S6E10 - Sara, LMFT, SEP
Sara Bidler is a licensed marriage and family therapist and somatic experiencing practitioner, who also has misophonia, and is the parent of a child with misophonia. We get into her history growing up with misophonia, being an HSP (highly-sensitive person), her current focus on the nervous system and its relationship with misophonia, family systems and unresolved past experiences, her many theories and coping methods that she uses with clients in her practice, and just so much more.
Sara's practice: Authentic Living
Her YouTube video: Understanding Misophonia
Disclaimer: These are machine-generated transcripts and so are not completely accurate. However they will be manually updated over time until they are.
[00:00:00] Adeel: Sara, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here. Yeah, thanks for having. So yeah we'll just, I obviously we've met a couple times, but maybe my usual first question is a around where you located.
[00:00:12] Sara: So I am in a suburb of Minneapolis and I was born and raised in Iowa.
[00:00:18] Adeel: Oh, no. Okay. I didn't know that. Yeah. Cool. And then I'm sure people will know after reading the description of this episode, but do you wanna tell people what you do?
[00:00:25] Sara: Yeah, so I have a private practice and I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. And then I went on to do four years of training and become a somatic experiencing practitioner.
And that's focused on primarily working with unresolved trauma, but also just an overall nervous system perspective and a really great way to really stress from the body. And so that approach influences a lot of how I work with clients, whether they have misophonia or they're coming to me for something else.
[00:00:59] Adeel: And and you have mis appoint yourself too, right? Correct. That's the other little dimension here. Yeah. And for, yeah, I was put in contact with Sara, obviously she's, local, but also presents at the Misophonia Association Convention, I think. As of time of this recording there, it's coming up in a couple weeks.
So for folks who are going there, we'll probably might be in your session, but yeah. So I guess, oh, there's so many different ways. , we can go. Cuz you've opened my eyes to a lot of especially on the that this kind of, the multi-trauma you had, the nervous system aspect of misophonia.
Do you wanna maybe let's maybe, I think it might make sense to maybe go, just go chronological before you became a therapist and everything, do you wanna talk about early life for you and when you started to notice? These symptoms?
[00:01:41] Sara: Yeah, sure. Yeah. So I, it was around the age of 12, I'd say, and it started with my mom's gum chewing.
. And it was largely, so we grew up in a small town and I got really into playing clarinet and then picked up guitar and piano and there was a piano teacher in town, but we had to drive an hour for my clarinet and guitar lessons. And it just, those long car rides every week. And she just was a gum tour and hopped it and things like that.
And I just started to notice that more and more. And I looked back at that now and I'll maybe not go too much into the theory right now. And how I conceptualize misophonia. But one of the top pieces I see in terms of how we're processing the sound is the state of the nervous system. And one of the thing that's things that puts it in that kind of what I would call defensive state is, a sense of being trapped, so I was, stuck here in this car.
And then also rushing from school to these lessons, usually feeling like I probably didn't practice enough. And I had a very strict clarinet teacher actually went and he was at the university. And so yeah, there was just a lot kind of stressing me out. And then I have a little theory about gum, why gum is so problematic.
is, yeah, that there's no end in sight with it. You really don't like, I don't, it did become like food and chewing and just dinnertime and stuff. But I feel like at least with food, you can kind of of see, okay, there's a few bites left, dumb. You do not know when that's gonna end.
And I think that makes it trickier
[00:03:21] Adeel: to me. Yeah, that's an interesting perspective cuz yeah, some people like me, which is keep chewing until like hours later, sometime as a kid, not having any sense of time. But that's interesting. Yeah. Yeah, I was gonna ask, because obviously car rides comes up in a lot of interviews.
You know what takes a car ride from just being, transported from 8.8 to point B to being a feeling trapped. And you start to get into that was like, you're, you have a lot of stuff, extracurricular stuff going on. You had you had to really, do that strict clarinet teacher seems like a funny thing to say, but the strict clarinet teacher, so pro just stressed out on multiple levels.
And I was also gonna ask if maybe cause we'll get into, you're trained you a lot of musical training. I'm wondering if that sensitivity to music maybe somehow affected what you were listening to or noticing as well. Maybe on top of that as well. I don't know.
[00:04:10] Sara: Yeah, I guess I'm really considered that aspect, but I, when you. look at, hearing sound and context. I think the key pieces of context that make it difficult in a vehicle is proximity. Just physically we're closer to people. There aren't options for escape really, unless we're gonna say, would you please not safe one?
Yeah. Take break. Yeah. We are actually doing something dangerous, we typically tend to be maybe rushing, we're going through a transition, which just does rev up the nervous system. Yeah. No offense mom, but she is not the greatest driver, so perhaps I was picking up on that on some level.
. , yeah, there was just a lot of things I would say. On a more unconscious level for sure. Making my nervous system feel unsafe. We need to be on edge here. We need to be tense and hypervigilant. And I was probably honestly trying to do homework on those rides and Oh gosh, yeah.
There's so much going on. Yeah.
[00:05:07] Adeel: Yeah. So there's, okay. Yeah, there's a lot of stuff going on. Strict strict clarinet teacher number one. Yeah. I'm tell you. He was very strict and
[00:05:13] Sara: strict. I passed out one time in a lesson. He kept making me play and I, oh my God, like floor . Okay.
[00:05:18] Adeel: Wow. Good. So there's that, there's the, oh, yeah.
I didn't consider that the whole you're going back to the kind of the, almost the lizard brain. Like you, you're in a dangerous vehicle doing it. You're doing something that's, I think in, decades from now, we'll be look back at some barbaric thing that we used to like, sit and use metal cages and just go at high speeds towards towards some destination around other metal objects.
Anyway yeah, exactly. This is a lot of factors there. Yeah. How did your mom react then?
[00:05:46] Sara: So I, or how did you react first? I did not, I tried to just hide it for the most part because I, on, partly because I felt like what is wrong with me? This is I'm embarrassed that I'm even struggling Yeah.
With the fact that didn't know that she's chewing gum. Yeah. And then I didn't wanna hurt her feelings. And then, so it did eventually, , show up at the dinner table. And my mom was really big on family dinner, so even though I had a lot of extracurriculars and I would be gone quite a bit, but she somehow made it work with five kids that we would have.
Oh, wow. Family dinner. So then it was, I sat by her at the table and my dad sat at the other end. But I started noticing both or chewing. And so then I'd tried to like eat quickly. I gotta go do homework, some reason I need to leave. And at some point they caught onto it and they were like, why are you guys leaving dinner table so quickly?
And I finally, okay, I'm gonna just tell 'em. I was like, I really don't like the sound of chewing. And I think it was my dad who would just like, jokingly said oh, do you need some therapy or something, ? And I was like, yeah, please, I do. And they just left, kinda laughed it off. And they know that story now and they're like, we're sorry.
Yeah. We didn't know. But yeah, it was really intense. For me, and I did want help, but Yeah. And at this point you were in high
[00:07:01] Adeel: school?
[00:07:03] Sara: Yeah. This was probably when I named it. Yeah. I was probably, I was into high school. Yeah. And then I, my best friend, my freshman and sophomore year of high school, we, she was also a clarinet player and we were in elect a lot of activities together.
She was a gum chew and open mouth, and yeah, again, small town, we would usually, if we were gonna go to the mall or something, it was 30 to 60 minutes drive one way. And I started to notice oh gosh, when we ride together, and then she choose gum in the car, and I'm just like, crawling outta my skin, yeah. So I finally got the courage to tell her one day I got in and I was like, please don't let her be chewing gum. Please don't let her be chewing gum. And sure enough, she was . And I was like, if you wouldn't mind I just spitting out your gum. I really don't like the sound of gum chewing. and she shamed me in response.
She was like, what are you gonna do if you have a job interview someday, and the person's too gum, you're gonna ask them to spit it out. Oh, okay. And I was just like, oh, that was the end of that. I never asked again. And that kind of shut me down for quite a while.
[00:08:11] Adeel: Yeah. Never asked anybody again, or specifically No.
[00:08:14] Sara: didn't bring it up to her again. Yeah. And yeah, it was years before I would've said anything to a friend or someone else. Yeah.
[00:08:24] Adeel: Yeah. Gotcha. Okay. Are you still friends with this with your, with this person? No.
[00:08:28] Sara: Okay. We have little like reunions or get together, get togethers.
But I do look back and I see more dynamics in that relationship where . Certainly we had several things in common, but I didn't feel like I could fully be myself with her. , she was very high achieving and I would say judgmental on a kind of passive aggressive yeah.
Way. Gotcha. Yeah. Okay. It was more than the mis funny that I oh, just don't share this part of myself with her, or whatever.
[00:08:57] Adeel: Yeah. Yeah. And what about your siblings?
[00:09:00] Sara: Yeah, so it's interesting. So I'm one out of five kids. , I'm second. , my sister, she's number three. She started to then be triggered by chewing sounds probably within a year of me naming it to her.
So her and I were, we were close. We had a typical sibling relationship where we would, get in fights or be competitive or whatever. But she knew everything about me. And then she started to be triggered. And then for, several years though she jokingly was like, , you caused this for me.
, you made me think about it. And I, and it was awful for her for quite a few years too, in certain work situations as an adult, she's now in a much better place with it as well. But,
[00:09:40] Adeel: When you said you named it, is, does that mean you, you had the term misophonia
[00:09:44] Sara: or No, I didn't. I just told her, I was like, I can't stand mom and dad's chewing, yeah. Or you can't stand when people chew gum with their mouth open.
[00:09:51] Adeel: Yeah. Did she have a similar experience, like the same clarinet teacher or the same rides with your mom?
[00:09:57] Sara: Yeah, it was the gum chewing primarily, yeah. For her. We both eventually as adults just said to our mom, Hey yeah, there is a name for this and please don't chew gum around us.
[00:10:08] Adeel: Yeah. And what about your other three? n none of
[00:10:12] Sara: them have none of them. Okay. So we're the only two girls, but, Oh, I see. Okay. And my older brother's adopted, but interestingly enough, my youngest brother, he's 12 years younger than me, and I was like a second mom to him. He was my life baby doll
And I got up at night and would, I'd be like, so happy to get up and feed him in the middle of the night and stuff. Yeah. As a 12 year old and when, so I was married for I'm fast forwarding a little bit, but married for 16 years. And my ex-husband, now ex-husband, he was very much a trigger person for me and earlier in our relationship and he was trying to wrap his head around Macon.
He was, . It's so like mind boggling to me. Like I clearly tell see you, this is a real thing and you're triggered by my chewing in different people. But he is your youngest brother chews so nasty and you never even have a reaction or even do you even notice it? And I was like, no. Never noticed that he chooses.
Oh, . Yeah. And still this day, my youngest brother has never triggered me. And I, again, going back to we hear sounds and context and whether it's the nesting effect or, just like my kind of motherly instinct towards him or whatever, it was just always time with him was very special.
And there was a special bond there. And my other siblings haven't really triggered me either. Possibly anyone in a car and rushing and all that could Yeah. Yeah. Trigger me. But, yeah. Interesting.
[00:11:39] Adeel: And your Did. It sounds though your family has, you know how this obviously, I'm sure you've seen in your work a wedge can be created between the, you and your triggers, especially if they're family members, like your mom.
But it sounds like you're not particularly distant or you're still close. Seems like it hasn't really affected the relationship too much, or maybe not. I don't, maybe No, it
[00:11:59] Sara: definitely affected it. Yeah. But I would say, we're closer now than ever. And, at one point I was actually triggered by a certain consonant in her speaking, and I remember, I must have brought it up, but I just remember her like responding to that at some point.
I, she was hurt by that. , I guess there's something wrong with the way I talk, yeah. And I just felt terrible, yeah. So I would say, in my young adulthood or whatever, like it was, I wouldn't necessarily like, not invite her to visit me or do things, but I would anticipate what am I gonna do?
She has uping gum and it was years of Yeah. Getting that courage up as a young adult to say I'll just be much nicer to be around her more present or whatever if you don't do that. Yeah. Yeah. But interestingly enough, , oh, is, she has had some changes happen in her life the last I don't know, three or so years, and she is living her best life right now, and she's so happy.
And that has really shifted how, she has continued to be the person I would say most consistently, likely to trigger me with eating. And I, I. I have my, theories on why that is so common that moms are a main trigger person, but when and when she shift to she's just so at peace in her body.
I can tell. And happy and content. I'm not this last time she was here, after she left, I thought, oh, I never even braced her anything for any chewing. It never even crossed my mind and like , it was actually, I was hosting a party and she was serving the food and , she was around the food all day, for this party.
Yeah, I, that's be one story I said in a couple of my clients, they're like, when my mom, so some of the teenagers have actually been able, they're like, actually when my mom's in a good mood, I'm not triggered
[00:13:46] Adeel: by her. And yeah. And have no problem with jumping around cuz you, you always have some very interesting theories, but was gonna, because going back to our, previous conversations we had do you think there's something generational?
Is it, is that what maybe what you're getting at where her maybe part of your misophonia may have been caused by your mom being stressed and that somehow passing forward? Is that where you were gonna
[00:14:08] Sara: go? I'm just, yeah. I'm glad you asked that question cuz I wanna be, I need to be clear that, it's this whole like, correlation, not causation.
Yeah. So I don't think her stress caused my misophonia or that, I'll probably get into trauma later. That trauma causes misophonia. But when we have meson, we have that brain. and then we're tense in the body. It's , that's, it gets projected, easily projected onto the oral facial activity of others and or patterns. Does that make sense? So it's like when we think about it from a, the motor basis research and the mirror neuron stuff, and if I have a whole like 18 minute free video on my website, someone really wants to little depth to it, depth my thoughts Yeah. On that. But it's with that mirror neuron stuff, when that's being activated by what another person's doing, you are getting messaging yourself as if it's happening to you to a degree.
, and of course those that we are most emotionally intertwined with, were gonna be picking up their stuff more. , just like if my mom was emotional. , or sad or whatever. I'm gonna feel that more than a stranger or, your mom. There's just such a , unique bond there. And even as a baby, you don't know the difference between yourself and your mom or whoever your primary caregiver is. You just see yourself as a reflection of them. So I, the, in terms of differentiation of self, which is like family systems term, it takes a lot more attention to, and development and whatever to be differentiated from your mother or your primary character.
[00:15:48] Adeel: Oh, wow. Yeah. I didn't think about that whole intertwining and especially as a younger child, not being not thinking able to differentiate yourself from that person.
Because obviously at some point you wear the same bag of cells and and then you eventually separate. Yeah. Just interesting cuz when you mentioned that your mom's living her best life and some of your clients' parents live their best life. I'm just curious kinda how you might think about that, helping you not pick up triggers.
Is it because you see them more relaxed and then you suddenly you feel like your nervous system has calmed down?
[00:16:22] Sara: Yeah. So it's really the, so the state of the nervous system I see as the biggest piece of context for how we're processing sounds. And so the nervous system has the two branches, which I will simplify as the gas pedal and the brake pedal.
. And we wanna be able to just smoothly move back and forth between those and stay in what's called the window of tolerance or window of presence. So it's not that one's good or one's bad, but we, our nervous systems can get, whether it's because of trauma or we're a highly sensitive person or whatever.
Be operating in a way that it's really slamming on the gas pedal or putting it on really easily going that pathway or getting stuck in it. So I, that's another piece of context. I guess going back to my childhood and just who I am as a person, I do see myself as being in that category as a highly sensitive person or an hsp.
. And I have a good article on my website kind of describing those types of people. So I do, I am just overall more sensitive. Spicy food can handle some types of barbecue. I would I've blacked out a few times at the eye doctor. I think with the rapid light, when they're shifting the Oh, okay.
Things back and forth, or we had a tour as a kid of a water plant or. I don't remember. Like a water processing. Yeah. Whatever. And the chemicals, the smell. I like, I had to leave . Yeah. And I was a colicky kid. I our baby. I'm curious how much of that was just, it's just overwhelmed sensory wise, and I've got stitch scene remover.
I don't wear, have any tags. I prefer not to wear jeans or have my hair down on my neck. , that kind of stuff. , so . So there's all these layers. And that's why I think we have to be really careful with misophonia is that, we wanna maybe oh here's what's causing it, or here's the one thing, or I think it's just very complex.
And then we also can't see me as everything about that person is some what's the word? Aspect of misophonia oh, they act this way. So that's mes, that's just right. Yeah. Yeah. That's one layer. So I see okay, I've got the brain differences that come with misophonia, but then I also got the highly sensitive nervous system going on, and yeah, so then what happens is my, if I'm picking up on my mom's stress as a highly sensitive person, and that's putting me in a tense state yet as a kid, I'm not able to name that or , go, oh, I'm noticing my mom's stress and my body's tightening, and, and then so the, and somatic experiencing what I'm trained in, they talk about how, when there's so many different things going on, stressors that the subconscious organizes, it has a tendency to just organize around a single thing.
This is the thing to get stopped so I can feel more in control. Instead of oh, we moved, my pet died. I don't feel like I belong at school, mom doesn't seem happy, all these things. It becomes a fixation on controlling food or maybe certain O C D OCD behaviors or for us with misophonia, like the sound is, why I feel tense.
Which, the sound is actually, it's hard. I think it starts more like we're tense for other reasons than we have that pathway in the brain and it gets projected onto what the other person's doing. I've seen it, so my youngest son, he's nine, his older brother's, three and a half years older, they're the same size, which creates an interesting dynamic.
So the older one to, assert his , yeah, his status will put him. Down in other ways, you didn't say that word, right? That's not how you say that. That's how, he has a tendency to criticize his younger brother. And one of the first times I saw misophonia showing up for my youngest is, I called him to the dinner table and on the way his little brother corrected him, it was just the tone and stuff, and it just, he had it, , we sit down and we start eating and then he looks at his brother and goes, I hate how I can hear the sound of you chewing. So he was mad and fired up just about this wearing down of, and and then it, the brain, his brain, like mine goes towards, it's those chewing sounds.
I gotta get stopped, yeah. And in a way it's I need a boundary from you. I need space from you. I don't feel safe, yeah.
[00:20:42] Adeel: Anyway, , how did you feel when you heard your, when you heard your youngest that say that, were you like, oh God,
[00:20:47] Sara: Yep. That and also a light bulb, had part of how
[00:20:51] Adeel: I feel I can start charging my youngest kid to get, give.
No, it's okay. .
[00:20:56] Sara: No, but it was like, I had started to form this theory that or see this, and not just on my own, yeah. Participating in the conventions and hearing what other people have to say and talking with other therapists and stuff. And then when I spec started to put myself out there as someone who's, has this and wants to help other people, you really start to see themes and and so I'd started to have the story like, huh. , if you're relaxed in the body, if you're feeling safe , essentially the nervous system is going, we're safe. We can loosen the muscles, we can slow down the heart rate, we can, slow down the breathing. When you're in that, what I call gas pedals or brake pedals, sorry, state, you're truly are, you're orienting more towards signs of safety.
You're noticing eye contact or smiles or the breeze or whatever. And when we're in a defensive state, it is like the brain is scanning and orienting towards where's the threat, where's the threat? . the tiger? Okay. And and then we have the successive mirroring that happens with not just oral facial stuff, but in particular that area.
And so we're just, we're in that state and really picking up. , yeah. What that person's doing with the
[00:22:08] Adeel: health do. So do you have any, this, and this is getting into speculation , but do you have any ideas on, I think it, it makes total sense that, yeah, the brain, it's designed look for threats it's, so it's at that point it's doing what it always should be doing is scanning for threats. Do you have any idea as to why it miscalculates at some point and then starts to assign into the wrong thing? Cause it seems to get to that, it, there's so many things, right? I'm just curious, why does it miscalculate there?
Because it seems like part of our brain is able to rationally say, this is not a threat, but then this one part gets miscalculated and then obviously has all the consequences that we're,
[00:22:42] Sara: that we talk about. Again, in, in somatic experiencing, they call that, they talk about how when the body feels outta control or overwhelmed, the brain unconsciously organizes around a single thing.
. So instead of being about, my parents are fighting or puberty and I feel insecure, school stress or pure stuff, it becomes, the singular focus. And so for some people that's oh, okay, if I just wash my hands enough, then I can feel more in control, right? , they get a little bit of, essentially like we have, so we have, when we're feeling overwhelmed and we're feeling like, like this world is, this is scary, our field outta control.
So we're grasping for some way to have some more control, and then that thing that we grasp onto to ends up becoming a problem for us. , It's an, it's a coping strategy or a temporary fix. Like someone might, there might thing they might grasp onto is, I just need to be perfectly fit.
, if I can just have this type of body or whatever. , they'll feel like I have some control and I'm, can feel okay about myself or whatever. And then, but anything in excess or it's gonna become a problem in some other way. So some people they go towards, might be more controlling food or yeah.
Doing things in twos or whatever it is for us, it's I gotta get this chewing stopped or this trigger thing stopped. And if I can get that stopped, I can feel a little more sense of agency or control.
[00:24:14] Adeel: Yeah. Would you say and I, I've heard that they're, these are not the same, but you would say there's some overlap between things like misophonia, ooc D and like addictive personalities.
Cuz it sounds like you could apply similar language all these, but I think they're pretty different though. Or at least They're considered different enough. Yeah.
[00:24:32] Sara: So that's a really big question. It's a great question , but really seconds to answer those. , do you see things more?
So there's the medical model, which is whatever symptoms we're seeing, okay, this is a disorder, this is, where I come from, systems theory. And we look at more people don't exist in silos. And so if we're just like prior to family therapy and we're just working with individuals, what we found is, okay, we can help this individual develops some coping strategies or their self-talk, whatever, and then we put 'em back in their system that has some dysfunctional patterns or unhealthy boundaries.
It does a stick, . So I have more of the perspective of, these things like. Y Yes. There. Okay, let me back up and use this metaphor. Okay. Okay. My, the best one I've come up with as late is comparing these phon to high blood pressure. So high blood pressure can run in families, okay.
We can have a genetic disposition towards that, but you can also have high blood pressure and it doesnt run you and your family. Okay? , similar to menia. We see it runs in families sometimes though we don't know who was there, someone else that in the past generation, we don't know. And then with high blood pressure, we can use medication to try to get more at a healthier range and in check.
Like with Menia, we can use ear devices, possibly medication to make it more tolerable, manageable, but okay. Now going back to high blood pressure, it's usually not just a standalone thing, like there's different. things that, high blood pressure is often a symptom of some other issues.
It could be caused by smoking or the body not getting what it needs diet-wise or exercise-wise, or an undiagnosed condition such as sleep apnea or just that big umbrella that we call stress. That category. So when we, in terms of high blood pressure, yeah.
Okay, go ahead. Use the medication or whatever. But if we just keep smoking, let's say, and that's the thing that has a, our high, our blood pressure going up now it's just, we're gonna probably develop some other issue, . And so we gotta address like what is underneath it. And same with Meone.
Again, we have brain differences. It's real. I'm not saying when I hear chewing and I'm just making it up, that I'm bothered by that. Physiologically, there are changes happening in the body, just like with high blood pressure. But if we're not looking at what's fueling it and we're just using headphones or avoiding, then most likely, let's say we get everybody to stop chewing gum, awesome.
But if you haven't addressed what's putting your body in a persistent defensive state, then you're gonna form some other trigger, most likely, or your, current trigger that you're not able to completely control will get harder to be around. Does that right, help at all? That's how I'm, and I can see that with OC D and other things too.
I see those little more as a manifestation of some deeper maybe, shame that a lot of times it comes down to shame. I think in therapy when people show up to therapy and, they've got, they're coming for X, Y, Z reason symptom. But as we really unpack it, this, if there's a deep held belief that I'm not enough, I'm not lovable that is so stressful in the nervous system and we are so wired to we have to belong.
That's how we survived Most of humankind was in a tribe. And so those deep held beliefs which easily get formed, going about childhood yeah, have to be addressed are, were, we're gonna be limited and how far we get with even addressing alcoholism or whatever it is. Again, there can be a genetic predisposition, but we've gotta look at what is it for that individual person that's causing them to drink excessively.
[00:28:37] Adeel: Yeah, no, that's going back to, yeah, absolutely. That's actually got me thinking because yeah. That's a good way of showing I think how, dysphonia is different from ocd, it's different from alcoholism like the the symptom if , if we consider those as symptoms are very different.
But yeah. They can all tie back to a similar types of the root causes are more similar than the symptoms. Like it could be things like, it's often things like shame or not feeling wanted or not belonging yeah. Not being here and it's honestly authentic self. Yeah. Or not being authentic.
Yeah. And it's not necessarily and I want also wanna say, because comes up sometimes when when I mentioned this to, is to people, especially parents, it's not necessarily that's something that's happening on purpose. It could be the type of person you are, maybe you're HSP or extra.
I think, and now I'm starting to get into
[00:29:21] Sara: yeah, and it's tricky. I'm, I am not, this is not parent shaming or blaming , I've worked with so many families and just so many lovely parents and wonderful people and care. They just want the best for their child and really but we have to we're understanding that child, and sometimes it, I do think it's not that everybody with misophonia is highly sensitive, but if we have both of those going on, then we're gonna see it in a more extreme way.
. And it's so interesting with some of those kids as we unpack this stuff, I, when she was like, I don't think I'll ever be enough for my mom. At first. How . Wow. , able to like, articulate that at the young, she's in her early teens. And I said what was one of your first experiences feeling like that?
And she was like I was younger. I was like five. And I walked out into the street. I didn't notice a car coming. My mom screamed at me and her mom screaming at her. She internalized that as, I'm bad, my mom's screaming at me. She realizes now on a cognitive level, like her mom was just trying to protect her and was scared.
And it was out of a place of love. But in her body, the way that lit her body up, her mom yelling at her, and that got associated right with, oh, I'm, and she connected it, narratively, whatever. I'm bad. My mom is really upset with me. She thinks I'm bad or something.
Now, did the mom do anything wrong in the moment? No. Yeah. So again, we just have to go back and then we have to work with the body to what I call, update the coding essentially. So this is where the somatic work comes in. If you want me to, should I jump into that?
[00:31:03] Adeel: Exactly. Cuz I think this will be, cuz my next question was gonna be something about, I think what I think we've talked about in the past and I think I've read about some of the books that I've read are things being memory being obviously in the brain, but also the body holding Yes.
Memory. Yeah. That there's some famous books about that, but yeah, I would love to hear about all this stuff. Yeah, please.
[00:31:21] Sara: Yeah. I break it down thinking three levels of the brain. The upper is the thinking rational part, the cortex midbrain is the limbic and the feeling, what we call the feeling brain.
And then lower is that reptilian, more survival brain and. when, when trauma happens. And trauma means just anytime something happened too quick, too fast, that it put the nervous system over its threshold okay. Threw that person out of their window of tolerance, which a or on the side happens much more easily to a highly sensitive person.
And also the younger we are, the more easily we're put out of that threshold. So then if the body, goes into that free state and then does it again, an experience eventually of defending itself, like there was no experience of getting to flee or fight for, do something to set a boundary and then discharge that activation, it just stays, zooming around the nervous system and essentially nervous system's.
There was just a tiger here. We didn't do anything about it. So we gotta just always be on edge for anything that resembles that tiger or that possibly coming back. , so how we resolve that is not just, we can't just do that through cognitive means. Okay, you were in a car accident, that's over.
So anytime you see a car that looks like the one that hit you or whatever, just don't freak out, that's over, any person who's been in that situation knows, like if they were traumatized in it, physiologically their body just lights up. If they didn't do their trauma healing with that.
So there's just not even cognition involved. The body just automatically goes into that fight flight state or arousal state. So then we do, we work with noticing sensations in the body. Okay. So as you think about that experience, what happens in the body and then we hold space for that, what's happening sensation wise, but we're also bringing in.
Resourcing or what needed to happen that didn't get to happen, and we're through imagination, giving the body a different outcome and experience of that. So it doesn't, nervous system doesn't know a difference between what we're imagining, what's really happening. So we can use imagination to okay, let's imagine as that car is coming towards you, we, freeze frame and really slow it down.
And then notice, now what would the body like to do? Or how would you like to be able to brace or whatever it is. Or everything turns into pillows and marshmallows, , and then, okay. As you imagine that happening, what do you notice in the body? Oh the, this area of tension starts to lighten up.
Oh, a deeper breath comes in. Yeah. Notice that. Really stay with that experience. And. or they might notice I have an urge to push or to, run or whatever. So we have ways that we give the body an experience of that in a safe, we're not actually hurting anybody or punching anybody and we're really staying embodied as we do that.
And then it's noticing this discharge of the activation. So then they'll notice oh, there's like a tingling that went down my arms, or tears are a discharge, sighing deeper breath, trembling, all of that. So we all are born with this innate process to discharge stress from the body and to discharge trauma when we go, when we end up in a free state.
But we fail to do that as humans a lot of times because as soon as we get some access to our thinking part of our brain, we, jump on to doing something else or judging ourself or. , analyzing it instead of just staying with what's happening in the body and letting it complete.
[00:34:57] Adeel: yeah. You said something really interesting there about this therapy that I haven't this this process that I hadn't considered before. Maybe I just didn't finish reading these books enough, but you said something about how dis disa imagination that you're this it sounds like you're walking through, you're creating a scene and walking through it, describing a scene and whatnot, and, on off initially I'm thinking your brain must know that it's not real and not what actually happened, but , what you said was about like, the body doesn't know. So that's really interesting. Yeah. So you're I'd never considered that before.
Yeah. If you if the problem is in the body, you're almost positively tricking your body into kind of releasing this, or we're rewriting the memory. Is that kind of
[00:35:34] Sara: like rewriting memory your you're essentially asking like, what needed to happen that didn't happen.
, maybe you felt really alone in that, situation. And so then we imagine like a competent protector showing up and then what's it like as you notice, your grandmother being there or whatever. can even be, you notice that favorite superhero of yours, being there.
So yeah. As an example to explain that a little more, the nervous system, not knowing the difference is, it goes both ways. So you probably have had anticipatory anxiety about something your past, maybe, I have no idea
[00:36:08] Adeel: what you're talking about. ,
[00:36:12] Sara: maybe anticipating someone's gonna choke up or whatever, for sure. So with that, think about as you are imagining, oh my gosh, this might happen. You're feeling anxious. Okay. If feeling anxious, there's. Things happening in your physiology, right? You might notice like, oh, my, my throat is closing up, or my chest feels heavy, or I'm sweating, or whatever.
So what just on a side note, there's a lot of anticipatory anxiety a lot of times happening with meson. So that might be the thing, actually just putting the nervous system in a defensive state we really wanna get that in check and go, okay, my forecaster planner part, there's a time and place for it.
Is there some things I wanna do to prepare for this, whatever setting. Maybe have some earpieces, there's some, I can talk about coping strategies in a little bit, but something cold that I can hold. Certain mantras I'm gonna use, whatever. And then once we've planned what we can plan, we gotta come back to present moment.
Assuming, present moment right now is I'm trying to go to sleep. Things are safe, yeah. Or I'm just in my bedroom or whatever.
[00:37:16] Adeel: Yeah. Yeah, definitely wanna get into coping strategies and all that stuff. Yeah. One thing I was curious about is okay, yeah. So when this discharge happens, if it happens, is it like one and done?
Is it okay, you discharge, you can leave and you're like much better? Or is it a you have to consider multiple? Do you have to look for multiple memories or do you have to hit the same memory
[00:37:34] Sara: multiple times? I love it. Okay. So it depends of course, but how we know if you know if we're done or not is when we think about that experience.
Do you get activated? Do you get all, does your nervous system get all revved up? Okay. So that's how we know if, so let's say. I have a client, I have a couple clients working with that were in car accidents, and so we're reworking, we take a little piece of it each time, and they start to notice their time.
Oh, now when I, see a car or scene resembling that, I don't go into this I don't get all activated like I used to. , I can stay present and go, okay, what's my way around this? Sorry for that person, but I'm, it's not like I'm back in that, there's a saying like, what's hysterical is historical, so if kind of the body's response to something happening seems a little over the top, or like a lot bigger than other people it's probably. something, someone unsolved trauma. So that piece too, we don't always have to know what was the traumatic experience? Perhaps it was childbirth.
You don't have any like cognitive memory of the cord being wrapped around your neck or whatever might have happened, but the body has memory and then it shows up wherever it's showing up. Like maybe now when you go for medical procedures, for just a simple shot or something and your body gets all, worked up well then let's just work with that.
Let's work with wherever it's showing up. So yeah, that's
[00:39:14] Adeel: what's hysterical. Historical. That's the, that's fascinating. Yeah. I kinda wanna make a t-shirt , but anyways, one, one last, one last question about that. And then we can either go back to chronological or getting into coping strategies or maybe they'll loop back together at some point.
Yeah. But I wanted to once something that pops into my head when you were talking about the body, not. Body not knowing the difference and you can just rewrite the story. What do you say? When somebody said something to me when they were telling me about their kid being potentially having Mrs.
Phonek and they're like yeah, I just found to, want tell em to snap out of it. So why couldn't you does it, why does it have to take a long time? Somebody listening to this might be like, okay, if it's just your body, can you just tell your body? Just snap out of it. I'm just curious.
[00:39:56] Sara: this. Wow. Okay. Okay. First I'm
[00:40:00] Adeel: just thinking devil's advocate, whatever, because obviously I know it could take a while, but, you could see how somebody might listen to this something
[00:40:05] Sara: back . Yeah. No, I have a couple. Okay. Couple things. First I wanna, I missed a couple pieces when I'm saying, like rewriting the story.
Sure. Yeah. Marty Glenn, Dr. Marty Glenn talked about this in Herman's Phony Convention last year. I loved it. She said what we need for. like healing or just to be our healthiest selves is one sense of safety. Two, to, have who we are, what we're experiencing, be known or be present. And then three, having that witnessed by someone.
Okay, so I'm like forgetting the piece, right? Cuz I'm just assuming when I'm talking about this trauma healing that this person's in therapy, doing this work. And so they, a trauma therapist knows step one is we gotta make sure this person feels resource and safe in this space.
Okay? . So we're just doing that kind of discovering like what are the things that, you know, helping them feel safe, noticing the chair, supporting 'em, maybe noticing things in the room that are nice to look at, offer my clients something cold to hold if they want, or wait a blanket. You might have a nice smell, whatever.
Okay so you're
[00:41:15] Adeel: literally saying stuff like, the chair is not gonna fall apart.
[00:41:18] Sara: No, I'm saying just for a moment before we get started here, notice where there's contact with the couch or the chair. Yeah. And notice how, just being a little more conscious of the support that's available for your body and just letting yourself take that in a little more.
So that just even what speaks to the nervous system is most sensory stuff and social connection. So as we let it really be, we be conscious of where there's support, where there's, positive images in the room or. Quiet or the nice white noise machine, all that is like helping nervous system know we're resourced, we're safe.
Yeah. And you gotta build that relationship with that therapist and really feel like they've got me, they're not gonna let me go off the deep end as I go back into this experience. And so trauma therapists know we've gotta do this in a titrated way, how we can re-traumatize a person.
Yeah. So sometimes your, the question of one done, usually there's layers to it. We take off a layer and another layer we keep exploring it from different angles, getting more and more to the what was maybe the center or the peak of that trauma experience or if it's multi-trauma adding up, taking these small tea moments.
So anyway, I wanna make sure I'm not suggesting to people that they. , take whatever trauma experience that maybe they're aware of and like just on their own, try to rewrite it. Now we can use some of these skills with smaller stuff. Okay, I just got home from school and before I hop on my phone or turn on the TV or something, I'm gonna just pause for a moment and notice what it's like in my body.
, and then notice the chair supporting me or the bed underneath me, or do some nice stretching or maybe I feel an urge just to push against this wall a little bit. Someone said something really mean to me today, and I wanna just give my body a sense of pushing that back, not mine, so there's ways we can use some of the SE stuff just for kind of day to day stress.
Discharge and regulation. So I teach my clients that, but yeah, the bigger traumas, we gotta do that. With a competent, witness and support. So then the snapping out, going back to, okay I'm being triggered. I'm in a trigger setting. I look at that from two, we addresss that at two levels.
One is those kind of short-term coping strategies. When we're being triggered, what are I tell my clients to ask yourself, what are my options? Okay. Is it an option to put on some background noise? Is it an option to stretch the body, make it bigger instead of making it tighter, is an option to take a break.
Can I tell myself five more minutes? You can do this. All of that kind of stuff for helping in the moment. And then once we're out of that moment, it's good to get in the habit of, Discharging that. Now some people when they're back in their bedroom or they're out of that triggering space, it's gone.
They're right back to I'm okay. Other people, it keeps playing in their head. Okay. And so the body's needing something more to let it know that's done, we can go back over to rest and digest. So question you're asking is really complex a deal because sometimes the triggering, I would say is old coding.
Okay. And that's more likely with an adult, like this association's been made with, this person chewing and whatever, maybe was the initial thing that was putting that person in a state of unease or tension is gone. And so that's where I think the reconditioning work really has a role, but often more so with like kids.
There's some function that the misophonia is serving. It can be tricky to figure it out, but as I, really get curious with the person about that. There's a lot we can learn from it's like a window into the subconscious.
[00:45:19] Adeel: So yeah. Maybe it's, yeah, you're right. Maybe it's telling, trying to tell something positive, but to us it looks like a ridiculous and,
[00:45:25] Sara: helpful thing.
Yeah. It's giving feedback. It's giving feedback that I either like I don't feel safe or I am stressed or I'm needing, it could even be I'm needing more sleep, , that's how it's showing up. Like you're not getting the sleep you need and your body's trying to get your attention however it can, and we don't change our.
unless we're uncomfortable . We don't just decide, yeah, I'm gonna go to the gym, like Yeah. Three or four times a week. Cuz that's fun. No, it's not. But we do it because we become uncomfortable in some way in the body. And then we decide, fine. Or I'll go who's yeah, go do that by trauma work.
That sounds fun. No but it's causing you so much discomfort. However it's showing up in your life that you decide to go do that tough work. Yeah. Which often leads to working on addressing shame. And that's hard stuff. Nobody wants to, shame thrives on, it's like I can't let anybody know this.
If anybody knows, they'll realize, I'm not enough. Yeah. And so instead we're doing our perfectionism or people pleasing or whatever it is, that's again, symptom stuff that, you know. Yeah. And that gets uncomfortable enough. We gotta do something. So
[00:46:42] Adeel: yeah. When you're I have a few things I'm trying to juggle in my head,
Cause I don't want to even, I don't even take the time right now. It's just so interesting, . But do you when, okay, when you're going back to rewrite, when you're going back through memories, are you often finding that people are remembering or finding memories that they had forgotten about of, incidents that happened in the past?
Or is it known stuff and it's just a matter of processing it? No,
[00:47:09] Sara: I don't, I guess I don't see that a lot. Yeah, it can it's, I don't, this isn't really maybe answering your question, but when we start to really unpack like where, these beliefs showed up that I'm not enough.
Are, I'm. Broken in some way or something. There's so much around middle school age. , I got, 60 year old, whatever, however old adults I'm working with, and so much we're back in middle school and experiences with peers, and of course you're going through all these body changes.
People are developing at different rates. And so some people are still wanting to play dolls or cars, and others are like, already dating or something. And it's just a time where things will cause it just doesn't get integrated in a healthy way in the body. So we gotta go back and rework some of those things often. So that can be surprising to people that they're like, oh my gosh, that it's that middle school thing, still , yeah. Hang it, influencing me here. And then, just to throw a whole nother, layer to this is, we know trauma can come from past generations.
Someone can be carrying trauma from a past generation and we've been able to the research show as far back as three generations. So how
[00:48:26] Adeel: does that come forward?
[00:48:28] Sara: It's through the epigenetics. So we, that's this is pushing my I have an understanding of this, but I haven't taught on it, I guess to be able to articulate really well.
But it's like the dna, if I'm understanding it it's a little more like the ingredients in a recipe and then the AP Gen X is like how it gets, combined and how it cooked or whatever. Yeah. So it's it's a layer over top of the gene code that is either turning on or off parts of the gene code.
This, whatever got turned on because, past generation there was war or traumatic death or whatever it was can still be being carried in the gene code or Yeah. How it's showing up in another future generation. So that, that probably sounds a little like daunting oh my gosh, , where do we end with this?
But I hope at the same time it addresses maybe some of the parent shame that, parents listening to this might be having that yeah. Some
[00:49:29] Adeel: people
[00:49:29] Sara: predisposed to, nobody gets through childhood without trauma or throughout life without some, so I have to be careful about how I bring up and ask about trauma.
But for me the learning I've done around or whatever, I'm like, I don't have any judge. If your kid, there was some trauma that. They fell or they, something happened when they're in utero that was super stressful for you or whatever. We're all trying to do our best and we're all learning more and more every year about, more the physiology and the impact of trauma and what does trauma mean and all that.
A lot of that we didn't, we is more recent that we're understanding this,
[00:50:03] Adeel: gotcha. Yeah, no, that, that's super interesting. Oh, and the other, one other thing you mentioned was going back to the proc, the process of I forget, I think you were mentioned three things, but the last one being yeah, the first one being making sure that the client feels safe and resourced.
Honestly, forget the, what the second one was, but the third one was something about needing to be witnessed. Yeah, that, what is the significance of that? And then maybe you can remind me what the number two was? .
[00:50:29] Sara: Yeah. they're all interconnected. The number two was your true self.
Yeah. Okay. Marty Glenn said in her presentation I'm okay just the way I am. So that I'm fully being me here with you, the good and the bad or whatever I might have decided, like these certain parts aren't okay, or whatever, and I'm allowing them to be known.
And yeah. And letting that be witnessed. So I don't, I guess I don't know a lot in terms of what, what's actually happening with that. But I think, we are social creatures. , so there's gotta be a piece of it. It's okay, I'm being myself and this person is caring about me in a, is
[00:51:11] Adeel: it a validation thing?
You know how sometimes just feel
[00:51:14] Sara: better when some levels or mis. Yeah. I can be myself and be accepted by someone that I respect, or I , is I think is a good person. And this is where like group therapy can be really powerful, or just like meeting other people with misophonia.
, I the mean, when I do groups, I'm like, yes, it's nice to share stories wherever, or even when I connect to parents, really what I'm wanting them to get out of it. And they, I think do with the biggest benefit is they're like, that parents seems pretty awesome, like that other teen me, so they seem like someone I'd like or a cool person, so it, that starts to undo some of this just judgment towards ourselves and shame and stuff and okay, they have misophonia, they don't seem all that bad. Yeah. They actually seem pretty awesome. And this is the main benefit I get from my job is now, I'd say 90% of my client bases, people's meson and.
I, they're just the best people. I love people of Vonia, .
[00:52:13] Adeel: I have to agree, man I'm getting older. I'm like, I can, especially coming out of Covid, I'm like, okay. Social distance. Now I get to choose who I want to focus on. , I'm like, I really just, I like all my misophonia friends that I've met.
Dinner, podcast or the convention, I don't really, and everyone this might seem mean, but outside of my own house and family, but everyone else just seems like not self-aware, not particularly interesting. Yeah. Or sensitive. Like these are the kind of
[00:52:37] Sara: people. Yeah. And I don't know if, I think, it could be a chicken or egg thing, but I do think having misophonia is like a training we undergo to be very conscious of how what we're doing might affect someone else.
And to be, much more considerate and. aware of ourselves, but then I have to remind people, especially the younger Mesos, that these other people, they haven't gone through the training that you have to be it'd be similar to me saying to you, I want you to be conscious of every time you blink today.
, that takes some practice. So we've had all this training to be really conscious of these other things that people are just doing on an autopilot, yeah. But no, I agree. It really does usually mean someone who's, sensitive and compassionate, almost always see on the intakes.
When I ask What's your strengths? Will people say I'm really caring, or, I, I'm the therapist kind of for my friends, or I'm, yeah, I love doing things for people.
[00:53:34] Adeel: don't say everything for you but I'm I feel like, yeah. I'm that the kind of the. the,
[00:53:39] Sara: and then that becomes another thing that, yeah.
That we have to then usually work on is where's that line between compassion and codependency? Because when you are taking it on as your job to regulate the emotions, let's say, of your friends or your parents or whatever, that is a setup for failure. You can't continue that. And so it, it's draining you.
You're it's what called maybe like borrowed functioning, but then the friends or the, whoever it is that you've been doing that awesome for, they start to kind, not maybe consciously, but get entitled to it. How, what do you mean you don't have time to talk to me?
I'm going through something really stressful. What do you mean you have to sleep? You got to sleep. Step out it. I need you . Yeah. So boundaries are a big thing and that's a big thing. I have to work with clients as your rights to say no. And that you don't even have to offer an explanation. No. Is a sentence.
But it's hard. It often, if I ally say, I'm gonna ask you something, you say no to me. I'll say after the session, when you take my garbage out, and have 'em say no. And I, it's playful. But yeah. Notice what happens in your body as you say, no, and usually they're sensations that feel scary oh, I don't like that, but that feels when I say no, and we have to rework that.
[00:54:54] Adeel: Interesting. Okay. , you mentioned some other things like holding cold water. Can you talk about some of these?
[00:54:59] Sara: Yeah, the coping strategies stuff. Oh again, like the more impactful work is gonna be that, if we're carrying shame or trauma or those things that reducing our capacity, to tolerate stress or whatever, that's gonna give us way more bang for the buck. Yep. It takes time development. There's not a, usually a quick super efficient way. But while we're doing that work okay. Of our therapy or addressing whatever it is that's stressing out our nervous system, we wanna have these coping strategies.
And I compare this, I call it resourcing the body and Misa moments. I compare it, here in Minnesota when it's a really cold day in the winter, like negative 20 or whatever, and you gotta go outside cuz you gotta, go to the store or shovel your driveway or whatever.
It's probably not snowing if it's that cold, but . Yeah. But you're gonna resource your body by putting on a coat and mittens and hat and boots. Okay. And it doesn't change the temperature outside. But it makes it a little more tolerable and you can last a little longer. So that's what we're doing with these things is yeah, making it a little more tolerable.
And in general, these coping strategies, these are things that communicate safety to the nervous system. So we're trying to counter, what is rev up the nervous system? Like I'm stuck in this classroom and I'm by this classmate that I know is judging me, whatever. , or just I'm stuck by this gum chew, and so what can we do to resource the body? Number one, I'd say our coat is ear devices. So if we can wear, some headphones or have background music on or something medication. For some people that's a real big, like an anti-anxiety medication. Can be one of the things that kind.
Brings down that fight flight response. I encourage people to do, try to go bigger in the body, not small. So like expanding out the arms and shoulders or stretching in some way, or if that feels too noticeable in a classroom. Like just even with the neck, leaning it towards the shoulder.
One way and then another. Lot of these things are stimulating the vagus nerve, which is a whole other topic. That's a topic, but yeah, that's a topic , but just, it is actually, it's not just yeah, do deep breathing, there's ways of breathing that stimulate that vagus nerve, which is actually the brake pedal on the nervous system.
Cold stimulates it. So I encourage people you can be drinking ice water, but you can also just have, cold water and you keep your hand on it when you can, or you might subtly bring it to your face or something. Or I have you maybe seen like those rice packs or mine has pour in it.
and you can put it in the freezer and I'll, my clients hold that during a session or when I'm presenting at the Meson convention and I'm excited to present, but I know it's gonna get a little, like activating to my nervous system. So I'll have that on my lap, something
[00:57:39] Adeel: cold.
And that stimulates the vagus nerve, which is the brake pedal.
[00:57:43] Sara: Yes, exactly. Yeah. Things like, I have this like massage ruler that my sister happened to give me for stocking stuffer and like just rolling that on my forearm or thigh. could be something while you're in a car or watching a movie or whatever.
That's giving a message of safety to the nervous system.
[00:58:00] Adeel: Yeah. Cuz I've seen you, I think do this presentation at previous convention where you do, I think you mentioned, I talked about that something, yeah. Something putting pressure on or squeezing your arms or something like that
[00:58:09] Sara: or, yeah.
So it's usually the five senses and touch. Yeah. For me, touch is the quickest way to communicate safety to my body. Now there can be touch that. Is activating goes the other way. So you gotta figure out like what kind of Yeah. Touch is calming to my body, but usually more of the deep pressure or some sort of kind of massage type touch.
Okay. And then also if you're gonna tense parts of the body, then do it consciously. Okay. So if you're tensing the hands and toes, that's my body's habit. I'm gonna do it and I'm gonna really keep my focus on what it's like in the hands and my feet as I tense them. Pulling for a little bit and then continuing to notice what it's like in the hands and feet as I loosen 'em.
And it's that it's being real conscious of your defensive response. You're doing okay. I'm like doing this thing to defend myself and the easing up, that can be releasing some of that activation. Take breaks, of course. When you take a break, if you go to the bathroom or something, try to do like some wiggling or pushing or cold water over your hands.
. Another one is pressing palms into each other or into the legs. Again, types of breathing. One option is asking the person to stop . They may and may not , but Right. So I want us to have options and if we're just using, let's say that's the only one we use is we tell our family, stop doing that.
Stop that. It's just, we need more options than that. But yeah. So quiet, the nonprofit organization, , they have that bus business card, and I have some clients that use that when they go to a live theater show and if someone's chewing gum behind them, they just hand them that and says, if you're not doing anything wrong, I just really appreciate it.
If you'd not chew, go . Yeah. Yeah. , if there's a pet in the room, pets can really speak safety to the nervous system. Getting fresh air, opening a window in the car. I'm big on wearing, not jumping out the car. Just get some air . Yeah. Yep. But even if, the wintertime, if you're cold climate, use it like, yeah.
[01:00:04] Adeel: Yay. Yeah. Maybe that's why we have it. Interesting. Yeah.
[01:00:08] Sara: It can be a real resource. The, where we live here in Minnesota to just be able to step outside for a little bit.
[01:00:13] Adeel: Cool. Down. I could use all the reasons I, I can get to, to experience the cold. So that's that's a good one. That's right.
My biggest disturb. But I will stick around here a little longer. Yeah.
[01:00:24] Sara: So yeah those are the main ones. I mean it, sometimes sucking on a mint or sour candy. , that's questionable if we're not letting our other family members have these things, but me in the classroom or something.
And then avoiding negative thoughts. So last one, , oftentimes we're, when we're triggered, it's going right to the amygdala and putting us in a fight flight state, like there's not access to thought in that. , it's more like touching a hot pan. But after we've been triggered, how we're thinking can turn up or turn down the intensity.
So if we're thinking, oh, that person's just disgusting, or they're so rude, that's gonna stress the nervous system out more. You're by a rude and considerate person. That's not safe on some level, right? . So we need to be the best we can. This person's not trying to hurt me.
Like, how can we connect with their humanity a little more? See that maybe they're anxious and they're chewing that dumb cuz they're trying to regulate their own system in some way or whatever. Or just the it'll pass I, five more minutes or Right. This is temporary.
[01:01:27] Adeel: Yeah, I try, I've tried to, I tried to use that too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But again, it depends on, it's, I'm also a believer in whole systems thing, like it depends on, is what's the type of stress that I'm otherwise experiencing for. So yeah, like all these, it seems like a lot of these coping mechanisms play with each other,
So if you can work on as many of them as possible, you have the best chance to get through.
[01:01:51] Sara: Yeah. And again, like the more that we're just like if we're, we've done our work to really like, accept ourselves, set boundaries where we need to set 'em and our relationships really take care of our body, whatever, like it, for me that, that was the biggest thing that shifted my thinking around misophonia is, once I had checked all those big boxes for myself and a lot of that happened because I am a therapist and I'm.
Trying to learn things to be a better therapist or do my own work or whatever, and, not a single one working on Healthy Self-Talk or, boundaries or whatever. It was this kind of like getting all those boxes checked and then it was like, ba I went for a while. I was like, I don't even have this anymore
I was like, oh. So it, it does still show up for me at times. Yeah. But it is drastically different than how I spent several decades of just in a really uncomfortable, activated state of my body so much of the time.
[01:02:49] Adeel: So you've, yeah. So I guess, yeah. Not coming back to you knowing all these yeah.
Coping mechanisms for you right now, Ms. Poney is still there, but you've noticed like a drastic reduction. in symptoms. Yeah.
[01:03:03] Sara: Yeah. And some of, the last big one was, my divorce and I don't wanna say too much just out of respect for people involved, but that was not a healthy relationship.
I was not divorced because of dysphonia, but I was, did it have a lot of triggers there and just assumed this is just how it is for me anytime I spend a lot of time with a person. And then I went on to person who spent my best friend the last three years.
We've spent a lot of time together, especially during Covid. We were in each other's bubble, and I started to realize wow, this person's not becoming a trigger person for me. And that had always happened with each roommate, or Chris was my parents. Then it was, some friends, the roommates, and
And so I got really curious about that and started to see how oh, I just feel very safe with this person, and I do, I've found for myself, I do much better with people who have a calm, nervous system. , if someone is a little more the hyperactive, just, they wiggle a lot. They're very loud in their speech or animated or whatever.
There's nothing wrong with that. But for me, being a highly sensitive person, that is a lot that I'm trying to process . Yeah. Yeah. And so if it's someone I'm gonna spend a lot of time with, let's say it, it just tends to go better. If this is a pretty chill person, and this best friend I'm talking about is just very calming voice.
. And, but there were times where I'm like, oh, I started to notice his chewing. And so then, I get curious about, oh yeah, today's the day they said schools are shut down again. Like I'm stressed, like, how am I gonna manage my business? And I have my kids home and all this, and so I'm stressed and then, that's where my brain goes. Here's the thing, here's the threat. We wanna be able to identify the thread. And so I just talked to myself sweetly, and this friend, knew about the mepo, which really helps. I could say, oh, my brain's going there. Can we turn on some music Or can we, change the subject? Something lighthearted. Let's not talk about covid. , right? And so I'm able to catch it before it really becomes that fast pathway with that person.
[01:05:10] Adeel: Did you yourself also do the whole going back and reprocessing memories, As
[01:05:16] Sara: well. I didn't, and Okay.
And so I'm curious about that. And I wanna do some of that actually with Morgan when I can fit that in my schedule and everything. But one thing that's very interesting to me is my who's now my ex-husband during the time you're married. I was very highly, really easily triggered by his chewing and some other things.
And then we had a period of time where we didn't really see each other much. I guess going through the separation of our early part of the divorce, and largely because of Covid . And then, now the kids are back in sports and so we're at, their football game or whatever it is.
And we have very healthy, positive co-parenting relationship and are really greatest friends, I guess I would say. But. He'll be eating or doing, I don't wanna name the other triggers, . But it, nothing, I have no reaction to it and I'm just like, okay. And that could be like, that tends to be more outside, , greater sense of freedom and not trapped. But also it's just I have my freedom, now. And yeah. So there's a lot of pieces to that. But that was the big shift for me. And and I know some of why it's in the background for me too is I have my own home now, and I have a lot more agency and I work from home and I. , some of this, takes time. I tell my younger clients and Marsha Johnson says this too keep going with your schooling or whatever it is you need to do so that you can have your own office or you can work from home, or you can, afford your own home, whatever it is that really provides more serenity.
And so that's been a big shift for me too. Yeah.
[01:06:52] Adeel: Absolutely. Yeah. Money and all status doesn't make you happy per se, but it can't give you the freedom to, treat yourself a
[01:06:59] Sara: little bit better. Yeah. Makes, feels safer, yeah. Or, is a more sensitive person. I do think we just, need more of a boundary at times.
, it's harder to be in a tighter space or where there's a lot more sound or happening or something. Yeah, not always an option and it is a privilege for sure, but . I also don't wanna have people think oh, I should, I do all this work or whatever, and I sh you know, I should be able to live in an apartment.
It's okay if you're struggling with that. That's not easy for a lot of us, yeah. Like that, that, let's, instead of I should be able to do this , okay what are my options? Or how can I support my body more? So I'm really trying to work with my clients now on instead of resisting the body and judging it, and why does, why have a hard time in this restaurant or whatever.
Can we just ex do more acceptance? Yeah. Yeah, that, that environment's not very friendly for my body. Can we go to, this other place or try this other thing, or, we can't always control that or whatever, but, Let's stop judging ourselves if we're at a minimum, if we're having a hard time in our apartment or whatever at this loud restaurant or something.
[01:08:02] Adeel: Unfortunately, we live in a society that's very much about trying to be self resilient and no, it's pick yourself up at bootstrap pick yourself up at the bootstraps and just get step out of it, quote unquote. Yeah,
[01:08:12] Sara: stopping. So sensitive when, I've really shifted my finger on that too.
It can be a really beautiful thing to be a sensitive person. , we need sensitive people in this world. But the world doesn't nice cooperate with us, so we've gotta do what we can. Yeah.
[01:08:25] Adeel: Yeah. So it sounds like you're still obviously super busy with work and family stuff, but what do you tell your friends?
Like you know that, or what do they think about you, Ms. Phoney? Are they pretty, I'm sure you self-select so that you're probably not hanging that a lot of friends.
[01:08:39] Sara: Yeah. Still there still are. Yeah. There still are times where in a setting someone might be doing something and. I'm like in that, having that battle, do I say something or not?
, but by and large, yeah. Anybody that I spend this is a significant amount of time with, or want a long term, relationship with I'm gonna tell 'em like, I'm gonna have that conversation. And ideally outside of a moment of triggering, and this is one of the other benefits of doing this work, is it just naturally comes up.
People are like, oh, what kind of work do you, do? What do you specialize in? Oh, trick. Yeah. And then I say it and so I've really gotten a lot of practice at talking about it. So I, ah, my neighbors, the dentist, I, I'm a, I give blood regularly. And so you're making all this kind of small talk and then people are like, oh my gosh, I know.
My sister has that struggle. Or I, whatever. And. Yeah. And then just doing this work, I feel, so I feel like I'm the norm now. , like those of us with me, , I'm like, oh no, we all have it . But yeah. Yeah. But I do see it is, I think, increasing in Prevalency, and my theory on that is as we're leaving the body behind more and more with the way we're doing life and just, yes, cognitively, we can maybe go at the speed of Instagram or whatever, how quickly we're taking in information, but the body's slower and we need to acknowledge that and support it and allow for, time to let things settle and listen to it.
Oh, after I watch TV for this many hours, I don't feel so good in my body. It's not that TV's bad, but let's listen to what your body's saying. That's too much for me, yeah.
[01:10:14] Adeel: That's actually a really good point that I, that entered my mind with, as we were talking. earlier about I forget how to phrase it but ba basically the idea that and it's always a cliche to blame stuff on like life getting faster or whatever, , but but but you, that was interesting what you said something about how yeah, now like we're, we're have to be independent sooner or we were talking about something about that or back in the day we, the family systems were a little bit different.
Like we, we lived, multiple generations would live together. It was more of a sense of safety and families were bigger, I think. And it seemed yeah, now it's like a smaller families b like, obviously like things are moving faster, there's less time to process what's happening.
There's more dangers coming from quote unquote dangers coming from different directions. I wonder if. We are gonna find it actually more prevalent, not just because of awareness, but because it's having an effect on our nervous
[01:11:04] Sara: system. Exactly. Yeah. Exactly. I had one really eye-opening case, this boy that I work with people across the country, so I feel pretty Okay.
Like it's pretty hard to identify who I'm talking about. But eight, nine year old boy and family happens to live like in a suburbian in drier climate. There's not much of a backyard, outdoor safe space. And they went on this like week, I don't know, cabin or something.
And he was outside most of the time, building forts and in the mile whatever, she's the whole week there was no triggering . And this kid was triggered by a lot, by his siblings and he's out there playing with his siblings and I just felt oh, he, , this is maybe a little stereotypical, or I dunno if you say sexist or whatever the they can say boys need to be raised on a farm, yeah. Or, so I, I think there's a piece of, also, we're maybe a little more just not moving as much, sitting at computers or on devices, whatever. And movement is one of those things that allows us just to, to discharge that day-to-day stress, and maybe not like the big trauma that's not gonna get discharged just through going for a run, but there's just Yeah.
I, it's a spectrum that we're, yeah. Yeah. Oh, and then on that note, I do, one of the things that I think has had an impact for me when I talk about checking those boxes over time, I did take a class on mindfulness eight week. John Katz in class. And out of that I started to do a body scan daily, and so this is in the middle of my day.
I listened to the same recording and it just talks me through notice what it's like in your feet, and now notice, see if you can notice each toe, you notice the ankles, notice what it's like in the lower legs, and it's a 12 to 13 minute recording. Just really helping me be conscious and connected to my body.
And I didn't like it at first, but I've been doing it every day, almost every day for probably 10 years now. And I just know I'm such a doer, I will just go all day. And so this is my way to be intentional about just stop and have that moment of recharging and acknowledging my body.
I may not be relaxed by the end of it, but I'd at least said to my body, Hey, I hear you. I see you, and it really likes that.
[01:13:20] Adeel: Maybe you maybe at least your, like going back to something we said earlier, maybe your body is registering it more than your mind kind of thing, right?
Is that maybe one? Yeah. And so it's a recording you're listening to because Yeah, I remember you mentioned this, that talks and so I, I literally put a, like a, I set up a calendar with Wonder for me to body, but then I didn't know what to do so I was like, oh if I was supposed to think about I was gonna ask you.
So it sounds like Yeah,
[01:13:43] Sara: so this one that I listened to unfortunately is not available to download anymore. Yeah. But I've put some on my website that cuz I tried to go through and listen. The reason I do the same one is I like her voice. She doesn't make milestones. Yeah. Yeah. So you gotta kinda, take some time to find one that's at that length.
A lot of people, you wanna start at three minutes, like it, it can be hard to be, to slow down in that way it can actually be activating. I know it was for me at first What are we doing? We're just stopping and doing nothing, and just noticing our body. I don't wanna notice all that tension. I don't wanna notice whatever there is to notice.
But over time it's going into that closet that we've been shoving everything in, and we're just slowly taking time, being with whatever's there and Yeah. And it becomes less daunting each time. And actually nice to open that closet. So I have a client, she was, most of my clients don't , they don't get on board with this practice.
And really, but okay. And, but I would, she is real good. She's okay, I'm gonna do this. See, it's helpful. We're gonna do it. And she didn't like it for a long time. She's I'm, I don't know if I'm doing this right. I'm, but I'm just doing it. And then at some point she goes, I still don't know if I'm doing this right, but my body craves it now.
I want that time to just stop and be. Yeah. And I get that. I'm that way too. My kids couldn't knew when they were younger. Mom's doing her body scan, do not interrupt . I need this moment to, just be,
[01:15:11] Adeel: so is it mean, wouldn't it be similar to a guided meditation from a, like a Headspace kind of app?
Or is this a little bit different?
[01:15:18] Sara: Yeah, it would, it is. It is a form of meditation. , I, initially tried just doing like breathing, meditation, those kind of things. And there's times where I like that, but this was a better fit for me. And then I also, from the Misa Paonia standpoint, this is how I'm conceptualizing it, is, that mirror neuron thing where we're getting right, pulled into the chewing person's body or whatever, coughing or whatever they're doing, or like experiencing to some degree what they're experiencing.
, that this body scan thing, doing it repetitively, you're building body memory around connecting really deeply with your own body. So at the end of the body scan, like I really have a sense of my whole container. There's my feet and my legs and my arms and everything. And with repetition and building that body of memory, I can drop into that space much easier.
Okay. I just do a quick, drop down through my system. Oh, there I am, there's my body. So I see that as similar to learning to swim or some sport. I tell my clients, like I can tell you, you could watch a YouTube video on how to play soccer and then show up with good shoes and a good attitude.
But if you haven't been doing drills and creating all that body memory or like with music, piano, right? It's doing it over and over again. So then in that moment of stress or in that moment of triggering you, your body just knows where to go, right? You have that pathway that you, the muscle memory,
[01:16:52] Adeel: the, yeah, the psychological muscle memory
[01:16:54] Sara: or something like that.
Yeah. Or c Yeah, it is, it's muscle memory. So we really have to, there's a place and yes, we need those in the moment strategies. And I know I wish I could, give people that magic answer of here's what you do when triggering is happening, and it's largely what are you doing outside of those moments of triggering that's gonna have an impact?
Are you doing your work wherever there's healing needed or accepting yourself? And are you taking care of your body so that in that moment, now you're setting yourself up for a lot more success.
[01:17:27] Adeel: Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, no, that's great. And we might want, yeah, maybe we'll start to wind down. Obviously it's getting too, yeah,
[01:17:33] Sara: I think that was
[01:17:34] Adeel: A That's a good note to end on.
I'm sure there's plenty of different directions we can go, but I think I want to process what we've
[01:17:40] Sara: already talked about, touched on most of what Yeah.
[01:17:42] Adeel: Okay. Are, yeah. Are there any other, I don't, any other last words or theories or things on your list that we may have forgotten? One
[01:17:49] Sara: other thing to plug is just family systems work and the value of that.
[01:17:54] Adeel: It's inter internal family systems, right? That's,
[01:17:56] Sara: Oh, no. Or is family systems just in general. Okay. Is instead of like, where we go, okay, here's my kid with Miso. , get this, or here's my kid with, maybe an eating disorder or whatever it is that we really work.
We bring in that piece of the relationships and how we're interacting with each other and are we allowing for. individual differences and people to be their true selves or to, yeah. Sometimes it's real specific. Like I've had clients where they're, transgender or they feel like they're not, yeah, the gender they were born with or they're gay or lesbian, but that's not accepted, in the family.
And this maybe gets into some tough territory, but that we gotta work with that stuff, , that's part that's in the soup with all this. But also just more generally family systems, where parents maybe are struggling to what can I do to support my kid, that is struggling so much with this.
Anything a parent does to regulate their own nervous system and prioritize self-care and. Have agency over their nervous system is gonna be helpful. So I know it can feel like a hopeless place for a lot of parents with their children struggling with this. And so that's would be my suggestion.
Suggestion. It's like really doing whatever you can to, regulate stress yourself and your nervous system. And then yeah, wherever we can work on, there's, every family has stuff they can work on in terms of communication and boundaries and all of that. There's no family that's got it all together.
And one more little piece a deal is like with a highly sensitive nervous system, I just say the, one of the benefits of that is it doesn't really allow us to sweep anything under the rug . So where other families might be able to yeah, we're gonna look the other way on, , these dynamics happening in our family.
, they can do that maybe more temporarily, but the highly sensitive person is the canary in the minefield that's going, oh, something's not quite right here. Something's off something's, and they're not able to name it usually, but it's alerting us to something and so we can really see a work with a family therapist to be curious about that stuff and then be our healthiest family system and healthiest selves.
[01:20:11] Adeel: Yeah. No, that's, that
[01:20:13] Sara: sounds great. I guess in a nutshell, I'd say make misophonia your feedback tool and your , a friend really. , there's a lot of information you can get from it. Yeah. , that's
[01:20:24] Adeel: a great, that's a great not to end on Yeah. Try to make miss funny your friend, but not really, but yeah it's, yeah.
Like you use the say use it as a tool. It's like we said earlier, it's, it could in many cases be alert you of something. It's like a, it's like a right, it's like a hitting a, you putting your hand on a stove is alert. That pain is learning you to something. Misophonia is alerting
[01:20:44] Sara: you to something deeper.
Yeah. And we can think about this. have an article that I've been using non fibromyalgia, and talking about, the pain from that. It's your body's way of telling you, about what really matters or way of communicating with you or a way of guiding you home.
These kind of ways of thinking about it and reframing it. Yeah. Instead of resisting it, how do I get rid of this? What is mis, trying to tell me, when it's really showing up in a big way here. Yeah. That sounds great. Thank thank, thank you deal for giving me a place to share all these thoughts and of course they're, every month I have new insights or things that, come from clients that it's just really cool to see and learn from, each different clients and their puzzle pieces and stuff.
I'm really grateful to be able to share Yeah. What I've found with themes and stuff
[01:21:30] Adeel: yeah. No, I love it. It's great to have, yeah, great to finally have you on here on the show and yeah, let me, like you, I love to listen to these con conversations or do these conversations and release them to the world cuz Yeah, you get to see patterns but then also some interesting differences and then, yeah, trying to merge or just like.
connected to is
[01:21:49] Sara: fascinating. Yeah. Yeah. And again, like it's complex. Meson is complex, but that's the thing I think don't take anything I said as yeah. Cause it or no family, system issues. Cause it No but it is yeah. We gotta like really unpack it and all these different components of it.
[01:22:04] Adeel: Yep. And yeah, it's not just a, it's, and it's not just being annoyed at sound. It's a, it's, yeah. This is a, it's touches a lot of things, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks again Sara. Yeah. Thank you for having me. So many things in this episode to learn from and apply. If you like this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast.
You can hit me up by email or hello miss podcast.com. We'll go to the website, miss funny podcast.com. It's usually easiest. Just send, visit John Instagram or Facebook podcast on Twitter. We at Misson show support the show by visiting patreon com slash podcast. The music is always by Moby, and until next week, wishing you peace.