Olivia - Art Student Explores Misophonia's Depth

S6 E15 - 12/2/2022
In this episode, Olivia, an Australian art student, shares her recent discovery of misophonia and how it has intertwined with her life experiences, including a traumatic childhood event. Adeel and Olivia explore the possibility of misophonia’s relations to OCD, autism, and the use of ASMR for positive sound experiences. Olivia discusses the impact of her father’s 'alpha male' behavior and the deep grief misophonia has brought her. The conversation also touches on visual and tactile triggers, the role of supportive relationships in managing misophonia, and Olivia’s endeavor to incorporate her experiences into her art and storytelling. Olivia’s journey emphasizes the importance of self-compassion and understanding in navigating misophonia.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 6, Episode 15. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I talked to Olivia, an art student in Australia. Olivia is relatively new to learning about Misophonia, but of course, she's had it for years. We talk about possible relations to OCD and autism, using ASMR for positive sounds, Misophonia grief, having an alpha male dad, and a lot more. There is a content warning. Near the beginning of the episode, there is talk of child-on-child molestation. As always, let me know what you think. You can reach out by email at hello at misophoniapodcast.com or reach me on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. And as I always say, a great way to help the podcast is to leave a quick rating or review wherever you listen to the show. It helps us get up in the algorithms and reach more listeners. And thanks again for the ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing a little bit financially, you can read all about the various levels at patreon.com slash misophonia podcast. All right, now here's my conversation with Olivia. Olivia, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Olivia [1:17]: Thank you so much for having me.

Adeel [1:20]: So, yeah, I guess you signed up recently, and I was just looking at the bottom. It said, like, you just heard about Miss Flannery recently. Yeah. Actually, first, do you want to tell us kind of where you are, you know, what you kind of do in life?

Olivia [1:37]: Of course. So I'm actually in Australia, Sydney, and I am a uni student studying fine arts. And yeah, that's pretty much where I am, where I'm at. Yes, it's correct. I've only recently discovered the concept of misophonia and that I have it.

Adeel [1:59]: Okay. And so how did you, I guess, how did you become aware of the term misophonia?

Olivia [2:05]: So I literally wrote into Google, why can I not stand normal noises? And misophonia popped up.

Adeel [2:13]: So yeah, you Googled in, why can't I stand normal noise? So you said normal noises, like a lot of times people put in like, you know, the sounds of people eating, but you kind of left like a general normal noises.

Olivia [2:26]: Yeah, yeah, I did. I might've said normal or everyday noises and misophonia popped up. And as I was reading through it, I was like, no way, like you're joking. And yeah, that's how I stumbled across it.

Adeel [2:44]: And then obviously you immediately knew that you were... So let's quickly, I guess, go back. Like, how long have you known that something was going on?

Olivia [2:55]: Well, I always knew I had sensitivities to sound, but I always thought it was normal and a shared experience. So that's why I never looked into it. Like... um you know looking back some of my earliest memories are you know the classic being in the car and but I just thought everyone experienced it and it wasn't until it was like truly really interfering with my studies and my work and my mental health was just absolutely declining um I started like speaking out about it to my boyfriend and to one of my friends and both of them went like hey I don't really know what you're talking about, but that doesn't sound like a fun time. And my world totally collapsed. I was like, what do you mean you don't know? Like, doesn't everyone go through this?

Adeel [3:49]: Yeah, it's an interesting realization when we realize that we're alone, first of all. It must be kind of like, oh my gosh. Because everyone expresses some of these sounds as being an annoyance, but it's interesting that when we realize that we have it at a far greater level and nobody else experienced it. Well, very few people experience it at that level. Yeah. so you said you had um oh yeah classic trapped in a car kind of experiences but what was that was it the first experience or how like or was it um like who maybe who were your first triggers was it your typical family situation

Olivia [4:31]: Well, actually, after I did submit to come on to here, that's when I was like, okay, let me delve into a bit of my childhood, see if I can remember the first time. And I think I did figure out when it was. So it was even before like being trapped in the car and stuff. and it actually went to when i was maybe seven years old and i had a friend and um this is a bit of a trigger warning but i did experience um child on child molestation with this friend and i realized like i you know i always had to be very sensitive to the sound to make sure no one's coming or things like that and there was one night where she locked me in her bathroom and got me to do you know the bloody mary thing where you say bloody mary in the mirror yeah right right right yeah yeah yeah she got me to do that and you know i'm only like seven years old it was absolutely terrifying and it was the middle of the night and anyways when i finally was able to get out of the bathroom Her great grandmother was standing there and she was a, I don't know if this is the proper term, but she couldn't speak. She couldn't hear. So she was also deaf and it was a chain smoker. So she was breathing really raggedly, just standing there in the dark in front of the bathroom door.

Adeel [6:02]: That was absolutely terrifying.

Olivia [6:04]: Oh my God. It was a horror movie moment. Yeah. that sound of her breathing i cannot like express how much fear it filled me with and i feel like it's ever since that experience in my life was when i really get i became so sensitive to sound

Adeel [6:23]: wow that is quite yeah quite a definitely a formative moment that's that's wow i'm sorry to go through i mean everything that kind of led up to that um did you wow okay and then i guess did this did um did the trigger start to then apply to everybody else like like was everybody's breathing and eating starting to bother you was it kind of like a i don't know like a light switch that went off or did it gradually increase i'm actually not sure i feel like it was

Olivia [7:02]: was a bit of both like everyone's breathing wasn't super triggering but there was some like for i guess it was the loud ragged breath like um like snoring absolutely started to mess with me and um there were things like my dad his eating sounds um and stuff like that that was the start and that's when it also crossed into being in the car like i would hear my dad chewing on gum because he was an advent gum chewer so he'd be chewing gum or he'd be eating in the car or drinking and i felt like i was i wanted to like claw my e-drums out so yeah

Adeel [7:46]: And after the, sorry to go back a little bit, after the experiences with your friends, did you tell your family? Did you tell anybody what happened? I'm curious because, you know, there's been some discussion in the community, at least where I am, on like the idea of unprocessed memories, unprocessed kind of traumatic memories being a factor. I'm curious if... you were sharing your experiences with anybody at the time or or if that was maybe later and maybe you know you were just had all the stuff bottled up yeah it was definitely bottled up um

Olivia [8:25]: I think because like a lot of, I guess, survivors from this type of trauma do tend to say like, you know, they just know something's wrong. And that's what really happened to me. I knew something was wrong, but because I didn't understand what was happening and I kind of just went along with it, I felt like I had consented even though I was seven years old and therefore like it was my fault that it happened. And so I didn't want to tell anyone because I was like, you know, I'm the one who's going to get in trouble. So it wasn't until I was maybe like... um around like maybe 13 years old i started like i spoke about it to my best friend and because we were still you know so young we just kind of went like they're like no way that happened like that's so weird and then when i hit around 15 and i had my first episode of depression and i was able to go to therapy that was when i also started i spoke up about it and um yeah so for a long time it was bottled up but i'm i'm 19 years old i'll be 20 intercept but it wasn't until maybe like i was 17 or 18 that i really was able to i guess um actually have that grace fall on me and say it wasn't my fault But point being is that all this time it's been with me and I feel like, yeah, maybe that was an implication and it just helped the misophonia fester, but I don't know.

Adeel [10:08]: So were you, until recently, until you found out misophonia had a name, did you consider these things parallel, like your misophonia and then everything else that was going on, like the depression and the aftermath of that experience? Were they kind of separate in your head?

Olivia [10:25]: Yeah, they were definitely separate.

Adeel [10:27]: Not that I'm, I want to say, not that I'm necessarily connecting the two, but I'm just, you know, we're brainstorming here on the podcast and just kind of thinking about it. um, interesting correlation, especially when, when you said that, uh, uh, when you were, you know, when you're thinking about it, getting ready for this show that you made, you, you remember the, um, the, I'll call her the creepy old lady, uh, and, and, and being triggered by that. Um, and did, um, so you see your, maybe this good, maybe, uh, you know, to your parents, your, as you're being triggered, what was the sound triggered? What was the, um, How are people reacting to, well, how are you actually maybe acting out? Like you said, you want to rip your eardrums out, but how are you reacting and how is your family reacting back?

Olivia [11:16]: Yeah, so I did the classic, like I tried to subtly cover my ears with my, you know, my elbow resting on a table and. muffling my ear because I didn't have that experience where I, I felt like I could just cover my ears, which is interesting because I was a young child that I've heard people say, you know, you're young. So, you know, like you don't know any better. You'll just cover your ears because it is irritating you. But I remember it always doing it subtly. And yet no one, no one ever knew. Like now that I've tried to explain it to my parents, And people around me, they kind of go, but you were normal. Like, what do you mean this was happening? Oh, so they didn't even really notice.

Adeel [12:03]: You kind of really hit it.

Olivia [12:05]: Yeah, yeah, 100%. Like, I feel like it was so bottled up and, like, masked. So, yeah, everyone says they're like, I have no idea. And it feels like people around me are still trying to understand, like. that it's my reality so was it since you since you found out how to name you've been really speaking up about it with people around you or was a couple years ago i forget now so no like i never really spoke about i don't i think it might be an australian brand but there's these um there's these earbuds called loop earplugs oh yeah oh love them and i bought them like a year and a half ago because i saw them and i'm going you know if you have noise sensitivities and i was like oh my god i do but again because it's like you know a lot of people are buying them i thought it was again a shared experience and it wasn't to the extent that i experienced um but I bought the earbuds and no one really around me knew. And I still didn't realize like there were times when I was getting triggered, but I just plowed through it. Like I didn't, I didn't respect my own, um, I guess like sensitivities and irritation. Like I just tried to like live with it. And so then it wasn't until it started getting so bad that I carried them around with me everywhere. I started using them more often and was like, huh, this is really helping and after i spoke to my boyfriend and that friend and they said like you know i don't think that's normal i wrote a list of everything that i'm experiencing because there was other things that have been really popping up like intrusive thoughts And I've had this thing with always having to balance things out. It was getting really bad where I can't walk down the pavement easily because I'm so concerned about stepping on the wrong colored tile or crack. If I bump one side of my arm, I need to bump the other side until it feels right. All of these things. So I wrote a list and I went to the doctor. He said it sounded like I was possibly on the autistic spectrum. But in the last two months, I've been working with a psychologist and I've been diagnosed with OCD. And so this is all so new. And there's been studies that show that misophonia links with OCD. So yeah.

Adeel [14:39]: Definitely, it seems like it's around the same family, and there are research groups who investigate both of them. And these traits, well, I don't want to necessarily say traits, but these symptoms of OCD, like the balancing... you know, carefully walking on sidewalks. Was that something that also just proliferated more and more recently? Or is that something that you also saw at a younger age as well?

Olivia [15:11]: I always saw her at a young age, for sure. All of these things that I do. I remember I would poke my sister in the back. I'm the youngest kid, so I'd be annoying, poke her in the back with one hand, and then I'd feel so off balance and I'd get super anxious. So I'd poke her with my other hand to balance it out. And then my sister would turn around and be like, oh my God, stop touching me. And I'm like, I'm sorry, I just had to balance it out. Like, I knew I had these traits, but, again, I thought it was normal. I didn't realise other people don't typically have it. It was just, I guess, it started getting so bad where, like, in the past, yeah, like, this past year, so, you know, the last nine months or so, was when I found it got to a really big high. And... Yeah, like I couldn't forget about it because there's some times where I wouldn't realise I stepped on a crack because I'm talking to a friend or I didn't realise I hit my arm so I don't have to bounce it out because I'm distracted. But it became where it's like taking up my whole day and so that's when I spoke up about it. So, yeah, it's interesting that it's always been there but it only just recently like increased.

Adeel [16:32]: Would you say your family life growing up, your sister and your parents, was pretty normal, relatively uneventful and stable and whatnot? Or was there any other chaotic moments or tough conditions other than, obviously, the experience with your friend?

Olivia [16:53]: um it was a bit normal but of course there were some things that came like my dad he's a big trigger for me um because he does like to be loud he'd like to be alpha male and so i remember he would yell and you know use vulgar language um when he was angry or we were in trouble because he said like it He said, in order for you to remember and to learn and to actually listen to me, I need to be loud and I need to... Well, that makes total sense.

Adeel [17:29]: I'm just kidding. That's terrifying.

Olivia [17:31]: I know, right? That's terrifying. It was really scary. It's not... I say scary, but I want to clarify that. He was never really like... I don't know. I don't know how to express that. I want to clarify that he's not, like, a bad parent. He just had the wrong tools and used them wrong. And so I was always so, like, absolutely, yeah, it really just was a big part of my upbringing. Yeah.

Adeel [18:07]: Yeah. Yeah. And was it often like a, like a, would always, would it often kind of maybe switch pretty drastically from very, you know, happy, well, normal and then suddenly something switched?

Olivia [18:24]: Yeah, yeah, it was definitely like that. Like, I, yeah, like, my dad can be the most sweetest, understanding dad in the world who'll help me financially if I'm in stock or if, you know, like, with things that he can, like, help with i guess in the sense of like i said money or needing things for school like or you know when i first bought my car like he can help me with things like that but when it came to emotional things and my mental health and stuff he was the dad who said like you can just think positively and manifest it And he's like, you know, especially when I had my first depressive episode, he's like, he's the dad who said, it's just a switch. Like you need to flick it. And he's like, you're not sad, happy. You manifest it. Like there's no reason to be sad. And that became my internal voice. And so when I went to therapy for the first time, I told them, I feel like there's two sides of my brain. Like one side knows I'm not meant to be sad. And it's really frustrating because there's nothing to be sad about. Like I'm smart. but the other side just can't help it and i no matter what i i just can't pick myself up and they were like olivia do you realize that other side of your brain isn't actually a friend and it's a bit toxic like it shouldn't be yelling at you so yeah that's um it was a big moment for me to have to unlearn all the things my dad said that i just didn't actually find useful yeah has he uh has his tune changed at all or is it um you know similar kind of uh uh tools for like um pretty similar to be honest he came a bit more around like i saw him showing more emotion when his father my grandfather passed away And I remember, like, because I held him while he cried. And I was so blown away. I was like, oh, my God, my dad's showing emotions. Like, this is crazy. And when my grandfather's brother passed away in England, I was the one who went with my dad and flew over there. I helped him write his eulogy. And he also, you know, he was crying so much. He was the only person who cried during his... speech and i went around walking with him in the graveyard and i was like oh my god i'm teaching my dad it's okay to have emotions like i put that on myself so yeah it's been been crazy fascinating was he close to his dad just out of curiosity

Adeel [20:59]: Yes, very close. Interesting. Okay. And on the topic, how was your, do you know any, I don't know, any stories of your, what was your grandfather like, especially to your dad? Did you know your grandfather much?

Olivia [21:17]: Yeah, like he passed away when I was, I think, maybe around 13. So I remember at least from my memories of him, he was very artistically inclined as well as like logically, which my dad is like. My dad's a logical, straightforward thinker, but he also pursues the fine arts like I do. And I got that from both of them. I love literature, I love mathematics, and I love fine art. So I really bonded with both my dad and my grandfather. And they also had a bit of like a construction company together. Like they'd do the plans for houses and they loved serving the community together, doing volunteer work and stuff. So they were really, really bonded in that aspect.

Adeel [22:07]: Gotcha. And how's your mom and your sister while you were going through a lot of this stuff as a teenager and still a teenager?

Olivia [22:18]: well my sister funnily enough was the complete opposite to me where i was known to be the drama queen and the cry baby she was the one who was viewed as more emotionally in control because she'd control her emotions but she was actually bottling them up And it got to a point where she's told me in her teenager years, she'd go, I want to cry. Like, I feel sad, but I can't cry. And she'd try and force herself to cry to release. And she couldn't. um and i learned that this is actually common with emotionally immature parents i went after i took um talked to my new therapist about my dad like for one session she told me to read this book called emotionally immature parents and she was saying kids like who have emotionally immature parents usually one of them or like you know usually you get one of the two where one either doesn't like expresses their emotions doesn't know how to control it in that aspect or one bottles us up bottles it up um and doesn't know how to control it in that aspect so yeah it's fascinating

Adeel [23:33]: Yeah, absolutely. And what, was there, obviously your sister was experiencing some of the same, you know, moments of anger or whatever that your dad was expressing. Was she getting the same, you know, basically suck it up, get over it, get over it, whatever she was, whatever she would go through?

Olivia [23:57]: Well, like in regards if my dad would say that to her?

Adeel [24:01]: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Olivia [24:03]: Because she didn't really express the emotion in the first place. She was actually praised. My dad would say, oh, you're so good. You're not crying at this or you're not doing this. She got the praise and then I got the reprimanding. But we both grew up and it was very... toxic for the both of us.

Adeel [24:26]: Interesting. Um, and I guess, yeah, well, let's talk about maybe school. I mean, it sounds like you're obviously, you know, doing quite well. Did it start to affect, um, you basically, yeah, being in school, being in class or the kind of friends you hung out with?

Olivia [24:43]: Yeah. So the friends I hung out with were really, really down to earth, nice people, at least like, you know, my last formative years, um, as the group, you know, got smaller, um, um and like my best friend who's still my close friend to this day he loves music so we definitely um we always like listen to music so again i'm i like i absolutely love music i can't do anything on like the side of making it i'm not musically inclined i just really appreciate it um so in regards to like sound we were very soft-spoken very grounding which was super healthy for me. And so when there were the other people in my grade, which was really small, I graduated year 12 with, like, 40 people in my class. And so if someone was being loud, they were heard. And there were so many people who wanted attention, of course. And it absolutely drove me up the wall. So I would, like, run away to the bathroom to... like try and de-stimulate without really knowing it i just knew i felt off and i wanted to go have a breather um and there were times as well when working towards we call it the hsc exams like the you know exams that see if you can go into uni right um there were times where we'd be studying in class and it was like super quiet because if you talk you get zero And I'd hear the slight taps of the teacher's shoes walking in the room. And then she'd be like cleaning the whiteboard. I'd hear the spray and hear her wiping the board. And to me, it like was so nice. I felt like I had the tingles down my spine. I was going to fall asleep. Like those sounds I found like, like, like I didn't know why, but I just felt so good.

Adeel [26:38]: Interesting. So those were kind of positive kind of sounds.

Olivia [26:45]: yeah yeah for sure and i found that asmr is a really nice outlet for me um because before that i thought asmr was like quite weird i thought it was only for like sexual purposes because of the like whispering and mouth sounds but when i started actually delving into it in like in like in my high school years um i found ones you know without mouth sounds and specific sounds like i love and it helped me fall asleep um as well as brown noise i love the sound of brown noise so yet those things i found in high school and i'd be able to pop my like earphones in in school and just listen to that so i actually didn't find a lot of triggers at school for me

Adeel [27:39]: Oh, that's great, yeah. And this brown noise, well, it will be in the background of this podcast, or this interview, when it goes live, so people listening will hear that. It just kind of masks all those... I cut out as much as I could of any obvious triggers as we're talking, but then... the brown noise is a good backup in the background it's also good for people who are who are listening maybe to this on the on a bus or something or you know out where or eating and and uh it's it's good to kind of like help be that kind of default so no 100 i love it i when i was listening to the podcast i knew i'm like is that brown noise oh yeah i was so happy so love The only podcast that has brand names in the background. What about visual triggers, too? Did that start to happen for you as well?

Olivia [28:34]: Definitely. Definitely, definitely. Again, I didn't really realize it, but 100%. And I think it might be linked a little bit to my OCD as well. Like, for example, when a teacher would sneeze into their hands. I would be absolutely beyond myself. And, you know, I couldn't, I saw them, you know, touching their thighs and then touching the papers and their laptop. And I, and so I, like this happened to me even like two weeks ago at uni and I put my earbuds in so I couldn't hear her sneezing, which was awesome, but I could see her sneezing or like coughing. And I was still losing my mind, so I had to close my eyes or look away. And I was like, this is so annoying. Like, if I see something and it bothers me, I try and, like, close one eye to not see it. And this has been happening for a long time where I'd, like, close an eye or I'd put my hand up to try and block something out of my – vision um but I didn't realize it was weird like unusual to do so yeah I definitely know visual triggers are a thing for me

Adeel [29:48]: Yeah, I mean, it's not unusual for us, but... Yeah, exactly. I guess I mean... Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, that's interesting. Anything like a touch triggers? People get, I don't know, triggered by certain sounds or... Oh, sorry, or feelings, like... Yeah. Rumbling of some sort, I don't know. Or bass going through walls.

Olivia [30:14]: oh me too I definitely get that and I always I try to explain it to people as like having unsafe and safe touches like if I feel a bass in the car like my boyfriend he loves to listen to hard style music and rap and all that but if he turns it up too loud it not only like makes me panic from the noise but the feeling of like the noise it just um yeah no it like instills me with rage and also fear but um i do also have the safe touches in the sense like if i accidentally scratched my like ring on a metal fridge when i'm like opening the fridge door i would be so disgusted and i'd like i had a hoodie on i'd like scratch the hoodie because it's like a safe material um until i feel better so that's interesting because that sounds like something i would do too yeah i never really i never noticed that okay I know. And apparently, like, when I told the doctor that, when I first started... I know what you mean by uncomfortable feelings, for sure.

Adeel [31:22]: That what you described would definitely be one of those.

Olivia [31:26]: Yeah, exactly. And it's so interesting because I know some people go like, oh, that was an irritating feeling for us to have.

Adeel [31:33]: I would be thinking about it for hours and days.

Olivia [31:37]: Exactly. So I have to like scratch a safe thing like a blanket or a hoodie or something. And it even happens in shopping like in shopping markets. Like I went the other day and I love ceramics and like, you know, those really nice bowls and plates. And I felt one, and it had an awful texture to it. It was so gross. And I was like, I felt so bad. So I had to go, and I was touching my boyfriend's shirt to feel better. I feel a bit funny doing it, but it's the only way I can feel better. Yeah.

Adeel [32:12]: how do uh so i mean how does your boyfriend react to it how did you tell him maybe in the first place and and how does he um how does he kind of deal with it deal with your uh your condition

Olivia [32:27]: yeah well honestly he's been an absolute angel thankfully um which is something I always admired in him like straight off the bat he's always been very accepting and supportive of my things which was the complete opposite to like you know the other male in my life my dad who would sit down all of my experiences um but when I first he said he always kind of noticed I was more sensitive to like sound and stuff than others but So when I explained it to him, like, that I have this, you know, kind of condition, he totally, like, he didn't think about it twice. And from now, like, if we're out in public and he hears a sound that he thinks is irritating or he knows, like, irritates me, he either gets out my earbuds for me or he'll, like, draw me into his chest and cover my ears like a K-drama. And so I find it really... beautiful and um i definitely don't take it for granted um so he yeah he's been really really good and he's um also being eager to learn about things that trigger me so he can avoid it or like if we're in the car and he really wants to listen to rap or something like you know he's getting tired and he needs something to boost him up so he will just try and keep it down so the bass isn't too much and he'll um you know He'll tell me to get the earbuds out. And if I ask him to turn it down a little bit, he will. So he's really respectful.

Adeel [33:59]: So you said it sounds like you're using earbuds more. Are you using earbuds like active sounds in your ears now more than like the loop plugs or kind of earplugs, which just basically kind of diminish sounds?

Olivia [34:16]: Well, half and half. I mainly use my loop earplugs because I find it's still good so I can still talk to people. And having that reduction of sound, I feel like I can cope with that. So it is mainly the loop earplugs I go to. And I usually, like, I can wear them for a whole day, like, at work. um i'll just wear them for the whole shift and people come up go oh i like your earring i'm like haha thank you yeah i've been showing some of them look quite good yeah well they do because i like to wear gold jewelry so i have the gold earplugs so it looks like an earring and um i've been showing it to people now and go yeah i have this because i have misophonia and i'm trying to like educate people if they are interested do you get any um negative feedback on misophonia thankfully i haven't come across anything except for of course like your dad my dad and my mom's quite supportive but she just doesn't really again she thinks i'm like she's like olivia you're normal like i don't understand that you have this thing but um i think she's just confused but yeah like they're the only people who are a bit yeah

Adeel [35:34]: Yeah, right. It's a hard thing for people to, at least in 2022, for people to wrap their head around something that sounds like a normal annoyance, but is on a far, far higher level.

Olivia [35:49]: Yeah.

Adeel [35:51]: And so what do you do? Um, yeah, what do you, I guess, um, what do you do for work? And I'm curious actually about, um, actually, yeah, maybe start with kind of your art. I'm always curious about art and creativity and, uh, how so many of us are in, uh, kind of creative fields. Have you ever, do you feel like, have you ever, I don't know, um, expressed anything about your misophonia through your art, uh, intentionally or maybe even not intentionally, but you thought about it afterwards?

Olivia [36:20]: Yes, I have, actually. So this is a little bit of a fun, fun thing. But to answer your first question for work, I currently tutor kids, which can be a whole trigger on its own sometimes. And I also, I say kids, but they range from like eight years old to 18. um and I also do retail as like um I don't know if you know the brand it's called Mecca and um they've been really supportive too because I ended up talking to my manager only a couple weeks ago about how my mental health is not really in the best place and You know, I want to make sure it doesn't affect my work performance because I'm very much on, like, I'm always talking to customers. I'm, like, no matter where I am, I'm talking to people. And there's loud music going because it's a shopping centre, you know, all make-up. skincare fragrance like it's a very busy environment stimulating very stimulating yeah very very stimulating and so i told my my um my store manager and she was beyond supportive which was so um i'm so grateful for she was like even if there's days where you feel so overstimulated and you know you can come in the back you can take your apron off and you can just do like organized stock and stuff

Adeel [37:45]: um so yeah i'm very grateful very cool okay yeah that that sounds great actually i was curious just to confirm in some school you weren't really bothered did you ever ask for accommodations at any point uh in in school no i didn't i wanted to because there were times where like

Olivia [38:08]: I'd be in the exam and someone would be chewing gum or someone will be tapping their pen or their foot. And even the visual trigger of people like shaking their leg, like it drove me insane. But I just felt like I couldn't ask for help. And unfortunately here too, I think to get those amendments, you do need a lot of the paperwork and stuff.

Adeel [38:31]: So it's kind of a bit of a lot more work to get accommodations in Australia.

Olivia [38:37]: Yeah. Yeah. At least from what I know, like, you know, you needed to get maybe your doctor to approve it. And because I hadn't realized that sound and visual things trigger me, like I knew it did, but I didn't realize it was, I guess, like an actual thing. I never bothered to go look for that. And I just stuck through it.

Adeel [39:00]: Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, so coming back then, I guess, yeah, I'm curious to hear about art and kind of what you're doing for art and how you might be combining that with misophonia.

Olivia [39:12]: yeah so at the moment i am just doing painting and um i'm still tossing up between ceramics and photography um but i wanted to go into sound production for a long time because i think the art of making sound is so beautiful and making ambiences and stuff and i might even go into it in the future But when I first delved into it was when I was in high school. And for my last year, I did this class called Extension English 2 where you have to make a project. That's what the whole class is for. There's no studying. Like I just have to make a project, whether it be like a poem or a short story or something like that, even a short video. And I ended up making a storytelling project. um like podcast episode and in that I incorporated a lot of um you know like sounds like ambient sounds so you know footsteps or um you know like crickets chirping things like that and I narrated it and I had all of that noise because I was trying to speak about how powerful noise is with immersing and stuff. And it also led from an experience I had maybe a year prior. where i just have um i guess small ear canals that can get blocked very easy and i went on for like over a year where my ears were totally blocked up with um ewax which i didn't know but i knew it was blocked up so i had kind of like a natural plug yeah for the longest time it's organic And I would tell people because I did at the time, I struggled to hear people, you know, a friend would whisper to me in class and I couldn't hear them or the teacher was talking. I couldn't hear them properly. And it was a really like even a mental struggle. And I'd tell people and like my parents to try and get help. And they just kept disregarding it for some reason. And one day I came to my mom. I'm like, mom, if I told you my eyes were like. You know, my vision was blurry. You'd probably take me to the optometrist straight away. So when I'm telling you that, I can't hear properly. Why aren't we doing something? Like, it's really bothering me. So we... finally went and went to an ear doctor and he got all the earwax out and like everything was like so crisp like i i like started crying instantly when i could hear things and i remember um like walking outside for the first time and i like could hear the um you know the flutter of the birds flying above and there was water fountain there and i heard it trickling and someone spoke to me like on my left and they were speaking to someone from my right. So it was like, you know, I did a whole turn because I could hear people like 8D around me. And so from that, I was like, wow, sound is so cool. And it's really, you know, I guess it can be it's quite important or like it's just so beautiful. And that's what I really wanted to portray in that. And so I do want to now continue that journey with music. trying to capture sound and now I have this misophonia aspect too where it can not only be beautiful but can it can you know it can hurt people in a way

Adeel [42:57]: With this podcast, you said you were doing some storytelling. Had you written a fictional story of some sort? I would love to hear it, first of all. But was it you narrating or describing sounds, maybe talking about sounds?

Olivia [43:18]: Well, it's actually, it was, like, more of a narrative, like, fiction story. If I can find it, I'll send it through. But I, it wasn't the original plan I wanted to go through. Unfortunately, I did have, you know, my teacher was saying, you know, oh, this probably won't get the best marks. Like, you need to change it this way and this way. So I moved into something that, like, I'm still very proud of what I created, but it wasn't, like, what I wanted.

Adeel [43:47]: in the first place so i hope to still create that original one i wanted to do yeah um but yeah no i'd love to hear that uh it's interesting the um obviously a lot of us are artists the episode that i that's coming out actually this this week probably i need to actually edit it after this after my call with you but uh it's uh with a composer marcello who uh He does a lot of avant-garde compositions, kind of like 20th century John Cagey kind of stuff, 12-tone, more abstract kind of music, but with piano and voice and whatnot. But he's got some pieces that are actually on YouTube where he actually incorporated subtly some of his triggers in the compositions, which I think is fascinating and it's quite beautiful. And in your paintings too, have you, I don't know, tried to capture anything about, you know, the feelings? Or maybe what are some of the themes in general of the stuff you're creating?

Olivia [44:54]: Well, I haven't really delved into misophonia yet. But my biggest, I guess, release in painting is actually like grief. So I think it would be beautiful to kind of get the grief of, you know, feeling like... you know with this noise and being able to miss some moments and or like you know i've heard stories on here which absolutely broke my heart how you know it can ruin families or other relationships or even paths of life you want to go down and like i'd love to capture that but yeah my paintings at the moment have been a lot of like remembrance of people I've loved who've passed or other people like someone I will know would have a loved one pass away and my like the way I grieve and I process it is to like paint um so that's kind of my ongoing theme at the moment um but i do want to definitely like i have so many ideas of other like realms to explore as well i love the body and femininity as well um i do i started a podcast called heavenly feminine and it's all about i guess taking your power back as a female and learning from one another because just like you do on this misophonia podcast i think it's really special thing to be able to share each other's stories and i i just i'm all about that i love it so that's amazing we should get to i'll definitely get to link to that podcast and and link to it in the show notes that's that sounds amazing

Adeel [46:35]: Wow. And, yeah, those are really interesting. I was going to ask something about that. Oh, yeah, no, actually, I was going to, so painting, and you'd also mentioned ceramics and photography. Yeah. I'm also, like, actually, a lot of people are very interested in photography, almost wanted to pursue it at certain moments. What do you try to capture with photography? Do you have any things that are kind of themes for you in photography?

Olivia [47:05]: well with photography i've only had the chance to really capture i guess everyday life um you know stills like still life and just people i know or people in the street but my ideal would be able to one day work in like a studio and do more of that i actually don't know what it would be called but you know how like i love the kind of weird photography like if a model is standing in a weird like position like an unnatural stance i think those are so beautiful and um you know getting creative with that like ah i don't know i can link my pinterest board on the things i love yeah i i that's what i kind of like to capture with photography and with ceramics um it's only at the moment i just feel like i think it's such a safe touch to me like working with clay and stuff yeah and getting like kind of messy i love that like whenever i paint i love to be covered in paint by the end like it it just brings so much excitement and pleasure and And that's why I also love, yeah, like sculpting, sculpting, like sculpt making and stuff. So, yeah, I haven't really dealt with too many things in that aspect, but that's why I'm so excited because I feel like it's the beginning of my journey and I'd love to be able to capture so many important messages through my art.

Adeel [48:44]: Yeah, that's amazing. I hope you do. Let's maybe kind of wind it down around that note, but I do want to just give you the chance to see if there's anything else you want to share with people listening. I know you're relatively new to the concept of Miss Sonya and the Miss Sonya podcast in general, but anything else you want to share with people? I know this is going to help a lot of people in this conversation.

Olivia [49:10]: Thank you. I think... The last thing I kind of like to say, which is also speaking to myself, would be to learn to give yourself grace and also respect yourself and the feelings you have. Like, although feelings aren't always fact, if you're noticing you're feeling triggered, like, respect that. Or if anything comes on, learn to respect yourself and to give yourself that grace. So, yeah.

Adeel [49:39]: Yeah, absolutely. I'm learning that myself and trying to think of that more and more and tell other people to lead with self-compassion. Because a lot of us, what I've heard over and over is, as I'm sure you've heard, a lot of us have had things in the past which were difficult and we just never got over it. whether we knew it or not so um and then we and then on top of that you know we'd react we react with their misophonia we get piled on with the shame and the um step out of it thing so i think we all deserve some sort of compassion and you know a little bit of uh you know i don't want to say selfishness but like yeah i mean you know if you need to, um, you know, if you need to react on, you know, maybe just let you, let your emotions come out one way or the other and give yourself some grace. Cause, um, we weren't really taught how to do, how to deal with this. So, um, but yeah, um, Olivia, this has been amazing. Um, thanks for coming on and, uh, yeah, I know this is going to help a lot of people.

Olivia [50:47]: Thank you so much for having me.

Adeel [50:50]: Thank you again, Olivia. 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. You can hit me up by email at hello at misafoneypodcast.com or go to the website, misafoneypodcast.com. It's even easier to send a message on Instagram at misophonia podcast and also on Facebook and Twitter, of course. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at patreon.com slash misophonia podcast. Theme music as always is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [52:00]: you