S6 E18 - 12/31/2022

S6E18 - Brian, LCSW

Brian is a licensed, private practice therapist in New Jersey. We talk about the catastrophic effect miso can have on families, alexithymia, which is the difficulty of describing and expressing our emotions, tactile triggers, unwanted arousal, how the stress of miso might affect our bowel movements. It's a wide-ranging and eye-opening conversation. We even talk about one incident where he physically attacked a friend at school growing up. 

Brian's practice 


Disclaimer: These are machine-generated transcripts and so are not completely accurate. However they will be manually updated over time until they are.

[00:00:00] Adeel: Brian, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

[00:00:02] Brian: Hey, Adeel. How's it going? Nice to be here. Yeah.

[00:00:05] Adeel: So yeah you just, you've heard a lot of episodes. You wanna I always ask at the beginning, like where, whereabouts are you located? I'm

[00:00:12] Brian: located in Central New Jersey. Okay, sweet. Yeah,

[00:00:16] Adeel: I just had a couple you probably heard I had a couple New Jersey episodes, earlier this this fall. Yeah. Really interesting stuff going on. So yeah, so I guess, what do you do?

[00:00:24] Brian: I am a private practice therapist. I'm a licensed clinical social worker. And I started my private practice about three little over three years ago, just before the pandemic started.

[00:00:35] Adeel: Okay, gotcha. And you also have missed phone as well, right? Absolutely. Lifelong, yeah. Yeah, lifelong. Okay. Yeah, so I guess I've, yeah, I've had a couple yeah, as you've probably heard, I've had some therapist who also have Mrs. Poya, come on the show. And there's so many things we could talk about.

But I guess in these cases I've found that maybe just going chronological is best to cover everything. Sure. If that works for you. And we can yeah. We'll just start at the beginning. Lifelong. So how far back? Like, how when's, when did you first kind of notice?

[00:01:01] Brian: I kind of preface this usually by saying I don't remember a time that this wasn't a thing. I don't remember not having triggers. I don't remember a comfortable family meal. So with that being said I don't have a lot of clear memories, of a lot of my childhood. I, I have these little clear moments, these very crystal clear moments, but the, I can't remember swaths of time or spreads, but I would imagine that it started becoming an issue.

for the family, not just for me. Probably around the same time as most people, seven, eight, somewhere in that range. I actually remember a family vacation to the beach where it really stands out in my memory of childhood as being like, this was the first time that this became an issue. And I remember being identified as problematic.

Like by your family? Yeah. Like it was like, oh, Brian's temper, right? Yeah.

[00:02:00] Adeel: What, do you remember what happened? Was it being in the car or was it just like just being around the family? It

[00:02:05] Brian: might have just been a combination. What I remember most about that is that I would, my, my mom would take me for walks at night to chill and cool out. I'm not exactly sure where the triggers were. Again, like tho those memories are spotty. I do remember that , there was a popular Paula Abdul album at the time. That's again, like my relationship with sounds is very intimate and interesting. So I remember my life chronologically more based on what music was playing at the time.

, what was popular. So I, I remember that, I remember my mom taking me out for walks to cool off. I think it was after the

[00:02:40] Adeel: Triggers or was it just a

[00:02:41] Brian: general, I think at the end of the day, because I think probably at the end of the day we were in the hotel room, we were no longer going out and doing things, and probably my ability to distract or whatever from triggers during the day had waned.

. And probably I was tired and, but again, I can't really say particularly, I'd have to, I'd have to call my parents into that conversation and their memory might be spotty as well.

[00:03:06] Adeel: . Speaking of that, this might be jumping forward, but is calling your parents and talking about this stuff like a possibility?

Are you still clo, are you still close? But did this have an effect along time? Yeah,

[00:03:16] Brian: absolutely. So it's affected, it's affected my family relationships catastrophically, and I mean that from a sense of like intensity level. , I have good relationships with most of my family, but that is largely in part these days because I keep my distance, a lot. I actually, prior to scheduling disappointment, I had put it off for a very long time because I was nervous about the intimacy and the , personal nature of all of this and how these things can be perceived by people who don't have misophonia, my family, friends, et cetera. But I actually let them know, Hey, I, there's this podcast, they've I've mentioned it to them since simply because it's been so helpful to me to listen to episodes of this podcast.

But I did let them know Hey, I'm gonna do this show. I'm gonna talk about family, I'm gonna talk about you guys. It's not personal, it's about misophonia. And they were all supportive. They were excited about the idea of me doing it. And my father actually said would you ever want us to like, listen to this?

And I said, probably, yes. I think you would probably learn a couple things. It's really hard to talk about it. It's really hard for me to talk about it and make any sense and not get overwhelmed just by talking about it. And it's very hard for, I've noticed, I don't know if anybody else or you have this same experience, but it's very hard for people to hear about it.

It's very hard for people to not get overwhelmed, if the conversation is about, hey, like I have this thing and it affects me in these ways and always has, and, you are a part of what triggers that. I think, there's a lot of defensiveness on all sides of those conversations.

So I said, I look at it as an opportunity for me to reach an audience that, that I think needs to hear things like this. And I have benefited so much personally, but also for people in my life. Who I have not talked about it too much or have struggled to talk about it. I think it could be really eyeopening for them to hear me talk about it.


[00:05:17] Adeel: absolutely. And this is and to any of those people are who, any of those people you mentioned who are listening. This has come up in conversations on and off the podcast for me, especially recently. It's it's not about parent shaming or anything like, like that.

It's, it is very easy to get defensive, but we we it's hard to, it's hard to, it's hard to believe sometimes, but we actually, we really honestly don't blame the people who are causing, unless they do it on purpose. So that there, there are cases they haven't cases like that but I'm, we do try to assume best intent in a trigger.

Our brains go into weird places. Yes. But but outside of that it's, yeah. We, we understand. We're able to rationalize it. Yeah. But it is hard. We understand and we also understand that it is hard to see from the other point of view. And that obviously, like you said, makes it very difficult to absolutely.

To talk about. Because honestly, the, and the last thing I'll say is we generally, I do the podcast, but we generally don't want to talk about this phone outside. We just wanna get on with our lives. And so it's hard to find a good time to discuss it.

[00:06:13] Brian: Yeah. The, especially at this point in my life I have really built up my ability to separate the triggers from the people who trigger me from my feelings about them, from how I think about them.

That's a lot of layers of complexity, but I think most people who have Meson will understand what I'm talking about. Oh yeah. but it doesn't make it any easier a lot of the time to talk about it. And that's, the, when I was, as I started to think about this through a lens of trauma through my work and also just my studying professionally and personally in, therapy psychology, learning about trauma and the concept of alexathymia, which is like the inability to form words for feelings and thoughts when you are in a sort of fight, flight, freeze trauma response state.

Even though I want to talk about it with people it's always still very hard because it immediately comes overwhelming.

[00:07:11] Adeel: That's interesting. I hadn't heard that term, but I've been looking for something to describe, like why me, who, I talked to some people about ms. Who have MS in a moment.

I can't explain it. Yeah. Or I can't, or I'm trying to find words to make it not sound, crazy. There's a word for that. Yeah. Interesting. I thought, stop. Maybe I just need to . Yeah. Look it up more or just maybe write it down and stuff that

[00:07:33] Brian: It's tricky. It's tricky because you're not gonna find it in just the Google search, like nobody's gonna, maybe, maybe I should write an article or something, although that's not really my strong suit in terms of how I write.

I'm more of a sort of creative fictional writer when I write. But but I do think that, I made the connection for myself when I was reading The Body Keeps The Score which is I don't know if I can mention names of titles or whatever, but oh I've

[00:07:56] Adeel: mentioned of the podcast.

I love that book. I haven't finished it yet,

[00:07:59] Brian: but yeah, I'm currently in the middle of the Body Remembers, which is something that you brought up.

[00:08:03] Adeel: I've got that on my

[00:08:04] Brian: desk right now. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But when I heard Alexia and he explained it, I was like, Wow. This explains why I, it's not even like I can't talk about it.

Once I get to a place of feeling safe and, self-regulated I can talk about it, but in that moment of trying to talk about it, particularly if you're met with any sort of apathy or, perceived apathy, I don't mean that in anur sense, but, or defensiveness, God forbid, it's over.

It's done. My ability to form my emotions and thoughts into words is completely hijacked by my hyperactive, central nervous system. And there's a word for that, . And I think that's amazing. It was really helpful to me when I found that word to, to finally understand like, oh, it's not just me. It's this whole

[00:08:50] Adeel: concept.

Absolutely not. No, you're, you're describing something that we all have felt, but we just thought we were the only ones, or that there was something wrong with us, which is. Just piles on the, to the shame and guilt that we all feel. Okay. Wow. stuff that, that we'll double down into, but but maybe you just like rounding out kinda your childhood experience.

You, how, do you want to, I don't, do you want to get into you, you mentioned a little bit about I'm assuming like or maybe not small ty trauma. What, was there, were there things happening around your childhood that you feel were difficult

[00:09:19] Brian: as well?

That were not really? I really, in terms of looking at this through a trauma lens, I don't have any like traumatic events. , there was no abuse, there was nothing like that. So it was really difficult for me to conceive of it in this way. But once I started to read some literature and start to understand through, professionally in, in my grad school training About trauma and how it functions.

Really the thing that I look at as traumatic about my childhood is my experience of misophonia and it's and it's a cons. It was a constant presence. Like so many people that I've heard on here and have read about started with my, it started with my dad. My father is just one of these, and I think you've used this term before, but he's a dad.

Sounds he makes dad noises. Just, it's a constant thing. There's no being around him without knowing that he's there because he's making some sort of breathing mouth. Yes. All these kinds of things. And so I used to eat, this is the, maybe the best way for me to illustrate this for years.

I can't even tell you how long at the dinner table, cause we would eat as a family every night, the dinner table in the kitchen. My parents were, I don't know why we did it, I think just to have a distraction, but we had a TV that was right next to me on my right side. , would watch TV during, while we were eating dinner.

That might have evolved as a part of me being dysregulated during dinner. I'm not really sure, again, I don't remember exactly how that happened, but I would eat with my left hand, like shoved inside of my ear. As if I was like supporting my head with my hand, as if that was some sort of way to hide that.

I was desperately trying to stop the sound from my father who was sitting directly to my left , from getting in there and and I did that for, I, I can't even tell you how long until probably I stopped, until I probably started deciding I don't have to eat at the dinner table. I'm not gonna do that.

[00:11:16] Adeel: Yeah. , did your anybody notice your

[00:11:20] Brian: reaction? I can't imagine. I can't imagine that it wasn't noticed. It wasn't, it certainly wasn't discussed. Were there other

[00:11:26] Adeel: Yeah, sorry, ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. Were there other other than that, were there other, did you ever lash out or something,

[00:11:32] Brian: or, I'm certain that I did.

Yeah. There was probably a certain passive aggressive hostility or regression that I was just projecting because my whole entire body was, tense and in pain. Yeah. And looking for a way out. So yeah, I have to imagine that I was a par, a fair a significantly unpleasant person.

[00:11:52] Adeel: Did you run off after dinner or did you just Oh,

[00:11:55] Brian: out? Yeah, I would out little bit would shove. Yeah. I, as I remember it now, not always, obviously, but I, as I remember it, I would shove food in my face and get the heck outta there as quickly as I possibly could. And yeah, I, it had to be noticed at all times and, did appropriate this image of myself as oh Brian's just a, for lack of a better, like an a-hole, or Brian has an attitude, or Brian has a really bad temper.

Which, I still work through those internalized beliefs. But I've certainly gotten much better at understanding them, being aware of how they manifest in my life. Because I'm I don't really have, I'm probably one of the more down to earth people you'll meet outside of being triggered.

Which unfortunately is a constant thing.

[00:12:40] Adeel: It's a constant risk of turning into Mr. Hyde. Yeah.

[00:12:45] Brian: Yeah. Or the incredible Hulk. Yeah. And obviously . I think that, I have a lot of really strong ways of hiding that. And I never ever wanted to show it. But, thinking back on, on childhood, especially, like it was I can't imagine it wasn't abundantly cleared that something was going on.

[00:13:03] Adeel: Yeah. It's always interesting that, yeah, when we, most of us, when we're children, we have no idea what it is. There's obviously, it was no label, but somehow we managed to identify that this is not good. We need to hide it. Yes. That's interesting to me that we develop our coping mechanisms and whatnot.

There's other things that we can get at we, we get angry about, but for this one thing, I guess we're we other somehow knowing the back of our mind that we shouldn't be showing this, or it's internalized because we're told that it's some other problem or something that we have a bad temper or whatnot.

Did you have siblings around that time? I'm curious.

[00:13:35] Brian: Yeah. Yeah. I have an sister. Who's my best friend in the entire world. But again, she was on my right side, , so I was blocking my left side. And there was, there's, if there was anybody to block at the table, it was my father on my left.

Yeah. He just like very much I, how do I describe like that? You just eat very loudly. Yeah, it's, yeah. And clearing your throat and, taking an in breath and doing what I compare to, like in yoga they call an UJA breath, which is like breathing under your breath.

It's like that held exhale. I don't know how else to describe. I know exactly what I Yeah. I had a feeling You might, yeah. But yeah, so like I was shielding that with my left hand crammed into my ear in various different configurations. Yeah, but then that left my right side vulnerable and my sister eats with her mouth closed, but I hear everything happening in there.


[00:14:26] Adeel: Even with a TV on, right? Or?

[00:14:27] Brian: Oh, totally. Yeah. It was helpful. It was very helpful, thank God for that tv. But I still, I can't, I, it's very hard for me to, it's very hard for me to be around her a lot of the time as well. Even if we're just sitting around watching a movie, I can always hear her breathing and, cause once you start to develop triggers with somebody that you're constantly around, I have found that process doesn't, it doesn't just stop, it's a point of no return. Yeah. Yes, exactly. What about mom? Mom has mom. Mom actually has tmj. So mom's, what is that? . Sure. So it's it's like a, they it's incorrectly and commonly re referred to as lock jaw.

Oh, okay. But people who have it often their jaws knock while they're eating. it, and I would say that she's probably the last person that I developed triggers with, because she sat on the opposite side of the table, but I have just as many with her now and her, throat cleaning, breathing, things like that.

And again I I hesitate to talk about even triggers. But but yeah oh, you mean just

[00:15:28] Adeel: mentioning it? Yeah. I think enough people have mentioned them as long as you yeah. Making the,

[00:15:32] Brian: I know it's a feature of the show. So yeah. So her jaw like knocks and makes like a clicking or a thudding.

She also has like veneers on her teeth, so sometimes she like can make contact with silverware. But she also, has like issues with her throat. She had surgery on her neck, so she's regularly feeling the need to clear her throat. So there's all of these, my whole family.

It's just a,

[00:15:55] Adeel: I'm curious, did those, did that surgery and stuff happen? When did it happen later? Or? I'm curious if that happened maybe around the time where you started to develop triggers

[00:16:02] Brian: That happened later. That happened in college. Okay. But I, there were, there, there have always been like slowly developing Yeah.

Just these triggers.

[00:16:10] Adeel: And it looks, you mentioned, I think in your note earlier that the visual triggers are also a big part of your life Oh yeah. That they develop around the same time or as you know on,

[00:16:19] Brian: that's many. Yeah. That's hard for me to place because I, it took me long enough to become aware that ,, the auditory triggers were real and were a thing.

And even once I did like really become aware of them I didn't really accept them. I thought I was crazy. And I constantly worried about going crazier, so to speak, quote unquote. , ,. But so to really I didn't even know that they were a thing until much later, but I don't think that they were not affecting me.

I can't see any of this. It's as it's just as good as hearing it. And this is something that I think probably people in my life understand less because I've, for some reason it's easier to talk about the auditory stuff. And it's hard enough for people to understand and accept. So then if I, yeah, so then if I turn around and say oh yeah, and by the way I can see you across the room and it's the same thing.

Yeah. That's just like a bridge too far. You know what I mean? ,

[00:17:12] Adeel: We know . Yeah. Yeah. And we know that. Nobody else knows. Yeah.

[00:17:16] Brian: Yeah. The other thing is that I started to notice this when I was dating somebody for a long period of time. And obviously triggers developed over time in that relationship.

I started to notice that it's a tactile thing as well. , so Miso, esia is all about like various different kinds of movement. So if I can feel someone breathing, it's, again, it's just the same. It's not a different reaction at all. It's as if I'm hearing it, it's as if I'm seeing it.

I don't have to be able to hear it or see it. When I was in this relationship obviously I, in the beginning it was fine, but very quickly I started to wear earplugs. Yep. Which is something that I would like to go a little bit more in detail.

[00:17:55] Adeel: Yeah. We'll get,

[00:17:56] Brian: keep coping mechanisms for sure.

Yeah. But I started to notice that if if I'm like big spoon and I can feel the rise and fall of your breath, like I, I tense up. It's all the same, it's all the exact same responses. So that, cuddling is a limited proposition. For me. Like I crave that contact and that tenderness and all of that. But like at the same time, there's a hard limit to it most of the time because eventually it becomes triggering. Yeah.

[00:18:24] Adeel: No, that's interesting. And I, and this is something I've I'll just jump in with my kind of interpretations, and I've mentioned this on some episode, recent episodes that I maybe had not been yeah.

Broadcast yet, but but it just got me thinking that I think like sound is like the hardest, it's almost the hardest sense to hide away from, because it's you can close your eyes, right? You can not put something in your mouth to taste it or you can not touch something.

But it's almost like if misophonia is a canary to a larger your brain trying to warn you of danger. , it's, it seems to make sense to me that being extra sensitive to sound first would come first. Sure. And then the visuals and then touching.

So I feel maybe in the fu future we'll find that this misophonia. Is it, I think it'll be like, I think we're seeing signs that it is far greater than just

[00:19:07] Brian: a second. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Abso absolutely. It, the, it's so interesting because I think of it as. Just when I describe it to people, I don't start by saying, I have this thing called misophonia.

I start by saying I have this sensory sensitivity thing. Because for me, it, I'm not just sensitive to all those things too. I'm very sensitive to everything about my environment. So as I

[00:19:30] Adeel: started the HSP kind of stuff, or you think,

[00:19:32] Brian: or Yeah. Oh, ab yeah. Ab Oh, absolutely. I've al since I started learning more and highly sensitive

[00:19:38] Adeel: person, for those who don't know, but yes.

Continue, right? Yes,

[00:19:41] Brian: exactly. So I can smell things that people don't smell around us. Like I hear everything. So that there's no limit to that. The pe the guy who idols his car outside of my, outside of the wall of my bedroom for two hours every night, that is triggering to me.

I feel it. I feel him out there. , , but, smells the lighting in a space.

[00:20:06] Adeel: Are you one of those? Sorry. I don't know if you heard there, there's a friend of mine came on and he's I can tell, like I, my friends know that I can tell if a TV is on in somebody's house cuz it's got that high pitch sound.

I was like, so I thought I was the only

[00:20:18] Brian: one . Yeah. So I don't, I actually don't have that and I okay. I believe that there is a, there's a genetic component to that feature. I had a, there was a woman in a class of mine in college who could always hear it and would ask the professor to turn off the tv.

And I remember thinking even back then thank God I can't hear that because it's bad enough, yeah. But but one thing that I can perceive is the very fast flicker of l e D. Most people don't even realize that l e d lights have this, like almost impaction push you on a dimmer.

Yeah. Yes. So I've noticed recently in driving, which I don't do too much of anymore cuz I work from home that I constantly think that there's an emergency vehicle behind me and then I go and look and I realize, oh no, it's just these obnoxious l e d lights. Yeah. Because the, I don't see the peripheral, the, I don't see the flicker direct when I'm looking straight on, but in my periphery, like there is this it's very much pulsating.


[00:21:20] Adeel: no it's definitely a flicker. And I've actually yeah, because I'm an engineer, I've actually programmed a lot of those , so I know exactly how those work and I've seen 'em go wrong, which is even more annoying. But but yeah, we, we spend a lot of time trying to smooth that out, but yeah.

[00:21:32] Brian: Yeah, it makes me dizzy. Like when people have Christmas lights that are LEDs, it makes me dizzy.

[00:21:37] Adeel: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. No, these are just excellent. Going back to then maybe how about like around school and friends as you were growing up? Yeah.

[00:21:45] Brian: Again, these are things that I don't really remember.

Like I, I don't know how I got through some of these times. I don't know how I got through living with roommates in college for the first two years. , year three and four. I had my own room in an on-campus apartment. But the first two years I slept in a room with somebody.

And the first year in particular, that person like would talk to himself in his sleep. And I don't honestly don't know how I got through some of that because back then we didn't really have ear buds. We had those, like over ear, little, like big foam, big foams, foam spoons over the ear that you would put over your ears and obviously I kept them by my bedside at all time.

I do think that there has been an intensification over the years and maybe even particularly within the last 10 years of all of this for me. Which is gonna go back to the year plug conversation. But I think that there is a, I think that this can, and for a lot of people, as I've heard on the show and just in general, looking into the community and hearing stories, it does seem like a lot of people do experience an intensification over the years.

Gradual, continuous Absolutely. Some people, absolutely. Some people seem to have the opposite experience, but I do think there are a lot of people who have mirrored my own experience, which is this just keeps getting more and more layered and intense. Yeah. And I

[00:23:08] Adeel: think, your experience of not it not noticing it so much, or not remembering it so much around those college years, at least, the years when we are basically like first out of our house and away from our initial most becomes triggers.

There seems to be a, I don't wanna say a lull or a

[00:23:23] Brian: that's a really good point. It was like finally, thank God I'm out of that. Yeah. And that, that's still, that still holds true, whenever I get like a respite from a certain environment, it's like nothing can hurt me right now.

[00:23:36] Adeel: Yeah. Yeah. superman or, yeah. Yeah, no, that's what was I gonna say? Yeah, that's, yeah, that's very much the case and then yeah, since I guess the mid, at least for me, yeah, the mid two thousands it started to just intensifies, I got into the workforce and started to work in open offices or ha have to have, lunch with your coworkers and whatnot.

. But okay. So yeah, you had friends, they, who knows what they noticed cuz you, you , who knows weren't really weren't really noticing it. Although do you, are you still friends with some of these people from that, that Oh yeah.

[00:24:04] Brian: I have a lot of, I have a lot of, yeah.

I have a lot of friends from all different, at box Yeah. Of my life. Exactly. And it's interesting I can think of one in instance where something that my best friend in high school was doing was just irritating me to no end. And we were at like a sort of, I think it was like a New Year's Eve, like sleepover with like mixed company and, but everybody was scattered around and my one friend just kept doing this one thing that was triggering me.

Now I know, I didn't know then. I had no idea. I was just filled with rage. And I actually this was maybe the one time that I got like legitimately physical and I attacked him. Yeah. And was like, stop doing that, or I'm going to do something more than this. I threatened him.

Yeah. And I'm like, just remembering this as we're talking. So yeah, there were those incidences, which is why when I look back on it and I'm like, how did that guy meaning me? How did that guy get through these experiences? Like, how did I function in a classroom being triggered? And I know that I was, I just don't have again, this is how like trauma functions that like, we remember things with a stunning clarity, but then other things, it's gone.

Like I have no access to it. I don't not, I, again, I'm not really sure how I got through some of these times, but I did. Yeah.

[00:25:26] Adeel: During these times, did you, were you ever, and you don't have to get in specifics, but were you ever diagnosed or anything, any comorbidities? Did you get misdiagnosed? Were anything maybe you had been.

[00:25:35] Brian: What? No, I I, I think I had significant adhd, like I couldn't sit and do anything ever. I think part of that, especially like when we're talk I'm very musical, but I'm not very good at playing musical instruments. My voice is my main instrument and I try my hardest to get better at other instruments.

I took piano lessons for eight years, but I never, ever practiced part of that. I think just adhd part of that, I think also, like I had to sit in the living room and be triggered. I also, there's interesting dynamic of not, having such an intense reaction to hearing other people and not wanting to hear other people gave me this strong aversion to being heard, if that makes any sense.

Like I. even now I don't like to practice where people can hear me. I don't, there's this weird thing about being heard. And I think that comes from just childhood of not wanting to hear other people. So I never wanted to be doing the thing that I didn't want other people to do.

So I have a lot of kind of like internalized patterns and thoughts and feelings and beliefs around being heard, if that makes any sense.

[00:26:50] Adeel: Dude, you're blowing my mind. You just described something that I've never heard anyone else describe . This is . This is I don't know how many episodes of this podcast, but Wow.

Yes. I, yeah. I just thought, yeah, that's, I don't know. I don't know to say because Yeah I understand there are situations when even when I try to practice again , like I don't really want to play it out loud cuz I just don't want the atten. I just thought it was just, I don't want the attention on me.

Yeah. Or I don't want to. Disturb what other people are doing. Sometimes I will, but I'm always thinking in the back of my mind, is this too loud or is this totally people gonna comment on? I don't even want people to say, oh, that's nice. Is this weird? I just wanna be in my own bubble.

[00:27:26] Brian: Yes. Yeah. Cuz my mom would always walk by and say oh, that sounds so nice. And I'd be like don't say anything . Oh God, don't what? Don't acknowledge me here. Pretend like I'm not here. Yeah.

[00:27:36] Adeel: Yeah. I just assumed there was something completely, it might be something completely unrelated, but I feel like maybe we have some,

[00:27:41] Brian: I, yeah.

I had imagined that there's multi, that's a multi-faceted thing and a multi-layered thing. But I also, it's hard for me at this point to separate it from the idea of I didn't want to be the thing that I was so bothered and disturbed. And in pain because of, and I still don't, so I'm very careful.

I, I. I, I eat with my mouth closed. I am aware of the volume of my breath. I, I'm constantly making efforts Yeah. To not be heard. And I don't think that ends at, bodily sounds. I think that the way that, especially when we're younger, the way that we think about these things, of course it's gonna extend into just being heard, playing instrument.

Talking, all these things. So it, it's interesting the way that, that affects everything.

[00:28:28] Adeel: Yeah. All right. Let's talk about this, cause I know, I think you're gonna blow my mind probably on many things, , so I just wanna get to as many times as possible. So then you decided to be, so did you decide to become a therapist kind of right away?

I'm curious how that decision was made, or was that made during college? Yeah. Talk about career stuff. I was

[00:28:46] Brian: real directionless, , I still feel fairly direction. I have directions. I just don't know where I'm going. Gil

[00:28:53] Adeel: I, again, you're mirroring my Sure. My midlife crisis

[00:28:57] Brian: kind of situation right now.

Exactly. Yeah. And I'm like I'm on the I'm on the threshold of 40. I'm gonna turn 40 Yeah. Next year. That is what it is. But but yeah, so I was directionless. I I gra I got an English degree in college because reading and writing was the only thing that I thought I was ever good at.

I didn't, I, I was very practical about my creative pursuits and I just was like, I'm never gonna be able to make that into anything, lucrative or successful financially about. Yeah. Which I look back and think, why did I, like, why did I bet against myself so much, but. And I think it, I, again, like everything else, I think it's all intertwined in how I viewed myself and all of these things.

But, so I graduated with an English degree. I had no idea what to do with it. I was working with like the county recycling, riding on trucks, and, picking up barrels and dumping them into the truck. I wore earplugs on that job every single day because you're basically breaking glass directly in your face.

So that, yeah, that was a whole it's a big choice. Yeah. Necessity of wearing earplugs, which was an interesting experience that whole time. So I just stated that job through the beginning of the fall and it started to get very rainy and very cold, and I'm very sensitive to cold and all of that.

Obviously, h s. And a friend of mine just came up and said, Hey, like I work for, this nonprofit. We have this position that is like a mentor. You'd be a mentor for teenage adolescent boys working with them and their families. And I was like, yeah, sign me up for that.

That sounds great. And I always had an idea that maybe I could be a therapist or that, I had a knack for talking to people and empathizing and understanding even if I didn't understand, but being able to take that perspective. So that experience of being a mentor and working with these kids and their families really did solidify like, oh I, not only do I like this, but like I'm actually very good at it.

And I could maybe make this into something of a career. And that was 10, that was 10 years ago. I decided to probably 10 or 12 years ago, I decided to apply for grad school. And now, 10, 10 years after I graduated. I'm a privately practicing therapist.

[00:31:04] Adeel: Nice. Okay.

Okay. And when you were when you were starting out, were you dealing with just any kind of cases? Were you, did you notice, hone in, actually maybe we should talk about like, when did you, when did it, when did you find out that Misson was a thing? That it had a name?

[00:31:18] Brian: So that happened in grad school.

I had started to talk to, talk about it just a little bit here and there, wherever I felt safe. But that was a very small pool. And one of those people was a very good friend of mine in grad school who is still a very good friend of mine if she ever listens to this thank you so much, Mary . But she took an interest.

She got interested in what I was talking about and curious about it. And she went and did a little bit of homework and she came to me and she said I found, I figured it out. I figured out what this is and there's a name for it. And what she said was Hyperacusis. And so I, I immediately was like, oh my God, what?

And I went and looked and I started reading and immediately I was like, okay I see why you identified this. Like this is very, there are some attributes of this that make sense to me. Yeah. There's some overlap, but it is absolutely not on the nose. Yeah. But I took that cue and I went to the bottom of the page, the resources, and I started just clicking around.

So there's tinnitus or tinnitus? There's , hyperacusis. There was another one that was, again, there was some features, but it didn't quite do it. And then I got to misophonia. I just clicked a link to something and even just the name I was like let's see, what is this?

And as soon as I started reading what they said it just started hitting every single box. And the box that was hit that really tipped me off that I was like, whoa, this is it. There's no way that this could be, like, this could not be what I experienced, because I have never told anybody in my entire life about this was the presence of unwanted sexual arousal as the, as it is phrased, if you look it up yeah. So

[00:33:02] Adeel: you mentioned this in your notes this, yeah, this hasn't come up that often in the sh in the show, but it's a thing, so I wanna Yeah, I wanna hear more about

[00:33:08] Brian: that. Yeah. Yeah. It's just I guess I, I had never mentioned it, right? I had never opened my mouth and phrased that into a thing, but and I don't even know that I had ever really thought about it explicitly for myself, but I certainly knew that it was a thing this idea that even when I'm feeling like totally triggered and totally unsafe and awful, and sometimes there was this aspect of why am, why is there blood flow happening?

Like, why , what is that? . , where is that coming from? Or there was this like these weird sensations that would come along with it. Again, unwanted. These were not I wasn't like, Ooh, this feels nice. That didn't come along until I discovered as S M R , which again, like there's a lot of like wire crossing and signal crossing in misophonia that I don't necessarily hear a ton of people talking too much about. But I think it's really it's really it's a really vast phenomenon. But yeah so when I read that, I was just like, wow, not only am I not crazy, but other people have the most like shameful, embarrassing aspect of this shameful and embarrassing experience that I have.

And enough

[00:34:15] Adeel: people that it's being written about. Yeah. When you're following a link.

[00:34:17] Brian: Yeah. And this was like 10, 11, 12 years ago. If we're still in the fledgling stages now, when I learned that there was a word. Yes, there was nothing. There was like a, there was like two resources online, you know about it.

[00:34:31] Adeel: it was called a selective sound sensitivity center for a while. Yes. As yes. Like even exactly for the New York Times article, but yeah.

[00:34:38] Brian: So yeah. So you've

[00:34:39] Adeel: founded out how to name? . Okay. Yeah. So Mary thank you Mary again. Yes. Helped you identify it right then what happened for a lot of us, obviously you went down, I'm sure you went down the Google Rabbit hole.

Yes, absolutely.

[00:34:49] Brian: She just, she gave me she gave me some hope that I then took and ran with it and really figured it out quite quickly. I think it was, we were sitting in the student center where we would have lunch and she said, Hey, I, I think this might be it. And then I think within the next hour I was, we were still sitting there and I was like, that wasn't it, but here it is.

Oh, .

[00:35:07] Adeel: Not it, but yeah. Okay. Gotcha. Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. Isn't it amazing how quickly you can do it? You don't have to go to the Alexandria Library in Egypt. Something to like find information anymore.

[00:35:17] Brian: Yes. Yes. Thank

[00:35:18] Adeel: goodness. So then what, then so at this point you were still in grad school.

Okay. So did it change how did you get more tools? Did change how you looked at misophonia, how it looked at yourself?

[00:35:28] Brian: It immediately started changing how I looked at the experience of it. , it immediately started changing how I thought about myself.

Obviously these are lifelong ongoing processes. There will never come a day, and this is something that I talk to my clients about, regardless of what they're dealing with. There's not likely to come a day that you don't deal with this stuff anymore, like whatever this stuff is. Because that's the way our brains are.

There's no on and off switch. And we wanna think that knowing something, whether it's a childhood trauma or the source of a point of pain in our life, we wanna think that knowing that and understanding it is gonna free us from it. But it does, I'm constantly telling my clients like, you can have a really cathartic session and you can leave here thinking, man I can't believe I finally realized this.

I can't believe I finally remembered this. And you can feel amazing and then you're gonna go back to your life and you're gonna do all the same crap that you've always done. Because it's all about maintaining your awareness of these things and continually choosing the way that you interact, react, respond, et cetera.

I don't really, I'm sorry, I lost my train of thought in the middle of saying no. Saying no, that's fine. But yeah, it, but it did immediately start changing ev everything really, because finally I wasn't alone. And also finally, I wasn't crazy. This wasn't, I still was not thinking about it as like mental illness.

There was still, I was still like, yeah, but doesn't this sound like a mental illness? But I really immediately started to prepare that relationship that, that had me in the back of my mind, just like quietly fearing that I was one day gonna lose control. , if that makes sense.

That really started to repair almost immediately.

[00:37:17] Adeel: Yeah. Yeah. I think it maybe it put what you were experiencing in the context of it, for, it's just good to know that it's. The other people have it and they have all gone in, completely over the edge. Yes, exactly. People are living with it.

People are finding tools Yes. To use, to work with it. Exactly. But yeah, actually maybe maybe we should just go back, so the, to that one, one topic that doesn't come up that often, I don't want it sexual arousals did, you saw that written down, but have were you able to learn anything about it?

Have you I, yeah. I don't know what you found out there just for other people listening that might be experiencing stuff like that.

[00:37:47] Brian: Not really. And again, like I. I did try to look it up a little bit just today. I had all these lofty plans of doing some real research to back some of this stuff up, but the best laid plans.

Yeah. I haven't really done a ton of research into it. I don't know that it has been really research very much the the research focus on misophonia seems to have a very narrow focus. I, it's expanding like that motor study, the Kumar study. Yeah. The Kumar study.

Just man, oh man. So much gratitude for that happening because I think it starts to break those walls a little bit. That this is a multi-system, multi-layered, multi-faceted thing. But, my experience of it was just in random situations. Especially in like adolescents, young adulthood At school boys we're constantly nervous that like we're gonna suddenly oh yeah.

Be aroused, have something we can't hide, like when it's time to get up and get off the bus, or, at the very end of class when the bell goes off. And what I know now is that sometimes I would be triggered by a sound and my response wouldn't be anger or, such like a sort of tense but rather this again, why am I experiencing blood flow? Like, where's coming from? And I, and it's only the,

[00:38:53] Adeel: like you said, the only, the physical side sound like you're, you probably don't even notice that your body is doing that cuz you're not. You're not arou you don't actually psychologically aroused or anything.

It's just Yeah,

[00:39:02] Brian: absolutely. It's just, it was just like my body is, and I did read something today that did say that it could be linked to like hormonal systems. But I didn't really have a lot of time to read too much into that. That there could be some link between, that myelinated part of our brain, which is definitely in the sort of deeper brain.

So it would make sense that it might be connected to all sorts of systems in our

[00:39:26] Adeel: body. There was, yeah. There was some one, somebody came on and she said that it, she swears it's connected to her hormones cuz she's now, I think menopausal and it's just is Right this funny as weak havoc and it did back in the day and Right.

I just, how, at least I zero studies

[00:39:40] Brian: on this. I remember what you're talking about. I was listening to that and I was totally keyed in cuz I was like, yeah, of course. Of course. This makes sense, right? , this is, we're talking about all these sort of primitive survival parts of our brain, and the effects of these things are not, they can't even, they can hardly be measured most of the time.

The. And again I've always had stomach problems. I've always had not again, I guess I'm just bringing this up now. But I've had intense kind of gastrointestinal issues my entire life.

[00:40:06] Adeel: How cuz I have too, but you, now you're blowing my mind again because it's I've had situations where, I've had difficulty controlling my real talk difficulty controlling my bowel bowels, like late, like early in childhood, but later than you would expect, right? Just put it that way. Oh no, of course. But if you think about it, and I just thought maybe I'm lactose andoid or something,

[00:40:22] Brian: but, and that may be the case.

Yeah. And in my mind and I don't wanna sound conspiratorial here, but like that could be down to the fact that most of us started with our triggers at the family dinner table. Now that's not a global thing, but it does seem to be incredibly common. And, what's the first thing to go when.

When you're feeling under threat, when your survival system is aroused, the first thing to go is digestion. , all of that resource is pooled into your extremities so that you can fight, flee, or freeze up to make yourself safe. And this kid sitting here at dinner with his left hand buried into his eardrum he's not digesting really great.

, he's also forced feeding food into his face so that he can run away from the table really quick, right? That's not, that's, that, that is not helping that whole situation. Now obviously now I have some skills and I understand the central nervous system. I understand sympathetic and first parasympathetic, and I understand proprioception and all these things that can help us to self-regulate a dysregulated nervous system, but,

Back then I was dysregulated for hours, days, maybe years. Like I was, I just, I look at myself and I think I was constantly dysregulated.

[00:41:45] Adeel: Yeah. And I got, when I learned about the vagus nerve valves, that thought, oh, brain connect has a connection from your brain to your gut. And that's probably has something to do with Oh yeah.

Maybe my digestion stuff, but I haven't really dug too deep into it. Let's talk about, yeah, we're getting, oh man, we're I know back for part 2, 3, 4, but we'd love to do a miniseries here, but but I do have to get something to get to something. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Not too distant future, but I would l do you wanna maybe talk a little bit about Yeah.

Your take on the nervous system and maybe how you and May, because I also wanna maybe talk about y what you maybe tell your clients. Maybe we can I dunno, combine those together. Yeah. In some way to get your thoughts there before we start to wind down. Yeah,

[00:42:23] Brian: so I've always I've always wanted to have my practice be like legitimately helpful to people.

I want my clients to have a place where they can openly talk about whatever they need to talk about, but I don't want them to leave with just having talked about it. So I've always looked into and studied and sought out expertise and knowledge about the body, the central nervous system, all of these things.

And so that's always been a part of what I've practiced, is to have awareness not only of your thoughts and feelings emotionally, but when I talk about practicing awareness of feelings, I always split it. That's a two-parter. That's your emotions, whatever sort of emotional experience you're having, but also what is going on in your body.

And because we, in, in this society, we create this line. Between like our neck and I would even say our just our head, our skull, and the rest of our body. , as if they're two different things. When in fact they're not separated at all. They are one in the same. They're not just connected, they are the same thing.

And so I always wanted to give people not only cognitive skills, but also like physical senseen, sensory and body-based things to help them get through stress, difficult moments. The sense of overwhelm. And I think my experience of meson and how physical it is has always informed that just this past I think it was in January or February, I was able to take Dr.

Bro's. First course that she offered for adults for the regulate reason, reassure protocol. , which like I recommend very highly to everybody out there, read up on it, seek her out take the course if you can, if you have the resources. Sh it was, it took all these things that I had done with my clients for so long and gave me like a brand new lexicon of ways to describe it in language to use, which is so important in what I do to have the right ways to describe this to all different kinds of people.

But also it gave me like a new practical sense of how to use it. For instance, like I'm sitting here talking to you with my weighted blanket folded on my lap just because , just because it helps me to feel that what we call deep pressure which is proprioceptive thing, proprioceptive feedback stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system.

This is getting into a little bit of jargon and details. But all of that is a good thing. It helps us to self-regulate. It reassures our central nervous system that we are in fact safe. And that helps us to do the cognitive work that we can't do when we're protecting. Your survival mode.

[00:45:08] Adeel: Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah, I'm gonna add Dr. Brad's definitely a legend. I'm actually gonna be talking to her again for her the second time on the show.

[00:45:14] Brian: She'll be, I forward to that very much. Yeah. Yeah. She's a treasurer .

[00:45:18] Adeel: No, that's great. Okay. Yeah, the nervous, honestly, that's something that, it's in the last year I've been learning more about.

And I definitely, there's definitely I think definitely a key there when you're and then, yeah, these are all the good things to, to work in. Are there any like when clients come to you you can do all this work on basically, are these the kinds of tips that you tell 'em to do when they're out in the world?

Is there a separation between calm your nervous system down and maybe. in dealing with a trigger in the moment? Do you have tips for like how to deal with something as it's happening? That's another

[00:45:48] Brian: question that comes up. Yeah. I think my thing is I can sit and rattle off these techniques.

My, my memory of things is not fantastic. So I as soon as I've learned something, it's flown out. Like I, I keep kernels of it, but listing off different techniques is not, yeah. It's not my strength. But I also encourage, sorry, excuse me. I also encourage people that it's individualized.

So like what works for my central nervous system and what makes and resonates for me, what makes sense for me? Is not necessarily gonna be the same as anybody else. And it's important that I. The things that do work for me and that other people do as well. So I will give people as many techniques as I possibly can with the hope that the message that I'm conveying is there are as many ways to do these things as there are, thoughts in your head, grains of sand on the beach, et cetera.

And I think it's important to have big things that you can do that take time and energy and maybe privacy to some extent. But I think there are also really important that you have little things that you can do that nobody will notice. , because I have to when we're out, like I was just at a family dinner with my cousins and my, the cousins group is a little less triggering than everybody else.

but it's still it's not triggering. This was also at an indoor restaurant, which I don't do. I'm not comfortable. But it was, it was for my family. It was not about me. It was something that I, it was important to me that I go so I'm trying to regulate my sort of pandemic anxiety about being in an indoor space.

Yeah. I'm trying to navigate my overstimulation of being in that environment, which I haven't really, I don't really go into those environments anymore. And part of it is not, it's not just covid anxiety, it's also, this is over, this is so much more overstimulating now than it was two and a half years ago.

Because I was used to it back then, and, I, now it's like I, the first like 20 minutes I was really just staring at the menu and I'm sure anyone who was there is gonna be like, oh yeah, you were doing that for a reason. And it's . Yeah, because, I could just like have a single point of focus as I allowed my mind and my body to integrate all of these sounds.

Not to mention there were some triggering sounds because the bread was already on the table. My, yeah. People who trigger me were already doing these things, so I did, I, we do have to find things that we can do, even when we can't walk away. Walking away is always really wonderful way of helping yourself and giving yourself an opportunity to self-regulate so that you can come back, but we don't always have that luxury.

And even when we come back, sometimes we're right back in the, the thick of it, the danger of it. So it's important for me to be able to have those things, and it's important for me to convey to my clients, again, regardless of what their they're presenting difficulties or problems or issues are that.

we've gotta have a whole host of things that we can use all of the time. Not just when we have the time to draw a warm bath, because that probably is the best thing, right? Or whatever it is that big thing that, the weighted blanket that you can't bring to the restaurant with you, like hassle. Yeah, that's what

[00:49:02] Adeel: I was gonna get getting at. I was like imagining you, yeah, I'm sure that's great even here in my office. But but yeah, you're right. I think it's gotta be an array of different tools that that we need to, that we need to use in different situations.

Sometimes it's popping in those noise canceling headphones. But other times at home we can do things to and maybe part of it is before we go into that restaurant yeah. Cause I, I went to a restaurant last night too, and I was like, I'm still surprised at how how trapped I feel because it's part of, it's also like I, I try to go to those restaurants where you order ahead, where you pay it beforehand.

Sure. So you don't have to wait for the bill and then Sure. Be sitting there amongst triggers. So yes, that's another factor. But maybe just just prepping yourself mentally before you go out. Oh, yeah. It's essential.

[00:49:41] Brian: It's essential. Yeah. And it's a whole thing. Like I, I try to, it's almost like we are experiencing the discomfort preemptively in order to start to pre-prep our nervous system to be in that place. Which is, again, it's labor that we do, it's labor that we have to do if we want to have these types of experiences, interactions, et cetera. So I'm happy to do it, but it is definitely laborsome. It's

[00:50:07] Adeel: exhausting. Yeah.

. Okay, Brian. , I'm very reluctantly.

[00:50:10] Brian: I know we, I didn't even get to the whole thing about the Oh, my, the ear plugs and why they're a problem, but it's okay. My God. It's totally

[00:50:17] Adeel: okay. No, we yeah. I'm look at my schedule. Maybe this will a cliffhanger, one of those old eighties season finale cliff hanger.


[00:50:23] Brian: Listen's into the season. I know you are very busy these days because I made an appointment in your schedule and I know what that's looking and I'm so excited about it. But yeah, literally if you would ever want to continue this conversation, I would be so happy to, I'm gonna be reaching

[00:50:38] Adeel: out to you cuz you said the, Yeah, the pl thing.

Also the whole music and fiction writing. There's stuff I'm working on related to misophonia that I want to talk about. Awesome.

[00:50:46] Brian: Yeah. Yeah. I could talk I've lived this my entire life. I could talk about it and I could literally not, I could never talk about anything else and be perfectly fine.

[00:50:56] Adeel: Yep. You, once again, you've just grabbed something that I could not articulate till now. So that's, yeah, you're right. Yeah, I mean I've had, I just had like almost a two hour call yesterday with somebody and insane. Wow. It's yeah, think. Yeah, but very,

[00:51:07] Brian: Of course.

[00:51:08] Adeel: But we I, that could have gone on forever too.

And honestly, it was the first time I actually almost felt exhausted cuz I was like, wow, we've covered a lot of stuff Wow. Stuff that I want to talk about. And so sometimes when you do

[00:51:18] Brian: that, you kind exhaust. No, listen I appreciate you so much for doing this. I can't tell you the impact that being able to listen to your show and so many different people who experience this, scientists who research it, it has, it's been a complete and total game changer for me.

[00:51:35] Adeel: I appreciate hearing that. Yeah, and it's the stories of people like you that come on that kind of, just make it special. Yeah. Let's we'll be in touch.

[00:51:41] Brian: This has been amazing so far. Yeah. I appreciate it. Yeah. Yeah, that'd be great.

[00:51:45] Adeel: Thank you, Brian. This was such a joy and I can't wait to talk more.

If you like listening to this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review. Don't just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast. You can hit me up by email@hellomissonpodcast.com or go to the website misson podcast.com. The easiest ways. Did send a message on Instagram at Miss Funny podcast on Twitter.

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