Ben H. - High School Sophomore Confronts Misophonia with Exposure, Woodworking, and Mindfulness

S6 E16 - 12/8/2022
In this episode, Adeel chats with Ben, a high school sophomore in Utah, who shares his journey of grappling with an intensification of his misophonia in the past year. They discuss Ben's voluntary attempt at exposure therapy to habituate to triggers, self-triggering, the impact of improv theater on managing his condition, and handling misophonia during the holidays. An intriguing part of the conversation is Ben's connection with his grandfather, who has PTSD from his time in the Vietnam War. They find common ground in their respective reactions to certain sounds. Ben also talks about the development of physical tics in response to misophonia triggers, which he describes as similar to Tourette's syndrome but triggered by specific noises like fireworks or people eating. Additionally, they discuss Ben's passion for woodworking, how it acts as a therapeutic activity for him, and his future career considerations. Adeel and Ben conclude by exploring thought processes during triggering events, underlining the importance of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral strategies in managing reactions.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 6, Episode 16. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I talked to Ben, a high school sophomore in Utah. Ben's miso got significantly worse this past year, and so he's been grappling with that at school. We talk about his efforts to voluntarily try exposure therapy as a way to habituate to triggers, We talk about self-triggers, improv theater, and the lessons it brings to dealing with miso. Plus, we talk about miso in the holidays, as well as talking with his grandfather about PTSD from war experiences and what his grandfather thinks of Ben's miso. As always, let me know what you think. You can hit me up on email at hello at misophonia podcast dot com. or on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. And another reminder, as I always do, to go if you haven't already and leave a quick rating or review wherever you listen to this show. It helps bring us up in the rankings and algorithms when people are looking for information and content on Misophonia. Thanks, as always, for the incredible ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at slash misophonia podcast. All right, here's my conversation with Ben. Welcome, Ben, to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Ben [1:29]: Thank you. It's good to be here.

Adeel [1:31]: So, yeah, I guess, well, the one question I usually ask regularly up front is kind of where are you located?

Ben [1:38]: Oh, currently I'm in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Adeel [1:41]: Oh, okay. Cool. Great. And, uh, yeah. What do you do there?

Ben [1:45]: Uh, currently I'm a student. I'm a sophomore in high school right now. Um, yeah.

Adeel [1:51]: Very cool. Yeah. I've had, uh, actually, I don't know. It's been a while since I've had a, uh, high school. I've had a number of college, uh, students, but, uh, but yeah, we've definitely had some in the past. So it should be, should be quite interesting. Um, yeah. So I guess how are things for, so obviously school is on, what are we? Yeah. First month of school. How, how's it been?

Ben [2:10]: uh so far this year it's been uh it's been different this year um not in terms of like you know the actual school content uh but i suppose just jumping straight into things uh yeah my misophonia is like uh it's grown worse over the summer so coming back to school is difficult this year ah so um over the summer it got the worst uh how so Well, I'm not sure what really prompted it, but I know, excuse me. I noticed that, um, you know, as summer progressed, uh, and as got closer to school, I, I was just noticing more and more things, more and more sounds. I was getting triggered by a lot more. And now that school has started, I feel like it's sort of Miami Spony has evolved to more than just, you know, traditional triggers. It's, um, It's now it's going into like speech patterns and like things that you wouldn't really consider triggers normally.

Adeel [3:17]: Yeah. Well, yeah, some people have all kinds of triggers. It can be triggers to words. It can be triggers to obviously visuals or sometimes touch, things like that. So, yeah, while maybe not super common, it's not unheard of to have quote-unquote unusual triggers. But over the summer, was there anything unusual about or anything extra stressful maybe that you can think of?

Ben [3:46]: Nothing really out of the ordinary. I started working for the first time.

Adeel [3:52]: Okay. What kind of work environment was it?

Ben [3:58]: Instead of working for some big company, I guess the easiest way to explain it is I sort of run a small business. I make products out of wood and concrete, 3D printing things, and I sell them at like uh, local festivals, uh, like maker fairs and online sometimes too.

Adeel [4:21]: Very cool. And so, oh, that's great. And then, so when you do that, I mean, I guess you're doing it on your own, right? So it's not like, it's not like you're sitting in an office around other people.

Ben [4:31]: Yeah.

Adeel [4:31]: Yeah. Okay. So that's probably not necessarily, I mean, yeah, that's interesting. Cause yeah, I would think that that's actually, uh, would maybe have helped because it gives you more alone time. It gives you a little bit of a, um, an outlet. Um, and so, yeah, maybe, maybe let's go, let's go, let's rewind even further to kind of like early days for you, which, uh, I guess if you're a sophomore in high school, it's not much far back, but, uh, when do you notice things starting up for you?

Ben [5:00]: Um, well, I've always, when I was little or, um, like, I don't know, maybe eight or nine, I would, I would specifically, I wouldn't classify it as like, you know, the pain I feel when I get triggered nowadays, but I would get really like on edge about the way my sister ate. Like I would just, I would, why are you eating like that? And in, in the, the years after I, you know, I'd forgotten about that until let's see, sort of, maybe last spring spring of 2021 i um i started having these feelings of you know like uh you know rage and like uncontrollability and just uh you know pain when i heard eating noises was it more than just your sister now Yeah, the main person in my family was my dad. And, you know, it was all I could focus on when I was, you know, at the table or watching TV. If he's eating in the other room, like I could not handle it. And I didn't understand why at the time.

Adeel [6:20]: And about what age were you at this point?

Ben [6:25]: Let's see. I was 14 at the time. Oh, okay. Got you.

Adeel [6:30]: And how old were you again when your sister was bothering you?

Ben [6:36]: I don't remember exactly. Like probably nine-ish.

Adeel [6:40]: Yeah. So kind of typical age range for that initial trigger. And then you didn't notice it for a while until around age 14 with your dad. Yeah.

Ben [6:53]: hmm what about at school was it uh were you noticing anything unusual at school uh not really my um my school is uh like the class sizes are on the smaller side so and uh we eat lunch in a big open space so there's lots of like sound that isn't eating noises you know talking yeah you know scraping chairs and stuff uh So there wasn't really any noticeable triggers at school at the time.

Adeel [7:30]: So then, okay, so then as, you know, when your dad is starting to trigger, which, I mean, around 14, so that must have been just like within the last couple of years, right?

Ben [7:41]: Yeah.

Adeel [7:42]: Yeah. So did you tell them, your parents, I mean, your family?

Ben [7:47]: I, I was, I wasn't super vocal about it. I mean, I had expressed like, it's confusing.

Adeel [7:55]: Yeah.

Ben [7:55]: Yeah. Yeah. Confusion. Um, I had talked to my mom and my sister about it a couple of times. Um, but I didn't really bring up anything, uh, you know, any disorders or anything until I started doing research on my own. Yeah. Um, I mean, that's, Most of the stuff that I learn on my own, hobbies and things and stuff for my job, I learn through, you know, researching on the Internet. So I've gotten good at it. And at the time, what I was doing is I was, you know, looking into various things that could cause the feelings I was having. I got into mostly stuff about either autism or misophonia.

Adeel [8:43]: Yeah.

Ben [8:44]: And it felt like misophonia was... Like, that was it. That was what was causing me all this pain. And so I brought that up to my parents. And they were very accepting. You know, I love them very much. I don't think it's an easy thing to have your child confront you about, you know, pain that you might be indirectly causing. It's a tough conversation. But, you know, they were awesome about it. So I just... And then after that, I sort of lived with it for a couple months. I didn't tell my friends or people at school because I was just... I was like... I guess sort of embarrassed that I was feeling this way.

Adeel [9:33]: It does sound weird. Yeah.

Ben [9:35]: Yeah. It was sort of like alienating in a way. I don't think not outwardly, but just in my brain, I felt...

Adeel [9:44]: cut off for a bit from from uh like the social situations at school you know lunch talking uh so was after your after your uh you were having sensitivities at home were you then starting to notice it at school yeah okay yeah

Ben [10:04]: And that's actually, that's sort of what kicked off my research. I was, you know, I was starting to get triggered at school just by eating noises at first. But then, you know, the sort of the spectrum of triggers.

Adeel [10:19]: Oh, yeah.

Ben [10:20]: Got bigger. Yeah.

Adeel [10:22]: So how did you, so once you started doing this research, did you come up with some, I don't know, steps to try to, how did you?

Ben [10:35]: um proceed then was it um maybe starting to tell your friends at school and seeing what they said yeah i actually i had um my dad currently does uh advertising advertising for a hearing aid insurance company so he has he knows audiologists and uh one of them was referred to me as like uh, sort of a specialist who could diagnose misophonia. So a couple months after I, you know, had explained misophonia to my parents, uh, we, uh, sort of, we set up an appointment with this specialist and I was like officially diagnosed with misophonia. And that's when I started telling people. And that's when I started getting, uh, more comfortable, especially at school.

Adeel [11:22]: Yeah. And how was the reaction that you got at school?

Ben [11:27]: It's... I don't know. It's not like... Not a bad reaction per se, but it's just not... I think I... I might be a bit biased because, you know, I'm feeling it the worst.

Adeel [11:46]: Hey, you're a safe space. Everyone listening will understand how you're feeling.

Ben [11:52]: Yeah, yeah. I don't know. It was sort of like a... My friends were sort of, it's hard to explain.

Adeel [12:01]: It feels dismissive maybe a little bit to you?

Ben [12:03]: Yeah.

Adeel [12:04]: You came out with this kind of like pretty big deal in terms of like how you feel, but it's hard to, it always feels kind of anticlimactic or a little bit of a letdown when others don't take it as seriously as it's occurring in your brain.

Ben [12:20]: Yeah, I think, yeah, a good way to describe it is it wasn't being taken seriously.

Adeel [12:25]: Yeah.

Ben [12:26]: For sure.

Adeel [12:27]: Did you bring it up with your school staff at all, too? Your teachers?

Ben [12:33]: No, not last year. I did start doing that at the start of this year, though. And what was the reaction there? It was, I think, much better because, A, because I was more comfortable. expressing my, like, you know, telling them in detail about why I'm suffering from this. Um, and B, I was just like a more, you know, more mature person. I was more comfortable in my own skin.

Adeel [13:01]: Yeah.

Ben [13:01]: Um, yeah.

Adeel [13:04]: Did, um, did any of your friends, I'm going to, sorry, I'm flipping back and forth, but was there any kind of like teasing or bullying that came out of it or was it just kind of like not really taking it seriously and trucking it off?

Ben [13:16]: no really teasing or bullying um but it wasn't like they knew about it but they wouldn't act on it like they wouldn't um you know it was a little hard to make them understand if i stepped away from the you know where we where we were eating or if i put on headphones they wouldn't like they wouldn't get it they wouldn't get why i was doing that yeah yeah yeah

Adeel [13:42]: Um, okay. And did you, um, other than the audiologist, well, what did the audiologist do other than the diagnosis? Was there any, uh, tools like, uh, maybe, uh, like the Widex kind of, uh, white noise hearing aids? Did they offer anything?

Ben [14:03]: I, um, It was like a very short appointment.

Adeel [14:09]: Here's your diagnosis. Yeah.

Ben [14:13]: I did. I described what I was feeling, you know, my symptoms or whatever. And then I took a hearing test, you know, to test the levels of my hearing. And, you know, that came back all good. I can hear fine. But after that, we sort of just sat down and talked with the specialist. And, you know, she was like, yep, that's misophonia.

Adeel [14:42]: Mm-hmm. Gotcha. Where was this appointment, by the way?

Ben [14:47]: It was... Oh, I don't remember specifically. It was, like... The U of U, the University of Utah is.

Adeel [14:56]: Oh, okay. So somebody there. Okay, gotcha. I wasn't sure if it was like Dr. Marcia Johnson or somebody who's quite well known as an audiologist who diagnoses misophonia. Yeah, but she's not the only one anymore. It's great to hear that there are lots of people around, many more people around who are able to recognize what it is. Yeah. Other than an audiologist, did you consider seeing other kind of professionals, therapists, counselors?

Ben [15:31]: There was talk of like, like the audiologist suggested like maybe noise therapy, like going to a noise therapist would help. But I felt like I didn't, you know, I didn't understand noise therapy at the time as well as I do now and I felt like I could you know, sort of take it into my own hands and You know Like self-regulate like I didn't need to spend the the time the money and effort on therapy to Get results that I wanted Got you.

Adeel [16:12]: Okay. So yeah, I mean a lot of stick things into our own hands because it's a lot of A lot of different opinions, and there's not a lot of proven... Yeah, there's not a lot of best practices. Yeah. So then how did you take the next steps?

Ben [16:34]: Well, after that, I sort of... When I came back to school this year, I started telling teachers... You know, getting like sort of one-on-one deals to see like whether or not I could put in earplugs during class in case something was triggering me. And then my Spanish teacher told me about the 504 form, which I'm sure you're familiar with by now. Right. So I applied for a 504 form and my application was accepted and, you know, I got it. things finalized and now i have like um i can use like earbuds and earplugs um i can change seats if i need to which is really useful to get away from triggers and i can i can request like a isolated location for test taking so i mean that was that was a big step for me was getting the 504 form but that's sort of the only uh you know, structured help outside help that I've gotten so far.

Adeel [17:46]: Gotcha. Okay. Other than the audiologist, uh, really just, just, uh, getting the accommodations to five or four is, is, uh, is like, okay, gotcha. Um, and then how you said you were, um, you're trying to maybe self-regulate, uh, what kind of things have you, have you tried?

Ben [18:04]: Um, well, mostly I've, uh, You know, I've tried to put myself in situations, especially at home, where I'm getting triggered. Like, I'm exposing myself to triggers to try to, you know, get used to them more.

Adeel [18:24]: Yeah. How's that working?

Ben [18:26]: Not super great.

Adeel [18:29]: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Exposure therapy is, um, some professionals, uh, I try to do that or try to, um, get, try to get people used to the sounds. Um, there's different names for these things, but, uh, Yeah, it's definitely not something that a lot of people gravitate towards. So it's interesting to hear that you voluntarily want to try. And intuitively, it kind of makes sense. It's like, well, I'm annoyed by certain sounds, or I have a strong emotion towards certain sounds. Maybe I can get used to it. Yeah. But yeah, I mean, I think more information is coming out where it's a lot deeper than just sounds that you need to get used to, basically. So interesting. So did you try it for a while? Kind of where are you in that process? Are you still giving it a shot, tweaking things or giving up, trying other things?

Ben [19:38]: Yeah. I'm still sort of doing it. I'll like I'll give myself a break now and then I'll eat in my room or I'll put headphones on. Yeah But yeah, I'm not Doing as much exposure as I was before But you know, I'm still trying to make Make strides, I guess. Yeah you know if anything it's at least you know sort of a placebo effect for me like I know I or at least I believe it should be working. So my mentality is sort of like the longer I do this exposure therapy, probably maybe the better my misophonia will get.

Adeel [20:23]: And are you just throwing yourself into the sounds? Are you doing something around that, like meditation or just any kind of other mindfulness? Or is it, let me just, it's kind of like holding your breath. Let me just get to the sound and see how long it can last and then try to come up with a personal best tomorrow.

Ben [20:44]: Yeah, it's like raving the storm.

Adeel [20:47]: Right. Cool. Oh, interesting. Okay. Is there anything else that you've kind of read about that you want to also try out?

Ben [20:58]: I haven't done much research recently, but

Adeel [21:07]: uh yeah exposure therapy is like the main thing i'm focusing on right now well the podcast will definitely if you listen to more episodes of the podcast it'll definitely this should give you a lot of ideas of things of things to try a lot of people um you know go to like therapy talk therapy uh cbt uh cbt or cbd like cognitive behavioral therapy Um, yeah, there's, there's talk of kind of, uh, dealing with past unprocessed memories. Um, there's a bunch of acronyms that are being thrown around that are relatively new, but, uh, people definitely swear by them. Like the tapping method, EMDR, uh, sequentially patterning. Um, yeah, there's a number of things, although a lot of them do require, um, paying for a therapist basically but yeah interesting yeah I'd love to stay in touch and see how your journey is going how have your how's the rest of you I'm actually curious kind of where's your sister in all this like how does she treat you in relation to the misophonia it's interesting she's I'm the oldest of three siblings and

Ben [22:26]: You know, I think my sister and my brother, they understand that I'm being, like, put off by the noises they make. And they, like, you know, they're empathetic when I need to use headphones and things, but it's not, like, it's not, they're not noticing corrections they could make because, I don't know, I guess it's because I'm not pointing them out. because I don't want to feel like a burden and that's a completely separate issue.

Adeel [23:00]: Well, I don't know if it's completely separate, but it's, uh, because a lot of us do, do grow up with that kind of, uh, with the shame and guilt. And so it's, it tends to actually be quite wrapped up into it. I mean, obviously it's not, it's not, uh, related to the response of misophonia, but it's, it's, uh, definitely a very common second order effect. Yeah. Uh, which doesn't make things better because I think, I think what it does is just adds to the stress. And I don't know if you've noticed, but like stress definitely makes you more susceptible. Oh yeah, definitely. So that's one thing. Um, yeah. Interesting. So your, your siblings have kind of a similar response as your friends at school.

Ben [23:46]: Yeah. And your parents.

Adeel [23:48]: Yeah. Sorry, go ahead.

Ben [23:49]: Oh yeah. Um, now that I've like, you know, gotten a 504 form and things. like that uh i've talked more about it to my friends mainly uh a little bit to my family and now like people are starting to understand like they're under they're understanding misophonia more and they have more empathy towards me just that's really nice yeah yeah yeah have you been out there any of anyone else with misophonia i have yeah i'm in uh i do theater at my school And currently I'm in the melodrama. And there's another member in the cast who has both misophonia and Tourette's syndrome.

Adeel [24:38]: You know, this podcast was actually partly inspired by the Tourette's podcast. Oh, yeah. Yeah. It was a really great podcast. And so, yeah, that's really cool. You said you're part of a, did you say a melodrama?

Ben [24:56]: Yeah, melodrama is sort of like an ironically dramatic play.

Adeel [25:05]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know the definition of melodrama. I wasn't sure if it was the name of your group or just a class that you're taking. Is it a class on melodrama?

Ben [25:16]: I'm in a theater class. but it's the melodrama is like afterschool rehearsals.

Adeel [25:23]: Oh, okay. Oh, it's just kind of the term for it. I see. Okay. Yeah. I don't know if you're, um, have thought about expressing or just kind of getting your using, using art theater as an outlet, or is it just something that you like to do and you happen to have met another music film that way?

Ben [25:41]: Yeah. I mean, yeah, that is, I think that's a, uh, a big part of the reason I do theater. Um, and more recently actually, I, uh, I auditioned for my school's improv team. I got on, which is super exciting for me. Um, and that has been, that's been like my outlet for expressing, you know, trying to get through triggers in, uh, through, I don't know, I guess, absurdity and humor.

Adeel [26:12]: yeah so it's you you use improv as a way to just kind of like get the energy out or do you use any kind of techniques from improv to kind of like maybe get through a trigger uh sort of both actually i'll if i'm in a scene um an improv scene i'll i won't directly

Ben [26:36]: reference Misophonia. That would get old quick. You should do that one day.

Adeel [26:43]: Just turn every scene into Misophonia as fast as possible and see how quickly you're doing it. Go ahead, Tommy.

Ben [26:51]: Oh, sure. It's sort of like the way I feel about it is I'm sort of storing up all this this rage and like fear and pain and like energy that I get from my triggers and I let it all out through improv and there's I laugh really easily at things especially in improv scenes and there's like breathing techniques that I've learned from improv that I'll use during a trigger like what mainly it's focusing on the pace of your breaths, not specifically the breaths themselves, because sometimes that's a self-trigger. Right.

Adeel [27:40]: Do you get self-triggered?

Ben [27:42]: Oh, that's probably my main triggers, 70% of the time. Oh, dang.

Adeel [27:50]: That's unfortunate.

Ben [27:51]: Yeah.

Adeel [27:53]: Wow, okay. It's not unheard of. Yeah, sure. Is it an impediment to going to sleep at night, too?

Ben [28:02]: Um, I haven't really noticed, um, uh, that yet. I usually listen to music when I'm trying to sleep, so. Yeah. And suppose that blocks out most of my own stuff.

Adeel [28:16]: And is it specifically breathing or is it also the chewing and all that stuff?

Ben [28:20]: Yeah, it's mainly, uh, eating, drinking noises that I make. Yeah, yeah. Sometimes it's breathing, like you said, um, Sometimes it's even if I have the hiccups, it's a really strange one. If I have the hiccups, it'll start figuring me.

Adeel [28:38]: Yeah. Wow. So it's just general bendness.

Ben [28:42]: Yeah.

Adeel [28:43]: Yeah. Um, so, okay. Whoa. Sorry. You went on a little bit of tangent, which is all good. I like tangents, but, uh, we, we were getting back to, Oh yeah. Okay. You were learning breathing techniques that were, you would be able to maybe transfer back and forth. Um, How... Okay, yeah, so you're focusing on your breath, some techniques that you got from improv, you pulled into triggers. Yeah, I've heard definitely trying to slow down your breathing can slow down, can calm your nervous system, which is important, obviously, for many things, not just misophonia. I'm curious, the breathing techniques in improv, how is it used in improv? Because I just assume improv is just very fast-paced and you don't have time to... You know, think about your breathing. I'm curious how breathing techniques are used in improv.

Ben [29:34]: Yeah, I'd say it's 50 percent like if you're on the sidelines trying not to laugh. And then the rest of the time is if you're in a scene and you need to, you know, appear to the audience in a specific way. it doesn't exactly help if you burst out laughing um it sort of stops the scene which isn't necessarily a bad thing but yeah not preferable i guess yeah so most of the breathing techniques and improv are just you know trying to stay focused on the scene and yeah uh yeah very cool okay so you get all your kind of you're all in this funny rage so tell me about that like uh

Adeel [30:20]: Does it mean, like, you're just angry in a lot of scenes? Or how do you, or do you consciously, is it, is it possible to describe how you get your misophonia energy out in improv?

Ben [30:32]: Uh, sure. It's not, like, um, when I'm triggered, of course, I still feel very strongly. Um, you know, I'll have, like, sort of a flare-up of emotions, I guess you might call it. But afterwards, instead of, like, letting the you know usually it's my emotion that i feel is anger instead of using the anger as like oh i got triggered so much today all i can think about is being mad instead of uh acting like that i'll you know i'll start breathing doing breathing techniques and things like that and i'll just sort of you know calm myself a bit and um you know if later during During improv rehearsal, I feel a bit stressed or I feel like I have that... I don't know what you'd call it, like residual trigger energy.

Adeel [31:29]: Yeah, a lot of us, it's hard for us to forget about a trigger, like, you know, a real strong trigger.

Ben [31:37]: Yeah. I guess I'll sort of pour the energy into a scene. I won't act like if I'm feeling... I won't act angry in the scene, but I'll let the anger guide me into making better improvisational choices, if that makes sense.

Adeel [31:55]: Yeah, or stronger, like more emotional choices. You get to become maybe a little bit, like you let yourself be less inhibited, even more than improv normal, like just be more absurd. yeah fascinating okay yeah that's really interesting okay do you do any kind of writing as well I mean obviously improv is improv but do you write any kind of theater stuff not really like I'm not you know I have English class and I enjoy that but I don't really I don't keep a journal or anything that I write down

Ben [32:41]: like my triggers and how they feel. I probably should start doing that actually. Um, yeah.

Adeel [32:48]: Well, it could be worth something when you become a major, uh, the big, uh, big actor, a Shakespearean actor or something. Um, yeah. Interesting. Um, yeah, very cool. Okay. And, um, I guess, yeah, so you can, you have that. So tell me about that one friend in theater who has misophonia, like,

Ben [33:11]: did you did they already know that they had misophonia yeah i was um it was during introductions for the first rehearsal of uh of the melodrama and we were talking about uh having a it's called a muffin day where everyone brings muffins we all eat them and talk and rehearse at the same time and you guys are like no yeah um yeah so i sort of explained to the group that i have misophonia and she was like oh wait i know what that is i have that too so that was like you know sort of kindred spirit thing just yeah yeah that was really nice and uh were you able to help each other out you know to have each other's back uh in a sense yeah we haven't done much like uh we haven't talked about it with each other extensively but you know i think we both feel like if the other person was being triggered we would you know step in stop the triggers or like help them get through it somehow gotcha yeah very cool okay

Adeel [34:24]: Um, yeah, okay. Hey, what about online? Have you, uh, reached out to any, uh, communities online?

Ben [34:30]: Um, I'm part of a couple, like, uh, you know, people on Instagram that, like, Misophonia Memes is an Instagram account that I follow. Right. Yeah.

Adeel [34:44]: Yeah, Chloe, uh, Chloe runs that, and she was, she was on that episode, uh, a while back.

Ben [34:50]: Yeah, yeah. Um, I'm also... on uh on reddit there's a community called uh misophonia help i think or misophonia outreach and people you know voice their concerns about something misophonia related and other people respond to it so that's that's helpful too

Adeel [35:10]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah. So, I mean, any other, like, uh, any other therapies you're actually after, after exposure therapy, if it doesn't work out, do you have, I don't know, from all this stuff you've read, I don't know if I asked you this before, but is there anything else that you're kind of curious about?

Ben [35:28]: Um, I am curious about like, uh, you know, just therapy in general. Um, and then also, sound therapy with a professional would be interesting.

Adeel [35:41]: Yeah.

Ben [35:42]: Um, I don't know if I feel like I'm getting, you know, too overwhelmed on a day to day basis and what I'm doing isn't enough, then, you know, I think I'll start with, uh, you know, your generic level one therapy and then see like how I feel about that.

Adeel [36:03]: Going back, I mean, when, I don't know if it's maybe around the time, well, sometime around maybe the time your sister started triggering you, was there anything going on in your life, like family stress, death in the family or anything, moving around houses? Was there anything going on that, I don't know, could be construed as just kind of maybe a little bit stressful or difficult for someone your age?

Ben [36:33]: Um, not anything specific. I remember, I mean, I've moved, uh, multiple times for my dad's work. Um, and, but we hadn't moved recently and we were, um, we had settled in. Currently we were living in, in, uh, Boston, Massachusetts. Um, yeah, I don't remember exactly why I felt the way I did back then.

Adeel [37:00]: yeah interesting okay yeah a lot of people have uh yeah but a lot of people have yeah kind of chaos on the home or something something going on around that time but uh you actually chloe is another example of someone who can't really think of anything particularly trying or or stressful around that time so it's certainly not a universal thing uh but yeah i was just curious yeah totally Interesting. Okay. And, uh, and, and yeah, so I guess, what do you do? Uh, well, I mean, things, holidays are coming up. Uh, what do you tend to do on the holidays? And, you know, obviously your parents are very supportive, but, um, do you have big family meals around the holidays? And does your extended family know?

Ben [37:46]: Uh, I don't, most of my family is either in, uh, Iowa or Minnesota. So we don't really have like family gatherings.

Adeel [37:57]: Yeah.

Ben [37:58]: Um, you know, occasionally my grandparents will come over, uh, for the holidays or something. And, uh, usually I'll just try to sit out of meals more, like usually as much as I can. Um, yeah, it's interesting to see this year how, um, how different it'll be since my, uh, my misophonia has gotten, uh, sort of exponentially worse.

Adeel [38:27]: Yep. It'll be, it'll be an interesting test. Yeah. But, um, but usually if there's a lot of people around, yeah, I can suck if you're being triggered, but there's usually like a lot of background noise and, or, you know, if you have to step out, it's less noticeable because there's so many other people around. So, um, yeah.

Ben [38:47]: Actually, uh, speaking of my grandparents, there's, uh, one little thing I wanted to talk about.

Adeel [38:54]: Yeah.

Ben [38:55]: Um, my, my grandpa, my dad's dad was drafted into the Vietnam war into the Navy. And as a result of that, he has PTSD now. And, uh, I went over to Iowa, uh, into their house this summer, and we were talking about the 4th of July and he gets, um, I guess sort of emotionally triggered in a similar way that, uh, misos do like by fireworks. Like the noise just brings back, um, you know, whatever he experienced, terrible things. Um, and you know, I feel like I really resonate with what he was saying. And actually recently I was, um, as at my school's homecoming football game.

Adeel [39:45]: Yeah.

Ben [39:45]: And every time they, they scored a touchdown they would light a firework off and now I don't know if it's just a coincidence or it's some subconscious mental thing that's now I don't know influencing my miso in some way but fireworks are now a trigger for me and Actually, it's sort of interesting. They'll give me like sort of muscle spasms or tics, you might call them, where it's sort of similar to Tourette's, I guess. It's not the same, but when I get triggered by specific things, I just have like uncontrollable little bursts of movement, which is strange.

Adeel [40:40]: Do they continue? Is it kind of a little spasm that continues after the trigger is long gone? Or is it just a single one when you hear the firework?

Ben [40:54]: Mainly, it's just a big single tick. But now, actually, even more recently, I've started doing ticks when I'm triggered by... specific people eating and those like spasms will it's sort of like a ripple effect like the first one is one big tick and then maybe a couple minutes later i'll have like a residual uh yeah take something like that yeah and uh and this all started around after you kind of uh were talking to your grandpa yeah yeah yeah but the ptsd stuff um it did you tell him about misophonia i did yeah i was that's how we got into yeah um talking about his ptsd is i was explaining my strange behavior at uh you know breakfast table whatever and so yeah that's how we got into that conversation yeah yeah

Adeel [42:01]: what was his reaction to your, um, other than obviously telling him, telling you about, uh, the PTSD stuff, was he sympathetic? It sounds like he was.

Ben [42:12]: Yeah. Um, I think just like, uh, I don't know exactly how he felt, uh, but I, it may have been like, you know, um, Not sure what the specific word is. Empathy, sympathy.

Adeel [42:28]: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ben [42:29]: He knows that I'm feeling the same things that he feels, so he can... you know, he understands how, yeah, yeah.

Adeel [42:37]: Yeah. And what do you, um, well, you're, you're still young, you're like a sophomore. Um, what do you, have you thought about the future, you know, um, as a misophone in terms of what you want to do for work? Um, what do you want to be when you grow up? Um, can you kind of,

Ben [43:04]: Yeah. Until there's a cure. That would be nice. I don't know. I'm sort of right now I'm gravitating towards you know working in a cabinetry shop or something woodworking related because I have through working in my job I've developed all these woodworking skills and I take a woodworking shop class in my school. Actually, I have two periods for woodworking. One for a grade and then one that I use as time to prep for my job. So I do lots of woodworking. I really love it. And the machinery actually drowns out any sounds that other people make or even I make. So it's like therapeutic in a way.

Adeel [44:02]: Sounds like it. Yeah, that's great. Cool. Well, yeah, I mean, sounds like you have a talent for that and a potential path towards something that will be, you know, accommodating for your condition, for our condition. Oh, that sounds cool. Yeah, well, we're heading to around 45 minutes. I'm curious, do you have any other things you want to mention, things you've learned, things you're curious about?

Ben [44:38]: Oh, I guess something that I've learned in the past couple months is it's easy to take triggers as you know, as they happen as this melodramatic moment. Like, it's very easy to feel like the trigger's the only thing that exists in the world at the time, and what you feel is all anyone should feel when they hear this sound. And I've been sort of experimenting with, like, different thought processes when I'm triggered. I'll try to, you know, focus on the future instead of the present.

Adeel [45:23]: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I kind of mention that sometimes. It's kind of like, think about it in terms of like, whatever you're doing right now has a finite time. And, you know, you'll be... like especially meal time like you know last whatever 20 minutes and then you will be doing something else in the future and so sometimes it's enough to kind of like just calm that uh that part of your brain that's that's going crazy trying to look for danger yeah that's it i mean what you're talking about i think is uh uh yeah you're trying to be more aware or change your thought processes very much kind of like mindfulness and even CBT. Um, it's trying to break, um, or less unproductive thought patterns that could put you in that rut. Yeah. Very cool. Um, Ben, yeah, I mean, this has been great to always get to have a young person on and it's great to hear that young people, um, now are aware of it, long before the rest of us knew what it was when we were you know, in our thirties, forties, sometimes even later. Um, yeah, I wish you the, wish you the best. Um, and just know it, uh, your triggers might proliferate, but it overall, it does get better because as you get older, you can find more outlets like theater, but, um, you know, as you leave the house and whatnot, you have more control and agency over your environment where you live and things like that. So, um, so yeah, it does get better. But, yeah, thanks for coming on, Ben. This is amazing. Yeah, of course. Thank you again, Ben. Really great talking to you. I'm glad you're at least are able to start trying to work through your miso at an early age. And I think you'll be able to cope a lot better than many of us when we were younger. 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 at hello at or go to the website, Easiest way is probably just to leave a message on Instagram. Support the show by visiting The music is always inspired by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [48:27]: you