Jeff - From OCD to misophonia management with family and work

S6 E26 - 2/23/2023
In this episode, Adeel speaks with Jeff about his journey with misophonia intertwined with OCD. Growing up in a small Canadian town with limited understanding from his family, especially a tough-loved father, Jeff navigated triggers from his close ones, like his brother and dad, feeling misunderstood. He shared an attempt at professional help during junior high that ended abruptly due to lack of family support. Jeff transitions into adult life, discussing past relationships, work experiences, managing misophonia with a supportive wife and kids, and advocating for himself at work. He reflects on the evolution from primarily OCD issues to focusing on misophonia management. Jeff expresses hope, emphasizing perseverance, better resources for awareness, and the importance of understanding and accommodation in personal and professional settings. The conversation also touches on the challenges of discussing misophonia with family, especially children, aiming to balance sharing experiences with shielding them from anxiety.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 6, Episode 26. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Jeff, who happens to be in a nearby city just to the east of me in the neighboring state of Wisconsin. We talk about Misophonia and OCD. his environment growing up with a tough-loved dad and a younger brother who bore the brunt of many of Jeff's reactions. We talk about some of his past relationships, as well as how he manages his miso these days with a very supportive wife and three young kids at home. We also talk about how he has been able to advocate for himself at his current job, and we even get some George Costanza references towards the end, so really a full episode in my books. Let me know what you think. You can reach me, as always, by email at hello at or find me on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. By the way, please do head over, if you haven't already, and leave a quick rating or review wherever you listen to this show, whether that's Apple or Spotify or wherever. It drives us up in the algorithms and is a free way to help reach more misophones. Thanks for the incredible ongoing support of our Patreon supporters who have helped us get transcripts for every episode. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at slash misophonia podcast. All right, now here's my conversation with Jeff. Jeff, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you.

Jeff [1:33]: Hi, thanks for having me, Adeel. Good evening.

Adeel [1:37]: Yeah, so whereabouts are you located? I'm in Wisconsin. Gotcha. Okay. I'm over in Minnesota. Oh, cool. Um, in St. Paul.

Jeff [1:47]: Oh yeah. I'm near Eau Claire. So we're only an hour, hour and a half away. Yeah.

Adeel [1:51]: Okay, cool. Well, I could have met up somewhere anyways. Um, yeah. So yeah. What do you do over there?

Jeff [1:57]: Uh, I worked for a civil engineering company. Uh, I'm not a PE, but I'm a, I'm a designer. So cool. Live on civil most of the day and working on, uh, On site design, subdivision designs, their utilities and roads. Nice.

Adeel [2:15]: Okay.

Jeff [2:16]: How about yourself? Since I haven't listened to too many episodes before.

Adeel [2:21]: I'm an engineer, but a software engineer. Okay. currently running a running an engineering team so i do a lot of coding but also manage manage engineers but we're all remote i mean sure all the engineers that i've hired right now are based in africa so oh wow and yeah i just like to work i've been working from home for a while which you know has its benefits uh me so wise as i'm sure we might uh sure yeah i might get into i mean how about yourself are you have you been working remote no we're a small company and we're

Jeff [2:53]: we're pretty hands-on with contractors in the community and our, and our clients with, with site visits and just keeping an eye on projects as they get constructed. So and yeah, it's a very close knit community. So we yeah, we're in the office every day. I'm in the office, you know, 45 hours a week working away lots of triggers there, as you can imagine, you know, I'm, It's been a good, you know, between my home life and my office life, that's 95% of my life. So that's where a lot of my, most of my trigger managing is. And overall, everything's going pretty well for me. I've had some pretty rough times getting to where I'm at now in my life. Miso-wise, my life has been pretty, I've been pretty blessed overall in my life. But for, you know, miso-specific related items, It's been a long and interesting journey. I'm 37 now, and I think I'm learning to manage things, you know, a lot better than I did earlier in my life, for sure.

Adeel [4:03]: Yeah. Well, maybe that gives us an opportunity to rewind all the way back. So when were kind of some of your earliest, you know, the earliest times you remember this being a problem and kind of set the stage for what was going on around then?

Jeff [4:20]: Sure. The earliest memories would, you know, it's a little blurry, but I would have to say probably seven or eight. And it came on strong, very strong. I was born and raised in Canada. So I lived in a small little... farm basically in the middle of the prairies and i had one younger brother and my mom and dad and we lived live in the countryside and instantly my brother and my dad became a major trigger in my life uh starting around that seven eight uh you know the usual sounds uh that i think trigger most musos and then uh but i also I also had very, very strong OCD as well. And they came on at the same time. So I was a light flicker, a checker, couldn't step on cracks, you know, on a sidewalk. I'd have to go back and read. Just basically, I'm not sure if your listeners or you, how familiar you are or how often you discuss OCD and how often that occurs alongside with me. But Yeah, very strong OCD. I would say that was even stronger than the miso things. Throughout my early teenage years, it would ebb back and forth between the miso and the OCD as to what was a stronger, more dominating thing in my life.

Adeel [6:02]: Just to pause, did the OCD and miso start around the same time, or did one start before the other?

Jeff [6:11]: You know, given I was seven or eight years old, I don't know. But it feels like it all came on within a year or two around the same time.

Adeel [6:21]: I'm curious. What was happening around then? Obviously, you said your dad and your brother were triggers for MISO. Were they noticing your reactions to either of those, EOCD or MISO? And what were their reactions, maybe also including your mom? Sure.

Jeff [6:40]: yes they they definitely noticed especially the miso because i would just act out intolerably towards them on it and wouldn't be able to to be around them and since my you know my brother was younger you know i'd act out aggressively towards him and you know the typical behavior uh of a of a child probably going through what we go through um and but yeah i mean so but i think I think my mom and dad just thought that that was a behavioral thing, aside from miso. It's like, oh, he's just being a jerk towards his little brother. So I don't think the miso thing, and this is like early 90s, so I don't know if miso was a, that word was even, the misophony was even a thing back then, but... But the OCD was what really was concerning them because I would flick my lights for five, ten minutes before I go to bed because I just couldn't do it one time. So that's what really got their attention. I was like, what is going on with this kid? You know, and then the sidewalk crack thing, like I'd be walking down the sidewalk with my dad and I'd turn around and go back. And he's just like, what are you doing? And he wasn't the most patient fella. So he wasn't like a compassionate, like, let's talk about this. He's like, what is like, you know, he would just, you know, lash out at me for, you know, being, you know, an idiot or more or less, it would be his turn. And as an eight or nine year old at that time, I'm like, I don't know what's going on. I just, I can't step on a track on a sidewalk, you know?

Adeel [8:24]: Yeah. So, uh, so, so their reactions were that kind of like name calling or, um, I guess class, I mean, classic nineties and pre nineties kind of reactions, right? I mean, just like, um, not run, not really being super compassionate about mental health issues or, and just thinking it's some kind of like boys being boys behavioral kind of thing.

Jeff [8:50]: yeah the aggressiveness i mean yeah yeah yeah yeah that's that's what why and i didn't have the proper way to explain myself yeah it was just just you know so once my brother's making this noise and it was just like well you know we'll deal with it yeah like why are you getting so upset about that it's like i don't know i i am i can't handle it i can't be around it um

Adeel [9:16]: Did they take you to any professionals to talk about any of this?

Jeff [9:18]: Actually, it was quite a bit later. I think I was in junior high, so I was like 14. And I think he was, since it was such a small community, it was just a guy that came around once a week. And I think my mom set up an appointment, and I came over from the high school in town. And I went into this appointment, and it was my dad and my mom. And my dad, one of the biggest triggers that he had, and this was just a visual at this point, was him wiggling his toes. He was just a chronic, like, toe wiggler. And it didn't make a noise, but it was another, you know, I don't even know what that is. It's just a visual trigger, not directly miso related because it didn't really have a sound unless his, like, foot was under... like a blanket on the couch and I could hear it. Yeah. Yeah. You know, but the wrestling, but for me, that was just a very strong visual one all my life. Like I wouldn't do this anyway. So he's sitting there. with my mom and the counselor and he's just sitting there wiggling his toes and he knows by this time i'm 14 so he knows that i can't handle that and i don't he's not doing it purposely but he's just not not doing it yeah it's just he just is always doing that and then uh as a 14 year old i was like like what do you guys do trying to like do here i mean and i just i literally just walked out i don't think i lasted five minutes um and that was basically the one and only attempt uh that my parents had how did they go afterwards when you went home how were they afterwards uh yeah i don't remember it's just we don't talk about there wasn't a lot of communication in general in my family uh

Adeel [11:10]: What about before, so let's say, I mean, going back even before you started to show signs of either OCD, I know it's getting back into obviously even fuzzier memories, but I'm curious, like, was your dad generally kind of, you know, not super compassionate in general? Like, even, would there be name-calling from any family members in general around the house before any of that started? I'm just curious, kind of. Sure. How were you, you know, obviously you were loved by your parents, but, you know, sometimes it's just a lot of like a rough banter going around in the house yeah it's kind of what was it because for a young person sometimes if you're not able to kind of like know the difference you could take things personally and maybe um you know things could affect you so i'm just trying to see what was maybe the home life was sure yeah it was it was relatively good i think compared to how a lot of a lot of people have it um

Jeff [12:07]: But I mean, it was not all all roses. My dad was a was a pretty rough and tumble guy. You know, he had his issues with with alcohol and he wasn't like a belligerent drunk or anything like that. He was more like a like a social, just always like to have his his pals over. And and, you know, he was 38 when he married my mom and there was 13 years difference. And I wasn't born until I was his firstborn at 40. Um, and he was just tired out and he'd been through a lot of life already. And he just, I don't think he was told totally into the. taking care of little babies and kids and all that. He liked spoiling us and doing things, but when it came to the hard stuff, the everyday stuff, that was on my mom to take care of. He was going to do his thing. There was always friction. My mom and dad eventually split up by the time I was 12, so all that time leading up until then. it was not a healthy relationship, you know. And I got a few home videos from when I was younger, and that's basically my only real look back at it, just catching some of those glimpses. But, yeah, he was, you know, he was what you call tough love, you know, for sure. So not a lot of communication. He was just not one that really, you know, talked things, explained things, you know.

Adeel [13:42]: yeah and did the miso and ocd kind of like like further wedge you from from him and the rest of the family i'm curious like even later into life uh yeah i mean i couldn't yeah i couldn't just sit with him because he'd have like two major triggers

Jeff [14:06]: that he would just always do, and I just couldn't be with him. And for so much of my life, that was just so frustrating, and I just couldn't be around him. So, yeah, I mean, it's caused huge problems. it's all said and done now. I mean, he's, he's passed away, uh, four, four years ago, I guess, three years ago. Um, going, going on four years here. Yeah. So, but yeah, it's, it's, I mean, I, it's one of my, I mean, there's nothing I can do about it now. Yeah. Yeah.

Adeel [14:42]: Did you ever come around? Did you ever, did you obviously, you know, did you talk about it later in life?

Jeff [14:47]: No, no, no, we never did. Um, It was just, it was just, I don't know what he thought of it. I think he was just kind of frustrated and, and bewildered. And I don't know what he said behind closed doors, other people like, and I'm just, uh, you know, I, I kind of get an impression that I'm a bit of a, uh, you know, a little bit off, I guess is maybe how he would characterize me. Yeah. Um,

Adeel [15:17]: So it sounds like around 14 years ago, you had the mesokinesia too. You're probably aware of the term, the visual triggers.

Jeff [15:25]: The visual? No, I'm not.

Adeel [15:27]: Oh, okay. Yeah. It's generally called mesokinesia, K-I-N-E-S-I-A. So, I mean, a lot of people have the visual triggers that usually come after mesophonia, the auditory ones. So I guess, yeah, how were things kind of at school? Like, were you getting triggered at school? Were friends noticing?

Jeff [15:48]: Believe it or not, the miso and the visual triggers, they just, if they were there, I don't remember them. During school is mostly an OCD thing. And yeah, I just don't ever remember being triggered in that environment, which now I wouldn't be able to handle. So I don't know if it was just the excitement of being there and having friends and so much on the go. It just distracted me from it. But all my triggers during that time were at home. Gotcha.

Adeel [16:26]: And was mom ever a trigger?

Jeff [16:28]: She became one later in life. Um, she was just, she's a quiet person. So, uh, but she, she did, uh, uh, she does have this, uh, thing that she did later on, at least that I noticed later on where it's like an anxiety thing where she like picks her thumb skin or whatever. Yeah. So that, that became one and still is one. Um, I don't see her very often, but yeah, it, it just comes right back whenever I do see her. But no, she was pretty minor. It was mostly my brother and my dad.

Adeel [17:04]: How did your mom take, or how did she take your misophonia?

Jeff [17:11]: She was a lot more compassionate about it. She just always was more, or at least showed more concern about it, yeah.

Adeel [17:22]: Has anyone else in your family on any side shown any signs of misophony?

Jeff [17:30]: Not that I'm aware of, no. I have quite a few aunts and uncles and cousins. And if they do... haven't heard about it i mean i'm pretty distant they're all in canada and i live in wisconsin now so yeah i'm not i don't in the last 15 years of my life i just haven't really been too close with my family so i i'm not up on on what's going on up there in the last 15 years but you know i mean don't i know i grew up you know from from 7 to 17 i didn't talk about it i mean I knew I had the OCD thing and some of my friends would catch me flicking lights and doing weird things and they'd be like, what are you doing? And I would try to hide it. Like, Oh, no, just, you know, I was like, I make up an excuse, like, like a total, like, Oh, I'm doing this thing. And try to detract or deviate from what I'm actually doing, which was just getting stuck in this mental, uh, you know, carousel. Um, So I was very ashamed of it, yeah. I was a relatively popular cool guy and tried to hide it.

Adeel [18:40]: Yeah, the shame and also guilt is another common feeling, especially when there's situations where the misophonia leads to driving wedges, distance between family members. I don't know if you ever felt that. as things as the years went on yeah i i'm just not close with my brother at all and i think it's okay yeah so right so yeah i'm sorry i didn't want to cut you off there but right so curious kind of obviously you were aggressive with him early on how did that relationship um grow it seems like it didn't really grow i don't think it grow i think it it it uh

Jeff [19:23]: I think what, the way I acted towards my brother caused him harm, psychological harm, which is ingrained in him at such a deep level that he can't get over it. Even though we're both in our 30s now, we just, I don't think he, yeah, it's just, we'll never be close. You know, I've made efforts and reached out. I've talked openly about it, but he's just... I don't know. I think he's just got burnt at such a deep level from such an early age where he just doesn't want anything to do with me. I mean, we're civil. We'll hang out and whatever, but we're not... And maybe that's just part of his personality. Maybe he's a little bit more like my dad that way. Just like, yeah, whatever. Let's just... watch a hockey game and drink beer or whatever. Don't worry about it. We don't need to talk about that. He's, he's just a little, but I don't know if that's just a, if that's, that's him or if it's also partially to do with just, you know, our history growing up or a combination of both.

Adeel [20:32]: So your history, those early years, was basically primarily due to your misphonic reactions, right? Yep. I mean, the way you say everything about him being burnt, you can directly pretty much attribute to that.

Jeff [20:44]: Basically, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Because we'd be just sitting there playing, having a good time, and all of a sudden, he'd have a trigger, and by that point, he knew it was a trigger, but he couldn't help it, and I would just act irrationally towards him. Did he ever try to do it on purpose, or was it he just couldn't help it, and... sometimes yep yeah especially when he was younger because he knew that i would react and then when i reacted i would get in trouble yeah yeah oh gotcha yeah of course because he would run to mom or dad and dad would get yeah ticked off at me and then i'm the one getting in in trouble so he he would play that game when he was younger um so yeah so then

Adeel [21:32]: yeah interesting okay and then um so you said you hired a lot from friends so let's say you're getting i mean so yeah hi so school interesting like school for me obviously i also don't by the way i i also was born and raised in uh canada not not on the prairies but over in ottawa um and also left around i'm a little older than you so i left around 20 years ago okay so um Anyways, digression, but as you then went to college, obviously, did you mention it to anybody? Obviously, you've mentioned it to your wife. I'm just curious, when did you start to tell people? Well, I... If you did.

Jeff [22:13]: I don't think I became really open about it until my early 30s. So I still went through – basically, whatever I was doing through high school, I kept that going through my 20s with trying to keep – hide it. And there's a whole bunch of relationships and things in there that got messed up because of it. So it took a long time for me to be comfortable with who I was. And, you know, my wife and I, we didn't meet until six – Man, I'm bad with time. Six or seven years ago. Eight years ago, yeah. And I'd messed up enough relationships by that point where I was like, okay, here it is. I'm going to lay it all out. Here's Jeff. Yep. And, you know, I wanted to make sure that she knew what she was getting herself into. And... yeah and she's been great about it you know obviously she's a major trigger in my life now i knew she was going to be a major trigger in my life going forward by that point i wasn't under any false you know notions or utopian vision that it just wouldn't happen i knew it would um and she's been awesome about it was she triggered from the beginning Was she a trigger? No.

Adeel [23:43]: Yeah. From the beginning. Okay.

Jeff [23:45]: No, I mean, but I knew like based on previous relationships that I had in my twenties that they would be a trigger by like three to six months. Like once you get over that real blissful three, six months, a year, uh, things would start becoming triggers. So I knew that that would happen.

Adeel [24:05]: Um, I guess, when did you, um, so, but so, it wasn't bothering you in school, but obviously you, this was an issue in life in general, obviously. And obviously you knew it was a problem with your parents. When did you, when did you find out it had a name? Probably in my mid twenties, around the time.

Jeff [24:26]: 10, 12 years ago. So around the time that New York times article. Yeah. I don't know if I saw that. Um, and I, I don't know. I mean, how I came across it. I think I, by that time, um, You know, I was living on my own, having my own internet connection. Smartphones were not quite, or at least I didn't have one. You know, I was just doing more independent research and threw some combination of words together in a search engine and came across it. I don't know how or when exactly, but... And it was like a revelation to me. I was like, what on earth? There's other people that have this?

Adeel [25:06]: Yeah, yeah. What did you think it was before then? Did you think it was some offshoot of OCD?

Jeff [25:14]: Yeah, I mean, OCD was already a thing. Yeah. So I don't know if I spent too much time thinking about what it was. I think I spent more of my time just trying to figure out how to survive with it. Just dealing with coping mechanisms. Just trying to keep up with life. And still to this day, I don't spend too much time researching it or looking into it. I just live my life as best as I can. I try not to think about it too much. And those are usually my best days. Sometimes I can get away with... in an event that shouldn't trigger me and get by it pretty quick. And I look back and I'm like, I don't understand how I coasted through that situation. So maybe that's going to be easier going forward.

Adeel [26:09]: Well, it's interesting. So how have your coping mechanisms evolved back when you didn't know what it was? What were some of the things you're doing? And then any useful things you've learned along the way? Sure.

Jeff [26:22]: Well, I would say that... Okay, so we already established that I didn't really have any miso triggers in high school and junior high. And then I didn't go into college right away. I went into college when I was 27, so there's a decade there of other things that happened. And those were primarily OCD years. That was a lot of checking. And then... When I went to college, and shortly before I went to college, the OCD, or that's right, the miso came on harder in my mid-20s. So from 25-ish till now, my OCD has been basically gone, and now it's full-on miso. And it's basically 99% miso. So for whatever reason... I did a very hard switch around my mid-20s where my miso triggers were only one or two people. Now my miso triggers from 25 onward have been everywhere. Wisconsin. Everywhere. Public restaurants, just you name it. Like everywhere I go. is a strategy. So I forgot your actual question there. My coping mechanisms, right? Yeah. Okay, so when I was in college, for whatever reason, the MISO was on strong. So I'm like 27 through 30 when I went to college. I would wear earplugs and basically wrap my hoodie around my head when I did exams. I was almost at the point where I knew that they had these special areas where you could go for special needs, like a quiet room instead of having to write the exams in the common hall with everybody else who's, you know, everyone's sick and there was no COVID at that time. So who cares? Everyone's sick. And like, I don't know how I get to those exams, but I was, I remember having, uh, the, uh, the instructors coming up to me and asking me if I'm okay because they couldn't even see my face hardly except for my eyes you know just I always wore headphones everywhere I went on bus rides and every time I went to the diner just your typical blockage mechanisms yeah that was that and then

Adeel [29:00]: And to this day, that's kind of what you're doing everywhere? Have you got anything new?

Jeff [29:10]: At my office job, I have my own office.

Adeel [29:15]: Did you ask for that?

Jeff [29:17]: No, we all have it. I took this job three and a half years ago and I told them about my miso in the interview before I even took the job. I was like, I think they just brushed it off. You need to shut the F up. If I get this job. Well, I was just like, just so you know, I am going to have to wear headphones. I, you know, I didn't, I don't think I like told him about the miso. I just said like, I, I have this, I don't remember what I said, but. But I don't think they took it seriously because within the first six months to a year, it was hell. I mean, they were like, you have to have your door open. I'm like, no, I don't. And you have to do this. I'm like, no, that's not how it's going to work because I can't. And then eventually one day I had a bit of like a... I had an anxiety attack because they were just pushing me and I was like, look, you do not understand. And I had to just lay it out like as black and white as I could. And ever since then, I mean, they've been I mean, it's been amazing how supportive they've been. I mean, I wear headphones all day, every day. I have a fan going in my room. You know, I. I just said, look, you want me to be an efficient employee on the work here? I need to have a few minor little things. And it's not like a convenience thing. It's like a necessity. So they've been really, really helpful. We actually are undergoing an office renovation right now. we're expanding our offices and redoing a few things. And they renovated my office. And I think they put in extra or some sort of special insulation in the walls for my new office. So they've been very me-so-aware. Yeah, it's been amazing. I have great, great bosses. Do you know what kind of insulation they put in there? I don't know. Okay. I don't know. I'd have to check and ask. I haven't tried it out yet because I haven't moved into it, so I don't know how good it is. But yeah, I got some major triggers at work that are tough to deal with.

Adeel [31:45]: By major triggers, you mean individuals or just sounds around the office?

Jeff [31:49]: No, individuals. I'm at a place in my life right now where it's embarrassing to talk about, but I will mention it. In the office? With my co-workers.

Adeel [32:04]: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jeff [32:05]: Be like, look, you know, it's nothing personal. I just, I really ease into it, you know. I'm just much more mature in my life, I think, where I can present it in a way that's not going to offend them.

Adeel [32:23]: Do you think about how, do you, is it one of those things where you...

Jeff [32:29]: you hear like you hear trigger and then you just kind of you kind of know how to ease into it or do you kind of plan it out for a few days to have to kind of psych yourself up for it um i don't really plan it it just sort of happens spontaneously um and i don't even know if it will ever happen but i i guess i just get to a point where you know if we have a newer co-worker uh i can just it just it's just sort of it just naturally comes up in a conversation and i have other co-workers where it's never come up and it probably never will because it's just we don't have that jive that personality where we would talk about it uh because i don't think they would understand maybe perhaps but um but you know i i got i got so many abilities now to to cope with it with the individual office and everything i i have a lot of ability to just block it out so there's no real necessity um necessity to go down that road i don't think because most of the time i can't hear it so it's great yeah and it hasn't affected your i don't know your job viability your your growth prospects at the company right uh i don't think so yeah i'm doing fairly well um yeah

Adeel [33:44]: Going back to one thing I wanted to bring up again was you said your OCD had gone down around the time that MISO came up. Were you doing any therapies for OCD? Do you know why that may have decreased? No.

Jeff [33:58]: I have no idea why that went away. Interesting. I've never done any therapies. I haven't intentionally done any therapies for it. I've done things in my life that may have alleviated it. I know in college I started doing like a lot of hot yoga. I was doing hot yoga like four or five times a week. I was just going crazy with that. And maybe just doing that regular exercise helped with it. I mean, I'm not doing that anymore, but maybe at that time that helped. But I have no idea why. I mean, it's just a total neural shift in my brain.

Adeel [34:43]: for whatever reason. Going back to, I guess your, yeah, I guess, I guess your, your wife now. So she said she's super supportive. Um, what kind of things did she, let's say, how do you guys deal with it? Basically? Is she just kind of like always careful or do you have this rapport where you can kind of, you know, mention if there's a trigger and then she'll step back or. Yeah. She's kind of how that dynamic is.

Jeff [35:07]: She's super careful. Um, And, you know, unfortunately, she has the most triggers of anyone in my life right now because we spend so much time together. But, I mean, like, for instance, she knows that we just don't eat together. so it's not a question of like if we are going to it's just it's normalized it's normalized like you know am i going to eat first or are you going to eat first you know that sort of thing um it's just a normal thing uh when you go out to eat if you go out to eat what happens i usually focus on just eating my food and i yeah barely i can't i usually don't look at her Right, right. Or anybody else in the restaurant. Yep, pretty much. And I try to time my eating with her to make sure I don't finish before her. Because usually if I'm eating, then I have enough noise going on with my eating that I won't be able to hear her. So I try to make sure I eat slow enough.

Adeel [36:22]: You know, that's an interesting tip. Yeah, I didn't think about that. I usually just eat.

Jeff [36:25]: in general i'll just eat so fast i just want to uh kind of get out of there but obviously you can't in every situation so you're just kind of stuck sitting there yeah no so i we yeah i try to eat slow and i you know i'm like watching her oh gee she's got about a third of a burger left i have a half okay we're good she'll be done before me they'll help yeah yeah yeah

Adeel [36:49]: Have you ever had... Do you throw the glare? Like you have glares at people in public that you throw?

Jeff [36:56]: Yeah, I'm a hardcore glare.

Adeel [36:59]: Awesome. We'll have to compare glares when we hang out. Have you ever gotten a bad reaction from somebody who maybe is kind of put off by your reactions?

Jeff [37:12]: Um, I think I had a lot in college, um, where I'd glare at people and, and I think, I don't think they knew what was going on if I was even looking at them. Yeah. Like, cause they would just be so innocent. Like, well, what did I do? They can't be glaring at me. I'm just here slurping my noodles. So I don't think I've had, uh, I'm trying to think. That's an interesting question. I'm sure there have been a lot. I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Adeel [37:49]: How about those early relationships that you said went awry? I'm sure there was some stuff happening there.

Jeff [37:59]: I can think of one vividly where I had a girlfriend and we'd been together for... probably a year and a half at this point and the triggers were coming on strong and we're past the honeymoon phase yeah and she's sitting there you know she kind of ate like a chipmunk like really fast you know yeah but you know like she didn't use her mouth open or anything like that but still she's a really fast chomp and i'm like just looking at it and she's like would just like slam the fork down and be like what Yeah. And I'm like, oh, and you know, I wasn't at a point where I would discuss this with her. I was still in hide it, hide it mode. So, and then I, I was 25, still pretty young and stupid and didn't have the ability to talk about it. And yeah, it probably led to that relationship. you know, it, it's inevitable failure. Right, right, right.

Adeel [38:56]: Have you, um, have you thought about, um, I don't know if you have kids, have you thought about that? Um, yeah, I have three. Oh, you do. Okay.

Jeff [39:05]: Um, how's that going? Yeah, they're, they're four, three, one. And just in the last six months, um, My three-year-old, actually, has been starting a little bit. I will fight and argue with her to eat because she's so picky and won't eat. And then when she finally starts eating, it's just the worst open mouth. And it's like, okay, well, I just fought with her for 10 minutes to get her to eat. Now I can't get her on her case about this. But we are very... We are very manners-oriented. We don't chew with our mouth open, and we just try to be very respectful around the table. It's interesting, though, because the kids haven't really asked questions about why isn't mom ever eating when we're eating and vice versa. I'm sure that will come, but surprisingly and thankfully, the triggers haven't been coming on very... quick or strong with the kids and I don't know why but I'm just yeah very I was very worried about that um and I still am because you know there's a lot of life left to live hopefully and yeah so we'll see I mean there's probably things on the way

Adeel [40:34]: Yeah, I think in most, not in everybody, I think in most cases, somehow your brain does not assign a threat to your own children. So, you know, I think, you know, hopefully they'll continue mostly to, you know, to be not triggers in most cases. So hopefully that is, yeah.

Jeff [40:55]: I think I missed something. You said typically that...

Adeel [40:58]: that that doesn't happen yeah i just mumbled my word sorry yeah what i'm going to say is yeah i think i think typically and this is not always the case but typically the brain doesn't seem to whatever mechanism it is doesn't assign because your brain thinks you're in danger and i think what happens is at least in my personal case but also a lot of people have heard like kids i think the kids usually don't end up being a trigger unless it's like something totally egregious because um they just don't feel like it's much of a threat your brain can kind of know hey these are my you know these are my sure my tribe kind of thing you know my flesh and blood literally um and so um and so yeah if they're not if they're mainly if they're mostly not a trigger now that you know i'm knock on wood they'll continue to be kind of safe um for you for a while um and if that's the case, then yeah, around, around the time, maybe when you got it, like eight, nine, 10, that's when, you know, even I'm starting to think about, I'm just trying to be conscientious of like them not developing triggers. Um, and so then the question is like, how do we kind of like, you know, do we not talk about it too much in the hopes that, you know, um, just by kind of not making a big deal about it, they, you know, hopefully they won't get triggers. Um, And so, yeah, there's always a debate as to how much to tell your kids, basically, about your own misophonia. Because there are cases where if you talk about it, if somebody talks about it a lot, you're afraid that they might be more sensitive, in general, to the sound, but also not wanting... I know I hear kids will... try to um because they want to they want they want to protect you and so they'll you know they'll start to listen for the sounds and start to develop misophonic um symptoms i've heard that on on some episodes so um that's kind of heartbreaking too is they're trying to take care of you and then they become misophonic sure well you still be few years maybe we could talk about it in about five ten years yeah to that age but uh just kind of a yeah i guess kind of a debate or or kind of like interesting discussions around that did your wife and you and your wife kind of discuss like how if it comes up with your kids in terms of like them asking about it how you'd broach the subject i know she's brought a few conversation pieces forward and i i think it's mostly because she listens to your podcast uh so i know she's thinking about it um Oh, so she's heard quite a few of these episodes?

Jeff [43:36]: Yeah. Oh, I gotcha. I don't know. Quite a few. Yeah, yeah, yeah. She listens to every one now.

Adeel [43:41]: Wow. So then she's heard quite a few parents.

Jeff [43:45]: Right. So... And I... You know... Yeah, I just... I try not to think about it too much. I think I mentioned that earlier where I try not to think about it with the kids. And I guess there is still an element of just I'm a normal person. I don't really talk about it much. I've talked about it with my wife a few times. And this hour that we're spending together is literally the only times in my life that I talk about this.

Adeel [44:15]: The fact is we don't want to talk about it. The funny thing is a lot of people are like, you're you're into this weird thing you just can't like just stop thinking about it i'm sure you think about it all the time that's why you have it when we don't want to think about it right usually we don't and that's why it comes off to such a surprise and then triggers us yeah because we're really busy trying not not even trying not to think about it we're really not thinking about it so um

Jeff [44:39]: Yeah, that's not uncommon. But, yeah, I think my wife is definitely taking the lead in, you know, in what you were just discussing on, like, do we talk about it with our kids or not? To me, I'm just, like, I'm out of the loop. I don't think about these things, like, if, you know, should I talk to my kids about it or not? I'm just always in, like, trying to be... uh yeah moving forward and and and if i have a great day great great yeah what like last night we went out for supper it was a work party a late christmas party that we had and on the way home my wife asked me she's like how like how how was that for you i was like oh it was great she's like you weren't bothered i'm like no we were in this like quiet banquet room Not even a lot of white noise? No white noise, nothing. The conversation was a little light and awkward. There's not a lot of noise. The good noise, the white noise, and we're all eating. I don't know what it was, if it was just the conversation, but it was just a breeze for me. But usually, I typically do well when there's a lot of people. because it just kind of becomes this one... A little bit of a white noise. Yeah, and I never even thought about it. Usually, I'm thinking about it, but in this case, yeah, I don't know what it was. How to mimic that, to know what needed to be in place for that to happen. You have to capture that in a bottle.

Adeel [46:18]: You have to run out of your dining room to look exactly like that. I'm curious about your wife's family, your in-laws. Do they know about it?

Jeff [46:28]: They do. Yep, because my wife is very social and talks with them and they're all in this area. Yeah, and we actually lived there for about a year and a half while we were building our home where we live now. So they were kind enough to house us. And yeah, so most of them became triggers while I lived there and still are triggers now. Yeah. And... I was at a point where, I don't know, it was maybe more of an in-law thing. I wasn't so kind about it, but I wasn't shy about it either. Like... I guess I've just been struggling with it for so long. I was just like, you know what? If I feel pissed off, I'm just going to act pissed off. And, you know, it was maybe a little childish, but, you know, it was a stressful time in my life with trying to get a home built. And then I got my sister-in-law who's baking a cake and she's got to lick every finger off and things like that. And there's a lot of whistling and humming. They're a very musical family, but I cannot handle whistling and humming. Um, I, I like singing. Um, but for whatever reason, the, I don't know. Yeah. But yeah, there was just a lot of triggers with them and still are. Um, I don't know what they think about it. Okay. Okay. If it's like a diet, I think they probably think it's a diet thing. Oh, they diet people. Yeah. They're yeah. Every, every six months, something new. Okay. And every problem in your life is related to your diet.

Adeel [48:14]: You said maybe you and them are kind of musical. Are you musicians? Are they musicians?

Jeff [48:22]: They're not musicians. They're just musicians. They enjoy you going to the orchestra. They're usually in choir. They like going to church and hymns and just regular popular music. Just musically minded. My wife plays the piano quite well and we have guitars and violin and things like that. Yeah, yeah, gotcha.

Adeel [48:52]: Well, see, we're already getting close to an hour. Yeah, I guess maybe we can maybe start to wind down slowly. Yeah, well, I mean, yeah, Jeff, any kind of like other things you want to share with people? I know you haven't heard too many episodes, but I usually just kind of like to ask without... I don't want to put you on the spot, but anything you want to share with people about your story or maybe things you've heard?

Jeff [49:24]: Well, I don't know. I mean, this conversation, I feel like it's just been a whirlwind of activity. I feel like we've been bouncing all over the place. I tend to do that. Yeah. I, I'm just thinking like, are they all like this? I, yeah, but I, I, yeah, it's, uh, I guess that's kind of my life in a nutshell is, you know, I was using this conversation as a bit of a, as a segue into describing my, my life. It has just been, you know, okay, we're, we're doing the miso thing now. Now, oh, now it's OCD and I'm checking my lock. I'm driving two miles down the road and I know I locked my door, but I still got to drive two miles back and waste 10 minutes and go, you know, full on crazy OCD crap. And then, you know, just kind of back and forth. And I don't know. It's been rough. I don't have a... I guess my biggest, if I had to give a message of hope, is just to just persevere and keep moving forward. And if I could have done a few things differently, if you tried to explain to people better. I mean, I think now we have so many more resources where we can point people in that direction, especially when you're like a child. There's opportunities to have faculty, staff understand these things or at least know about them so they can talk to the parents who may not have a clue. In my situation, for example, there could have been conversations happening that no one knew about. But now, of course, there's those... With the internet and everything going on, with technology, there's no reason why you and I should have to go through that again. But I think it's getting better. As I alluded to earlier, I went out for a wonderful supper last night with a bunch of people in a quiet room and I did great. I didn't even think about it. And yeah, I mean, trying to find a good employer who will bend over backwards to help you out. I mean, I guess. Having a good work ethic and providing a skill that they need and want from you gives you a little bit of leverage. If you're going to be a dupe of an employee, don't expect your employer to go out of their way for you. You've got to work hard in this life, and then things improve.

Adeel [51:55]: And you said, I think you said at the beginning that it's been rough, but it seems like now, would you say it's kind of in a better place now because your work understands and your wife understands? Yeah, I think. But generally, would you say objectively, though, if things were reversed, if you just happened to be in a less cool job or not as great of a relationship?

Jeff [52:23]: like your miso is just as strong as ever yeah i i would say i would say it'd be just as strong as ever probably but and i would probably most likely be handling it a lot uh more immaturely and out of yeah i i feel like i just have more control in my life more agency more agency um because i've gone into these things like i went into my marriage like hey This is what's going to, I went into my new job, like, Hey, this is what's up. You're going to shut the F up. Like this is, you know, and it takes time. You're not going to do that as like a 20 year old right out of college. You know, you need to have like a, you need to have something to offer for them to work with you. I mean. That's just the nature of it. Until it becomes some sort of recognized condition where they have to roll the red carpet regardless. But that's just not the reality in the real world for at least this.

Adeel [53:33]: Yeah, no, that's right. You're right. I mean, things get better because, not necessarily because your miso gets better, but you have more agency. Also, you learn these things. Like, you know, if you stay at a company long enough, it's harder for them to hire a new person than to just make you a little bit happier. Right. So keep making them happy and they'll make you, you know, happier exponentially more.

Jeff [53:55]: Yeah, and that's, yeah, we both understand that and are striving towards that. Yeah. I've worked a lot of jobs in my life where, fortunately, I've had not a lot of people around me. So it was never an issue. But I've also had a lot of jobs where it was an issue and I didn't handle it very good.

Adeel [54:17]: So it's taken a lot of... Some of those... Yeah, we didn't... You talked about the chipmunk lady, but we didn't talk about your... Did you George Costanza out of a job? I don't know if you know the Seinfeld reference.

Jeff [54:33]: Yeah, maybe as many as George. I don't know. I don't know how many. I haven't watched all of Seinfeld, but yeah, I was George Costanza on more than one occasion. It usually wasn't Miso related. It was just... But it was... I don't know if any was specifically Miso related, but that was just my personality in the 20s. Yeah. but i've had some george costanza moments like where i would just leave for half a day or or go for like a long walk on like every other day sometimes for a month what's going on there was it an open office was it just somebody right okay it was an open office in the basement of my employer so he had like a setup in the basement and there would be days where uh there would be like a snow day so his kids wouldn't be at school and they'd be running around screaming and jumping around upstairs like literally right above our office And then just mouse clicking. Mouse clicking became a huge thing. Keyboards, for whatever reason, were fine. Mouse clicking just drove me over the wall. And then even simple things like somebody taking a sip of their coffee or their tea and setting their cup down. Like, just stuff like that. we were really confined in this area and yeah, I just, I couldn't, couldn't deal with it.

Adeel [56:08]: This is so weird. I don't mean to dig, I don't mean to do an attention, but I mean, I've had a previous job where I worked out of my boss's basement and had similar sounds and had it to kind of an anxiety attack. You know, I grew up in Canada. My dad's 12 years older than, uh, we have the, I have one younger brother, It's an interesting... Brother from another mother. And Seinfeld fans, maybe that's the most important thing. interesting that's cool well maybe maybe with you and we're being so close close by you'll have to actually uh meet up and go for a coffee or something yeah for sure for sure i'll be quiet trust me um well uh cool jeff um yeah this has been super super interesting i know we uh we jumped around a lot but that's as your wife will maybe tell you that's what i kind of kind of do uh because that's the only way we can kind of cover all these yeah topics and topics in an hour but uh But, yeah, I mean, you know, I'm always open to at a later date talking more. But, yeah, this is great. Yeah, thanks again for coming on. And I hope this was fun for you, too. I know you don't talk about it too much.

Jeff [57:13]: Yeah. Yeah, it feels good to just kind of lay it all out there. I just feel like I'm at a good place. You know, my wife shared the podcast with me. I was like, yeah, I'll go talk to this guy. That's fine. I'm comfortable with it. It sounds like you are too. I appreciate what you do. When I get a little more spare time, I'll try to dig in and see what some of these other people are going through. I'm sure there's a lot of resources out there. I feel like I got a pretty good grip on it. Just live them living my life and you know, it's, it's, it's getting better, you know, but I don't have the perfect, uh, summary of, of how or why, but.

Adeel [58:10]: Yep. A few of us do. It's just, we, we, you know, when you, like you said, when we, after we've been, we've had this for so many years, we kind of figure out what works for us in certain situations and that's all we can hope for for most people. So.

Jeff [58:26]: Yeah, well, yeah, it'd be wonderful to catch up, you know, maybe in five years. Hopefully the triggers from the kids stay away.

Adeel [58:35]: Thank you again, Jeff. Yeah, I hope we can hang soon. And there seems to be quite a community of us here in the Midwest. 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, Easiest way to send a message probably is Instagram at Misfunny Podcast. Follow there on Facebook or Twitter at Misfunny Show. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at slash Misfunny Podcast. The music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [59:37]: so so you