Melody - Unique Coping with Sound Sensitivity

S2 E19 - 9/2/2020
In Episode 19 of Season 2, Adeel interviews Melody, an artist from Israel with a unique set of misophonia triggers. Originally from Argentina, Melody moved to Israel due to economic issues and feels more at home there. She shared her struggles with misophonia, which started around the age of 10, primarily triggered by amplified sounds through speakers, including music, people talking, and eventually other sounds like home appliances. Melody's family, especially her father, who is a radio announcer, and her brother, a drummer and DJ, unintentionally exacerbated her condition. Despite the challenges, she has found ways to cope by choosing lower quality headphones for listening to music and making accommodations for herself by avoiding speakers. Melody is also an illustrator and animator who has found solace in expressing her feelings through art, sometimes even purposely triggering herself to create misophonia-themed pieces. She works at the airport, where background noise doesn't usually trigger her due to its low volume and the presence of white noise. Melody has also utilized Twitch streaming as a creative outlet, where she controls the music volume to prevent triggering herself. Her advice to others with misophonia is to not discount their feelings and triggers, no matter how unusual, and emphasizes the importance of communication with trusted friends and family.


Adeel [0:00]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. You're listening to Episode 19 of Season 2. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. We are back on schedule this week with your highly anticipated Wednesday episodes. This week I'm talking to Melody, an artist living in Israel. I haven't talked to enough people outside of North America or Europe, so this was really cool. It's a really interesting conversation because she talks about some unusual triggers and coping mechanisms due to her problems handling sound volume and vibrations more generally. It's now September and we're down to our last few episodes for Season 2, and that means I'll be recording a whole new batch of episodes soon. Look for announcements on how to book on our social media, which you probably know by now, Instagram and Facebook at Misophonia Podcast or Twitter at Misophonia Show. Of course, you can always email me at hello at Another reminder, the Misophony Association Convention is coming up totally virtual this year from October the 8th through the 10th. All the speakers are now up on their website and Facebook page, and I've got links in the show notes on how to access. All right, now here's my conversation with Melody. Melody, welcome to the podcast.

Melody [1:21]: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Adeel [1:23]: Awesome. So, yeah, as tradition holds, I'd like to find out kind of, you know, around where you're where you're located.

Melody [1:32]: I am currently living in Israel. I'm originally from Argentina, but I'm moving here now.

Adeel [1:40]: Oh, excellent. Cool. OK. Yeah. We haven't had anybody from either of those countries. So you're in Israel now. What brought you there, by the way?

Melody [1:51]: I was born in Buenos Aires and my parents, after like in 2002 or something, there was kind of a crisis in Argentina. So my parents were like, let's get out of here. And since we're Jewish, they were like, oh, let's try Israel. So I've been living here since I was a child. So it's mainly like my home. I probably... am more of an Israeli person than I feel related, I guess, to Argentina. But yeah.

Adeel [2:26]: Yeah, so why don't we go back, you know, when we first scheduled, I guess, I'm just pulling up some of the notes you sent about kind of, you know, how far back it goes and kind of some of your triggers. Do you want to maybe talk about that? Because it sounded like it's kind of unusual triggers.

Melody [2:50]: Yeah. I have no problem talking about it. Hopefully I won't trigger anyone.

Adeel [2:56]: Yeah, it's fine. Like I mentioned, no one's complained yet. But, you know, we don't have to necessarily go and start making the sounds or like going too descriptive. But yeah, I mean, just talking in general is helpful.

Melody [3:09]: Well, it started actually when I was, I think, around 10 years old, I want to say. I started having this weird anxiety about music. And mainly speakers, like if any sound, even if it was just like the radio or whatever, like people talking through speakers, stereo, that kind of stuff, I would probably get really anxious. And yeah, I've never met anyone that had the same problem as me. Every time that I bring this up, people like look at me funny or like, that's kind of like, I've never heard of that. And actually, funny thing is that I guess the universe wanted to laugh a little bit because my dad is a radio announcer and he loves loud music to blast it on. And then I have my brother who is a drummer and a DJ. So yeah, it was, it was fun.

Adeel [4:24]: Yeah. So was your dad a, um, or we didn't answer before this time, like before you were 10, like, like when, when you start to get triggers, was he already, it was his, it was his, it was his career already or, um, yeah, yeah.

Melody [4:40]: He, it was his career way before I was born. Okay. Okay.

Adeel [4:43]: Gotcha. And you said like, All amplified sounds, right? Not just music, but like voice as well. So anything that comes through speakers, that's gotcha.

Melody [4:55]: I mean, it really started from that. And then it started like, it's weird. I have no explanation for it. I've looked for it on the internet so much, but I have near to no answer. And I've actually, I've seen therapists throughout my life, but I've never really touched upon those things. um but i it started kind of like developing from like it was just loud music from speakers only and then loud music from like the speakers on the tv and then it started like uh home appliances such as like the washing machine or the microwave or stuff like that moved to other other kinds of sounds yeah um okay and was it just uh loud music or like if something was kind of gently playing through speakers like in a department store or something does that bother you as well Yes I always used to like warn people if I went to like my friend's house or if I actually when I started living with roommates I was like please let's not bring any speakers to the house or if you want then I'll just get out of the house real quick so you can play that. But it was because I always warned them that it was like my kind of loud is their kind of low music. So I couldn't hear even like the bass. I thought at first I had a problem with just the bass of the music. But then even that, like even the rest of the things were like triggering.

Adeel [6:26]: All frequencies. Gotcha. What about like earbuds, headphones?

Melody [6:33]: Oh, yeah, that one too. I have less trouble with when I have headphones on, but I always used to look up like, you know, how people look up... headphones to to buy like that are really really good and in quality and like you know uh bass and all that stuff i looked for the other type the kind of like low quality thing that i could just listen to and it would be kind of manageable for me um so low quality in terms of uh maybe it's it's actually um you know good headphones will be across a wide

Adeel [7:09]: frequency spectrum so you're looking for crappy ones that might just be like exactly amplifying basically voice maybe or actually I guess it's hard because if everything's oh so what is is there are any parts of the frequency spectrum okay relatively okay for you or better than others I guess so um now I am like

Melody [7:32]: A lot of the time, even if I was listening to music through my headphones or earphones, I would usually try to maintain it at a certain level of volume. And then there were times, however, there are still times, sadly, that I listen to the music and then suddenly a really upbeat song, kind of like, I don't know, rock music or whatever, electronic music I love electric swing so that sometimes has like those bass kind of moments and if I really think about it if I'm thinking like oh I'm listening to this kind of music right now my head will start to like gradually get anxious as long as I keep thinking about it and so I'm trying to like not but then again if for example i live now with two roommates who love speakers love loud music so whenever they are with that music um i usually like just try to put my headphones in and close any door that i can to not hear the sound um so funny enough like uh listening to music through my headphones helps me from getting it helps me like um to not get anxious about the music that's playing in the background.

Adeel [8:58]: And then what you're listening to in your headphones is like electronic, electronic swing.

Melody [9:03]: Yeah.

Adeel [9:03]: What are your favorite, what would you recommend if somebody is looking for terrible headphones? What are the worst headphones that you love?

Melody [9:12]: Um, there were some that were like, uh, like the, the, the phone headphones that your phones, right. Yeah. Or any type of like old headphones, um, that, that probably are not in the market anymore.

Adeel [9:28]: Um, really bad, like really cheap kids toys or something.

Melody [9:31]: Yeah. I actually, I actually had like, uh, headphones from Sony that were like plastic ones, you know, like really cheap ones. Uh, those were really, really good for me. Wow.

Adeel [9:42]: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's pretty, uh, wow. Rare form of this funny, but I'm sure somebody is listening and they're like, Oh my God, this is the information I cannot get anywhere else.

Melody [9:50]: So I hope so.

Adeel [9:52]: Wanted to put that, put that out there. Um, do you know, is it, um, so, you know, a lot of people sometimes, especially related to the radio, they don't like, uh, if the sound is compressed to like volumes compressed too much, like it's everything squashed.

Melody [10:08]: Um,

Adeel [10:09]: um or that kind of like uh because then you can hear everybody's like mouth sounds as loud as kind of their um they're they're yelling i wonder if that if if you recognize if that has anything to do with it or it's just something unknown that you haven't figured out

Melody [10:24]: I think it might. I think it might be related. I used to have, like, I listened to the other podcasts, the other episodes, and I remember there were people mainly talking about how they were triggered by people eating. around them and then I do remember I did have those times where for example my family like we would all sit then they would eat and if someone was you know chewing loudly I would get like really really angry but it's not in the same Like, it's not the same as someone suddenly, like, putting the speakers on and me having, like, the sudden reaction of, like, I want to get out of here right now.

Adeel [11:11]: Okay, so your fight or flight is specifically for the speaker sounds, but your reaction to, you know, traditional sounds is you can still have something, but it's not fight or flight. Exactly. Interesting.

Melody [11:30]: Irritation mostly.

Adeel [11:31]: It's irritation like the normal people sometimes have. Interesting. Okay. And you mentioned that you've seen therapists all your life. I'm curious. And I'm assuming this is in multiple countries too, like around the world, places you've lived.

Melody [11:49]: Yeah.

Adeel [11:50]: Have they heard about misophonia? I get kind of mixed feedback on whether some have heard, some have not. Some are helpful, some are not.

Melody [11:59]: I never really brought up the name of schizophrenia because when I was younger, I started seeing therapists for types of anxiety and depression, stuff like that, around when I was 16 years old. And it's been 10 years. So I've started seeing them. And I've always used to tell my parents, we used to fight with my family a lot. about the speakers thing, the music, because a lot of the time I would ask my parents to like just turn it off or turn it down. And my mom would immediately say like, I should be the one telling you that you should be the one blasting the music like you're a kid. And I was like, yeah, I don't know what's wrong with me, but that's kind of like the thing. And then my brother would like, you know, have to like practice his drummer skills and because he was attending like a school for that and I remember that fortunately in Israel you have some rooms that are like kind of like soundproof if it makes sense it's like one room that sadly we have to have to protect ourselves but so he would sleep there and his drums would be there and so that's like you just close the door and you can barely hear anything but I remember like would fight all the time and so when I went to see the therapist I told him like I think I have a phobia I thought I thought it was kind of like a phobia I didn't know what it was it was like I get really anxious when there's loud sounds and for someone loud sounds would be something like really really loud as for me it's just like normal type of volumes and he just looked at me like oh that's weird like he didn't obviously he didn't say that's weird but that was kind of like unusual he never heard about that and then he told me like well let's try to you know talk about it but then we never really did and then there were other therapists that have heard about the same kind of like situation i guess but they never really called it misophonia they were never like oh yeah this is that um they were just thought like oh this is a weird phobia that you might have interesting so your your brother is drumming and even your dad's um well okay let's suppose your brother drumming like it's not if it's not through a speaker is it still bothering you yeah um i wanted to uh this is me kind of like going on a side tangent but when i was a kid i was very much like an artistic type of kid uh i still do like art but in a different way than I used to do back then I used to like sing and dance and go to like these types of like of these types of courses I guess that would be just you know a drama club and stuff like that and it was when I was like six years old but then as I grew up I started to like get this fear so I stopped and I wanted to learn how to play like the ukulele and kalimba and stuff like the violin or piano or stuff like that and whenever I went to like a store a music store to try and like play with that I would get so anxious. I would have to get out. I was like, okay, this is enough. I'm going. And so my brother being a drummer was really bad for me because he loved it. It's like his kind of like outlet. He loves that so much. And so he would do that really, really often. And the thing is, you can't hear the whole thing. but you can feel the vibrations of the drumming when he is because you're like really next to him in a room next to him and so that would be like oh no i know that there's a loud sound coming from that i can feel the vibrations from it like let me just book it

Adeel [16:19]: yeah i'm wondering if if it is more um and here's my uh completely unqualified expert opinion but wondering if it is more um vibrations because you're more likely to feel vibrations if it's if it's through a speaker versus like your dad your dad does your dad talking also bother you yeah when he's in front of you as opposed to coming through a speaker

Melody [16:41]: No, no, not at all. It doesn't bother me.

Adeel [16:45]: Because if he's talking, yeah, because if he's talking to you, I mean, obviously the air is moving, but it's not like it's going to speakers which are connected to the floor or wall or whatever. And then you can maybe feel some vibration.

Melody [16:57]: I never thought about it.

Adeel [16:58]: I think that's absolutely it, and you should get... Yeah, no, I'm just brainstorming here. Yeah, that's quite interesting. And yeah, obviously, if your brother is playing drums, you're feeling it everywhere, too, because the drums are kind of speakers. Yeah. interesting okay and then um yeah so so when you went to the music store it's like you know you're walking in and everyone's uh all these uh terribly terrible uh violin students are playing violin is hearing other people is what's driving you crazy right so when you play instruments yourself uh if you do does that bother you

Melody [17:37]: Yes, I have a kalimba that I was gifted not long ago. And it was like my dream. I love the music that it makes. So I was like, I want one. And then someone gifted it to me. And then I was like, okay, let me just play it. And I couldn't, I just couldn't. The moment that I tried, I was like, oh, I didn't know it was going to be this loud. So no, thank you.

Adeel [18:07]: And I'm curious about your hearing sensitivity in general. Like, do you, when you walk into rooms or go out, do you hear things that are far away, very close, you know, as if they're close to you or is your hearing otherwise pretty relatively normal?

Melody [18:25]: No, I think my hearing is probably normal, but my ears do pick up music sounds very quickly. It's like my brain is constantly looking for warnings, like, oh no. Right.

Adeel [18:43]: So, okay, so then, so this all started, sounds like around the age of 10 or so, right? Yeah. And, yeah, so traditional things like, you know, eating around the table weren't bothering you like they do for most people. Did anything happen at school? Like, you know, there's sometimes, there's music class at school and whatnot, or maybe kids are playing music. Did it ever affect, you know, you as you were a student growing up?

Melody [19:08]: Yeah. Yeah, I remember that my parents, like it was sort of like, I guess something that people did a lot in Argentina. And so even when we moved to Israel, I remember we still did those things where we would have like, if it was my birthday or my brother's birthday, my parents would like rent a place to have a party and then obviously loud music and like flashing lights and stuff like that would be there and so I remember that for that when I remember that vividly. I think it was my 11th birthday. And I looked at my dad and he was dancing with me. And then I thought, this music is too loud. I'm scared that it would maybe like hurt me or him or whatever. And so I was just like, let's get out of here. But I didn't go. And the thing is that I looked it up because a few, I think it was like this year or so that I was like, okay, you know what? Let's look it up. Let's just try and see where this is coming from. If maybe somebody else found something by now, because I've always searched for it, but never really had any information. and then turns out there's like a site that talks about misophonia and misokinesia I think it's called and I was like what the heck I have the same thing like it wasn't my symptoms were very different from the sites over there like from the ones that were listed so I was like maybe this is not what I have I don't know But at the same time, for example, seeing things such as like fairy lights like blinking or disco lights or things that are like long type of fabric like curtains or dresses or stuff like that really makes me kind of like the same type of anxious. as the speaker's thing. And so it's the same reaction. And my friends were always like, you're so weird. Why are you so afraid of this? And I'm like, I don't know.

Adeel [21:21]: So you just found out about these funny, like literally this year, 2020. Yeah.

Melody [21:25]: Yeah.

Adeel [21:25]: Interesting. Okay. Yeah. That's pretty new. Yeah. Obviously there's, yeah, there's all kinds of sensory processing and, and, you know, this thing is got a lot of studying ahead of it. So, um, um, you know, it's, it's, yeah, it's, we don't know all the triggers yet.

Melody [21:41]: Yeah.

Adeel [21:42]: And this is certainly kind of an interesting case as well.

Melody [21:47]: Yeah. I mean, I would volunteer. So if anyone wanted to experiment on me, I'd be happy to because I want to know. I want answers as well.

Adeel [21:57]: Okay, if anyone's listening, Melody has offered any kinds of experiments on her brain. So there is one by, yeah, the Baylor one, but it's, I think it's adolescence. But I'm sure there's a lot of research money being, a lot of funding happening right now. So I'm sure there'll be opportunities over the next little while. And so, yeah, so yeah, you mentioned, okay, so you mentioned your birthdays were like terrible experiences for you. Were there, was there, so and then you also mentioned your friends kind of like wondering what's wrong with you. Did it affect like, you know, the types of people you hung out with?

Melody [22:40]: Yes.

Adeel [22:41]: Okay, yeah, let's talk about how it affected your kind of social life.

Melody [22:45]: um so when i started like socializing as a teen um i was about 12 years old i remember going to friends houses uh we would all have to like meet up together and we would listen to music and uh coming from like the tv the speakers on the tv and I remember that one time I went to a party more like a social gathering type of thing and my friends were like blasting music on the TV and I was like can you not please can you lower the music or just don't play it And they were like, it's okay. You're going to be fine. You just need to ignore it. And I'm like, I can't. That's the thing. Otherwise, I would have. But at some point, I just stopped really hanging out with many people outside of school. my uh relationship with my family was also very like rocky because of that um it wasn't like anything like we would you know have really ugly fights every day but it was every single day you would have to explain yourself again you would have to uh ask for like you know say like oh i'm so sorry but can you please turn the volume down and like my my dad once i remember like There was a time when I was especially triggered by any type of sound, even if it was kind of low. If it came from speakers, I would be triggered. And I went to ask him, can you please, please, please lower the volume because I am reaching my limit here. I want to go out. And he was like, stop being a nuisance, pretty much. And that's like, from then on, I was like, all right. Every time that I hear something like that, I'm going out of the house or I'm just... I'm going to be in my room, do anything I can to like not hear it, basically.

Adeel [24:51]: Yeah, sometimes it's not worth it and you just have to surrender and I don't know if that's the right word, but yeah, I mean, just leave. It's not worth the added stress. And speaking of stress, are things like stress kind of exacerbating to it, to this trigger of yours?

Melody [25:08]: Yeah, I'm generally, I'm not an anxious person, but I did suffer from anxiety. And so this was like some more like added anxiety to that. And it would just pretty much boost my anxiety a lot by a lot.

Adeel [25:29]: Yeah, and can I mention, yeah, I mean, you know, music is such a, TV is such a big part of growing up that, you know, it could obviously, well, and family life. I'm wondering, like, movies, did you ever, what was your movie experience, going to theaters or even watching videos at home?

Melody [25:48]: yeah actually um videos at home are fine i always use headphones i have i don't own any type of speakers um but uh going to the movies it would i say that um i would say that it's pretty okay for me i can maintain like a calm you know uh like be calm and collected I guess when I go to the movies because it's I do animation so this is what I'm studying this is what I love so going to the movies is like my favorite place to go to funny enough so then I sometimes like do get triggered though when I am again when I'm actually thinking oh there was a bass going right now or and stuff like that and so I would usually try to like think where would i not where in this room would i be safest basically um let's do not hear too much of that or feel that the vibrations as well um so so yeah but mostly that's the only place i would say that i'm okay with the speakers um otherwise it's like if especially if there's like an echo going on um that's why i think being in the house is like you know because the music echoes sometimes um that that i think was a very big problem for me. But going to the movies was fine. Going to concerts, however, was a no-go for me.

Adeel [27:24]: I couldn't. Okay, any kind of music, going to a concert, terrible.

Melody [27:29]: Or to parties, like clubs, stuff like that, no.

Adeel [27:33]: Yeah, interesting. And when you mentioned echo, are you talking about more like reverb, reverberation? Just kind of like that open sound or literally an echo?

Melody [27:48]: Both, an open sound kind of place but yeah also like a literal echo especially like because sometimes you know you go to live in a house and the house doesn't really have like soundproof walls or whatever so that can be really really bad that's why when we moved to this place with my two roommates I

Adeel [28:09]: heard the echo in the house when we were talking and obviously like we had to still furnish a little bit of the house but i was like this is this gonna be bad oh yeah so yeah and you have you yeah you'd want to put a bunch of fabric to kind of deaden deaden the sound um when i yeah when i mentioned reverb if nobody's familiar it's like that sound when you go into a church um i'm curious did you go do if you i don't know how big synagogues are related in relation to churches but did you ever go to like a

Melody [28:39]: synagogue and is that kind of a bad place or a good place because there's a lot of reverb there houses of worship i did i did go to synagogues uh especially with my family i don't go now i'm not a super religious person but um i if i do go it's like to a synagogue or to a church um probably for bat mitzvahs i'm sure at some point maybe you yeah yeah but like i remember if for example i go to to visit a country i usually like going to churches to see uh how it is like and to synagogues and stuff like that um so yes the sound sometimes if there's like music playing uh like i don't know how the name of the instrument um but it's like a really big piano i'm sorry oh yeah like a pipe organ Yeah, exactly that. Thank you. So if I hear that and I hear like throughout the entire church, I'm like, oh, well, it was nice, but I'm going to go.

Adeel [29:38]: Yeah. It also can sound kind of creepy, but in general. Interesting. Okay. So in terms of coping mechanisms, obviously leaving the situation and then the worst headphones you can find can kind of help. Are there any other things that you've... that you've learned work for you uh well actually i've had a thought earlier but uh how about ear plugs just kind of like um deadening so that you're not even you're not even injecting more sound into your ears you're just kind of attenuating does that help um have you tried that

Melody [30:19]: Yes, it does. My roommate actually suggested that to me one time and I was like, oh, I'm going to try it. And it did work. But also like headphones, especially like even if I'm not listening to any music, I'll try taking like my roommate's headphones that are like soundproof. and try to like just put them on and and without any music without anything but like just have them on to kind of like make the sound a little bit more like go away I guess but also I find that um listening to music through my own headphones and uh also humming to myself or like trying to like talk to like not talk to myself that sounds weird but humming to myself or um trying to like think of anything else like grounding techniques i guess uh that also works for me uh but it doesn't work like by itself i also have to have something on my ears because otherwise uh no okay so to yeah to kind of like summarize that so sometimes you're saying sometimes if you hear if you hear music um if you hear out stuff outside your headphones then

Adeel [31:36]: It helps to put on headphones without music and then also hum along.

Melody [31:41]: Yeah.

Adeel [31:41]: So kind of like the mimicry that people do when they are triggered by eating sounds. Are you humming along to the same music or are you humming something completely different than what's triggering you?

Melody [31:54]: It could be anything. Yeah, it could be the same sound that I'm hearing, but also sometimes it's just like any type of thing that comes to my head, like first thing that comes to my head and having it. Yeah.

Adeel [32:05]: Very interesting. Okay. And so, yeah, so we mentioned also, yeah, non-sound triggers, like, and you mentioned music and easier. So I'm curious how visual triggers affect you. Do you get triggered much by...

Melody [32:21]: visual stuff like watching your maybe watching your brother play drums and yeah okay that that like seeing someone play any type of instrument like my brother doing that or the music store Yeah, the music store.

Adeel [32:41]: Okinawa concert, I'm sure. Was that kind of one of the big reasons? Well, I guess you're also hearing loudspeakers.

Melody [32:45]: Yeah, that was definitely, especially the hearing, but that was also a very big thing. Also, this is, like, I think also since I was a kid. So, like, 10 is, like, the youngest that I can think of that this started. But I remember like I tried going to concerts in the past when I was a kid and there's always this kind of like lights going on and off, like flashing lights or like the, you know, those lights that really have like a really big reach. And so they move along and you can see them like. Yeah, the spotlights. Yeah, exactly. So those are a big trigger for me as well. Like any type of like, yeah, even now.

Adeel [33:28]: Any kind of spotlight, even if there's no interesting.

Melody [33:31]: Okay. If I see like, for example, disco lights or flashing lights, spotlights. even a flashlight and also like my roommate when it's Christmas he does kind of celebrate it and so he put like last December I remember he put all of the flashing lights that he had like fairy lights type of thing and they were like changing color and like changing like the rhythm in the in which they were like flashing um and i remember i could not step into the living room i i just couldn't go i stayed in my room the entire time because i couldn't go to like because they had to go to the kitchen and to go to the kitchen you have to pass through the living room and so i couldn't i just couldn't go

Adeel [34:21]: Wow, okay. But a stationary light when you turn on a light at your desk is fine.

Melody [34:28]: Yeah, that's fine. That's weird.

Adeel [34:31]: It is the changing nature of the light, whether it's moving or turning on and off.

Melody [34:37]: Yeah, I have like RGB lights in my computer. And sometimes they do have like that feature that they change kind of like the the color and stuff like that and so i have it off right now because uh when it's night and you can see them very well they start like changing and moving along and it's like oh no

Adeel [34:57]: Okay, yeah, that's a new feature in a lot of computers where they'll take away, there'll be like a blue filter at night. And so that bothers you.

Melody [35:07]: Yeah, but like as well as lights, I would say fabric, like long pieces of fabric when they move through the wind type of thing. that I do not own any dresses, any long dresses. I get really, really triggered from even wearing and seeing myself and feeling the fabric go along. And I don't have curtains in my house at all. And that made me wonder a few months back, I was like, what happens if I ever want to get married? Uh, for example, like have a big party with all my friends and family and stuff like that. And I have to have like, obviously for the guests, you want to have stuff like, you know, music and lights and, and all the things that trigger me. And I would have to like wear a dress and stuff like that. And it's like, Oh yeah. I probably shouldn't do that. I probably shouldn't get married.

Adeel [36:05]: Yeah, it's a lot cheaper if you just go somewhere else. It's many benefits to that. Yeah, interesting. Okay, so yeah, fabrics, just that visual nature of the... The movement and the ripples and whatnot. Interesting. Any other kind of, we've heard some, you know, yeah, we have heard some unusual stuff once in a while on the podcast in terms of like visual triggers, like clasping hands together and rubbing. Does the sense of touch, like somebody maybe on a plane in the seat behind you, maybe kicking the seat a little bit or whatever, would that kind of thing bother you? That kind of like touching nature?

Melody [36:54]: It does, but it doesn't really like bother me as much as others probably. So I wouldn't say it's like something that has to do with misokinesia. It's probably just or like misophonia. It's just something that I find sometimes a little bit bothersome, but I can get over it pretty quickly. I don't really... have it's not like a real trigger for me otherwise things like what I said are the big the bigger things that I just when I see it I have to turn away and I feel like super anxious

Adeel [37:26]: Gotcha. Okay. And, um, yeah. So, so how do you, so what do you, um, I guess, what do you, how do you tell people, well, I guess you just recently found out what it was. Are you, are you now, um, did you go out and start telling people, Hey, you know, that thing that, you know, you thought I was crazy. We all thought I was crazy. This is what it is. Um, or do you have, are you still kind of processing?

Melody [37:50]: No, I did. I did tell, um, throughout my life, my family knew all the time because I couldn't go a minute without like trying to make them stop the music and stuff like that. Um, so they, they knew, but they were always kind of like either brushing it off saying like, it's just her being annoying or whatever. Like, I don't know if annoying, but she's, she's like, she'll get over it pretty quickly or, um, or things like, um, They always thought it was something weird, but they were always like, you should get over it. We shouldn't be the ones to accommodate you, basically. And so they knew. And then I think I said something to my dad and he was like, oh, cool. And then we moved on to the next thing. But with my friends, I did tell them like, hey, I just found out this thing that really fits my problems that I've had because they also know like whenever I go to their house and we want to watch a movie or something, I'm like, give me the remote. I want to have like, at least want to know that I can control the music or like the sound mostly like if I want to or... Things like, can we not play that right now or stuff like that. My friends are always really, really supportive of me and always try to be considerate. So that's something that I'm super grateful for. Also my roommates, all the roommates that I've had so far. were really really nice about that um but they always are like that's kind of weird and so the other time when i when i told them like oh this is called apparently this is called mesokinesia and misophonia um and so this is this this is probably the problem that's been there a long and they were like oh i can't believe there's a name for it i never knew that was an actual thing that people went through i just uh thought it was you i was like yeah me too

Adeel [39:55]: Yeah, right. Many of us go through that discovery. And so you mentioned having control is important to you in terms of like the remote control when you're in. So does that help just knowing that you have control over the volume?

Melody [40:13]: It doesn't make it go away, but it does help a little bit to kind of manage it. And I also tell my friends or whoever's watching this with me, I would tell them if I can hold the remote just to know that I can lower and... make the volume like go up and down as they please um and and so you know that will probably happen during the movie that maybe you won't be able to hear something so let's watch something with subtitles so that you know what's going on i was gonna ask like uh do you sometimes just uh turn all the sound off and look at the closed captions Yeah, it's usually one of two things. Also, especially when I'm alone, I do try to just turn the volume all the way down, mute it, and just watch something with the captions on. That really helps. But as well, I have... I remembered when I was a kid, when I was like 14 or 12 years old, I used to try and trigger myself to get over it. I thought if I listened to this like for a half an hour, maybe it'll go away.

Adeel [41:26]: Like a little exposure therapy experiment.

Melody [41:30]: Exactly. So I would blast music, all the music that I liked that had like a really big bass moment or that have just any type of loud music coming from the speakers of my dad, his desktop, I guess. I would put it on and when I was alone in the house, so people wouldn't like think that I'm over it and then like we shouldn't have this conversation again. So I was alone and I was blasting that music. And I remember I couldn't hold for more than five minutes maybe. It was like, this is too hard. I thought it wouldn't be like this hard, but it was really, really tough for me to like, even if I can control it, I would go through it. And then the whole time I would be anxious, like really, really anxious. And I would want to turn down the volume. So I could never really do that. And... I did think about going to therapy to like exposure therapy, but just the thought of like having to be exposed to that for like an hour or less or like half an hour or whatever, that was really terrifying for me.

Adeel [42:34]: Yeah, definitely mixed reviews about exposure therapy in general. And yeah, most people don't even want to try. And so what about at work? You know, it's one thing to have control at home. Do you get triggered at, well, first of all, are you at school working or?

Melody [42:54]: I am working at the moment. I am an illustrator and I also am self-teaching. I'm teaching myself animation at the moment. But I did go to university for digital animation and also I'm working at the moment. Currently, because of the situation of the world, I'm at home. But I do work at the airport. So that's a place where they do put music on and stuff like that. But it's usually really, really like low volume that you can barely hear it with all the like white noise that goes around.

Adeel [43:31]: Yeah, there's white noise, but I guess there's also a lot of echo. So you find it's generally OK to be there.

Melody [43:39]: Yeah, because the part that I'm in is pretty closed off. So going to like from the start, like from the entrance of the airport to the place that I'm working is like kind of sometimes if it's like really, if the echo is too big, I probably would get triggered. But I usually just walk really fast so I can just get there.

Adeel [44:02]: Yeah, just do what you got to do. What about, yeah, maybe, well, we're getting... You know, this is kind of flown by. We're almost about an hour in or so. I don't know how long. But I do want to cover, I just want to hit upon your illustrations maybe. Like, have you ever kind of created art that's kind of maybe been inspired by what you're feeling?

Melody [44:30]: Yes, definitely. I had many illustrations, especially when I was in high school. I would draw what I was feeling while being triggered. So anytime, like I would even sometimes try to trigger myself in order to like create something that I would like, that would be... representing misophonia. So I do have those. Do you have them anywhere like online?

Adeel [44:55]: I would love to maybe, I don't know, if you're willing to share, I'm sure people will be interested.

Melody [45:00]: Yeah, sure. Sure. Thank you. I am on Instagram as Melo the Marshmallow. Nice. I'll put that link in the show notes too. I could show you the link. And I do also like sometimes stream, uh, what I'm doing, what I on Twitch, for example.

Adeel [45:17]: Oh, you have a Twitch channel? Oh, for this. Okay, cool. Well, I'll definitely get the link for that. Yeah.

Melody [45:22]: Yeah. And there, there actually, uh, I, on the streams, I do put music. But it's usually for me, like I make it so that the people in the stream can hear it. But I usually put it really low for me so I can be calm whenever something's happening. It happened to me that at one time in the stream, I was like, oh, I'm getting triggered, so I'm going to turn it down.

Adeel [45:48]: Have you ever done it to kind of purposely trigger yourself in doing a stream? I know you've done it growing up, but there might be an interesting stream channel to watch you just get increasingly aggro.

Melody [46:01]: Probably. I might try one time.

Adeel [46:05]: I'm not saying do it, but I never want to, you know, make people triggered. No, of course. Oh, yeah, that's super cool. It'd be interesting to watch you. So do you, are you drawing, I guess we'll see it, but are you drawing on paper or is this digital animation?

Melody [46:22]: Both. I do digital drawings and animation with my tablet. And also I sometimes do traditional drawings.

Adeel [46:34]: Very good. So what do you want to do later with this? You said you like, I think you said you maybe like animated, you like movies with animation. Do you want to get into gaming maybe or feature film?

Melody [46:47]: I'm a huge fan of... Animation is my passion. So I do want to be a part of any studio doing stuff like movies and cartoons on TV. That's my main priority, I guess. But also working as a character designer for a video game would be extremely, extremely exciting for me because I also love video games a lot.

Adeel [47:17]: Interesting. Yeah. So you're familiar with unity and all the, all the usual. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I also, I imagine virtual reality, artificial reality, there's a lot of stuff emerging in those fields that might be interesting to you too. And then you can create your own, um, sonically pleasant environment.

Melody [47:33]: Yeah.

Adeel [47:35]: Well, cool. Melody, well, actually, yeah, I should say, you know, as someone who's recently found out about MISA, is there anything you'd like to tell people who might, well, also with somebody who's got a relatively unusual trigger pattern, anything you want to tell folks who might be kind of in your situation?

Melody [47:56]: Yes, I guess I would say to anyone who's listening to this and going like, oh, maybe I have misophonia, but it's the triggers for me are very different from the rest. I would say that. your feelings and your triggers are not any less valid for not being like popular, I guess. But also don't be afraid to try and go to therapy or try to talk to your friends and family that you trust and try to like have a conversation in which you try and explain yourself to them. Because I think a lot of my problems with my family, when I was living with them, growing up with them, our fights would center a lot around misophonia for me and I never took the time as a kid to explain to to sit them like to sit with them and explain to them like this is how I feel and I know it's weird I don't understand it myself but I'm trying to let you know because a lot of the time my parents and my brother and my family would be kind of like ignorant to what was going on I think if we don't know then the people who don't go through it know even less so it's something that it's not always done out of like malice but it's also they just don't understand so never be afraid to to vocalize what uh what you're going through because it can help a lot either yourself or anybody that might listen to you so uh good luck

Adeel [49:31]: Yeah, absolutely. Critical, important message. I agree a hundred and ten percent. Yeah, never be afraid to express what you need. Don't discount your feelings. This is a hugely underexplored area and so your experiences are valuable. And, yeah, amazing. So, yeah, thanks again, Melody, for coming on. It's been fascinating listening to your experience. Thank you. And, yeah, best of luck to you. I know you just recently found out what Misophonia is, but, you know, there's a community online through this and through many other ways. So I hope, yeah, I hope you connect with other folks and things work out for you. And, yeah, I look forward to seeing your Twitch channel.

Melody [50:20]: Thank you so much. And thank you for visiting as well in the future. But thank you so much for giving me the platform to talk about it. I was scared actually to come on and say something and people would be like, oh, that's not misophonia because your symptoms are not popular. So I guess thank you for giving me the platform to talk about it, to giving me the time as well. I really, really appreciate it. I'm hoping that the podcast goes on and on and that it gets bigger so many people can hear about it and find out that they're probably not alone. So, yeah, thanks so much. Thanks for having me.

Adeel [51:01]: Thank you, Melody. Remember, new interview slots will be opening up very soon, so please look out for that. If you're enjoying the shows, please consider hitting the five stars on Apple iTunes. Music, as always, is by Moby. I'm wishing you peace and quiet.