Jim - Author's Journey from Office Chaos to Writing Solace

S5 E2 - 10/6/2021
In this episode, California-based self-published author Jim shares his lifelong journey with misophonia, including family dynamics, work challenges, and coping strategies. Growing up, Jim experienced unexplained irritations from sounds, leading to misunderstandings with family members, such as being labeled selfish for wanting his own room to avoid his uncle's snoring. His condition remained private and misunderstood until later in life when he began to encounter significant challenges in the workplace. The open-plan office environment, exacerbated by colleagues' coughing and the open disdain for his music preferences, intensified his misophonia, pushing him towards remote work before ultimately deciding to leave the corporate world in 2008. Jim turned to writing and self-publishing, seeking a quieter, more controlled environment. He discusses his unique coping mechanisms, such as using earphones constantly, even during meals with his family, and relying on an arsenal of audio content including DJ mixes, sports broadcasts, classical music, and ambient sounds to block out triggers. Jim also mentions his method of logging the schedule of landscapers to anticipate and mitigate the agitation caused by leaf blowers, a significant trigger for him.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is season five, episode number two. My name is Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Jim, a self-published author in California. I've got tons of links to Jim's work and other things we mention in the show notes. Jim went the self-publishing round after some interesting office experiences. We talk about all that, plus his misophonic saga with family throughout his life. Like many others, this is the first time he's really talked about misophonia with someone, so it's always great to hear new stories and share knowledge in both directions. I'll be doing a couple of sessions at the Misophonia Association convention in just over a week. It's online again this year. Of course, I'll be talking about my experiences with the podcast, but also helping with another session on creativity in Misophonia. If you come to my session, thank you in advance and feel free to say hi in the conventions app. Some other of my usual announcements and plugs. The Misophonia podcast app is out for iOS and Android. podcast player, background noise generator, journal for tracking triggers that you can export, lists of resources for all kinds of things, and more features and fixes coming up, in fact, probably even later this week. So check it out and let me know what you're thinking if you have any suggestions. And if you forgot, you can always hit me up by email at hello at misophoniapodcast.com or go to the website, misophoniapodcast.com. It's easy also to send a message on Instagram at Misophonia Podcast. You can follow there or on Facebook at Misophonia Podcast and Twitter where it's just Misophonia Show. If you like either the podcast or the app, please leave a review wherever you find them. It really helps get them in front of more people. Now, here's my conversation with Jim. Jim, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here. Yeah, thanks for having me. of course so um yeah jim whereabouts are you i'm in san jose california right now oh excellent okay i used to be in san francisco so i know the area quite well um you know what do you what do you do there i'm unemployed right now but i am writing self-published books for a living oh cool okay yeah um anything miso related by chance i've had one or two authors on before uh no the current book i'm working on is it's not about me so but i do mention that i have miso in one of the chapters oh okay so it's uh so then it's it is somewhat uh autobiographical no no it's uh it's a non-fiction book about a sitcom one of my favorite sitcoms or a sitcom that i i watched for the past few years on that oh okay can i ask which uh sitcom kim's convenience Kim's Convenience. Okay. I haven't seen that one. Oh, it's a... Well, most of the five seasons are great. I've been reviewing every episode this summer for the book project. They've made 65 episodes. They finished the run earlier this year. Gotcha. It's a sitcom about a Korean-American family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. Oh, wow. Okay. Interesting. Wait, did I say Korean-American? I meant Korean-Canadian. Korean-Canadian. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, that's all good. Yeah, I used to live in Toronto, so I know that whole area. I love a lot of great Asian friends there. Yeah, did you live in the Moss Park neighborhood? Because that's where the TV show is set. no i i was there briefly on basically a college internship and i lived basically downtown um so yeah a little bit with this bedina area but uh okay you know the the suburbs are have massive um yeah just a lot of uh um big asian population in the suburbs especially um Yeah, that's interesting. And you said that in your book, you mentioned in one of the chapters that you have miso. So I'm assuming it's not that miso was in the show. It's miso maybe caused it. Maybe the show triggered you in some way? No, no, no. I'm trying to figure out why I mentioned it in one of the episode reviews. Yeah. I'm trying to remember why. Well, you don't have to. People will just have to buy the book. I know why. It's because one of the songs in one of the episodes, it was featured in a mix. And I play mixes to block out the miso triggers. Gotcha. Okay, so you play DJ mixes? Yeah. Like kind of house music, techno music to block out triggers? No, not house. Hip-hop or R&B are my favorite genres. Gotcha. Okay. And so these are your go-to tracks for any situation?

Jim [5:19]: Yeah.

Adeel [5:20]: Excellent. Okay. Okay. Do you have like a playlist by any chance, like on Spotify or something that people can go check out or SoundCloud? Oh, there are so many, man. There are so many mixes, so many podcasts, so many mix show podcasts. I'll name one mix that I used to listen to all the time. DJ Dazzy Jeff did this all Dilla tribute in Philly in like 2015. So I downloaded that and I used to play that on my phone all the time and on my laptop. What makes it a good mix? Is it something particular that... Sorry, I live in an old house that had a door open randomly, so... That's okay. I'll cut that out, but anyways.

Jim [6:00]: That's okay.

Adeel [6:01]: Yeah, so I was asking, is there anything particular that you look for in the mixes, or is it just something that you just enjoy listening to? I just enjoy listening to it. I enjoy listening to all those mixes. I enjoy blocking out the sounds that trigger me with those mixes. yeah okay okay um yeah so i guess wow because we already covered a few things about what you do um how you one of the ways you cope um maybe let's yeah let's let's talk about what's what's been triggering you these days so you're um you're you're self-publishing right now are you're i guess like a lot of us are you probably in front of a computer at home um working working from home or wherever you are yeah um what's what's your situation like right now in terms of you know how is this affecting you how your miso has been affecting you well i'm living with my parents right now gotcha and uh were they your first triggers like a lot of people uh no my uncle was my first trigger one of my uncles his snoring his snoring was a trick was the very first trigger Okay. You mentioned this, I think, in one of your first contacts with me. Okay. Yes. Snoring is a big trigger for you. Yeah. I think you said eating not so much.

Jim [7:21]: No.

Adeel [7:21]: Eating noises, they don't bother me at all. In fact, I find them entertaining sometimes. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Well, I mean, many of us have sounds that please us. And that's great if eating is one of those for you. So you're living with your parents. So do your parents trigger you then at all? Occasionally. If my dad snores, then that triggers me. But because I always have headphones on, I'm always able to block out those noises. Okay, okay, gotcha. Right, and you got your music on in your mixes. Okay, okay. And then I kind of, so would you say then your miso, unless you're kind of going out there randomly in the world, it's pretty under control now that you're here at home and you're only occasionally being triggered? Well, there are a couple of other noises that trigger, and we'll get to those immediately or later. are you sure we can get into it now yeah okay well it started with my uncle snoring because he he's he's my he was one of my he's one of my mother's brothers and so yeah he'd come to visit and sometimes and often he'd he'd sleep over in the room i shared with my older brother so that was fun when i was five and six having to hear him snore all night yeah okay that's that's rough and uh and so that would keep you up like how would you react at that age i would i would block my i would cover my ears with my hands that's that's all i had i didn't have headphones at the time yeah yeah that was all i had anybody no you just kind of bottled it up a lot of us yeah i kept it bottled up until later when I had to share, when we, what year was this? It was like 2002 or something. All the family members had to travel together to visit another uncle. And so we all, I wanted to have my own, I told my brother, my older brother, I wanted to have my own room. I didn't want to share it with my uncle this time. I wanted my own room because I didn't know it at the time, but I was suffering from misophonia. Yeah. And what did he say? He thought I was being selfish and being dickish. And I didn't know at the time that that's misophonia. So I was able to get my own room. But the rest of the family thought I was being a diva. No, it's because I don't want to hear my uncle snore when we're sleeping. so you mentioned it to your brother only and did he go and tell the rest of your family or how did that kind of spread no i i didn't tell them about the snore i didn't say that it was snoring i just said i want my own room i'm old enough now okay to have my own hotel room when we're vacationing together right and that was like the last that's like that was like the last vacation we all all of us as a family went went to together Ah, okay, okay. And why was that? Why was that the last time? I don't know. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I pissed everybody off because of the hotel room drama. I don't know. Okay, okay. it could be unrelated but yeah i'm just curious um yeah it's been about 20 years okay and then so again how were you around that time did you say around 12 or no that that hotel room the hotel room the thing about the la hotel room was when i was in my 20s okay i was already i was already working um that's like the mid 2000s like when did uh When did Lindsay Lohan host Saturday Night Live? It was that year.

Jim [11:18]: It was that weekend.

Adeel [11:19]: No, I have no idea. Okay, gotcha. I remember the weekend because that was the weekend Lindsay Lohan guest hosted Saturday Night Live. Wait, who doesn't remember where they were? No, that's an interesting reference point. Yeah, definitely. That would be in the 2000s. Okay. Yeah. I mean, okay. Between you and me, I think, yeah, if you're in your 20s, you should be able to have your own hotel room. Okay. So you made it. So between five and 20, you didn't really tell anybody. You just kind of kept it bottled up inside like so many of us do, right? Yeah. And it wasn't just snoring. It would be like my next door neighbor's footsteps. So it started to spread to other- It started in college when I got my own studio apartment when I was going to university. That's also when the miso started intensifying. It was because of my next door neighbor's footsteps. So what I would do was I had a little basketball. I don't like a small basketball all the time. I'd always bounce it against the wall to try to get him to stop. And then I stopped doing that. I stopped doing that when he started noticing that I was bouncing the basketball on his wall. did he confront you about the basketball dancing and like how did that uh how did that uh oh i sometimes i resolved itself sometimes i'd hang out with him like we'd watch tv occasionally together and so that that came up in conversation he said jim you need to stop with the basketball dribbling on my wall what is going on i didn't tell him it was because of his footsteps were annoying me yeah okay Did his footsteps then stop happening? Did he stop? No, they continued. I just learned to live with it. I just learned to live with it back then. And I would fight it off with a basketball. Gotcha. Okay. It never escalated into arguments. I'm glad. yeah did you find that as you became as you as you start to hang out with him that it the symptoms maybe subsided maybe your brain somehow realized that he's not some weird phantom threat that our brain yeah yeah that that's yeah it it got less stressful when we started talking about it and and i became less uh less triggered by it when you know he started noticing that i was dribbling the basketball on his wall out of anger and i realized i was being kind of a dick so that lesson too my dribbling the basketball kind of lessons also yeah it's interesting he said that he was a disabled uh neighbor so i felt really bad about dribbling the basketball on his wall because he walked around on it he walked around on a cane gotcha So I started to understand, you know, maybe the reason why it's so noisy is because he's having trouble walking in his apartment. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, canes are not necessarily quiet.

Jim [14:29]: Yeah.

Adeel [14:31]: So, okay, so it sounds like you at least made it out of school. Were you triggered at all at school, or was it mainly things that were happening first at home and then in your apartment? No, school's fine. At that point, it was just the other people snoring and footsteps from either upstairs or next door would bother me. yeah yeah did it did you start to affect like friends and who you'd hang out with um no i didn't have any friends gotcha gotcha i'm kidding i had some friends but no yeah i mean you're not the first person who said that they didn't have any friends so my next question obviously is like do you think um maybe some subconsciously somehow um fear of sounds potentially getting triggered may have kind of affected that Yeah, I think it's... Or you're just an introvert naturally, you think? I never had any friends who did anything that would trigger me, but... I'm sorry, I forgot the question you were asking. Well, yeah, basically just trying to figure out, you know, there are people who come on and they just, you know, maybe they grew up with not a lot of friends and partly because they may be afraid that they might get triggered by people and then just, you know, after enough trauma and exhaustion from being triggered, they just kind of stop pursuing friends. I'm curious if if maybe that may have been a factor or Or you just, you know, had a very select group of friends for other reasons. I'm just introverted. No, that's, yeah, fair enough. And then, and then coming out of, yeah, then, so after, you know, after your 20s, how did it progress? You know, it seems to kind of, the number of systems kind of keep multiplying after that. Although, you know, as we're getting our own apartments and jobs, no, we have a little bit more control. How did it kind of progress for you? Oh, God. Work culture. That intensified the meso. People coughing. I think that's about it. I think it's the coughing. What kind of jobs did you have? Were they just open office? Oh, yeah. The open plan office design is not a great office design for mesophonics. It's the worst. Yep, yep. Did, yeah, why don't you maybe elaborate? I know a lot of us kind of can relate. Why don't you elaborate kind of on your experiences? Okay, well, I worked as a journalist after university and then as a coder. So I'm trying to remember back to those terrible years. Yeah, no, all I can remember is being triggered by other people's coughs. yeah yeah no i i totally understand and uh so as a journalist you're typing on the computer as a coder you're typing on the computer you you probably have people right next to you right who are also just sitting there um coughing clearing the throat eating um that's where i discovered headphones and headphones are a godsend Yeah, I was going to say, like, yeah, what did you do? I mean, I've worked at places where they've supplied headphones just for, you know, because it's just become something a lot of companies do. Did you just grab headphones and just listen to your mixes all the time? Yeah, that's when podcasts started becoming a thing. And I started listening to podcasts as well. and uh did anyone say anything about i mean about you know you constantly in ad films or was it just fine no they just thought oh jim's listening to his rap music again because i was surrounded by white people and a lot of them hated the hip-hop tracks i was always playing So I had to deal with that as well. White people who shame you for the music you listen to. Right, right. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's a whole other podcast. But so how did it, did you ever leave a job because maybe you couldn't take it anymore?

Jim [19:05]: I got fired.

Adeel [19:06]: I got fired because I was trying to work remotely and they didn't want, they didn't like that. Yeah, we would want to work remotely. I mean, that's such a weird thing, right? Yeah, I kept it all bottled. I kept it all bottled up. I never complained about the coughs. I just never brought it up. Okay, and then interesting parallel to wanting your own room, you at some point requested a remote situation? No, that's the problem. I didn't request it. You just started working remotely? i just kept doing it more often until i was doing it every day yeah yeah okay it's also because i hated i hated i started to hate my job i was becoming more interested in getting into writing i was at the time trying to become a graphic novelist gotcha okay i was trying to i was trying to distance myself from the job but wow that it worked spectacularly and i ended up fired yeah okay okay and okay interesting so and and i'm assuming the remote working was was primarily misophonia driven yeah i didn't want to i didn't want to deal i didn't want to hear anybody coughing anymore i didn't want to deal with white folks shaming me for the music i'm listening to Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah, well, they're listening to Imagine Dragons and whoever else. No, this guy was shaming me. He was listening to Death Metal all the time. Okay, okay, gotcha. Well, you know, Death Metal for Misophonia has its virtues. It is loud and noisy, but again, that's part of another podcast. We won't get into here. Okay, so interesting. So you have five. And so was this kind of relatively recent then in the last few years? And that's kind of... No, I got, I got fired. I got fired in 2008 and I've never, I've never worked a job since then. I've deliberately tried to stay away from office culture because I know that it would, if I get an office job again, it would just trigger me. Yeah. Right. And have you thought, um, have you thought about, because now everything's so remote, have you ever, have you thought about like while you're, while you're doing your writing, um, also maybe doing some remote work now that it's so prevalent and maybe you know getting back to uh a remote or you're just really happy with what you're doing right now and you know it'd be it'd be It'd be great if I could earn extra money on this side because writing these self-published books, I'm not going to earn as much as I did as a coder. That's for sure. But yeah, I'd like to do it. In fact, I was trying to get writing jobs after I was fired and no one would hire me. So I just said, screw it. I'm just going to blog and write self-published books for a living. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I mean, yeah, right now, I mean, right now, as you know, with the whole COVID thing, there's so many coding opportunities that are remote now more than ever. So it might be worth kind of poking your head out and seeing what's out there. I bet it's changed a lot since I was fired. Yeah, I don't know about going back to coding. I knew that I grew sick of it. later on. But in the first couple of years when I was earning the most money I ever earned, it was fun. Gotcha. Okay. Okay. Yeah. So then let's, yeah, maybe let's talk about continuing to go, to go forward. So you, you know, you're using music to, to, to kind of cope. Are there other, is there any other coping mechanisms that you've kind of come up with? Like when you're with family, you probably don't have headphones on all the time. Are there?

Jim [23:08]: No, I do.

Adeel [23:09]: I do have headphones on with my, when I'm eating with my parents, I have it on all the time now in this condo. yeah yeah what kind of headphones do you have earbuds big big ass headphones or uh big ass headphones uh let me let me look at the brand and everything okay yeah uh oh it's called one audio that's the brand o-n-e-o-d-i-o okay i don't know if i've heard of that okay i'm sure many people have but except me probably but uh okay interesting prior to that i used a pair of beats

Jim [23:45]: headphones.

Adeel [23:45]: I think this is like my 15th pair of headphones because they break like every couple of years.

Jim [23:51]: Yeah.

Adeel [23:52]: Yeah. They break or get lost or something. I have a whole list of things I listen to in my headphones to block out the triggers. It's not just music. It's also radio broadcasts of Golden State Warriors games or local classical music station or since i'm a star trek fan i use this ambient noise loop of uh an enterprise d officer's quarters from star trek the next generation oh yes okay okay i gotta check that out i gotta put that in the uh the mr point podcast app because uh yeah i used to i was a big guy next generation guy and i i'm very familiar with that sound over the closing credits or in the officers rooms um interesting okay okay i currently use uh maple media's white noise generator app on my phone oh what's what's uh what's good about that one oh you can you can pick white noise or uh coffee house noises or brown or coffee okay okay or uh nature sounds to block out the triggers gotcha gotcha okay you just do anything else like it does let you mix sounds or kind of change frequencies or whatnot yeah yeah you can combine sounds at once sometimes you can combine as much as three or four oh okay cool cool um all right all right and then there's the youtube channel this is youtube channel called lo-fi girl that i also play in my headphones And what is that, like more different types of noise or background sounds? Oh, no, it's a loop of lo-fi hip-hop instrumentals. Oh, gotcha. Okay. Interesting. And while the instrumentals are playing, the channel loops this animation of a... It's like a Japanese animation style. It's like an anime style animation of a girl studying beside her cat. And that's it. It's constantly the girl starting to use her cat in anime. Yeah. The animation is looped while the instrumentals are playing. Wow. Okay. Interesting. Okay. So this is when you're eating with your parents. And so I'm assuming that when you're going out, like grocery shopping or whatever, same kind of situation, you always have the one audio song with something going on. I haven't grocery shopped in two years because of COVID. So I'm trying to remember what that's like. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I didn't have headphones on all the time when I went outdoors. Gotcha, yeah, okay. Just when you thought maybe you'd be around potential triggers. Did I get to leaf blowers yet? Because that's my favorite trigger. Yeah, no, I was building upside because I remember from your initial email. Yeah, so let's get to that. We're talking about getting outside of the house now. So leaf blowers, big trigger for a lot of people. Tell us about what you think about them. Oh, God, it started in this condo, the very condo I'm speaking to you from now. Gotcha. Okay. and so yeah so your condo is probably managed and um yeah they're probably um every week or so like once once once every week okay so i take down like a i take down like a log on my laptop of when somebody switches on their when a landscaper switches on their leaf blower so that i know when to put on my headphones and it's pretty regular then No. It's only once a week, but when I quarantined with my parents last year in the suburbs, leaf blowers were switched on almost every damn day. Some neighbor probably... There's always at least one neighbor. It was always a neighbor who had the landscapers.

Jim [27:59]: come to their house.

Adeel [28:01]: Yeah, they always bring a leaf blower because it sounds like they're doing work and they're just moving leaves around or sand. Okay, so how do you, so yeah, what does it do to you? What do you feel? How do you react? Anger, rage. Do you say anything? I curse. Before COVID, I would always leave. I would always leave and go see a movie. That's how I would go. I'd go see movie or go shopping. Gotcha. And that would help melt away the rage? Or the headphones if I didn't want to leave the condo. Yeah, yeah. Okay, okay. But you wouldn't confront anybody. It would just be leave the flight part of the fight or flight situation. Yeah, I heard that phrase a lot in the Misophonia podcast episodes that you did. Fight or flight. Yep, yep. It kind of, for a lot of people, kind of sums up the feeling and the potential reaction. It's you want to either argue or fight or take cursing to the next level or you just want to get out of the situation. And for you, it seems like when the leaf blower is turned on, you just want to get the hell out. Yeah, I need to live in a city that bans leaf blowers. I like started looking up. I found a list of cities that have banned leaf blowers. Like I'm trying to remember what some of the cities are. Definitely, definitely not L.A. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Right. Okay. Interesting. You know, we'll have to find that list and I'll put that in the show notes maybe, but, uh, okay. So, so usually, yeah. So, so then that was before COVID used to take off and like, like a lot of us have felt, I think during COVID, you probably feel kind of trapped and claustrophobic and unable to leave. How do you, what's it been like? I've been wearing headphones all the time. Oh, yeah. It annoys my mother. Oh, did I mention I've been a caregiver to her? I've been helping my father take care of her. So wearing the headphones has been kind of difficult when I'm trying to help her. Yeah, and she's trying to give me orders or she needs my help. It's been rough. right uh does she so i'm trying to think that you're you see your parents don't know about anything about misophonia do they at this point i've tried to explain it to them they've never heard of it but they've i mean you've you explained to them do they do they not does it not seem real to them unless they've read it somewhere yeah it's okay it's kind of like that yeah not not uncommon um so and when did you when you start to oh since you became since you start to help your uh your dad and your mom uh to be a caregiver is that when you decide to tell them or did you tell them at some point in the past um well i i didn't know that was a name to this problem until a few years ago yeah okay let's talk about that right um yeah when did you find out how to name and what did you do at that point i think it was that interview kelly ripa did i i'm not sure i can't remember that definitely uh yeah that definitely like introduced it to a lot of people Yeah, her problem with the eating noises, which is not a problem I have. Right. So somewhere around that time, you found out I had a name. You researched it, I'm assuming, like a lot of us do. You know what the first place is where I found out about misophony? It was before Kelly Ripley. It was this news radio episode where Dave gets annoyed by Bill's ED noises. That's the first time I ever saw a misophonic. Dave Foley getting annoyed by Phil Hartman's eating noises. He's eating cereal. On the show News Radio.

Jim [32:24]: Yeah.

Adeel [32:24]: Okay. Classic. Interesting. Okay. I have to rewatch that. Yeah, that's back from the 90s. Yeah. One of my favorite sitcoms. yeah yeah no it's uh it's a uh right that's a kind of uh under underrated sitcom i think um okay but i mean i thought that's nice at that point there was no term means misophonia was it a rerun you saw or something or or you just remember remember relating to that uh when did i see that episode i saw it when it first aired okay okay So you must have related to that at some point as a younger man. I didn't relate to it at the time because I didn't know I was suffering from Dave's problem. But years later when I... You thought back, yeah. Yeah, I realized, oh shit, Dave has misophonia. Okay, okay. So at some point in the last whatever years, few years, five years, you found out it had a name. Did you start telling people? No. I only told my parents. I haven't even told my older brother or my sister. And I think she might have suffered from it too when I was younger because I used to play my stereo loudly next to her room and she would hit the bedroom wall whenever I would play it too loudly. So that might be a hint that she has it too. I'm not sure if that's the same. Maybe. have to talk to her i mean if she had a yeah i mean i'm not one to diagnose but it could just be that you're playing your stereo too loud and maybe maybe it's not specific noises but um yeah that'd be that'd be interesting to know but you though for you when you did find out that it had a name is that when you went to your parents uh no that i didn't that i didn't do that immediately um yeah trying to find out when exactly it's just been in the last few years i you know i discovered your podcast i discovered that yeah curious research about this yeah i mean it's not important when you when exactly when you told your parents but uh yeah but that's it's yeah it's interesting to to kind of know kind of how you how you learned about it in general um yeah and when you so something compelled you to to tell your to tell your parents um i mean this is a you know this is always an interesting question is like how do you how do people when how do people go and talk to the people who've known them their entire lives and potentially trigger them or knew or were around when they were triggered in the early days um when you told why so why did you go and tell them yeah after you know uh bottling up for so long and uh not really telling anyone i had to explain why i wear my headphones all the time in the condo yep yep okay and uh and this is when they were like well we don't know what that we don't know what this is what are you talking about kind of thing or just kind of looking blankly I'm trying to remember their reactions to when I tried to explain the condition. They never heard of it. That's all I remember. How did that make you feel? Well, it's not surprising to me. The research hasn't been extensive enough. It hasn't been public enough. to make this condition more recognizable and to make it be taken more seriously. Although you did mention that there's this researcher who had experienced a breakthrough or something, Dr. Indian last name. Yeah, Dr. Kumar. Dr. Kumar. He's been kind of, yeah, I mean, it's not an overstatement to say he's been on the forefront of research in misophonia. And there was a paper published earlier this year by him. I had one of the lead authors say, Merced on basically his this latest research seems to point to basically what it discovered is that the motor neurons that let me back up and say a lot of people one of their coping mechanisms is to mimic the sound that triggers them when they get triggered. Right. Um, so for example, uh, eating people will start to like move their jaws or make kind of eating sounds or smacking sounds, or maybe in your case, snoring sounds, I don't know, but, uh, you know, there, there's something about trying to, uh, repeating the sound, um, that seems to, uh, Other people have the urge to do that and it actually kind of like provides some relief. Anyways, this research study, what it discovered was using fMRIs, like brain scans, They discovered that parts of your motor, the motor cortex, and I might be messing some of this up, but basically, parts of the brain that control movements, or that have to do with the movement of your own jaws, get um get active even though your jaw is not moving it's it's a it's kind of a pre cortex or it's like the early early part of the thought process yeah it gets activated while you are watching somebody trigger you or why you are while you are hearing somebody trigger you and so they seem to think there's this concept and relatively old going back to the 80s and or 90s concept of mirror neurons where you observe something, your brain gets activated. This might have to do with learning or whatnot. So anyways, that's basically the link. That's what their research is kind of pointing to, is they're theorizing that maybe what's happening is like your motor cortex maybe should not be getting activated so much. And because of this mis- uh imbalance that you're feeling some uh uncomfortable um uncomfortableness um and that's that has to do with that that might have something to do with the music phone yeah so it doesn't answer all the questions it but it definitely feels like it's a direction worth um moving towards yeah it's actually backed up by real brain scans Yeah, I did read about Dr. Kumar's research before we started recording. So that's kind of interesting. And then I know the group has a lot of other research. projects in the works now based on this and other other things they want to do actually one of the things that uh merced had talked about was wanting to research um going back to your idea of kind of sounds that actually entertain you um she has she has an idea that um like there are sounds that uh trigger you negatively there are uh probably sounds that provide kind of the opposite yeah um sensation and she wants to somehow make it easier to pinpoint those and maybe provide theory that masks the negative sounds uh with positive sounds maybe even in real time maybe you know using uh implants or ear implants something like that i don't know now i'm kind of looking into the future um you know into the star trek the next generation kind of world but uh Um, anyway, so yeah, I kind of went off a little bit on the, uh, on what's, what's going on with Dr. Kumar and the research there. But, um, but yeah, there's, there's some interesting stuff going on. Hopefully it'll get more public and then folks like your parents will, um, start to realize it's, it's real. Yeah. I talked to my dad about this earlier about my, about Nizo and I told him, and he said, um, Maybe you should see a therapist. Do other mesos see shrinks? They do. Yeah, they do. I think there's also a lot of... Some of them go specifically for meso, but in a lot of the cases it's because... They also might have some comorbid conditions like anxiety or OCD or bipolar and things like that. So it's such a mixed bag. They may have already gone to see a therapist for other reasons. Sometimes they go for meso, but their therapist has never heard of mesophonia. And then they end up... educating them sometimes they the person already knows it's a total mixed bag um and uh yeah so in the way it's helped is it's i guess like uh cognitive behavioral therapy is kind of what's right now recognized as um the most promising way to to deal with it therapeutic like in kind of like from a psychology point of view um there's some people some people do medication but there's no medication specifically for misophonia it's yes um so there's nothing like that um basically i mean there's nothing there's no um you know there's no pill you could pop there's no magic cure right now yeah So there's people who've tried everything from hypnosis to all kinds of stuff, but nothing has really worked out. You just got to rely on your headphones. They're your best friend. Yep, yep, yep. I think... I mean, that's kind of the go-to that a lot of people do. It's just the most convenient thing. Everyone has some kind of headphones, earbuds, and it's just the easiest thing to do is throw those on in any situation. Yeah, when I was quarantining with my parents, the headphones were for blocking out leaf blowers. But back in this condo that I left when I was quarantining, now I have to be back in this condo. um i'm wearing the headphones to block out the upstairs footsteps noise footstep noises that's what's that's what's bothering me right now yeah well headphones are versatile and that's in that's in that sense um they can just they can just uh mask mask over the things that are things that are bothering you um And you don't get, just popped in my, you don't get, I've had a couple people come on who get self-triggered in any way. Is there, do you at all get triggered by, do you snore? Do you get triggered by your own snoring? I'm just curious if that's even a thing for you. I know I snore, but I've never heard myself do that. Okay. I've thought about recording myself. But no, I've never heard myself snore. I know I do snore because I've had family members tell me they heard me snore. Right, right, right, right. Am I the only person who's triggered by snoring and leaf blowers? I feel like sometimes... Yeah, you are a total weirdo. No, just kidding. Not at all. I mean... Leaf floors, I mean, dude, yeah, leaf floors are huge for a lot of people. And upstairs, footstep noises? Oh, yeah. Upstairs, lateral, like, neighbor's footsteps. Yeah, yeah. I've had people come on who are like, you know, if I'm working from home, I can hear the smallest, people can hear the smallest things sometimes. It just gets amplified because of what we have. Yeah. There's also something called hyperacusis, which is an extra sensitivity to sounds, like everything just seems turned up. And that's a little bit different, maybe a little bit more well-known, at least amongst audiologists and whatnot. But yeah, that's another thing. I don't know if that has anything to do with what you have, but I mean, footsteps would, I mean, they're not necessarily quiet and sound like you can, you're hearing it turned up. Like you'll just hear that. I mean, that's, I mean, anyone will be able to hear that. For us, our brains will just zero in on that. But you know, I've had a bunch of people on who, yeah, upstairs, upstairs neighbors, very common. Next door neighbors, also common in apartments. So yeah, you're definitely not the only one. Storing, I don't know how many times I've heard, but I mean, yeah, I know I've heard multiple times that that's come up. Good. It's a relief to hear that, you know, I'm not alone. Oh God, no, no, no, of course not. Because I feel strange about not being triggered by eating noises. Because I hear so much about people being bothered by those noises. Whereas I see like Paul Servino and Dick Tracy slurping oysters and it's funny. But now I realize that that might be triggering for somebody. yeah for a lot of people i think yeah definitely definitely for a lot of people uh no i mean i've had i've had i've had numerous people on who who eating is eating is uh not a lot but you know a few people on who eating is not in the even in the top three top five triggers so okay uh have you um so you you know you have a ton of friends and probably definitely nobody who has missed a phone unless you have you met uh unless uh except for maybe your sister have you come across anybody else who has it uh like in in real life so we'll get online too but yeah No, I haven't met another misophonic face-to-face. Right, right. And if you look for folks online, like in those social media groups, sometimes they're a complete free-for-all of rants, but sometimes you can find people that kind of maybe have similar misophonic profiles in terms of what triggers you. I've looked at some of those forums. I looked at the Reddit one. And then there's this one called, I can't remember. It's like a three-word name. Something to sound. I can't remember what it's called. Oh, maybe allergic to sound? That's it. Allergic to sound. I visited that site. I've read some of the forums there. But I haven't reached out to anybody. You're the first person I've reached out to about this. Online. Yeah, okay, gotcha. How'd you find out about this podcast? Just maybe one of the forums? Yeah, I think it was allergic to sound where I first found out about your podcast. Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. Again, you're not the first person to come on. I mean, at least you've mentioned it to your parents. I've had people come on who've never uttered a word to anybody. Oh, boy. They've just read about it. And that's the only time the words have been spoken out loud. uh yeah like you said i mean it's there's not enough um not enough publicity about it um not enough literature not enough literature and it's just not in the zeitgeist enough to make it um seem like a real thing to to people i think i think we're early in what i call the kind of the arc of wokeness like it's people aren't just people just aren't awoke to it to this yet and uh but you know sometime hopefully in our lifetime uh people you know people look back and be like well you know well we know why weren't we taking this seriously i mean the warning signs were all there and um yeah one day i just learned about micro was it misokinesia i just learned about that yesterday yeah okay uh yeah yeah that's another thing that you know um i occasionally have that Yeah, I mean, it tends to come up later, for most people, yeah, later after misophonia. Tell me about how that's affected you. I remember back when I was working as a coder, whenever a co-worker would, you know, bounce his knee up and down, that wouldn't stress me out, but it would just annoy me. That's not as intense as the misophonia for me, but I occasionally do get annoyed when someone bounces their knee up and down repetitively. Does watching people eat, I don't know if sounds are not as much of a trigger, although you do wear your headphones around eating, but does watching people eat in any way affect you? No. Watching people sleep, maybe, because snoring is a misophonia thing. Not that you watch people sleep a lot. No, that doesn't bother me either. I remember writing a blog post a long, long time ago in the 2010s about the five funniest moments of powerful people eating in movies and TV shows. And one of them was the scene in Goodfellas where they're, I can't remember, was it De Niro and Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci eating? And then another was Paul Servino slurping oysters and Dick Tracy. Now looking at those moments today, I'm like, oh God, I feel sorry for the mesophonics who have to sit through these scenes. I love Goodfellas, but I haven't seen it in a while. I'm wondering if I... Yeah, I wonder if I watched it again, what I would do. Now that you pointed it out, I'll probably... I'll probably need to mute it, but... There's a hilarious scene in Bad Santa where Bernie Mac eats oranges. Loudly. Gotcha. To try to piss off John Ritter. Well, hey, I was going to say, Bad Santa is not high on my list of movies to watch, but John Ritter might have to... I might have to take a look at that one. I remember mentioning that scene on that list in that blog post that I did. But yeah, if you're a misophonic who hates hearing people eat oranges, do not watch that scene. Okay. I love John Ritter, but yeah, it's not worth being triggered to watch Bad Santa. Well, cool. Interesting. And so, okay, yeah. Well, I'm hoping your misoconigia doesn't get too out of hand. anything you were yeah i mean we're already coming up about the man i forget how time flies in these in these uh interviews um yeah well i mean i want to give you a chance anything you want to share and say about uh misophonia i mean i know this is one of the first times you've talked about it at all anything you want to share with people listening uh i i don't know what to say i don't don't give up hope uh just try to reach out with other mesophonics i'm So, but do you listen to other misophones? Do you respond in those online forums and whatnot and try to kind of like put in words of advice? Or how would you, yeah, I don't know, have you thought about like how would you talk to a misophone as they're going through a trigger or trying to help people cope? All I can say is just make sure that you have a pair of headphones by your side. I don't know if that will help, but it's helped me all the time. Yeah, that's classic advice that never gets old. Do mesophonics count to 10 or do relaxation techniques or anything? Yeah, there are various... I think there are some... medically sounding relaxation kind of things but uh i mean meditation comes up i mean solid meditation um works for everybody but um i think just trying to lower stress i mean stress is a huge catalyst slash exacerbator of misophonia so if you haven't slept that much if you're super stressed at work or something else is going on in your life you're it's pretty much guaranteed that your reaction to misophonic triggers is going to be worse so if you can reduce the stress in your life um and that could be even honestly like uh that's why i mentioned earlier like maybe you know, trying to find one of these remote jobs to get some side income, just kind of like having, you know, things like money, less of a, just less of a concern is, you know, is a way to just kind of help reduce the triggers because you just feel a little bit more comfortable. So yeah, relaxation, stress reduction, definitely. Yeah. I don't know about counting to 10, but definitely reducing stress. So, well, cool. Jim, yeah, unless you want to share anything else, thanks for coming on and sharing your story for kind of, I think, the first time publicly. I know this is going to help a lot of people. I mean, you were wondering in the episode if you're... You know, you're mentioning how sometimes you're wondering if you feel like you're alone. You're definitely not alone. I've talked to a few people who've kind of shared similar struggles as you. Trust me, there's like thousands and thousands in the same boat. So, yeah, this is going to help a lot of people. Thank you, Jim. That was great. And I wish you the best of luck with all your work. 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 [56:23]: Thank you.