Lauren - Graphic designer finds solace in shared understanding.

S6 E17 - 12/14/2022
In this episode, Adeel speaks with Lauren, a freelance graphic designer from Florida. For Lauren, this conversation marks her first time speaking with someone who truly understands misophonia, offering her an unprecedented opportunity to share her challenges. Growing up, misophonia created a divide between Lauren and her parents and presented difficulties in her relationships, being intentionally triggered by friends and partners alike. Despite these hardships, Lauren reflects on the support she found in anxiety medication, which, though not a cure, provided her some relief from the daily onslaught of triggers. The conversation takes a deeper dive as Lauren shares a dark period in her youth where the desperation to escape her triggers drove her to a dangerous act of self-harm. This episode provides not only a space for Lauren to share her journey but also acts as a beacon of hope for listeners, emphasizing the importance of finding one's voice, understanding, and the reassurance that it does get better with increased independence and control over one's surroundings.


Adeel [0:00]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 6, Episode 17. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week, I talked to Lauren, a freelance graphic designer in Florida. This is Lauren's first conversation with someone who understands misophonia, which is always a special occasion. We talk about the wedge that was caused growing up between herself and her parents, relationships, having friends and partners to trigger her on purpose, the effects of anxiety medication on misophonia, and looking back at how misophonia put her in some really dark places growing up. As always, let me know what you think. You can reach me by email at hello at or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. And if you haven't already, leave a quick review or rating wherever you listen to the show. It helps drive this up in the algorithms. And thanks for our ongoing support from Patreon supporters. You can contribute there by going to slash misophoniapodcast. All right, let's get to my conversation with Lauren. Lauren, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Lauren [1:13]: Thank you for having me.

Adeel [1:15]: Of course. So, you know, I usually ask the usual question, kind of whereabouts are you located?

Lauren [1:23]: I'm in Ocala. It's Florida. So I grew up in Miami, Florida, and now I'm in Ocala.

Adeel [1:28]: Gotcha. Okay. How's it weather-wise over there these days? You probably get that asked all the time.

Lauren [1:34]: um normally not too bad we we just had a hurricane and it right right no as we everyone's heard about that i was wondering if you how far away from that you were yeah we were uh we got pretty lucky we were supposed to be like directly hit and then it kind of turned a little and kind of missed us just a little bit so we only got some rain and wind it wasn't too bad okay good good good all right um yeah well i guess uh well and then kind of what do you do around there for for a living or or school i'm not even sure um i'm a designer right now i'm freelancing um so i'm really just like my own boss if you will right now um yeah that's what i'm doing just freelancing for design i'm a graphic designer

Adeel [2:21]: Yeah. Were you always freelancing or were you ever working in a company, in an office and, you know, all that noise stuff?

Lauren [2:28]: Oh, yeah. I just spent the last two years in a studio actually working with just a few people, but enough that I'm definitely enjoying working on my own, I would say.

Adeel [2:41]: Did you venture out because you're like, I can't take this anymore or...?

Lauren [2:46]: Well, it actually kind of worked in my favor. I was let go with like 12 other people for budget cut purposes. But yes, the noises were definitely getting to me. It was like a chill environment. So it was like anybody can eat anytime they want.

Adeel [3:05]: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lauren [3:06]: Yeah. So it wasn't my favorite.

Adeel [3:09]: to say the least right yeah okay okay and uh so it sounds like you know the usual kind of triggers the whole mouth eating kind of stuff yeah for sure yeah um well i guess yeah then maybe let's rewind all the way back to kind of like as far as back as you can remember like what was it like growing up um very difficult and um

Lauren [3:38]: I mean, honestly, it's really been a really dark and lonely experience for me, as I'm sure others can relate. Yeah, I'm a twin. And growing up, it was kind of like I was the one with the issues, if you will. Yeah.

Adeel [4:00]: So you were being shamed, I would imagine, maybe because I'm assuming your twin does not have misophonia.

Lauren [4:07]: Yeah, I was kind of just like the weirder one, I guess. Like it was just like, oh, she has this thing, you know, and it always kind of made me distance myself from like the family and everything.

Adeel [4:22]: Oh, yeah.

Lauren [4:24]: Yeah.

Adeel [4:24]: So how did it, do you remember kind of around when it started and what the circumstances were?

Lauren [4:31]: Yeah, I... I remember I was definitely young enough because I was sitting on my mom's lap when I first discovered that I had this. I don't remember much. I just remember I was sitting on her lap and my ear was close to her mouth and I could just hear everything. And I was like, what is that? And yeah, I'd say probably for everyone else, probably like... 10 yeah yeah so maybe younger maybe like eight i don't know but yeah do you remember anything unusual around the house or in your life that that happened around that time that maybe you've caused extra stress or anything unusual uh well my parents did go through like a divorce around that time so that was definitely a stressful time yeah and how did your uh you and your twin get along around that time um pretty well i was gonna say pretty well but i mean um we get along now a lot um i think we fought a little during you know back then um sure yeah but it wasn't too bad it wasn't really anything like miso related yeah right over yeah

Adeel [5:51]: right well yeah well um well maybe i mean after the the um the time you remember with your mom but did things start to just progress did you just keep noticing sounds after that that uh that day yeah it really just went downhill after that um

Lauren [6:11]: I like just could not shake it after that. I was like, I, I hear everything. And it was the hardest part for me was I didn't like know it at the time or put it together or anything, but like, you know, my mom is like a marijuana user and that's just like, you know, whatever. But I don't know. I'm sure others like people know what I'm talking about. Like people who like smoke marijuana, they get like dry mouth, you know?

Adeel [6:39]: Yeah. Yeah.

Lauren [6:40]: And I didn't know how to explain what I was like feeling. But it's like I vividly remember getting this anxiety like every single night because my mom would come into my room and I kind of like lay down like in my bed, like, you know, kiss me goodnight, whatever. And that's like supposed to be this like nice moment. But I would just turn into this like. little like asshole if you will and I would just be like and all I could say was you're making the noise that was all I would say I just kept saying you're making the noise and I would like freak out and like push her off of me like and I just didn't know what this was or like how to even explain it and all I could say was you're making the noise and she was like what noise and I was just like I don't know it was so frustrating because I just couldn't I didn't I had no idea

Adeel [7:27]: but how did uh yeah i mean how did that progress like how did she react like it couldn't have been the same thing every night at some point she must have either tried to be accepting or maybe got bad but you know you know started to get mad and shame shaming you like how did that how did people react to that um

Lauren [7:50]: I think I've actually kind of blocked a lot of it out by now. I just know that it forced a wedge between me and my mom, especially in those moments. I think she just kind of learned to distance herself. She just didn't even allow herself to get too close because it was like, what is wrong with my kid? I get close to her and she freaks out. yeah i mean it closed physically but also maybe close emotionally as well yeah definitely because she just couldn't even understand and it wasn't her fault like i i couldn't even explain it at the time how was your oh was your dad around at that time as well yeah he he was um and both of my parents are you know like a bunch of the other um podcasts that i listen to for the other ones like my parents are definitely my biggest triggers for sure um yeah we're here we know we know about that yeah unfortunately um how did your dad um react

Adeel [9:03]: to you. I'm assuming you had similar reactions there.

Lauren [9:06]: Yeah, he... My dad's kind of like... He'll, like, make jokes out of uncomfortable situations, you know? That's just how he, like, copes with things, I guess. And I'm not gonna, you know, go as far to say, like, and even to this day, but he doesn't, like, make fun of misophonia, you know? But he... He'll just be like, like there was this like dinosaur show on at the time and it was called like Mesopotamia. And like, and like to this day, he'll literally be like, lore, Mesopotamia. And like, try to like make jokes out of it. And he's like, do you still have that thing? Do you, that, that Mesopotamia thing? You still have that? And he like, he just like jokes about it.

Adeel [9:50]: Yeah.

Lauren [9:51]: And you know, which is like not my favorite.

Adeel [9:56]: Yeah, we seem to be the whipping boy of mental health conditions.

Lauren [10:01]: Yeah, right?

Adeel [10:03]: It's just trivialized and diminished and shrugged off. Interesting. Okay. And those aren't even funny jokes, I have to say. I know, right? Humour is a good coping mechanism. I was like, oof. Maybe some respect, it was kind of funny. No offence, Dad, if you're listening, but... we we do like humor but you know maybe i bet you could probably work on it anyways um okay so yeah okay interesting so what about your sister in this mix then how was she she must have observed you um you know her twin um you guys are probably similar in many ways but this thing obviously must have been like way out there how was she reacting

Lauren [10:49]: So she, I will say my sister was and has been like the most understanding and respectful about it. Even though she, especially growing up when I didn't even know what was going on, she really had no idea. But I think she almost felt like protective over it because like I would be like dying, just like... you know, losing it, like, at the table. Like, and she would just, she could tell. And, um... that being said though i think that's it's definitely something i regret because like telling her so much about it to try to make her understand because it it's almost like she has it now because she looks out for it so much and and she's told that to me before she's expressed it she's like i feel like everyone bothers me now and it's not just like bothers but To a certain extent, I think she looks out for things that would bother me as a way to protect me when we're together. And then she gets really aggravated by everybody eating and the movies and stuff. She'll get so mad. Everyone's eating around us. Can you believe that? And normally she wouldn't even notice.

Adeel [12:09]: Did that start to happen just recently in the last few years, months?

Lauren [12:16]: I think it was a long time. A really long time. And I think it made her almost like... resent our parents in a way because like my mom would be like you know just so obviously like just have like the driest mouth and she'd be talking to us and then I would like look at my sister like see like you hear it and she's like yeah I do hear it like oh my god and so I think it built this like I think I just honestly like I just feel like I drove wedges between everybody because of this I don't know

Adeel [12:54]: It's interesting about your sister because misophonia is sometimes thought of as... an overactive i'm making up my own words here but kind of an overactive defense mechanism trying to protect you from a phantom danger or something that may have happened like a whether something something specific that happened or some chronic stress um that happened early on in your life where you weren't fully under supported emotionally so it's interesting that I mean it kind of intuitively might make sense where now your sister is taking on that role of protecting you and maybe she is now being overly sensitive to sounds of maybe full on picking up misophonia yeah So, actually, maybe, yeah, let me talk about kind of the, because, yeah, as you probably know, a common theme that shows up is the distance and wedging between, you know, the misophone and other family members, obviously with the parents. Like, did they ever express their frustration with you? Did they ever, like... um, show it in ways, I don't know, like staying, well, you said that he's staying away with you at night, but like, um, how did, but how did you, how did you, how did they express it? And how did that make you feel? Cause you know, a lot of us also have that kind of guilt that kind of builds up. Um, it was that part of your experience growing up?

Lauren [14:28]: Oh, yeah, definitely. Definitely. I felt guilty at all times.

Adeel [14:33]: Because we don't want this, you know, just to be clear, right? I mean, we don't want misophonia. We're not choosing to, I mean, there, you know, people growing up, we obviously, even people without misophonia will try to, you know, be... sometimes assholes with their parents, but this is a whole other thing. We don't want this. Right.

Lauren [14:52]: I didn't ask for this.

Adeel [14:54]: Yeah. Yeah. This is like a whole other level. So, um, yeah. So how did, um, I don't, did they ever express that, uh, um, that they were upset, you know, that, that, that this was, did they ever notice that this was causing a wedge or did it just going to happen naturally? Something you noticed?

Lauren [15:15]: Um, Well, it was, I think, like a natural, like steady progression of like a wedge. I do think, well, there were times when individually they both expressed how it made them feel. Specifically, I remember my mom was like getting dressed or something for her birthday party and she was like really stressed. And I walked in the bathroom and I said something like to ask her something and she was like chewing gum like it was nobody's business. And she was like talking to me and I just, you know, I was like, I can't, I'm not focusing on anything you're saying. And I would just was like, can you please spit the gum out? Like I, I need, I'm talking to you. And she just like snipped at me and was like, this is my room. It's my birthday. I can chew gum if I want. Like, that's your problem. And. and she was like and i was like well i can't talk to you like if you're gonna chew gum like that and she was like then don't talk to me then i guess you're gonna have to deal with that and i was like okay um that's one memory i specifically have with her and then my dad um something I think about almost every day. It rings around my head. He, he like sat me down one day and he was like, Lauren, you have this thing, but the world doesn't owe you anything. And he was like, nobody owes you anything. People are allowed to chew. People are allowed to make noise and they're not gonna feel bad about it. And you can't make them feel bad about it. Like, this is just something you're going to have to. pretty much deal with on your own for the rest of your life and really nobody has to help you with this nobody has to accommodate to you and he was like just remember that like nobody owes you anything because of this and i was like okay and that really stuck with me um so yeah i mean which reminds you another thing like we we get all that we know that uh we know that we you know the problem lies with us uh in most cases obviously if somebody's going to be

Adeel [17:15]: obnoxiously uh making noises um that's one thing but uh um yeah it's it's funny that people think that we are um i don't know being too aggravated like we choose to be or aggravated by like, I don't know, slightly askew manners, but this is something that's within us that we can't really control. And it sends us to like, you know, on a scale of one to 10, it sends us to a hundred. So it's, yeah, it's like, we know that other people are, the world is not going to revolve around us. That's the funny part. Did, what about at school and whatnot? Did things start to trigger you at school?

Lauren [18:02]: Yes. Um, I can say confidently, I think this just made school so much worse for me in every single way. Like I, you know, I even will go as far to say, I think my, my grades suffered because of this. Like I could never pay attention. You know, I, I just, I couldn't, I just couldn't do it. Like I just ripped my hair out every day and I,

Adeel [18:31]: Did you try to wear earplugs or anything?

Lauren [18:35]: Yeah. Eventually, in high school, I want to say it was like 11th grade, I finally had a psychology teacher. And I was like, listen. And that's actually when I found out. I think it was like... maybe 10th grade of high school i found out that this was finally a there was a term for it and like it was an actual condition and all that and so i told my psychology teacher about it and i like i remember i had like a whole printout about it and i was like if you don't believe me look this is real and like i showed her a whole like packet about it and um so i was like you know is it okay if i just wear these headphones you know they they're noise canceling i'm not even gonna be listening to music and she let me she was the only i asked another teacher and she said no and i was like okay but and you gave that teacher the same packet of information Yeah, and she was like, no, I cannot have you listening to headphones. And I was like, well, I won't be listening to music. But she basically was like, if I let you wear headphones, when's it going to stop? Everyone else is going to want to wear headphones. But I was like, okay, well, it's not the same, but all right.

Adeel [19:44]: Yeah.

Lauren [19:45]: Yeah.

Adeel [19:46]: Classic.

Lauren [19:47]: Yes. Awful. And I, I remember I, there was this one kid, Jake, who sat next to me and he was just like, you know, he was just the worst, like the worst.

Adeel [19:59]: Jake's are usually the worst.

Lauren [20:01]: The worst. Yeah. And, um, yeah. And I finally got the courage and, um, because he would, it was like every day, every day. It was like his routine. He was like right after lunch, he would take the gum out. offer to everybody like that was just his thing and he put like three pieces of gum in his mouth at once and i was just like i want to die and so i finally like i wrote him this little note and i was like hey jake like i have this like you can look it up but basically like i just spilled my guts out to this guy on a post that he's getting a love letter or something Yeah, I like passed it over and then I watched him read it and I was like really embarrassed. And then he just turned around, like said nothing. And I was like, okay, we'll see what happens, I guess. And he didn't say anything. And then the next day he came in, looked at me like dead in the eyes and was like, who wants gum? And just literally like tormented me every single day after that and did it on purpose.

Adeel [21:05]: Yeah, I don't know what to say there.

Lauren [21:07]: Yeah.

Adeel [21:07]: Other than Jake. I know. It's a Jake move. It's a very Jake move. Very. Sorry that happened. Okay. And wow, it's only one teacher. Did anyone, did you share it with any of your, like your friends? And was anyone protective or accepting of you?

Lauren [21:27]: I really didn't tell a lot of people. I was... really ashamed of it and i yeah yeah and i just i you know it was hard to like i was like hanging out with everyone all the time and then so all of a sudden just be like okay so i have this i know what what's going on now and just i don't know i didn't want to like drop this bomb on them or change anything so yeah i didn't really tell like really anybody did it ever kind of affect who you maybe would hang out with or what events you would go to yes 100 it was really difficult like my best friend at the time was she chewed terrible and i actually worse than jake or better than jake honestly i want to say like the same level and like go figure best friend and it just killed me i was like every time i hang out with you it's like worse and worse um so you just kind of like avoid eating situations like oh i already ate lunch sorry like i'll catch you later like that type of thing yeah did you eventually tell her like later on i did i did i had to i sat her down i was like listen like if we're gonna continue this friendship i need to be honest with you and i told her and she was actually understanding um is that to say it really changed anything? No, it really didn't. Um, that's been my current struggle actually. It's like you, you finally, you know, find it in yourself to tell them and be vulnerable and their understanding about it. And it's actually pretty cool. But then they like forget and it's like, do I have to remind you every single time we eat? Like, I don't even know how to go about that, you know?

Adeel [23:10]: yeah that unfortunately that won't necessarily change and you know at some point hopefully you don't but at some point people get kind of get jaded and then we stop telling people because it's just like is it really worth it calculation it's uh because yeah i mean it sucks to like yeah be vulnerable and then have that let down that kind of high and then low that relief and then well it's not actually going to change after this um i thought again going back to you know the comedy dad but it's not like we're expecting the entire world to change we're expect we're we're expecting i think like be taken as seriously as other conditions so because i think that just knowing that the other person is aware can reduce our the perceived threat level that our brain seems to be assigning to these noises yes exactly yes how about um okay so let's see you are we kind of into kind of college years now like you you got out of high school you you know yeah You know, you made it through the Jakes and everybody else. Did you go to college? How did that, did your choice of career path kind of be affected by Miss Funny?

Lauren [24:31]: I did go to college. I studied illustration for four years. The same problems and challenges, it just followed me there. And I'd love to say it was better or I had a better way of managing it, but I really didn't. It was just, yeah, it was pretty bad.

Adeel [24:53]: Did you ever see a professional at any point? I should ask like a therapist, psychologist about misophonia or actually anything else. And you don't have to tell me about if you had diagnosed for other stuff. But we're always just kind of curious, you know, if you tried to see anybody and or if you tried to see somebody for somebody else, did they even know about misophonia? Yeah.

Lauren [25:18]: yeah um so i never really saw any specialists you know exactly about misophonia but i was going to a therapist a few months ago and i actually mentioned it to her because like a lot of scenarios i was explaining i would just be like and i was so mad at my mom and like i just felt like she wasn't fully getting the whole story you know so i was like So I kind of was like, OK, so backtracking. And honestly, I was like backtracking the last few months. I need to tell you, like I've I have this that kind of affects like my day to day and my relationships. And she was like, oh, wow, like this kind of changes a lot of things. And she had never heard of it. She was interested. I don't know if she necessarily was on board with me, but she tried. okay okay she tried in the end but that's it you haven't really have you has she brought it up since then or no no and i'm actually not even going to therapy anymore for just other reasons but um she actually kind of made like light of the situation actually and kind of was like I don't know, kind of making jokes about it too.

Adeel [26:28]: Oh no. Are they better than your dad's jokes at least?

Lauren [26:30]: I mean, honestly, anything's better.

Adeel [26:34]: Mesopotamia. I'm going to, I will remember that one. Okay. So then, okay. So actually that gets this kind of relatively. So what about in like, so we talk about friends, like relationships that, how did.

Lauren [26:49]: has affected that aspect of your life like your personal life oh yeah it's affected relationships especially because you know like example I was dating this one guy And I'm not going to say I broke up with him because of his chewing, but it was maybe a good 85%. You could say that.

Adeel [27:11]: Yeah.

Lauren [27:12]: I mean, eventually I was like, I just can't. I can't handle it. Like, if I have to listen to this, like, every day, like, I'm going to go insane. And I tried, you know.

Adeel [27:22]: Did you mention it or did you just internalize it and then hightailed it out of there?

Lauren [27:29]: Oh, I mentioned it more than a good handful of times. You know, I was really trying. And with him, I actually sat him down with the documentary Quiet, Please. And I was like, please watch this. Oh, yeah. I thought that would help. And I was like, listen, like, this is real. I need you to watch this. And we did. And he kind of, I remember he was like, this is kind of dumb. I was like, okay. Oh, no. yeah so whatever but um it definitely has affected relationships i remember i had one partner um i specifically remember i was actually in high school and um i had just found out what it was and he was like eating spaghetti and it was the worst and so i was like listen i just found out about this and you're killing me and he like got in my face and did it on purpose and it was the first time that I or the only time actually that I reacted physically and like I slapped him like across the face and that was really bad

Adeel [28:36]: Yeah. Again, we don't want to do that, but I mean, when push comes to shove, that's understandable, especially when you're just learning about it. Yeah. Interesting. Okay. Yeah. Wow. So yeah, obviously it's like many of us, it's affected kind of every aspect of, of your life. Has it, I don't know, switching gears, but has it, your illustrator, has, has it seeped into your art at all? Like, is this something that you try to express creatively? uh yes and no i think really in a way only i would recognize um i can go back in my sketchbook specifically and that's actually kind of cooler that uh yeah it's something that uh makes it more personal i think and right right because i tell people i mean this is honestly i think creatively miss phony is a completely uncharted territory i think it's a totally untouched landscape so i'm always really interested in how people might be expressing it creatively yeah yeah um yeah in my sketchbook i can go and see all the pages that

Lauren [29:46]: are, like, dark. Like, you can just tell I was pushing on this pencil, like, really hard and all that. Those were the times that I was losing it with misophonia. I would just open my sketchbook and start drawing. Those are all the times I can, like, feel it when I look at the pages. Like, yeah.

Adeel [30:04]: So what would your... So obviously, like, many of us, you'd be triggered and, you know, it takes a while to come down from that... level of um uh stimulation uh what were some of your coping mechanisms i think we talked a little bit about maybe earplugs earbuds uh how how are you how are you getting over things um yeah i

Lauren [30:32]: I have not been... Other than slapping people. Besides slapping people, let me see.

Adeel [30:41]: Like breathing. The whole fight or flight thing. You probably leave a lot of situations behind.

Lauren [30:47]: Yeah, I leave a lot sometimes. I mean, recently I was just sitting at my mom's house eating dinner with her and it's new. I just literally like this month have started sitting at the table with her for the first time in like years because she's living alone. I'm not even living there anymore. And I just I can't sit on the couch. I can't bring myself to sit across the house from her. And she's like, it's okay, don't worry. But so I just started sitting at the table. But i sometimes like last week i just stood up so abruptly and just like walked away but yeah what's going on at this point i don't think so i don't i honestly don't know and we haven't addressed it either which might be even worse i don't know

Adeel [31:36]: It's worse, but it's common. I mean, well, it's not necessarily, I don't want to say whether it's worse or not, but it's, yeah, I totally get that. Do you try to put, like, I don't know, music in the background or some kind of white noise, brown noise?

Lauren [31:52]: yeah, we'll put the TV on like pretty loud in the back, which is like, you know, not even my favorite. I kind of hate it.

Adeel [31:59]: Cause you're like screaming over dinner.

Lauren [32:01]: Like what? But I mean, if it's just quiet, I, I don't think I could do it.

Adeel [32:08]: Yeah. Yeah.

Lauren [32:10]: Yeah.

Adeel [32:11]: No, I can almost hear that. Um, and yeah, like in the, uh, going out in the real world, like, do you, I don't know, like going shopping or whatever. Do you, um i don't know do you always like plot a way out of a situation do you kind of like check the aisles before you go in like how do you kind of like navigate through life day to day

Lauren [32:34]: Um, I really lately it, the last few years, really, it had, it doesn't even affect my day to day in ways that like walking down aisles or being at the grocery store, nothing's really bothering me. It's more like, cause I can like roam around freely, whatever. But I think it's like, you know, and especially I'm sure others can relate. It's like if I'm sitting in the movie theater and it's like, okay, I'm here for the next, you know?

Adeel [33:00]: Yeah. two hours now everyone's eating like i'm trapped and like i can't really keep getting up um yeah it feels like it's our brain yeah it's kind of our brain looking out for us you know some kind of a trying to protect us which is which is kind of Which I've realized is almost one reason why I think myself and a lot of us are trying to promote leading with self-compassion. Because for me, I feel like it's almost beautiful that this kind of damaged part of us is... It seems like a damaged part of us is trying to protect us from something that's not there. Maybe remembering something from the past, which is an interesting thing to think about. And it's getting some traction in therapies, I think. um wow i love that yeah so yeah so i don't know yeah i i find that if if a if um yeah like you like a lot of experience like yeah if we're sitting down in a theater and we can't get out it's somehow more stressful than if we're if we have an exit plan like an exit uh in sight um but also yet i mean i think trying to what i've been trying to do lately more often i always forget is just trying to before i enter a potential situation is just trying to remind my brain that you're you know thank you for trying to protect me everything's going to be okay i'm not going to get killed or strangled or or mold uh and that seems to help like just kind of prepping myself i don't know if that's something that uh has occurred to you or not it hasn't but i i would definitely like to shift my thinking a bit and i'm not a therapist but it's something i'm just kind of like shooting the shooting the shit about some stuff that i've yeah i don't know i've been trying i'll take it yeah

Lauren [34:57]: Yeah, I'll take it. I'll also say that I've been on all different anxiety meds the last few months or so.

Adeel [35:05]: Yeah, okay. So I was going to ask, like, yeah, if you'd kind of delved into any medications or any kind.

Lauren [35:11]: Yeah, I had to. I had to. I just, I felt like my heart was racing too much during the day. I was like, this just, this can't be healthy for me.

Adeel [35:22]: Was it being revved up, you think, primarily because of misophonia or was there other things causing anxiety?

Lauren [35:31]: I mean, there definitely were a ton of other factors for sure that, you know, just did not help my situation. But yeah, definitely the misophonia, it revs me up. Like, I feel like the pulse in my neck is just like, oh, it's so like I hear my heart beating. Like, I just feel like I'm going to pass out. And I'm like... so hot and tunnel vision it's it's terrible it's like it the only way i've tried to describe to people it's just like all of a sudden just picture like the most nervous and anxious and just all the worst feelings you've ever felt ever it's like all at once and you can't turn it off you can't do anything about it and it's just like instant and you just go from like

Adeel [36:27]: fine to all of a sudden you're like breaking down and you can't even explain like it's just it's terrible um you know because there's fight flight and then there's also like a freeze response do you just kind of like shut down because you're so your body's so overwhelmed

Lauren [36:45]: yes that's that's the worst for me i i freeze a lot like and especially i'll be like mid conversation with like my boyfriend especially or with anybody i'll just be like talking and then i'll i'll be like triggered and then all of a sudden i like i cannot engage in this conversation anymore you know but it doesn't have to be he doesn't even have to be the trigger it could be somebody around oh yeah yeah anything yeah

Adeel [37:12]: Did the therapist you were seeing about the anxiety, did they have any recommendations other than medicine, just like maybe breathing exercises at least or something to kind of like help in those really, really sharp moments?

Lauren [37:29]: Yeah, she did recommend some, like, meditation and then as well, like, also breathing exercises in the moment.

Adeel [37:37]: It's sometimes hard to remember. Yeah. Well, you can't exactly, like, start meditating.

Lauren [37:44]: Right. Like, okay, let me find myself.

Adeel [37:46]: You can breathe. I mean, that's good. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah space app and yeah, yeah Yeah, okay, and I know we go. So what is your your current partner?

Lauren [38:00]: I think of the situation I Will say and I told him this I he's been the most understanding out of all my partners probably combined He's still here.

Adeel [38:13]: That's that's the plus, right?

Lauren [38:16]: um he while I know he does not understand it at all, like, at all, but especially lately, like, current, he, like, does this thing where, like, he'll be eating, and then he just, like, he's not even eating anymore, and then he'll just, like, smack his lips together, like, after it's done, you know? And I think it's honestly more of a visual thing for me, um when i see him do it it's like a visual trigger and i just keep reminding him like can you please stop but he never gets mad or like frustrated or anything he just every time he's like oh i'm sorry or like oh i didn't realize and he doesn't really make me feel like guilty about it either which is

Adeel [39:04]: really saying yeah well yeah but i mean that's because that's kind of where we're at if you cannot make us feel ashamed like that is that's a plus that's kind of sad that that's that's kind of where we're at exactly but yeah that's that's i mean that's a positive um and you mentioned visual triggers i was going to ask like has this um expanded to other senses like visuals yeah definitely visual did that start around the same time with your with your mom uh being on your mom's lap or did that sound something that kind of evolved later i think it evolved yeah it definitely evolved yeah it wasn't always visual but yeah yeah anything under any other senses like a touch or or smell or anything just curious if like i've started to think recently that uh um misophonia is symptomatic of kind of wider sensory issues. And it just happens that hearing seems to be the hardest thing to hide from. You can always close your eyes. You can always, you know, not to touch something. But hearing seems, in many situations, is the hardest thing to get away from. So I'm just curious if there are other senses other than visuals even that you've noticed any odd sensitivities.

Lauren [40:22]: Um, yeah, I, you know, I don't know if this is related at all, but I'm very, um, particular, like my socks and I've always been this way since I was little, like this, you know, like the seams that like go over your toes. That's like, Something about it, like when I was little, I would literally like unravel my socks, like just rip holes in them. And I eventually had this huge like yarn ball of just all my socks that I tore apart. But and I still to this day, I have it like I wear my socks inside out. And if it's not on the right way, I have to take it off. And I can't stand if it touches my toe in the wrong way. And then sheets like bed sheets. It's to this day and it's always been like that. Like if they're like wrinkly under me, like loose, I will like jump out of the bed, like not even to be dramatic, but like I'll like start crying. Like, yeah, I don't know what that is, but so I'm definitely something's going on.

Adeel [41:26]: Did you ever therapist or anybody else mentioned maybe OCD of any sort or any kind of like other comorbid situation? That's obviously anxiety.

Lauren [41:36]: Um, no, only because I, I haven't even really mentioned any of this.

Adeel [41:42]: Okay. Yeah. The whole wrinkly bed sheet thing or socks. You just didn't, you haven't mentioned that. it doesn't happen that often so it's like why would you remember right necessarily yeah okay cool i mean any other like um you know as you're learning about stuff and you're probably listening to this show are there any kind of therapies or i don't know anything that sounds interesting coping mechanism that you want to explore or you're trying to learn more about um i want to learn more i'm

Lauren [42:12]: open to really anything at this point um i guess just really i've been trying to meditate and do yoga to like you know just focus on my breathing and breathing techniques that's yeah i mean if you can reduce our stress level it just it doesn't take misophonia away but it i think it make it could make it happen less often and i think it'll also uh

Adeel [42:38]: help us come down faster.

Lauren [42:40]: Yeah. Yeah.

Adeel [42:44]: Obviously, it doesn't doesn't help if, you know, it's hitting us like ten times an hour, but at some point our body will give up. But but yeah, definitely like deep breathing. I think breathing, you're exhaling longer than you inhale. Things like that can can definitely help.

Lauren [43:02]: Right. Yeah. I mean, all that's been great and I'm trying, I want to say the thing that's honestly just helped the most is anxiety meds. Like they, and they, especially this one it's take as needed. So really it's just like a little, yeah. And it's just like a little, it's not like anything crazy, but it just, she said it makes you not drowsy, but just kind of chills you out. And in the moment you just take one of those in five minutes, you're starting to feel better.

Adeel [43:35]: so really and so you can um i don't know if i necessarily want to mention uh drug names but it's it's one that you can just take as needed and just don't well i'm sure there's going to be some limit as to how many you should take in a day but right that's interesting yeah it's it's three a day so you know i i save it for three very special moments in the day where i'm like is it worth it is this worth one to three but yeah it's you know i'm not over here you know you know advocating for like meds or anything because it's just my experience but it's definitely helped me a lot gotcha okay okay um and has do you think it has helped um maybe more long term is it kind of giving you it's basically kind of like, it's hitting you the same every day. It's just that the medication is able to, I don't know if it's, is it having like a long-term effect? Like it's maybe, are you thinking you'll be slowly be able to wean yourself off of it or?

Lauren [44:39]: I hope so. I don't know if it's psychological or what, but I do think it's helping like overall and like in the, you know, long, like in the grand scheme of things, but yeah.

Adeel [44:51]: Gotcha. Okay. Okay.

Lauren [44:54]: um yeah interesting and do you have you met anyone else who has misophonia um actually i haven't physically met but it was random it was some girl i knew in college um i ended up telling her So I ended up telling her about it, and then she told me that her cousin had it. And, you know, I never met her or anything, but that was cool. I was like, oh, my God, I didn't know anyone else had it at all. So that was cool. And then one of my friends, her roommate in college had it as well, but I never met her. So I just, like, knew of people having it. But, I mean, this is the first time I'm even talking to somebody who knows what I'm talking about. So this is very cool.

Adeel [45:39]: This is your first, like, Miss Funny conversation with somebody else who has it. Okay, cool. Oh, yeah. No, yeah. It's always exciting to be on my end, too, to kind of, like, help somebody, like, verbalize it. And hopefully it helps. Yeah. Interesting. Well, yeah, I mean, we're getting to, I mean, getting to at least 45 minutes in. But yeah, I mean, anything else you want to share, I guess? You're definitely not the only one who has not really talked about it with another person. So anything you want to share about some of the learnings you've had or experiences you've had?

Lauren [46:19]: Um, I will say for anybody listening, cause I know I've been listening to a bunch of the episodes and they've been very reassuring for me. And, you know, I feel like I'm having a whole rollercoaster of emotions, just listening to this podcast and all different episodes. I've been crying and smiling, just everything. It's so relatable and refreshing, but I will say if anybody is struggling as bad as I was struggling at a certain point in my life, I, I've had so many even past thoughts of ending my life over this. It's been a very dark and lonely ride. I once took tweezers and jammed them so far in my ear. I was trying to just take my hearing out and I thought I did it.

Adeel [47:12]: wow so okay did it yeah really permanently damage your hearing at all do you think or yeah i i know i did something yeah yeah i do you remember what caused that what was happening that that made you um like what was the incident yeah how old were you um i want to say i was probably i know i was in high school

Lauren [47:36]: So I was like in my teens and maybe like 16 and all that was going on. We were literally just I was just eating dinner with my sister, my mom, my dad. That's it. We weren't even nothing super out of ordinary. Yeah. And all I remember is we were eating in silence because nobody wanted the TV on and it was unbearable.

Adeel [48:02]: Did you, did you bring the tweezers out at the table or did you go?

Lauren [48:06]: No. And nobody, I've never even talked about this with anybody like ever. And I just, I just remember I stood up from the table and like, I was really calm about it too. And I just walked into the bathroom and I just took the, I didn't even think about it. I just took the tweezers and I just jammed them. Like I'm telling you, the whole tweezer was like in my ear. And yeah. the pain was like oh my god i just remember i fell on the floor and it was just like ringing really loud in my ear it was bleeding yeah yeah

Adeel [48:35]: No, I mean, I can, I can, I can, I have not done that. I can, I can imagine. I mean, you said you got up calmly, but I think those are the times when our body is the most in pain because we're just, you're probably not even really in control. You just beelined it to the bathroom and did that.

Lauren [48:54]: Yeah. So that being said, I would just say that you know even in the worst moments like like you mentioned earlier like you're not gonna die you're gonna be okay i do like your perspective of it of like what you mentioned like our brains just trying to protect us i i really do like that that's nice um so i think just reminding yourself you know like kind of grounding yourself like it's okay as bad as it does seem

Adeel [49:25]: It does get better. People who listen to this podcast hear that you get more triggers, more things start to trigger you as you get older. But as you get older, you become more independent. You're not like you. You're not having dinner with your family every day now. You can kind of have a little bit more agency on your life. Yeah. choose a little bit how you work how you live so uh yeah that's that's that hopefully is very reassuring to people um that that freedom can definitely help yes definitely like you will be more in control you know you're not always going to be in the classroom setting so it's okay Yeah. And yeah, I mean, but I'm also hoping that, you know, the more awareness that gets out amongst misophones that we, you know, we can, you know, meet, you know, reach those high schoolers so they don't have to feel the way you did on some of those occasions.

Lauren [50:24]: Oh, yeah.

Adeel [50:26]: Yeah. Anything else? Any last words you want to share?

Lauren [50:30]: Not necessarily anything. I think I kind of got it all out here.

Adeel [50:34]: Yeah, that was great. How did that feel? It kind of flies by, doesn't it? Especially the first time you've talked about it.

Lauren [50:41]: Oh my God, this flew by. I was pretty nervous, you know. But this was great. And, you know, I really do hope that others can relate and that it helps somebody. Because I know this podcast has helped me like an insane amount. So... Yeah, that's really it.

Adeel [51:00]: Yeah, well, thanks for coming on, Lauren.

Lauren [51:02]: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.

Adeel [51:05]: Thank you again, Lauren. Thanks for sharing your story so openly. I know a lot of people living in silence will relate. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this show. You can hit me up by email at or go to the website, it's even easier to send me a message on Instagram. At Misophonia Podcast, follow there or Facebook. Twitter, we're Misophonia Show. Find and support the show by visiting slash misophonia podcast. Theme music is always by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [52:18]: Thank you.