Nate - Living with Misophonia: A Family Affair

S6 E34 - 5/19/2023
In the season finale of Season 6, Adeel speaks with Nate Johnson, son of Dr. Marsha Johnson, the original audiologist to identify misophonia. Nate shares his experiences growing up as the son of the godmother of misophonia, being a test subject for various treatments and devices, and how his mother's prominence in the field affected him personally, including whether she was a trigger for him. They also discuss using vagal nerve breathing to cope, why his family avoids eating together during holidays, Nate's challenges in discussing misophonia with friends, and his current life in Mexico, focusing on building a misophonia-friendly home. The conversation highlights Nate's life deeply intertwined with misophonia, both personally and through his mother's work in establishing the Misophonia Association and organizing annual conferences. Nate's story offers a unique perspective on living with misophonia, dealing with family dynamics, adapting his living environment, and engaging with the broader misophonia community.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 6, Episode 34. And actually, the season finale of Season 6. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. On the season finale, I'm talking to Nate Johnson, who happens to be the son of Dr. Marsha Johnson, the godmother of Misophonia. the original audiologist who identified misophonia back in the 90s. We talk about being the misophonic son of Marsha Johnson, being a guinea pig for many devices over the years. And I ask him, was his famous mom a trigger for him growing up? We talk about vagal nerve breathing, how his family does not eat together during holiday celebrations. his bad experiences trying to tell friends about Miso, and we talk about his current life living in Mexico and traveling the world. Make sure you check out the show notes for several links. After the show, let me know what you think. As always, you can reach out by email at or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Missiphonia Podcast. And as always, please head over, leave a quick rating or review wherever you listen to the show. It really helps us reach more listeners as we go up in the algorithms. Remember, you can sign up for private coaching sessions by me. There's a link in the show notes or through social. I'm working with folks anywhere in the world to develop a plan for you to help manage your misophonia better. And also check out the AI-powered personal journaling app that I've released for iOS and Android called Basil AI. Thanks for the incredible ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like... contributing a little bit financially, you can read all about it at slash misophonia podcast. And now the last episode of the season. Here's my conversation with Nate. Yeah, Nate, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here on the record. Finally.

Nate [2:03]: Thank you. Yeah, happy to be here.

Adeel [2:05]: So you want to tell us, you know, where you are and all that stuff?

Nate [2:10]: Yes, of course. I am currently in Merida, Mexico. My wife and I moved down here almost exactly five years ago, late March 2018.

Adeel [2:23]: We just have to check the Instagram to, you know, your Instagram feed to find that out because it's quite well documented.

Nate [2:30]: Well, I think in Instagram, I'm in Portugal right now. It depends on what YouTube videos.

Adeel [2:35]: Oh, that was a good one. Yeah. Yeah. Good pictures from there. so uh yeah just uh down here enjoying the sunny weather and and working as much as possible so nice yes and so you guys you guys bought a place down there right i believe uh some time ago and you know i think last time we talked in person where you were trying to convince me to to buy something down there and i was quite intrigued

Nate [2:59]: know seems like a cheap place uh but you know let's talk about like yeah how how is it like living down there and you know we can kind of talk a little bit of that the noise side as well the uh the miso side exactly you're correct we bought a house here almost two years ago uh it is a renovation so we are not moved in there we're actually in our rental house right now until that is done we have plans and all sorts of stuff that we have to go through to get that ready to move in but we're gonna build kind of a miso friendly house which is really cool so it's open it's got um right now we're planning on four different buildings along with our main house so we're gonna have an art studio an office

Adeel [3:46]: another living area and then an open floor plan so that we can just if i'm if i'm feeling it i can just move away and uh so it's kind of exciting yeah optionality is important you know it's good to have that open space when you need it but you know you definitely don't want it all the time and so it's nice to have those separate spaces what are the building materials there are they kind of like concrete uh concrete on concrete yeah yeah

Nate [4:14]: And in our rental right now, I'm sitting at our table and my wife works right across from us. So we're kind of cramped in here at the moment. So it's going to feel good. Not that I don't love spending every single moment with my wife, but it's going to feel good to have more space.

Adeel [4:31]: You have to say that because she's right there, but I understand. But you have headphones on so we can talk. No, that's great. Yeah, she's great. So yeah, that sounds amazing. okay well i guess you know i'll see in the preamble uh we talked a little bit about kind of how you know and i got alluded to i kind of met you at the uh music convention um you want to talk a little bit about maybe about your your you know your family and kind of like how that's all related to miss phony yeah yeah my family is is directly related to me yeah yeah yeah influencer yeah

Nate [5:06]: so my mom is dr marcia johnson the creator of the misophonia association and so when she was just starting the misophonia conference each year she found or she used the people that she had that were achieved and that were close to her so my wife is a videographer and so she said come down get your camera and start filming so we went down there and treated it like a job and since the first one right yeah 2013 so we've been kind of looped into that and you know just conveniently I have misophonia and so I got more out of those and I just almost got addicted to it going there meeting new people and talking to people and meeting you and all of these I mean I only came into like the fifth one I think but yeah yeah but you guys got definitely got rolling by then exactly we were actually we're on a planning meeting tonight for the one that's happening in november um in albuquerque and so that would be yeah that would be number i think 10 or 10th year of it yeah yeah yeah 10 10th year i think we had nine conferences and then this will be our 10th year um you know, along with my journey with misophonia is living with it every single day. And so I get I get a daily reminder of having it along with working with it and.

Adeel [6:43]: And listen to the podcast every day.

Nate [6:44]: And listen to your podcast every single day. Yeah.

Adeel [6:48]: So, yeah, maybe back in, because I had, I also had your mom on, you know, I was fortunate to have her on, like, in one of the early episodes. And, you know, yeah, she talked about, obviously, like, a lot of her patients, a lot of her patients coming in and exhibiting these signs. And this is kind of how she, you know, realized that this is a real thing. But, yeah. What was going on at home? We didn't hear that side so much. When did you first notice it and how did Marsha deal with that? Just going by the timeline, where was that? Did she even know what it was at that point?

Nate [7:26]: Well, that was 1997. She saw her first patient.

Adeel [7:31]: With misophonia? Or was that her first?

Nate [7:34]: Maybe it was... She always says... Maybe it's 17 years or something like that. So it might have been before she saw her first patient with it. I'm trying to think of exactly what my age was because I think I might have been maybe 13 to 14 years old. I remember it was with my brother. Do you do triggers on here or no?

Adeel [8:01]: We talk about them, yeah.

Nate [8:06]: It was my brother's braces. So him just having to deal with how to eat with those and making the extra sound. And so I remember it was probably 14, so that would have been... 1998 so i think it must have been way before she saw her actual first patient um but my whole life was i mean it was i feel fairly typical to the average misophonia person human being um i remember wearing my dad's shop headphones at dinner and so okay i would do what is your audiologist mom yeah what did your audio right like what is happening here she i don't think she was just so focused on other things like okay she just she just let me be the weird kid that i was and so it could have been i think that there was some thought that i had attention deficit disorder i remember going to a doctor about that we're we're waldorfian and so they didn't give me they gave me a cream that I would rub on my stomach, which did absolutely nothing. But, yeah.

Adeel [9:28]: Are you guys still, you went Waldorf the entire way through school? I did, yeah.

Nate [9:34]: I was fourth grade through the end of twelfth grade. My sister was all the way through twelfth grade from preschool or first grade, and now she's a Waldorf teacher. So we're dug in on that, too.

Adeel [9:47]: Okay, gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. Okay, cool. Yeah.

Nate [9:51]: But yeah, I just was, I don't think she recognized it as an auditory processing disorder.

Adeel [9:58]: Your mom.

Nate [9:59]: No, no, not at that time. And I think maybe I was too close. So maybe she was too close to me and I was too close to her for me to open up to her about what was going on and for her to properly diagnose me.

Adeel [10:13]: Specifically about anything related to the ear. Yeah, exactly. She wasn't like checking your ears every night and like snapping fingers in your ears before you went to bed. Make sure. Okay.

Nate [10:23]: In part of my fantasy of my life, I was like the patient zero.

Adeel [10:29]: I was going to say, do you have this kind of narcissism? Because I would. Marcia Johnson is my mom. And now the whole world knows.

Nate [10:39]: And then you meet people that are 60 years old and they've had it for 50.

Adeel [10:42]: Or you're like the first monkey with Ebola. Maybe you spread it to everybody else.

Nate [10:48]: I hope not. But if I if I was, you know, it was my fault. So, yeah. But yeah, no, it's typical. And I used to spend a lot of time in my room. So I remember when I was young, I got a sectional couch from a friend and I was able to build the entire room was a bed. And then I had a TV and I could spend unlimited time moving around my room at different places.

Adeel [11:14]: yeah this was great just get a little uh beer fridge and you should pretty much that exactly i think the only time my parents ever caught me with beer was with schmearing off ice and so well you'd have ice cream or something in the ice cream or in the freezer part of it yeah um very okay so yeah a lot there so i didn't i mean i didn't even know you had siblings and okay yeah that makes sense you know uh what you mentioned is kind of of your first triggers uh i mean was your was your mom was dr marcia johnson ever a trigger that's the big question yeah okay yes yeah 100 percent from the from the get-go or or did that develop started with my brother okay um and then just kind of spread from there So you're saying your mom caused you misophonia as a way to boost your business by creating a condition, a disorder. Exactly.

Nate [12:07]: Well, to start the association.

Adeel [12:11]: To get some friends.

Nate [12:12]: Exactly.

Adeel [12:15]: That was a joke, everybody. Yes, exactly. No, it was a joke. For a business benefit, yeah.

Nate [12:22]: i was not influenced i remember my entire childhood was not in a lab so it was a happy healthy home where i just had a had a disorder so so but but yeah so like everybody else like you start with somebody and then well family members uh were kind of first where was kind of your dad in the mix uh do you do you ever stay in the koa

Adeel [12:47]: Yeah, the camping thing.

Nate [12:48]: Camping ground.

Adeel [12:49]: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nate [12:50]: We used to go there and sleep in one of those small cabins. And my dad is just a big, nice Swedish dude. But he has that good old nice snore at nighttime.

Adeel [13:07]: I was expecting a snore story. Yeah.

Nate [13:11]: And my mom, at that point, she was... she was incredibly compassionate oh sorry one second unplug my headphones she was very compassionate at that point when we would have to go as a family because we didn't have a whole lot of money when we were kids that we used to go and just spend night with cabin and she would make him go sleep in the car so he would go and sleep in our van while we would all sleep in the in the cabins that was really the only thing yeah that was just kind of he's got a beard and so you kind of make extra noises when you breathe and stuff like that other than that and what kind of reactions were you doing other than the headphones was it any acting out or breaking stuff or any way

Adeel [14:07]: No, never breaking anything.

Nate [14:09]: I would... I did the avoidance. Mine was avoidance.

Adeel [14:15]: The flight, yeah.

Nate [14:16]: Yeah, I did the flight. It wasn't really like yelling or screaming. There was, you know, raptor glares and all of that kind of fun stuff. But mine was typically the avoidance. So they would sit down, I would eat until I couldn't stand it and I would just grab my plate and take off.

Adeel [14:34]: And it was cool with them?

Nate [14:36]: Sometimes. Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.

Adeel [14:41]: What about at Waldorf? Did it ever come up at school?

Nate [14:48]: No, I kept it secret.

Adeel [14:52]: Do you remember being a trigger at school? Because some people don't really remember it. No, 100%.

Nate [14:58]: Through high school, through college. It was something that... Somebody would, you know, tap a pencil, do all of those kinds of things that I would just could not stand it. Yeah. But that was attention deficit disorder. Ah.

Adeel [15:16]: So did you get a diagnosis for that?

Nate [15:19]: I got, you know, I mean. I don't really understand what the normal diagnosis is. They were like, do you have problems paying attention? Yes. Do you feel antsy when you're sitting in a choir room? Yes. Okay, you have attention deficit. Super scientific. It wasn't like a blood test or something like that. I've never had beyond... what they that small diagnosis that they gave me so they just were equating it to that did they give you um medication or as i said i got there i got the naturopath one so i got i think it was an iron supplement yeah that you would rub on your you would rub it on your belly

Adeel [16:09]: On your belly, okay.

Nate [16:10]: On your belly. You drove it on your belly, and that was the cure for misophony. I keep saying misophony. I apologize for attention deficit disorder.

Adeel [16:19]: Attention deficit disorder, yeah, okay. And did you ever take anything pharmaceutical or no?

Nate [16:29]: How far do you want to go? Recreationally?

Adeel [16:32]: Oh, yeah. No, no, no, no. That's for another conversation. I mean, for the ADHD.

Nate [16:40]: I never did, no. I never did. I did some, you know, if you had to study when you were in college or something, you could, you know, get some help that way.

Adeel [16:51]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. What about psychotherapy? Was that ever a... No, okay.

Nate [16:59]: I never did, no. No, I never did psychotherapy. Never did therapy at all. It was... Okay.

Adeel [17:05]: Yeah. Because, I mean, there's a lot of therapists that show up at the convention, at the association conventions and whatnot, I'm sure. Actually, I'd be curious. Yeah, now I'm super curious. Like, obviously... Well, as you became an adult, what did Marcia do to help you? Because she talks a lot about different things. Obviously, the Widex headphones that put noise in your ears and whatnot. So from an audiology perspective, you would think that she at some point would want to hook you up to some of those things. Let's talk about what was your... treatment path.

Nate [17:41]: I have been the test dummy for every device known to man. So that is a 100% benefit that if she needs to test something before it goes out to a patient, I've used Widex, I've used the noise-canceling headphones, I've used There's the newer bone conduction headphones just recently. So I've kind of got a firsthand, or not firsthand, but being in the testing phase of some of the things that she's recommended.

Adeel [18:18]: And then what's your hot takes, I guess, on your top ones and your most useless ones?

Nate [18:25]: what are your go-to's the best ones that i ever had not to like name drop or anything but the best ones and it could have been doesn't matter i'm never gonna get a sponsor anyway so yeah whatever you want but that they might have been because they were the first But they were the, I think they've improved them immensely now because they used to itch my ears, but they were the hearing aids. They were those Widex hearing aids that you would connect. I don't even think they connected to the phone. You would just put them in and they would play white noise. And I remember me getting them because my wife and I had moved back from LA and we were living in a small apartment. And she was at that point my number one trigger. And I remember putting them on and eating and sitting across the table from her. And it just blew my mind.

Adeel [19:20]: Yeah, because it takes out all those little, you know, the little, the micro noises.

Nate [19:24]: Exactly. And I thought for the first time, I thought, wow, this is what it's like living with this and managing it. And then I lost, I think I lost one of the hearing aids and they're like $2,800 apiece. And I didn't tell my mom. I just kept it secret from her for quite a while because I was so ashamed. She said, you could have just reported that and you could have used your renter's insurance to pay for it. But I just was really ashamed and I never ended up getting another pair. Now I have the Sony WH-104s. That's what I have too, yeah. Noise cancelling on airplanes, noise cancelling while we travel, noise cancelling at home.

Adeel [20:12]: Are the Widex noise cancelling?

Nate [20:16]: No, they were sound generators. Yeah, okay. I think they have the noise cancelling ones. As I said, I haven't had them since the original...

Adeel [20:26]: trial period that i i got to try them but i think they've gotten much much better in the you know just with technology so yeah yeah yeah um is there anything else you're doing it so obviously yeah like a lot of us got the headphones and some kind of sound going in your ears uh anything else you're doing other than avoidance and uh moving to a different country and trying to build your own build your own enclave moving to an incredibly noisy country uh

Nate [20:57]: What am I doing?

Adeel [20:57]: I don't know any like even psychological things like just kind of thinking about in the moment or just relaxation or just being in touch with the body a little bit more nervous system awareness, you know, stuff like that. I'm curious.

Nate [21:15]: Yeah, I've been doing bagel nerve breathing.

Adeel [21:18]: Yeah. Tell me about that.

Nate [21:19]: Yeah.

Adeel [21:20]: Polyvagal and all that stuff is important. And so I'll connect you to the nervous. So tell me about your vagal breathing.

Nate [21:29]: So it's a process of breathing and I know how to do it, but then I don't know how to explain it. but it's breathing out more than you're breathing in. And I might be backwards on that one.

Adeel [21:41]: No, I think you're right.

Nate [21:43]: Breathing out more than you're breathing in.

Adeel [21:44]: And it's supposed to like breathe. And it's also, I think, sorry to cut you off, but I think it's like very belly related, not about the chest. And it's through the nose. It's all through the nose.

Nate [21:54]: Exactly. So I've been doing that one with just when I'm starting to kind of peak or get over that breaking point. And I actually do it while I'm driving. We do a lot of road trips. And my wife loves crunchy food on road trips. And so I've been doing that, a lot of that, as I am just trying to calm my nerves.

Adeel [22:21]: I can just hear that car crunching and the vagal breathing.

Nate [22:27]: Exactly. And she sees it right away where I'm sitting over there like... yeah but also the other thing in in here we have music everywhere i have music every single place that we ever go i've got alexa or the uh the alexa one of the amazon docs all over the house and so i can ask her to play some nice calming music whenever i need it so that's a been that's been a really good

Adeel [22:56]: totally tangent uh how do you how do you uh how do you uh totally tangent but like with the alexis like if you have so many i have i have some that are next rooms that are next to each other How do you like, other than like whispering to one of them so that you don't turn the other one on, how do you make sure that the right one turns on?

Nate [23:13]: Maybe that's the benefit of concrete construction because yeah, cause I can do it. I can talk to one and then it doesn't, it doesn't talk to the other one, but I also set it up. So like one is in our living room runs in the bedroom. And so that knows.

Adeel [23:27]: Oh, okay. Gotcha.

Nate [23:30]: Yeah, but it's been good. I always say, like, play classical guitar, Alexa. And that's always a really nice one. And then I scream and yell and abuse my artificial intelligence as everyone else does. Yeah, right, right.

Adeel [23:46]: Until they upset you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, okay, cool. No, that's, yeah, very similar to a lot of people. And what about, yeah, you said, like, you know, college, high school, uh, college was kind of like a hundred percent triggers. Uh, like what about friends and stuff as you were growing up and then later into kind of like, uh, Nate, the man, um, did you tell people, were they triggering you?

Nate [24:13]: You know, I've had some of the worst experiences telling people.

Adeel [24:18]: Let's hear it.

Nate [24:19]: My two friends, my two, my two best friends, I've known them since fifth grade. They were, they are very chill, very cool. Um, But outside of them, me sitting down at a dinner table and for some reason it coming up or me bringing it up because somebody is driving me insane has been almost, I don't really like to bring it up to a lot of people anymore because it's almost seen as ridicule and people trying to push your buttons to the breaking point. And I've had that encounter probably five of the 10 people that I've told. And so I don't really bring it up. I sometimes tell people, oh, I work for the Misophonia Association and this is what misophonia is. Just to spread the awareness, not this is my misophonia. But I say, you know, I try to just inform people about what something maybe that there is somebody that might have it. And then they say, oh, I had an uncle that had that. And then maybe a little bit later down, I say, oh, you know, also I have it too. But I found that the gut reaction to it has been a really bad experience for me. and so and they would like mock you or make the sound back to you or or take snap out of it all of the above yeah kind of no not a snap out of it but like is it a sound like this or is it a sound like that i'm like yes yes yes you have death wish exactly yeah i'm like okay it's time to end this dinner party it's time to go home from here but

Adeel [26:15]: Yeah. Have you ever done that? Like, have you pulled a George Costanza and just kind of left the situation? Yeah.

Nate [26:22]: My wife does the North Carolina goodbye. So I don't get to do the Irish goodbye.

Adeel [26:28]: What is that? Like you can't leave and you say goodbye like 17 times. Yeah.

Nate [26:34]: And I'm usually standing at the door with my coat.

Adeel [26:38]: I can see her doing that. I can see her doing that.

Nate [26:41]: Yeah.

Adeel [26:42]: Uh, okay. And, uh, So was there ever a time that you were more open and you just kind of just like after like being wary of it, you've kind of pulled back a little bit?

Nate [26:58]: Was there a time you were like, hey, I'm Margie Johnson's son, and I'm going to tell you about... It's actually one of my favorite experiences. It's one of my favorite experiences is somebody telling me they have misophonia. And then I tell them, you know, my mom is, she works with misophonia.

Adeel [27:17]: Dr. Jack, she's Dr. Jack.

Nate [27:18]: It blows their mind for a little while. They've read the New York Times article or seen something.

Adeel [27:23]: Right, she's quoted.

Nate [27:25]: Exactly. so uh yeah yeah that's that's usually when i really enjoy it meeting somebody else who has it and so that's again i think i'm much better after the conference for about three weeks Because you get so used to talking to people that understand you. And then usually just because that's how life is, you just revert back to, okay, this is where I was before and I'm not going to feel as open as I should. But just because nobody, not a whole lot of people understand you.

Adeel [27:58]: Yeah. So talking to people, whether it's at the convention or not, like what are some of the most, and you're obviously a storyteller, what are some of the most more memorable stories that you remember? For me, it's like things like Lyle, you know, who was the inspiration for this podcast, I have to say. Because you were sitting... I was sitting between you and Lyle, and Lyle's story just lit that light bulb on for me. What are some of the other memorable stories that you remember just through your life?

Nate [28:31]: Yeah, Lyle is just incredible. Just such a heart-open... human being that will tell you though i feel that he has become such a such a like he's he's grown so much through the years that we've known him now and you get to see so much more from him uh other other wow moments meeting you talking to you i think that was really cool uh talking to michael menino Michael Menino is that in mind? Every time I talk to Michael Menino, my life is changed. It's like I don't see when you think about when you when you get the consciousness to think about your own brain for a second. You can't really take that back. And he also has misophonia, so he understands what we're going through. He's not one of those doctors that's like, this is what I think that a brain scan is showing me. He's like, this is the scan of my brain. And I have misophonia, and I know exactly how I feel. So he's mind-blowing as well. Talking, I mean, with those monthly talks that we have too, I think that those are pretty mind blowing as well. You just get to talk to get like those in-depth conversations that you usually don't get. So yeah, talking to my mom about it, to be honest.

Adeel [30:00]: Yeah. Is that something? Yeah. So you said like at the beginning, it wasn't really like you were, there was like a, you know, it wasn't, it just didn't come up at home, whether it was like, you know, um,

Nate [30:13]: their nature of the relationship or just you didn't want to bring her work home but like you guys talk more about it now and kind of what do you guys talk about we do yeah you talk about the cure that she's hiding or we do yeah she's got it in that lock box in her in her closet uh but no we talk about it she's a lot more open in terms of Just trying to just, you know, talking to me about where my where my symptoms lie and and how, you know, some treatment techniques. But to be honest with you, I've heard most of the treatment techniques. So we just go into individual circumstances at this point. And she asks, you know, how does that make you feel and where? Where does your mind go in these situations? So it's just nice to be able to have somebody just to bounce stuff off of that, again, understands you. And I get that a little. And I talk to my wife about it, too. Not that much. We usually don't like to bring it up too much at home.

Adeel [31:13]: yeah so why is that because it's true i mean we don't like to we it's not like you said like we we like to talk about if somebody brings it up because we realize that they're probably suffering they haven't had a chance to talk about it but otherwise this is not something that we enjoy thinking about you know because we want to yeah exactly i have i have a 10 000 things i can talk about before i have to talk about misophonia

Nate [31:39]: work and where we should travel next and, you know, our budget.

Adeel [31:46]: Right, right. For the giant enclave, the villa. Exactly.

Nate [31:54]: So there's always more things to talk about. And when we need to talk about it, I know that Cassie will be open. My wife will be open to discussing it. I know my mom will be open to discussing it. I know my brother or sister will be open to discussing it. But I like to talk about birthdays and their kids and all sorts of other things before I want to talk about my problems.

Adeel [32:17]: So what do your brother and sister now think about misophonia? Yeah. First of all, do they show any symptoms of it? Not at all. No, not at all. And what was, after having grown up and seeing you go through all this stuff, what's their reaction to it? And obviously their mom being the Albert Einstein of misophonia. Godmother. What do they think about it?

Nate [32:45]: You know, it doesn't come up.

Adeel [32:47]: Yeah.

Nate [32:47]: It doesn't come up. No, I think that they understand it. I think that they're kind of, they can be slightly, or my little sister, which is funny, she can be slightly protective of me.

Adeel [33:01]: Okay, yeah.

Nate [33:02]: When it comes to dinner parties or other things like that.

Adeel [33:05]: Yeah, what happens at those, like Christmases at the Johnson, at the Johnson home?

Nate [33:11]: We do not eat as a celebration together. We go on a walk as a celebration together. We, we, we open presents as a celebration together, different things like that. Everyone has, actually, it's kind of nice. Everyone has their own little spot in my parents' house that we all go and we can eat and then we can join back together to play games.

Adeel [33:39]: Oh, fascinating. So why is that? Was it just kind of the way your family is or was it all about you?

Nate [33:46]: It was all about me.

Adeel [33:48]: I'm loud.

Nate [33:51]: I'm the loud one. I'm the loud, or I guess my whole family is loud, but I'm pretty loud. And so, and I'm, if I don't want something or I don't like something, I let everybody know pretty quickly that I do not want, I do not want that. And I do not want to be here and I will go and I will sit somewhere else. And so everyone else just kind of took, took, took note. And.

Adeel [34:14]: Oh, so it is kind of, you were kind of the, a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha.

Nate [34:19]: Yeah. I'm a diet influencer or a dinner table influencer.

Adeel [34:25]: Dinner table influencer. That's very 2024. Nobody's heard about it yet. Cool. Okay. Fascinating. Okay. So, yeah, that's interesting. I mean, yeah, why does eating have to be the, of all the things that people can do together, why does eating have to be the thing? It doesn't.

Nate [34:43]: That's true. I mean, I think that it goes back to, I don't know, that American ideal. You know, sit around you. This is the American dream is to sit around a table with your family and eat dinner. You know, they used to have those cables with like the king in England. Yeah, they were all straight here.

Adeel [35:03]: Yeah.

Nate [35:04]: My husband would be here.

Adeel [35:06]: Right. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nate [35:08]: Like 35 feet apart.

Adeel [35:10]: Right. I'm digging that. Yeah.

Nate [35:12]: Yeah. Bring it back.

Adeel [35:14]: Yeah. Yeah. 2025 maybe. Very cool. Okay. And what about down in Mexico? How is the awareness of misophonia, if at all?

Nate [35:26]: I think it's next to none. I haven't really done... I think that there was someone at the conference last year that was talking to me. She was an anthropologist. And she was talking about its effect on places outside of the developed world. So like talking about misophonia in developing countries. Because sometimes it's, you know. I don't know if it's a privileged lifestyle that leads to this, or it might be upbringing, nurture, nature, whatever. But I haven't really done a whole lot of research down here, to be honest. I don't really know enough to know, but I know that she was looking into it. So maybe I could find her and I could maybe introduce you guys at some point.

Adeel [36:26]: Yeah, that'd be an interesting topic to me. It's a slightly different topic than my question, but definitely related. Yeah, because it has crossed obviously everybody's mind. I mean, there have been some older people who've come on the podcast, and so it definitely goes back many, many decades. But yeah, you're right. The thought that even crosses my mind is, okay, well, maybe it's just like a modern phenomenon. real but still a modern phenomena that might be linked to a more developed country a lot of our needs are met and so now there are maybe other things that that can affect your nervous system that we notice exactly so i have met people here that have it but unfortunately every single person that i've met is american or canadian Okay, expats. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nate [37:22]: Gotcha.

Adeel [37:23]: Okay.

Nate [37:24]: That's not only the people I meet, but that's the only people I've talked to.

Adeel [37:26]: Yeah. What is maybe, do you get a sense for like just in general mental health kind of awareness issues in the Mexican country?

Nate [37:38]: It doesn't feel like it. No, no, it doesn't feel like there's not as much being from Portland, Oregon, where you get to see it front and center.

Adeel [37:47]: Mm-hmm.

Nate [37:49]: you don't see it as much here because of the family structure. And so nobody, I won't say no one, but a lot of people aren't put into homeless, houseless situations.

Adeel [38:05]: Because it's multiple generations living together.

Nate [38:10]: Yep, and it's family structure and even if they have some sort of some sort of issue or mental disorder they are not put out onto the streets they're taken care of here so you don't really get to see it a whole lot right okay okay which is beautiful i mean it's you walk around in the streets and you know you go to any of the villages it's not there's you know there's substance abuse issues but there's not you don't get to see that mental disorders as you did in portland

Adeel [38:43]: Gotcha. Okay. Okay. And so, um, yeah, I mean, let's talk about maybe work wise, like where, what do you, what do you do now? You do a lot, you guys will do a lot of different things, which is nice. It's diversified, but like, have you ever had an office job? Nate Johnson?

Nate [38:58]: Ooh, yes, I have. When I was 23 years old and that was, I was 23 to 28 years old. I worked as a, in front office management at a hotel.

Adeel [39:09]: Okay. So,

Nate [39:12]: I used to have to go out, meet guests that were angry. One of my jobs when I was 23 was to go out and meet all of the celebrities. I had to go out and check them all in. For some reason, that was my task at the hotel. There was actually one woman named Angel. She was just not an angel at all. My employees knew that when she would come up, I would disappear into the back because she had a gum issue.

Adeel [39:46]: Oh, okay.

Nate [39:47]: I would always walk into the back. But outside of that, after I was – I guess it was 2012, I never had an office job. On purpose? I think so. Yeah, I think so. I think I just started designing my life around – I worked as a designer. So I was like a landscape designer. So I got to work in an office by myself in my house. And then the rest of the time was spent burning calories outside. And now I'm fully remote working as a web developer. So I have meetings and I have all of that stuff. But I don't ever have to be in one place if I don't feel like it.

Adeel [40:36]: Right, right. Yeah. That's great. Optionality, as we talked about earlier. Exactly.

Nate [40:42]: You got to have options. You have to, you know, you can't keep, you know, it's like staying seated at a dinner table that's not very friendly. You got to have those options so you can jump to the next place, right?

Adeel [40:57]: Right. And so you guys, are you planning, obviously, anything about your life that you want to tweak in your kind of life design? Obviously, you have a lot of agency where you are right now, obviously. You're remote and the future looks bright because you're working on that. The villa. Yes. Anything else you have planned?

Nate [41:23]: We just bought a sprinter van.

Adeel [41:26]: Okay.

Nate [41:28]: For the road trips. For the road trips. It's not designed or built yet. but we bought we bought one and we kind of just went out on a on a my wife has wanted to do it and i thought it was kind of an interesting idea we actually did live in a van in portugal for a couple of nights it was like a week uh and we actually it went went pretty well because i can get out and i can walk around and i can get out yeah it feels almost like camping almost so that's uh that's gonna be a new adventure

Adeel [42:03]: Yeah.

Nate [42:03]: So I'm going to have to design or build this van so that we can live in it for three weeks at a time and not go crazy. Right. So that's going to be maybe, you know, having some white noise machines everywhere and figuring out how to work inside of it on rainy days.

Adeel [42:22]: Right, right, right, right, right. Yeah, that'll be interesting. So you plan to take that on long trips and just kind of live?

Nate [42:29]: Exactly. Mostly around Mexico, but we're talking maybe just driving it through Central America into South America, going as far as we can, maybe to the edge of the world.

Adeel [42:39]: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Interesting. Okay. What are, in your travels, any interesting, have you met misophones where you have traveled, Portugal or whatever?

Nate [42:53]: uh sometimes yeah yeah yeah yeah we have um well oddly enough not to bring up my mom i don't know about bringing my mom over and over and over again in this podcast but we were in we were in mexico city yeah and visiting my older brother who was living there at the time oh okay yeah and we were sitting down at a a restaurant and this woman came up and she said are you dr marshall johnson yeah she said i just heard or i just listened to the npr episode and i had a picture of you on oh wow yes celebrity i need to put my picture up more often exactly yeah you gotta yeah um but other than that uh sometimes i mean I'm trying to think if I've discussed it too much on my travels. I get to deal with it on my travels a lot.

Adeel [43:55]: Yeah, yeah.

Nate [43:56]: But I haven't found myself discussing it all that much. I feel like in Spain and in Portugal, I did talk about it a couple of times over some beers with some other people.

Adeel [44:09]: Okay, okay.

Nate [44:11]: But I can't put a face to the name or a name in place. Right, right, right.

Adeel [44:16]: Um, any, any memorable, like, uh, triggers? I mean, you don't have to, like, obviously try to explain triggers, but in some other countries, like, what, or any place you would want to avoid?

Nate [44:27]: Oh. Places where there's just offend, offend large areas of the world.

Adeel [44:36]: Yeah. Well, let's just try to do it in a, yeah, let's do it in a way that just offend, uh,

Nate [44:43]: offend a place or society yeah places where eating with their mouth open okay okay yeah yeah yeah yeah i think they i think people know where those places are right right right right um so i think that that's a that's one that i've been i've been there and i've tried to kind of avoid going back there at least just just eating wise um places that are too crowded for me.

Adeel [45:14]: Yeah. So it's like even just noise, like city, like certain types of background noise and certain cities that just have like a not good background noise. It could maybe just be you.

Nate [45:26]: So it's more like high vibration cities.

Adeel [45:28]: Okay. Okay.

Nate [45:29]: So I always feel like that, like the rolling countryside of, of, of countries is beautiful where you can just go and, you know, breathe out fresh air and breathe in the same thing. And I feel that in these high frequency cities where maybe my tension is already around my throat or around my shoulders. Those places seem to be the worst for me. Or places where people don't respect the personal bubble conversation.

Adeel [46:05]: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Nate [46:07]: Most of Europe, most of Mexico, most of South America. Yeah. Yeah. So those kind of places where you'll be like waiting in line and somebody will walk up and you can feel their breath on the back of your neck. Right. Turn around and be like, OK, all right. It's time to it's time to give me a little bit of. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I feel like those places are, you know, those stressor points. And then obviously just the normal trains, planes, automobiles. Right.

Adeel [46:41]: Yeah. Those are. Right.

Nate [46:42]: Right. They just, you know, 18 hour flights are going to be stressful no matter what.

Adeel [46:48]: and that's why you got your Sonys around your ears.

Nate [46:51]: Exactly, yeah. These things have great battery life. And I have a set of Bose and then I have a set of the AirPods. So I'm like covered for... Yeah, I'm stacked. I just keep rolling through.

Adeel [47:08]: Gotcha. Okay, okay. Yeah, no, very interesting. And I know that you do... I don't think you do a lot, well, you've done in the past, like teaching English and whatnot, like teaching remotely. Has that ever been an issue? Because, you know, sometimes people are on calls, you know, with groups and it's just like somebody's got the mouth sounds or they're, or, and, or they're eating. How do you deal with online meetings? Oh, man. And obviously you run the convention, so you must be quite. Experience.

Nate [47:42]: I run the sound on the convention. Yeah. Yeah. So I've had a couple of experiences. I've had a couple of experiences, not professionally, thank God. But a couple of experiences doing teaching where I've had to tell the, you know, if it's a student or if it's, you know, somebody I've said, hey, why don't we why don't we save the eating to the end? You know, as respectfully as you can be. Right. With meetings, I think that there's been a couple of people that it's almost like the same as the dinner time. I don't tell them I have it. I tell them about it. And sometimes that is like a helpful thing.

Adeel [48:28]: Connect the dots, kid. Connect the dots.

Nate [48:30]: Exactly. Exactly. Let them find, let them discover their own annoying habits on their own. You know, it's the teachings. teach a man to fish, right? So maybe I'm like, yeah, you know that there's people in the world that have an auditory processing disorder or another sound sensitivity that makes it so they don't like the sound of you eating chips. I have headphones on right on my ears.

Adeel [48:57]: Yeah, visual clues there. Speaking of visuals, mesokinesia, visual triggers, is that in Nate's list? I feel like we talked about that. Maybe it wasn't so much of a big deal for you.

Nate [49:15]: It's not. No, I'm very much auditory.

Adeel [49:19]: You can stare at Cassie eating and doing and crunching those chips and it's totally fine.

Nate [49:24]: Do I want to? No. No, yeah. If I can't hear her, is the movement of her body, is that bothering me? No. It's not a big, huge issue. I do have something with, I do not, I think it's because of eating, but I do not like people touching their face.

Adeel [49:47]: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nate [49:49]: I mean, that's as far as misokinesia is. I don't like people that do this. I don't like people that do this.

Adeel [49:58]: Nate is putting hands on his face in various forms and formats.

Unknown Speaker [50:03]: Yeah.

Nate [50:04]: They can cover an eye, but just don't. I mean, that's as far as it goes. I don't have it when it comes to eating, the look of somebody eating. But I do have that small thing. But it almost feels a little bit like an obsessive compulsive disorder. It's like a compulsive disorder when I do that.

Adeel [50:26]: Interesting.

Nate [50:27]: I want that control. I want to take the control and tell them, please don't touch your face or don't do this or don't do that.

Adeel [50:34]: Right. Right. Right. Interesting. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Um, yeah, you know, we're heading, uh, a little, sorry, a bit early. We're heading, uh, almost, almost an hour. And this always flies by, even though we've, you know, we've talked in the past, I've only learned some of it and, you know, you had siblings and what your origin story was. Um, uh, Yeah, I mean, I haven't talked to Marsha in a while. We can bring her up one last time because I'm sure people are interested in what is her latest, like, what's her latest thinking and what she... I mean, it's kind of interesting that, you know, the conventions and all these events, like, she's seen everything, pretty much, in terms of including some, like, crackpot stuff. It's, like, very established things. But still, she doesn't have... There is no panacea. There is no... there's no miracle that she knows about and in fact she doesn't it's not like you may be the guinea pig for a lot of stuff but there's nothing that you know that's kind of the go to for you that she's given you as kind of a pure treatment right I'll be the last to know okay when you find out you can let me know if she tells you but I don't think I'm going to be the one that she's going to give it I'm not going to be the one she's going to give it to you you're not going to be the first one

Nate [51:53]: Not the first one. For the devices, sure, but no, if it's the penicillin of misophonia.

Adeel [52:02]: My point was more that she's seen everything as a message to the audience, a reminder, there is no cure. Even you, with you, she doesn't... There's no single go-to thing that you guys are doing. It's very much a multimodal... I think you're not, you're not spending, you're not flying over and spending thousands of dollars to get some weird, um, FMRI or something or magnetic something else, you know? Exactly. Yeah.

Nate [52:34]: And I think it's, I think it's gonna, I think that I honestly think it's going to come down when it, when it comes to treatments, I feel that it's so individualistic because it's, I mean, I can't really, I can't really speak to that to be honest with you, but, um,

Adeel [52:53]: i just feel like we're all on the same journey but we all just have these different it's just such a different past but yeah i mean i think it is it's not something like consistent that we're so many of us are born with it's not like yeah so that's why i don't think a pill is going to i don't think it's that kind of thing

Nate [53:11]: no no but there are there are i mean through the years through the 10 years that i've been working with it and for the 20 something years that i've been dealing with it I found things that I wish that there was more consistency in my life in terms of I think that's maybe where the professionals can help you out is because they continue to push that consistency with things that work, because through the years I've had revelations, I've had times where I'm thinking this is. manageable this is something that i can just i can live with and then there's other times in my life where i'm saying there's this is i cannot live with this anymore it's too much for me i wish there was just some some magic pill out there that i wouldn't have to live with any this anymore but uh through through the years i mean i feel that that's been uh just a wonderful thing that there is no cure but i mean beyond beyond that there are some treatments that really really really help like what like what are those are those some things you're talking about yeah the bagel breathing the noise generators i actually just talking to you right now i'm gonna i'm gonna go back and look for those again because that was that was the best time that i feel that i i've had it i've had misophonia that was the best i've ever felt those white acts yeah because i could take them off i would take them off and sit down with my wife at a dinner table and not have the same sensation I kept saying it. It was almost like it would take something out of it. It would take something out of the trigger. It would almost weaken the trigger down.

Adeel [55:11]: Even taking the wide-exes out of your ears, and so they're not there?

Nate [55:14]: Yeah, yeah.

Adeel [55:15]: Okay.

Nate [55:17]: There was something, maybe at that time it was a lot more visual stuff, so they would take away that anticipation of like, you know, sitting down and being on edge. So not being on edge over and over and over again started to kind of whittle it down a little bit more and more.

Adeel [55:37]: Maybe just calm that nervous system. Exactly. Or just maybe, like I tell people, just knowing that you could use the device maybe calms you down a bit.

Nate [55:48]: And Widex, do the right thing. You know exactly what it is. Sponsorship.

Unknown Speaker [55:55]: Right.

Adeel [55:56]: Yeah. No one has ever called my phone for that purpose.

Nate [56:03]: No, me neither. I ran into that. I actually checked when I was in that hospitality job. I I had to go and meet the president of Widex. He was checking into our hotel for a conference and I had to check him in. And I had I had met him at a previous party in Minnesota. And I said, yeah, I said it was that I think it was a Buzz Aldrin's house.

Adeel [56:29]: oh wow okay um but i said i met you before i went to your house so yeah yeah so he knows who i i mean yeah yeah yeah yeah i mean and you're marsha johnson's yeah i mean you can go rock down the the audiology red carpet anytime you want exactly um Well, yeah, those are good tips. I mean, anything else you want to share, Nate, on the record as we kind of wind down? This has been super helpful. Getting that whole backstory, the other side of Marcia, but then also just mainly your life story and kind of like your thoughts and what your current thinking is. Anything else you want to share with people?

Nate [57:16]: if you haven't if you're i mean for your audience if you have never talked to somebody that has misophonia before if you've lived this by yourself your entire life or for you know if you're young and you're afraid to talk to your friends about it find a community or you know, reach out to the association or come to the conference or, you know, just do something in your life that you can talk to somebody about this because it's such a, it's such a brighter world when you're able to voice it to people that understand. So that would be my final thought.

Adeel [57:58]: Yeah. And, and just to give you, you guys a plug, like if somebody can't find a community, you can watch people talk about it by, uh, checking out the videos from the conventions. Do you want to tell people how to how to get in touch?

Nate [58:10]: Yeah. So the main website for the association is And we have our own kind of we had a separate website called Misophonia videos dot com. It's part of the association where we house all the videos from the conference. We have actually monthly talks with experts about this Q&A.

Adeel [58:38]: Not all of our experts, especially that guy in February.

Nate [58:41]: The last one was just a quack. No, it was so nice to talk to you. But yeah, we have monthly talks so you can ask experts outside of the convention. It was kind of during the pandemic that we thought of that. the Q&A is because I just thought one time a year having a conference is just not enough to connect people. So I just wanted to continue to connect people throughout the year. But that's our plug. If you want to follow my journeys on Native Nomads.

Adeel [59:14]: Yeah, that's another thing we should plug. I'll have links to all these. But yeah, Native Nomads on the web and Instagram.

Nate [59:20]: Instagram and all the social media.

Adeel [59:23]: I'm sure I'm subscribing. I'm going to be double checking it. nighttime is when I do my kind of YouTube education. So I'll make sure I'm subscribed to you.

Nate [59:31]: Yeah.

Adeel [59:32]: Yeah.

Nate [59:32]: Like and subscribe. And if you hit the bell, I don't know.

Adeel [59:36]: Yeah. I was going to say, there's usually a bell people add to kind of wake me up or triggers me.

Nate [59:42]: That's mostly all the plugs that I have. But I mean, I just, I just think that what you're doing is just an incredible thing. it's just spreading. I think, I think it's, we're going to be looked back and we're going to look back on these times and just say like, we're so happy. Number one, we met each other, but then we're so happy that we, when, when nobody else really believed that it was a real thing that we were spreading it with as many people as possible.

Adeel [60:09]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, I think about that too. I mean, I tend to, it's, it can be frustrating at times, but I'm attracted to topics that, like this unfortunately i have the issue but like where it seems like we're kind of ahead of the curve of something very important that people are like society's not paying attention to or they're kind of dismissing so um i'm glad we're kind of doing this together and uh yeah i hope to see you again soon and uh thanks for all you do for spreading the word and uh um yeah and thanks to your mom yeah thanks one more one more plug yeah yeah yeah And, uh, yeah, I'll see Cassie too, uh, when, you know, at a, at a future convention or otherwise. Yeah.

Nate [60:53]: November 1st.

Adeel [60:54]: Or housewarming for your, uh, for, for the, uh, estate.

Nate [60:58]: Exactly. Exactly. When, when we have it, when I actually, when I have the, the misophonia designed house, we'll, we'll do another episode or something. All that.

Adeel [61:08]: Oh yeah. I'll fly down there. Okay, cool.

Nate [61:10]: Yeah. Yeah. We can do, you can be in one house. I can be in the other.

Adeel [61:14]: Yeah.

Nate [61:14]: But, um, But yeah, we'll have to talk and I'll tell you how it went.

Adeel [61:20]: All right. Well, thanks for coming on, Nate.

Nate [61:23]: Thanks for having me.

Adeel [61:24]: Thank you, Nate. Great to chat again and hope to see you again in person soon. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast. You can hit me up by email at or go to the website, It's usually easiest to send a message on Instagram, at Misophonia Podcast, follow there, or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast, and on Twitter, it's Misophonia Show. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at slash misophoniapodcast. Theme music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [62:14]: Thank you. you