing if you did that for me.

Adeel [37:40]: Yeah, yeah, of course. Maybe that could be a great way to kind of like get you in the door of something. because yeah you just you just being you know networking and you know this is uh advice obvious advice maybe for for anyone but like just small amounts of networking can really open doors and kind of lead to something much bigger later so um yeah i mean and just volunteering will do that too so that's uh yeah obviously i'll i'll look that up again and um and kind of connect you but uh yeah i think there are a lot of organizations that i'm sure we're looking for somebody who's can kind of really like uh come at it from your perspective not necessarily from like the professional um yeah you kind of come in and talk to people um like you know real talk i guess one-on-one with people um so i'm imagining you don't know anybody else who's had it i did actually um i didn't know two people that i met okay um

Matt [38:42]: It was really crazy. When I came back from the hospital to high school, I was telling my friends about it. And he just gave me this look when I was telling him about the hearing thing. He's like, you know, when I hear things too, it really bothers me. It was crazy to hear that and stuff. Because I knew this guy from middle school. Yeah. Like, I talked to him about it. And I actually did go to a convention before, like, the one in Minnesota.

Adeel [39:14]: Oh, okay, okay.

Matt [39:16]: Yeah, I didn't really talk to people. I was in a lot of denial of getting help. I was a mess back then. But I'm going to really try to get to another one, though.

Adeel [39:30]: Okay, that was the first one that I went to, too. And honestly, your voice kind of sounds familiar. Maybe you weren't saying anything, but maybe, yeah, I mean, honestly, I've talked to a bunch of people who've been there, and everyone was kind of like, it was a surreal, I mean, it is a surreal experience.

Matt [39:47]: No, it really is.

Adeel [39:48]: Yeah, okay. Well, that's good. I mean, how did that feel, going to one of those?

Matt [39:54]: It was... I just, it just felt crazy. So it's like, it really felt like I wasn't alone because I dealt with like, like feeling so alone. Like most of my life, like I really felt like growing up, like I didn't know anyone, like no one believed me. So I really felt like I was like not human sometimes. Yeah. Just seeing that was like really eyeopening. And if you, I was that guy who was like walking around like glaring. Yeah. Like, not talking to people, like, that was a mess.

Adeel [40:28]: Yeah. Did you come with your family at all?

Matt [40:32]: Yeah, I came with my mom and dad.

Adeel [40:34]: Did they come into the convention as well?

Matt [40:37]: Yeah.

Adeel [40:38]: Okay, okay. And what did they think of it?

Matt [40:44]: They thought it was all right and stuff. Yeah. My parents, they're really trying to. it's very difficult for them to like, like know that they, um, that they had like a part of it, like developing and stuff. So it's like very difficult for them to deal with that, which is understandable. Cause like, so there's guilt, so much pain and stuff.

Adeel [41:11]: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, that's, yeah, that is interesting. Uh, cause we talk on the podcast a lot about the, that kind of guilt and shame of, um, of, you know, making, yeah, the guilt and shame on our side of making other people feel, um, weird and uncomfortable. Yeah. You know, because it's cause we react in all kinds of unpredictable ways. It can be difficult, but on their side, uh, yeah i guess i i can see how it can be some guilt on and questions about whether they were a cause um so is that that kind of what uh they were maybe experiencing yeah and i did i did blame them a lot in the past uh-huh yeah and um personally like i think like the worst thing with misophonia is like

Matt [42:04]: but people who don't believe it, they like, it doesn't bother them at all that you deal with it. Like, but the people who love you and care about you, like they suffer with you. And it's just so painful to have this human suffer with you.

Adeel [42:15]: Right. Yeah. No, that's absolutely. Did they, have they kind of, if they kind of worked with therapists as well, maybe like family therapists to kind of, to talk about that or. Oh yeah.

Matt [42:31]: We did try family therapy, but like.

Adeel [42:33]: Yeah.

Matt [42:34]: My parents are, like, hard set. They, like, had nothing to do with it.

Unknown Speaker [42:39]: Okay.

Adeel [42:40]: Yeah. Okay, well, at least, you know, problem solved on their side, I guess. They're no longer feeling any guilt. But was there a moment when they did question it, or was it always just stubborn?

Matt [42:56]: I feel like deep down, they feel guilty about it, but it's just hard to say it out loud and accept it. And, like... Like, like, I'm like, I'm like 19 now. So like, I really don't need my parents anymore. And like, well, not, I mean, yeah, but like, they still love me. They still care about me. They still support me and stuff, but like, they may not support me in the way I want it, but they still do. And I still have to acknowledge that.

Adeel [43:22]: Right.

Matt [43:23]: Right.

Adeel [43:24]: Is there anything, you know, maybe we kind of want to start to wrap up. Is there anything that you want to tell people about your experience? You've had, obviously, some hard ups and hard downs. Anything, yeah, I think you want to tell people about what you've learned and maybe about your hopes for the future.

Matt [43:47]: I, um, this misophonia, like, it's, like, awful. Like, Like, when I was in the hospital, like, many people would tell me, like, they're surprised that I even lived, like, this far and stuff. Like, my other patients, and, like... Like, dealing with this, like, just proves, like, you're, like, some of the strongest people out there. And, like, it takes some, like, real guts to do this. And... And you can't, um... For... Like, I've, like, fell foolish to this and stuff, and... I always saw the negatives about it, but you have to make positives out of it. Because you know so much about the human condition and how much pain people are in, how much pain people can be in. So it's useful in life and helping others, dealing with stuff. Our empathy is off the roof a crazy amount.

Adeel [44:53]: Yeah. Sometimes it feels like it's a little too much. Like we sense a little too much.

Matt [44:57]: Yeah. Yeah. As much as bad there is, if you try hard enough and like keep trying and like not giving, giving into like temptations of like giving up and like you can make a lot of good out of it.

Adeel [45:15]: Yeah, you're right. And that's great. And it's awesome that you're, you're looking at helping people too. And, uh, And I, yeah, I want to say again, like you're, uh, yeah, I mean, you're, if you're 19, you're at that age where it's like, yeah, it's, it's, it's, you're kind of heading into adulthood where you will be more independent and hopefully have a little bit more control. And I think maybe that's what you're feeling would be wanting to kind of, um, um, you know, try this isolation experiment is, is actually maybe just a, you know, step to, um, having your own place, having your own work and just kind of seeing how that goes. I hope maybe not that school painting job where you had to sit with everybody at lunch. There are definitely other ways to kind of, other things to do and other ways to spend your lunch. But yeah, I think there's a lot of doors you can go through. And I think your point about this makes us, you know, look at how this makes you stronger is a great one. It's a great lesson. and pain's sadly the greatest teacher so right right um but yeah it does get better and uh and yeah and i hope everyone i hope everyone takes takes that lesson away from this show is that uh there are people from everywhere with all kinds of different backgrounds and and we do make it together and uh And there's a community out there. And so, you know, I'll introduce you to some people. You've known some people in the past, but yeah, it's just great to talk to other misophones and just kind of talk about our common struggles. But then also, you know, joking about it as we've done. It's a great way to kind of like get some perspective on, which I think is super important. Well, yeah, Matt, I want to thank you for coming on the show and sharing your experience. I probably met you a couple of years ago. I just don't remember your face. But I hope to see you again. I mean, I'm just in Minnesota, in St. Paul. So as soon as we're all allowed to come out of our houses, it'd be great to... kind of meet up at another convention or just kind of in the Midwest somewhere. Cool. Yeah. Thanks again, Matt.

Matt [47:37]: Thank you so much for this. This is amazing. I just, it's awesome to see that you're doing this. It means a lot.

Adeel [47:45]: Thank you, Matt. Thanks for being so open and candid. I think this will help a lot of people when I know you're going to make a great positive difference in the world. Remember, you can be on the podcast too, just by going to the Be A Guest link on the website, If you're enjoying the shows, hit the five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts to help other people see it in their recommendations. Otherwise, hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast or Twitter at Misophonia Show. Music as always is by Moby, and until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.