Kristina - Bulgarian mom navigates misophonia and motherhood

S7 E13 - 10/13/2023
In this episode, Adeel converses with Kristina from Bulgaria, focusing on her struggles and experiences with misophonia. Kristina shares her journey, starting from her early detection of misophonia when she noticed her sensitivity to her mother's breathing following a surgery. She recounts how, growing up in Bulgaria, discussing mental health issues was taboo, which led her to silently battle misophonia without seeking help. The conversation covers Kristina's time living in Canada, her return to Bulgaria, and embracing motherhood while dealing with misophonia, especially regarding fears of passing it to her child. She discusses the effectiveness of earplugs in managing her condition and the significance of having a support system. Adeel and Kristina reflect on the challenges of seeking recognition and proper diagnoses for misophonia in different cultural and healthcare contexts, its absence from the DSM, and the collective grassroots journey of those suffering from misophonia. Kristina emphasizes the importance of raising awareness and being supportive to individuals dealing with misophonia, especially in Bulgaria, where mental health issues are often stigmatized.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 7, Episode 13. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Kristina, who is in Bulgaria. We talk about being a new mom, heading back to a hybrid work environment, being an advocate for Misophonia in Bulgaria. being triggered by children and family members, and much more. After the show, let me know what you think. You can reach out by email at hello at or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. And if you can, please head over and leave a quick rating or review wherever you listen to the show, whether it's Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever. It really helps us drive us up in the algorithms, which helps us reach more misophones. A few of my usual announcements. Thanks again for the incredible ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at slash misophonia podcast. And of course, I want to mention the book Sounds Like Misophonia that Dr. Jane Gregory and I worked on is out now in the UK and will be released in the US on November 14th. And it's basically a self-help book based on everything we know about misophonia and primarily on the research of Dr. Jane Gregory in her clinic at Oxford. This episode is also sponsored by my personal journaling app that I developed called Bazel. Bazel provides AI-powered insights into your journal entries and guides you with new writing prompts based on those insights. You can explore many different therapy approaches and philosophies. It's available on iOS and Android. Check the show notes or go to All right, now here's my conversation with Christina. Christina, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you here.

Kristina [1:57]: Hi, thank you so much for having me. I'm actually really excited. I've never been on a podcast, so I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you.

Adeel [2:05]: Yeah, no, awesome. Yeah, great to have you. I'm looking forward to the conversation. Yeah, do you want to maybe just start off by just kind of telling us kind of where you are, what you do?

Kristina [2:13]: Yeah, of course. I was currently based in Bulgaria. It's an Eastern European country. I live in the capital, Sofia. But I lived in Vancouver for about seven years. We actually moved there when I was 15 years old with my mom, who basically tricked me into thinking we're going on a vacation. And I willfully went. But it turned out that it was not a vacation. We were staying there. So quite honestly, that was a little bit traumatic for me at the time because I was 15. I'm in my teenage years and, you know, it was just such a big change of scenery. Like it was really difficult for me. But nonetheless, I mean, I am back from where I came from and I'm actually here. I moved back by myself and I'm living right now with my partner and we have a kid together. But actually my family is still in Vancouver. Like my mom, my dad and my brother still live there. So I do have a lot of family here, but my immediate family is actually there.

Adeel [3:13]: Wow, I'm sure we're all curious a little bit about that story, but we'll try to start with the Mesophonia stuff.

Kristina [3:20]: I know, I know.

Adeel [3:21]: Yeah, this is very interesting. I mean, I'm actually from Canada. I grew up in Ottawa, so it's interesting.

Kristina [3:29]: yeah that's you know what something I really regret is not traveling a lot when I was in Canada I mean because at the time I remember that you know domestic flights were even more expensive than for example going to like Mexico or something so at the time we couldn't really afford traveling that much within Canada but actually I have a dream to go back and maybe explore a little bit more but I guess it will happen when my son is a little bit older because traveling there, it takes a lot of time to get to Bangkok with an airplane.

Adeel [3:58]: Yeah, for sure. So yeah, do you want to, yeah, actually, since we're talking about kind of back then when you had stuff going on, do you want to talk about, I guess, your Misophonia origin stories and kind of how you started noticing it?

Kristina [4:16]: Yeah, I actually started noticing it. I think my earliest memories were when I was maybe around 10 years old because my mom and I used to go sleep. My mom and my dad are divorced. And I mean, the dad that I'm mentioning in Canada is actually my stepdad, but I still call him dad. okay yeah and uh we were co-sleeping in uh on you know in one room and she actually had a surgery where she had her thyroid removed and that actually caused her to not be able to breathe very well she's still not breathing well And when she was actually falling into deep sleep, she would whistle like with her mouth and her nose and everything. And I wasn't hearing it for a long time, but at some point I started hearing it. And it was just like. what's going on like what's the sound and i think i was able to maybe put it off for a little bit but they really really bothered me and as most misophonics you know it's like i started thinking oh my gosh what's wrong with me why can i not fall asleep like like what's what's the issue and um it went on for some time but i never said a word like i actually started speaking about it like very recently and now i'm 31. So it took me a very long time to get to where I am. But I've been suffering with it for almost my whole life. And at the time, I remember going to a pharmacy to buy something. And the lady in front of me, she bought earplugs. And I overheard her buying earplugs. And I was like, earplugs? What is that? Why would people use that? And I was like, you know what? I'm going to try and get that. And I got the earplugs, went back home, put them in, you know, those like foamy, like the very basic ones. Yeah. And I went to sleep and it was my sleep improved like tremendously, obviously. with the earplugs, but I would still be able to hear it from time to time. It would still trigger me. But I think that I didn't really have the awareness that I was suffering with it at the time. Mentally, I knew there was something that was bothering me, but I really put it off for a very long time and was just putting it on the side. And as life goes on, I continue to sleep with earplugs. Since I was 10 or 12 years old, I don't even remember. Until now, I still sleep with earplugs. Because one of my main triggers is breathing, like loud breathing. Yeah. And yeah.

Adeel [6:47]: And so, yeah, okay. And you never mentioned anything, right? It sounds like you bottled everything up.

Kristina [6:53]: Yeah. The thing is that in Bulgaria, where I'm from, generally speaking, mental issues or like any sort of like mental problems are very... brushed off to the side. Especially at the time when I was growing up in Bulgaria, it was just like, nobody talks about that. Nobody shares emotions. Nobody says things like, I love you. It was just like, very, very difficult to put myself out there because it felt like not a safe place to put myself out there. I didn't feel like anybody would ever understand what I was going through. So I never said anything. Even when I went back to Canada, I would just isolate myself from the situations that I've found to be difficult and i just accepted it i was like okay this is just part of me uh it's something that i have to deal with but it is what it is and and i think that it was just like at a point where i was really struggling with with it that i found out that it had a name to it and it all spiraled spiraled from there i guess the whole misophonia yeah i was gonna ask right how uh right how how it is in bulgaria culturally in terms of uh talking about uh mental health um

Adeel [8:01]: yeah and and so how do you like if somebody has an issue like how well first of all i'm just curious uh how is it how's it messaged to you that you're not supposed to talk about mental health in general is there i don't know is there shaming that kind of goes on or is it in the media um i would say that it's it's just the people the culture the culture is more like okay you have you have an issue well it's your issue and you're being a baby about it like grow up or like

Kristina [8:30]: You know what? Go take a walk. I think everything can be solved with just like, oh, it's okay. Fresh air, exercise, sleep. It will pass. It will pass. Don't worry. I think that once I got the courage to talk to my mom about it and she was like, oh just write on a piece of paper and like you know just throw it away and you will let it go and I'm like sure mom okay you know what I appreciated her yeah I did appreciate her trying but you know it was not can you give me this giant stack of paper mom because I need to I need to say a lot yeah you know what it's it is getting better right now with the mental health advocacy and generally speaking people are becoming way more open to it like All my friends, like the circle of my friends, most of them know what therapy is. Some of them have been to therapy regarding different issues. Obviously, I've been to therapy here in Bulgaria. Like in Canada, I never went to therapy, but here in Bulgaria, I did. And it wasn't for misophonia, actually. It was for something else.

Adeel [9:32]: um and yeah i think you were wanting to ask me something but yeah well i was gonna no no no no worries this is all free free form uh yeah i was gonna ask um yeah around that time so it sounds like it was around age 10 or 12. uh was that around was that shortly after um the divorce happened i'm just curious what was going on around that time

Kristina [9:53]: yeah no actually my parents got divorced when i was two uh and my dad was never part of my life he still really isn't um but we actually lived in his house it's really interesting um so the thing is that we when he actually he had an affair and he went on to have another marriage and i have a stepsister from that marriage but my grandmother who is um her his mom She was like, OK, that's all wrong. Like, if this is what you want, like your daughter and your wife are staying with me and you're going to live with your new wife. And that's what happened. It was really weird dynamic that I'm like, I became familiar with it when I grew up. Obviously, nobody told me at the time what was going on, but I think they just wanted to kind of keep my comfort. But something that I do really remember at the time that really had an impact on me was the fact that I learned that I had a sister. They never told me until I was like older. And she actually lived like 30 minutes away from my house and we never met. So that was really weird and interesting. Like we now know each other. We do have some sort of a relationship, but it's definitely not like a really close relationship. So I was like, wow, like I always wanted to have a sibling. And now I realize I have one, but it's never going to be like, you know, having a sibling to grow up with, obviously.

Adeel [11:12]: When did they tell you that? When you were how much older?

Kristina [11:15]: I think it was 10 or 12. Yeah, around that age between 10, 12. Around that time. Yeah, around that time.

Adeel [11:20]: Was it kind of like a jarring kind of traumatic experience learning about that?

Kristina [11:25]: I was shocked. I was definitely shocked. It actually was my grandmother that told me. My dad didn't tell me. My mom didn't tell me. And I was like, why couldn't you tell me earlier? But I think it was just so much more complicated than just coming to tell me because... There's other people who are involved, obviously, like the other sides of the family, I guess, like my stepsister's mom and whatnot. So I'm not really sure what influence she had then, but there was influence for sure since they made that decision.

Adeel [11:55]: Yeah, and I'm asking just because, you know, as you've heard episodes... there's often some, like, you know, slightly traumatic situations that kind of accompany Misfonias. I'm not just trying to get gossip. Yeah, no, of course.

Kristina [12:09]: No, totally. It might have been that, but I just didn't think I have the mental capacity at the time to put, like, two and two together and say, okay, this is why this is leading me to this. I still don't really know, but from what I've read and heard, there is some sort of a trigger that really shows up earlier in age. And from then, I guess... it's just a different journey for everyone. So, yeah.

Adeel [12:33]: So, okay. So yeah, getting back to your, yeah, your, your initial trigger being, being a mom breathing, did you start to, did you start to develop other triggers like, you know, the mouth sounds and other things or did it stay the breathing?

Kristina [12:46]: Yeah. The breathing is the main one for sure. And it was really funny because I listened to the episode with Nina, which I think was the last one. Yeah. And she said that her partner has like some issue with his nose. My partner has the same issue. And I don't know what it is about that that misophonics get with people who trigger them all the time. And it's kind of like, you know what? It's bittersweet in a way because obviously you love that person so much and they love you back. And both of you have issues. And it's really like even for me to talk to him about it, I didn't tell him like until very like recently, a couple of years ago, I said, because we've been together for like seven years. And... It was challenging for me in the beginning because I would just lash out without explaining why I'm lashing out. And it felt so bad for him, for me. He's like, what's wrong with you? And I'm like, yeah, what's wrong with me? What's wrong with you?

Adeel [13:44]: Well, did you know what mishponya was at that time when you were lashing out?

Kristina [13:49]: You know what? I think I started to hear about it at the time, but I was just like, okay, I know it's that, but I didn't really think that people take it seriously because it wasn't part of a regular diagnosis or disorders. And I was just like, okay, maybe it's something that's made up, but obviously the time I learned it's not really made up. I'm living it. It's very true and very real.

Adeel [14:15]: Gotcha. Okay, so you're lashing out, but at some point, were you able to find the words to kind of explain it and kind of figure out a way to make it work?

Kristina [14:25]: I've been trying, actually, very recently, I would say, for the past one or two years. I really started to try to bring more awareness, especially in Bulgaria, because absolutely no one's heard about it. Maybe in different countries, yes, but here, absolutely no one. And I started to speak about it and I started to bring more awareness and some people have reached out to me to tell me oh my God, like I totally get what you're saying. I had no idea that there is like a name to it, that this is what might, you know, might be happening to me. And that really triggered me to speak about it, even though my audience is very judgmental and difficult to talk to here in Bulgaria. I assumed that if I was in Canada, it would be much more easier and people would be more accepting. hear people just assume that you're just complaining maybe a bit too much and it's really hard for them to get into your head but you know what for me i started to realize that it's really important for me to just set my own boundaries and not make people change their lifestyle and their habits because it's really difficult when you you know i've been chewing with your mouth open for your whole life to just simply switch and change because i'm feeling uncomfortable with it But I would try to tell people, look, I have this issue. I have this problem. It's really difficult for me. And if you can't stop doing it, then I'm just going to remove myself from the situation. And I made peace with that because for some people that might seem like, oh, it's so isolating. It's so difficult. It must be so hard. But for me, it's just not hard at all because I'm protecting my mental space and protecting myself. And you know what? Why would I sit at the table where I just can't sit like I'm physically feeling like I'm going to punch you in the face? Let me just get out and we're still fine. We're still cool. But most likely I will have to avoid you in these situations. And that's fine.

Adeel [16:20]: Yeah, that's great. Yeah. Yeah, you're right. You raised an interesting point. A lot of people who don't have this point just assume that it's going to be isolating and they kind of tend to try to assume they know more about a condition than they might actually. If leaving the situation works and we can make it work, then we're probably fine with that.

Kristina [16:44]: absolutely I mean in Bulgaria people are very famous for giving you advice that's not wanted and you know it's just like just in Bulgaria but yeah yeah probably I mean especially like close like relatives I mean oh my god they're just yeah they're very into your personal space but you know i think with time you really like learn to protect yourself at least for me it took me a long time but you know i'm still not where i want to be a hundred percent but yeah do you wear um do you wear earplugs uh now like with your husband with your sorry with your partner and stuff Yeah, well, sometimes, quite honestly, I feel like from what I've listened to other misophonics share and generally speaking, I don't think I have it. I have like a really... I think I have a better tolerance, generally speaking. I don't have it this bad, if I can say it this way. But still, as far as earplugs, I wear them when they go to sleep 100%. During the day, I would probably be wearing my... I have Samsung buds and they have really good noise cancellation. and I'm wearing them right now actually and sometimes I would wear them and that would get me into trouble because my partner would be saying asking me something and I wouldn't hear him and he's like oh my god just like remove your earphones so you can hear me and I'm like I'm sorry but you know it's I'm trying to do something and you're sitting here and like breathing loud and I know you don't want to do that and you're not really realizing it's happening but I can hear it and I'm struggling and we live in a small apartment and it's just difficult to, you know, to be in that situation. So I actually stopped using the foam ones a long time ago. I'm actually using like swimmers earplugs if you've seen those silicone ones.

Adeel [18:30]: Oh, okay. Yeah. Designed for swimmers?

Kristina [18:34]: yeah they're designed for swimmers um the brand i think um can i say a brand i don't even know yeah of course yeah okay it's it's called they're called max um okay i think that they're like the number one swimmers earplugs on amazon that's where i got them from and i actually in the beginning i didn't just didn't know how to place them properly but uh with time i learned how to use them properly and for sleeping at night not during the day just for sleeping at night they do wonders because I was actually really worried when I gave birth to my child I was like okay how am I gonna do this like I'm gonna wear earplugs and what if he's crying and I can't hear him like but he sleeps in our room so obviously I can hear him if he if he gets loud so that's okay I've also gotten the loop ones but I never it's so weird I bought them and I never even tried using them it's almost like

Adeel [19:26]: Honestly, same here.

Kristina [19:26]: Yeah, it's like, yeah, I don't know. I don't know what's the deal. Like, I know that people are really satisfied with them. But for me, I just have them. I'm staring at them. I'm like, just if you're right, like, I mean, at the end of the day, I just like if I have my buds in, I'm just listening to a podcast or, you know, getting some information in like, as I'm trying to isolate myself.

Adeel [19:46]: I'm not really into the, yeah, I mean, the passive stuff, passive, well, I mean, passive earplugs, yeah, like the things like the foam and the loop earplugs, I find them I'd rather have something that I can, yeah, like you said, listen to something over, you know. What is the difference between the, I don't know if it looks simple, but what is the difference between the swimmer earplugs and, like, the loops or, like, foam earplugs?

Kristina [20:10]: Well, the swimmer earplugs, they're just very... much more isolate isolating and they can mold they can mold to the shape of your ear so you mold them like based on the size of your um the size of your ear so they're pre-molded so you have to order them custom no they actually come in a bit there's like a big bag and they come into little circles and then those little like circles you just split them in two and then you just mold them however you want them to to fit in your ear um but i just read so many positive reviews and i was like okay like i have to try this i mean people were so happy with them and truly for me like for the sleeping part at night it was just amazing like the most isolating ones i i found so far right right okay cool yeah i'll have to try that out

Adeel [21:00]: Okay, so... And then around your friends... Yeah, it sounds like around your friends or, I don't know, or work or whatever, it sounds like you...

Kristina [21:07]: you tell people that you know you need to leave um is it is it's it's still we're just talking about like breathing and stuff that's that's causing the issues for you yeah um it's also it's also loud chewing for sure um oh yeah you're talking about yeah open mouth it's been really interesting because we after the lockdown our office had the full home office policy so i've been living in my cage for a very long time now and I haven't really had to deal with that, but we're actually returning back. And I know a lot of companies are doing that. We're returning back part time, I guess, or like a hybrid model in January. So that would be interesting because I remember when I was in the office, I was actually working in the most loudest possible department the customer service department and there's clicking and smacking and chewing and you know what sometimes when there's a lot of that noise you tend not to have the misophonia I don't know if you've experienced that But sometimes, especially if I'm affected by something else emotionally, I would be going crazy. The person right next to me is eating on his desk and chewing and somebody's clicking with their nails on the keyboard and I'll be like, oh my gosh, take me to a hospital or something. I can't take it. Um, so yeah, it's, it's different.

Adeel [22:31]: Yeah. Okay. Are you going to think you're going to, well, does anybody at your office know about your misophonia? Are you planning to somehow approach the subject?

Kristina [22:39]: So I'm looking forward to see what's going to be like when I come back in January in the office.

Adeel [22:44]: Yeah.

Kristina [22:54]: Honestly, not unless I have to. Actually, my current boss, because I'm changing, like I'm going to have a different manager very soon because I just recently changed position. But the current one that I have, he is actually very understanding. He's aware he's actually a doctor by profession, but he doesn't work it. And he's always been interested in medical conditions. And he's extremely supportive and always gives me advice, like how to approach the situation. So I've been really appreciative of him. and the fact that I can talk to him about it. With my new team, honestly, really, unless I have to, I'm not going to mention it. But I'd say that I definitely feel more comfortable talking about it now than, let's say, if it was five years ago.

Adeel [23:39]: Well, how did you find, do you remember how you found out it had a name? You said you were looking around and you somehow found out about it. I'm just curious if you remember.

Kristina [23:46]: Yeah. I don't specifically remember, but I think it was the time of my life where I was probably really struggling with it and trying to find solutions. And, you know, just like a simple type in Google, like, I hate it when people breathe too loud. You know, the suggestion, you know, my homisophonia. And then I started reading into it more and more. And I was like, oh my gosh, like, This is me, 100%. And, you know, people say, okay, don't use Google to, like, diagnose yourself. And it's true. But for us specifically, people who struggle with that, like, I cannot get diagnosed here in Bulgaria. Like, the therapists that I've been to, they... most of them haven't heard of it they don't know how to work with it and you know i mean what's my choice just to say okay because it says on google don't diagnose yourself not to explain to people that this is what i'm suffering with it's it's what it is you should definitely google you should definitely yeah you should definitely google and just get a second opinion but i mean yeah i mean google's been revolutionary for for us to kind of understand ourselves and uh yeah it's so weird though because for other for other disorders it would be like even funny you know uh to go on google and diagnose yourself but for us it's like so helpful the only thing yeah it's now ai but uh yeah

Adeel [25:06]: So you said you also had some, are you seeing a therapist? You know, we're not going to get into too much details, but you know, a lot of us have comorbid conditions. Did you mention it to your therapist? And do you think your other conditions are somehow related?

Kristina [25:21]: Mm-hmm. Well, actually, when I went to therapy a couple of years ago, it was because I had panic attacks and I never had them until I was like, until I actually went back to visit Canada and I came back to Bulgaria and I got, I guess I really got triggered and I really went through like a whole whirlwind of like emotions and things that I guess I bottled up. And when I came back to Bulgaria, I had my first panic attack and then Like it spiraled from there. It was so bad. Like I just never experienced these sensations before. Like I was super scared and young and had no idea what was going on. And my partner, who is my partner still, At the time, he had a friend who was a therapist and he took me there and I started therapy. And I don't know if you've heard of Gestalt therapy or Gestalt. Yeah, this is the therapy that I did for around one and a half years. And I say confidently that I'm completely cured. Like I've never had a panic attack after that.

Adeel [26:27]: Can you just briefly summarize Gestalt therapy?

Kristina [26:31]: Yeah, well... Yeah, I mean, my therapist would probably kill me. Because I'm not really sure if I can say it. I can explain it as well as he can. But I think that the closest would be some sort of psychotherapy that is really centered on increasing the person's awareness and their self-direction. So it really focuses on the present moment rather than past experiences. And it's very close to mindfulness, I would say, in a way. Um, so it was, he was just constantly directing me to the present moment. I remember because, um, I would be going back and forth like this and that and this and that. And he would be like, okay, so what's the sensation you're currently feeling? Where are you feeling it in your body? Like, uh, can you like even imagine that you're in your like legs that are trembling right now? Like what's going on there? So it was really interesting form of therapy. It was actually the first time that I, I did any therapy in my life. but he was so good like I mean if you're listening to this he probably will because he knows me and he knows that I'm coming in here but he's an amazing therapist and he really really helped me to get on with my life after the panic attacks but what happened after that therapy after the panic attacks I think that I just have a little bit more of an anxiety than I used to just because like there's always this thought like What if they come back? Like, what if I can't manage it again? So I'd say that I struggle with a little bit of anxiety from time to time. But other than that, I don't have any other conditions besides the misophonia that are... Yeah.

Adeel [28:18]: Yeah, no, I mean, anxiety... Sometimes OCD, sometimes bipolar are all very common, or ADHD are all very kind of common comorbid conditions. Yeah, so it's curious. Did you find that gestalt or any other therapy kind of also, I think, and by the way, from my understanding, that's a good description of gestalt. It's very much about kind of the present moment. Did you find any of that kind of affected your misophonia at all?

Kristina [28:45]: You know what? It's so interesting because at the time I was so overwhelmed with the panic attacks. Like misophonia was not on my list. Yeah. I like feel like it almost got pushed down even more just so I can deal with this first. And then after I dealt with that, it resurfaced. It's like, okay, you're not done yet. Okay. You still have issues. And I'm actually starting therapy again, actually next week. It's more, it's going to be more focused on, parental issues and things like that that i'm currently struggling with it as a new mom somebody who's taking on like a new role and i have to travel now and things like that but from what i've heard my therapist that i'm going to have some awareness because she was recommended by my other therapist um so i might have to bring it up because i noticed that i get triggered by my son And I get so angry and then I regret it so much. Like I, I go and I apologize to him because I know he's like one and a half years old, but it's so important for me to like, let him know, like, it's not your fault. It's, it's me. Like, I, I can't, like, I, I get triggered so, so much sometimes. But yeah, it's.

Adeel [29:58]: Yeah. No, that's interesting. And, and thanks for sharing that. Yeah. It's obviously a sensitive, sensitive, sensitive issue, but I think it's something that a lot of people. lot of new parents um worry about a lot of prospective parents also worry about um yeah and so i think yeah i mean yeah i mean i mean i have kids too and and yeah i think the most important thing obviously is that you're explaining to them afterwards or you know that they're even even if they're young i mean it's good to get yeah yeah and my part my partner would be really good at that he would be okay you were you went too far like you need to apologize and i'm like

Kristina [30:32]: I know. And then the guilt comes and, you know, you feel so bad after that.

Adeel [30:36]: Oh, yeah. We know all about that guilt.

Kristina [30:38]: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But then I have to remind myself, like, it's also something that I don't want to do. Like, it's not like I want to do it. And it's not like I want to lash out like that. And it almost feels like an out of body experience where it's just not you doing things. And it's not you saying those things. But at the end of the day, it's you. And obviously, you have to take some accountability and ownership in that situation. So it's really... helpful to have supportive network, which has been challenging here, but definitely I, at least in your closest circle, like I have with my partner, for example, and, um, some of my friends, it's, it's really nice. I mean, it's really helpful and important.

Adeel [31:22]: And, um, so your friends, you kind of mentioned it to the friends, maybe that you spend the most time with that you have misophonia, um, what was their kind of reaction?

Kristina [31:32]: You know what? They don't really get into the conversation that much with some exceptions. Um, I do have, you know, it's really interesting because I recently graduated with a organizational psychology degree. It's not really related to like clinical psychology and things like that, but obviously you do have some general awareness. And, um, the friends that I have that also studied psychology are the people who are interested in it, that I can talk to a little bit more, um, that ask questions. and it's really great but people who really have no awareness have never been to therapy have never um really had such a approach to life generally speaking where you know i have an issue i'm gonna get some help things like that they're just like oh okay like oh all right interesting okay and we just move on to the next uh question or like the conversation just goes on

Adeel [32:25]: Well, those people just write things down and throw the piece of paper out.

Kristina [32:29]: Most likely. Most likely. And you know what? That's fine with me. I mean, I'm okay with it because I obviously cannot expect from everybody to just get on that super deep level and ask me all that questions. But when they do, I definitely appreciate it. So it's been great.

Adeel [32:46]: Yeah. Do you find you're closer maybe to the friends who do get that kind of stuff? Yeah. As opposed to... Or is it just kind of like... It doesn't really affect the relationship, the friendship at a fundamental level.

Kristina [32:59]: You know what I do? I realize that I don't have friends that make annoying sounds and annoying sounds to me, I guess. So I guess that's just really helpful because, I mean, it's not like I choose them based on the sounds that they make. But if they were to make a sound that triggered me, I would probably just point it out and try to explain it. And in that situation, they'll be like, oh, my gosh, I'm like, sorry, I didn't like I wasn't aware that this was triggering you so much. But for other people, maybe because once I lashed out at a person in the office, like literally lashed out as we were having lunch and he just looked at me like, oh, my gosh, you are crazy, girl. And I felt crazy at the time, truly. But I was like, how could he do this to me? Like. what did he uh can i just ask what this what the chewing oh my god just just chewing yeah he's just like no he's talking and chewing his mouth open yeah yeah talking chewing and being loud at the same time and i'm like is it just me like is it just me like i'm looking around people and i'm like even if you don't have misophonia it's just you don't have manners do you remember what you said is that what you said you don't have man like is is it just you yeah i think no i think it was just like oh my gosh like you need to stop like you're chewing so loud like i literally like face to face because he was sitting like across me and i'm like yeah i can't i can't take it and i just left um and we never talked about it since and it was really interesting because i was his manager oh my god it's horrible you were his manager yes i was but i don't think that he really like took offense to it he probably just thought like oh maybe she's just having like a bad moment um right yeah And that was traumatizing for sure.

Adeel [34:47]: So you didn't talk about it after?

Kristina [34:48]: No, you know what? It's almost bad.

Adeel [34:52]: You just fired him immediately.

Kristina [34:53]: No, no. He was great. He was great, actually. He was such a good employee, but he just did those things. And that's the bad thing sometimes because you meet such great people who just have those things that trigger you. And you're like, oh my gosh, I feel like my life would be so much better if you didn't do those sounds. But you can't force people into changing because you have that condition. You can make them a little bit more aware. And if they try to adjust when they're with you, that's great. But most people here, unfortunately, wouldn't do that.

Adeel [35:25]: are you finding, because you know that, are you finding that, you know, especially in Bulgaria, that you're, that you can avoid situations or places or buildings or events, um, because of misophonia? Um,

Kristina [35:37]: Recently, I haven't really had much of like social interaction. But when I do, quite honestly, no. I would just go with the flow.

Adeel [35:48]: Just go and see what happens.

Kristina [35:50]: Just go and see what happens for sure. But when I travel anywhere, I definitely take my earplugs, my ear mask and my pillow. Like these are the three things like if I don't take with me anywhere I go, like I would probably be depressed the whole trip. even my pillow, like I sleep on a specific pillow.

Adeel [36:06]: Sure. Hey, sleep is important for our nervous system.

Kristina [36:10]: It is. And people just like laugh at it. And I'm like, okay, you know what? I'm just prioritizing my health. And this is the way to do it for me. Like if it's not working for you or supportive to your journey or whatever you're doing, I'm okay with that. Like, and this is something that's been really difficult. Those with my, with my parents in particular to, you know, sometimes they would say like, you know what you're, you're just too much in some instances. I'm like, I'm not too much. I'm just trying to live my life. I try not to make you feel uncomfortable, but sometimes you make me feel uncomfortable. I tried to have the conversation sometimes, but didn't really go anywhere.

Adeel [36:51]: Even, even with the, um, the Googling and all the information around there, they still haven't been able to wrap their heads around it.

Kristina [36:58]: I have, I have to be honest here. Like I haven't really sat and had like a super honest conversation with them, explaining them what the problem is because like my mom, you know, my dad, they live so far away. I see them if I'm lucky for like two months. during the year and the rest of the time they spend in Canada so when they're here I think we're just so focused on spending time together we don't really like go into that and I think that actually when I was living in Canada with them in the same apartment I was triggered a lot especially by my mom's breathing and um because it was very loud and she would go to sleep like even if we're like two rooms like far away from each other like you can still hear her like whistling sounds and you know she's also suffering with that because people can't sleep around her um and it's it's been hard but when i was living with them i think if i didn't leave and make that decision to come back to bulgaria like i have to run so far away like across continents yeah um oceans yeah in oceans i would have like definitely suffered more if i stayed there but at some point at some point i'd probably move out anyways you know yeah so um

Adeel [38:10]: Did you, I mean, I'm not saying that you moved back to Bulgaria because of misophonia, but was there, I mean, was that a relief? In a way, yes. Or was it just kind of like a much lower thing?

Kristina [38:25]: yeah it actually i didn't consider like i didn't factor in my misophonia at the time because i think throughout my life i've had lots of ups and downs with misophonia like i would have let's say like a couple of years where it would bother me from time to time but i wouldn't really give it that much of a thought but then like for one or two years it would bother me way too much i would give it a lot of thought and like maybe right now giving it more thought like I'm on a podcast and I'm sharing more about it with my friends and on my social media and things like that but it is part of my life but when I moved back to Bulgaria was actually a decision that I made based on happiness because I wasn't really feeling happy in Canada to be quite honest with you I was just you know i was living in rain cover as they as they call it and it was just raining all the time and you know i would just forget my umbrellas everywhere at one point i stopped wearing umbrellas taking umbrellas with me and it would rain on me all the time and um it was just it was just not my place i feel like and i just decided to really like i graduated i got a um a diploma in criminology from there And then I was just like, you know what, I'm getting this diploma and I'm going back and just see what happens. And, you know, it's been like 10 years now almost and I'm still here and I guess I am happier here. But I still love so many things about Canada and Vancouver. I mean, but it was just not my place at the time, I guess.

Adeel [39:57]: Yeah, well, no, that makes no sense. You're right. You need to want that kind of overcast kind of weather. Some people feel kind of like it's kind of homey. They can kind of stay at home and drink coffee. But I digress. But you said something interesting that, you know, sometimes in one or two years, bursts you sometimes feel misophonia more sometimes you don't um thinking about that did you notice any kind of patterns around that like um when you're just generally less stressed or if you're in a different place or i don't any kind of i don't anything any trends related to that that you can kind of think about now that you're asking this question like i i didn't really think about it this much but now that you're asking it i i think that there's an explanation to it for sure

Kristina [40:51]: because right now I have so much going on in my life that you would think I would forget about it, but it's actually the opposite. And I was just like finishing my master thesis a couple of months ago and I had to defend it. And, you know, with just having my son at home, I stayed up late and it was just so... difficult to to get through that like i almost gave up which is really not part of who i am but at the time i would listen to so much brown noise like i don't know if you've listened to brown noise but yeah well i put brown noise at the uh underneath even actually this episode there's there's brown noise in the background to just yeah i noticed all the silence yeah and because we with the little one when he was born we would do white noise because you know we would read that it's comforting to them it reminds them the womb and things like that And I was okay with it. But for some reason, it was like, not really my type of noise. It was a little bit too pitchy sometimes. Yeah. And the brown noise, I found a specific like selection in YouTube with like deep layered brown noise, almost like muffled, like you're an airplane slash, you know, car. Yeah. And I listened to so much of that during finishing my master's and um during work and whatnot like sometimes i would just remove my earphones and i'll be like like i feel like i was in a different world because i would hear so much more and i'm like oh my gosh like i love that i just love isolating myself and i was like okay i have to uh i have to you know just accept that i mean it's totally fine this is what helped me to get through you know my challenges uh but in previous years when i didn't have that pressure i would not be listening to any of that noise or I would just like be traveling, living my life. It would trigger me occasionally, but nothing that much. Now I feel like I'm a grown up adult and with way more responsibilities than sometimes when you just want to sit down and relax. And there's that sound that comes in and triggers you. And it's like, seriously, I mean, at the end of the day, like I've been working so hard to sit here and like listen to a noise that triggers me. It's I would almost get annoyed

Adeel [43:08]: um so yeah definitely yeah it depends on what's going on in my life exactly yeah there's a lot of stuff going on and now that you have a child um yeah this you know some people don't get triggered by children some people do um it's interesting i mean you have to like um i mean you're you're obviously as a parent you're you're you're looking out for danger anyways at all times when you're a child and so uh you know it can be another thing you're looking out for even though obviously your conscious mind knows that there's no danger from us.

Kristina [43:41]: chewing sound or a sleeping sound but that lizard brain is yeah what is it about this brain like we need to just like make peace with it just work with it better I mean I know that you have a book coming out and I'm so excited to have it in my hands and read it I don't know when it's going to be out in Bulgaria it's interesting I just really know the UK and US release dates I'm sure Bulgaria is you know

Adeel [44:08]: it will be on one of those.

Kristina [44:09]: I actually, I ordered it from the UK. Like you can order. Okay, cool. Yeah. So I know it. I think it was like tomorrow. Is it tomorrow? I think it's tomorrow. That's coming out. Yeah.

Adeel [44:20]: I think it's Thursday on the 14th or the official release date, but you might get it earlier if you pre-ordered it. Cause I, some people actually already got it.

Kristina [44:28]: Okay.

Adeel [44:29]: They ordered from some places.

Kristina [44:31]: Yeah. That's great. It's really good to have, I guess. I mean, I haven't read the book obviously, but I imagine that it's, just the place where you can find all the most relevant information regarding misophonia at one place. Because it's been difficult for me, even though I had to go through a lot of research when I was writing my thesis and had to work a lot of stats and just learn how to read scientific papers. But still, sometimes I find it really difficult to get through that research to find something that's meaningful to me. And I'm just really curious, like for myself, because I do want to try different types of therapies, but I might have to do it from like online because I have to find a therapist who is outside of Bulgaria, who specializes and is aware because there are none here. And I'm really curious if that's going to be successful for me, if it's going to be done over, you know, like Zoom or something.

Adeel [45:22]: Yeah, I mean, one of the hopes with the book is that it's not just going to go to, it's not just going to be popular with misophones, but hopefully it'll educate more therapists to then, you know, feel confident enough to, to do that kind of work and whether it's in person or be able to take on remote clients. So we want more, uh, you know, clinicians to, to be able to, to give you more options to, to, um, work with somebody outside of Bulgaria or hopefully in Bulgaria, you know, hopefully people, therapists in Bulgaria will be able to, um, pick up the book and learn, learn something from it because the book has obviously explanation of, what we think it is, a bunch of CBT kind of therapies. Also, there are some chapters that relate to childhood experiences, which I think is a very new idea for a lot of people, because we often tend to think it's purely a brain disorder or something. And so linking it to the past can connect some dots that hopefully can be worked on.

Kristina [46:28]: That's such a great point that you're making. Like I literally going to purchase copies and give them to my therapist that I work with. Yeah.

Adeel [46:37]: Because I don't mean that just selfishly that you're going to buy copies, but I think just getting more word around and hopefully other people will write, you know, books too.

Kristina [46:45]: Yeah. No, because obviously it's so cliche, but the more you talk about it, the more people recognize it, the more people become curious about it. And they'll be like, Oh yeah. Okay. I've heard it here and I've heard it there. And you know, at one point it's going to be a, a norm for people to know what it's like and to, to understand it, which it's the goal, I guess, for all of us coming into your podcast, for you having the podcast, for people who are researching Sufonia. Um, so that's really great work that you're doing. Like I'm personally really thankful and cannot wait.

Adeel [47:14]: Yeah. Oh, and this conversation is, is, I mean, like you said, yeah, all these conversations help a lot of people. I always get, uh, emails from people listening saying, Oh, you know, really, that really hit home with me. I think, yeah, your, yeah, your experience is, uh, Well, not just with your mom, but especially with your child, a lot of people will be able to relate to.

Kristina [47:33]: yeah and so interesting because for me i noticed things like for example when they hear him breathing when he sleeps or when he's chewing with his mouth open because he's still so little it does not trigger me at all like i love him so much i'm just like oh it's so cute like when it's coming from a baby it's like so cute and you're like oh i'm fine but i'm on the back of my mind i'm like okay when he starts to understand more like i need to teach him manners okay We do not eat with our mouths open and things like that. It's always on the back of my head. But for other things, like when he's whining, for example, about something, I completely understand the psychology behind it and that they don't have developed prefrontal cortex and all that. Even when you understand why they're acting in a certain way or why they display a certain behavior, it doesn't take away from the fact that it bothers you. And for me, that's something that I really want to work with my therapist right now, because, you know, like I said, sometimes the lashing out is just for me feels like unacceptable. But I know it's something that I can potentially try to to work on.

Adeel [48:42]: Yeah, I'm going to try to ask you, you know, what what sounds of your truck is because. a lot of people like for me, myself personally, and also people have come on like that, that the chewing, like the things that other people, the things that would bother us in other people don't bother us for our children. And I just kind of theorize that it has to do with, you know, my brain knows that my child is not a threat to my life. And so those sounds don't bother me as much, but yeah, the shrieking and all that stuff. Yeah, definitely. Um, uh, I can see, I feel like, um, I, I'm not, I'm not, no, I'm not a doctor psychologist, but I feel like as parents, we're, probably have evolved to be extra sensitive to like shrieking and because that could really be danger if your child is running around in the mountains or something and you need to hear that. So I'm wondering if that that might be extra sensitive to us. Whereas, you know, at least for now that the the chewing and the breathing are not at that age.

Kristina [49:43]: Yeah, I mean, I guess we're going to have to wait and see a little bit. I don't know how old your children are. Maybe they're a little bit older because you said you have children.

Adeel [49:51]: Yeah, it's interesting because they're pretty far apart. They're like 11 and 3. Okay. I hope the 11-year-old, well, unless this is when she's older, but there's definitely one they get to around that age. For me, that's when I start to notice a little bit.

Kristina [50:06]: Okay. Yeah. I completely, I can imagine. Oh yeah. And how do they know, like, just curious, like, do they know you're, I guess the 11 year old.

Adeel [50:17]: Three-year-old doesn't know. The 11 year old actually, she's been to, um, uh, I mean, she's been to a talk that I gave on, on this, where I talked about all this stuff and trauma and all that stuff. So she, she's aware, but again, um, And this is interesting. This is something I talked about with other misophones at the Misophonic Convention that happens in the US. I'm sure it doesn't happen in Bulgaria. But when I'm around other misophones, we've talked about how do we talk about it with our children. I think a lot of us, we just decide to not shine a spotlight on it so that it doesn't... A, we weren't sure how... quote unquote contagious is this like if you talk about it then it just goes to the but we also I think I don't want to put that pressure on the child because I'm not I feel like it is more like about looking for danger and then if you spread that to your child your child obviously doesn't want to hurt you and so if your child starts to look for danger I have talked to other folks where if the child grew up seeing that it was really harming you all the time and you were talking about it all the time then they would be um in good faith looking for looking out for that sound as well and then eventually they also have similar trickles so bottom line is try not to shine a spotlight on it if it comes up like I'm writing you know I'm writing a freaking book we'll talk about the book that's such a great advice you can see the talk but it's not like something I try to talk about every you know show all the time so okay okay well that's such a great advice actually because you know for us that have younger children I mean it will it will come to us at some point and we'll have to

Kristina [52:03]: really think about how to or even if we to bring it to bring it to them to their awareness, maybe they'll just maybe they'll come around when they're older enough, maybe they'll ask about it, or maybe they'll just show that they're ready to hear more about it. But yeah, I mean, even if even if we take it to like, simple modeling, you know, how we have children model after their parents and certain behaviors that they do. And it's quite possible, in my opinion, that it's contagious, as you're saying, so yeah we're about to see i mean we're that generation no one else is helping us i mean i mean well now this book's coming things coming up but uh for a while it's like we've we're it's been a grassroots um journey yeah i'm really curious yeah i'm really curious if this is something like misophonia is something that is considered um like i haven't really read into that so i'm not really sure like if you're asking a stupid question but if it's going to be going into the DSM, like, is it considered like a psych, no, wait, what's the word I'm looking for?

Adeel [53:10]: Like a psychiatric disorder?

Kristina [53:13]: Psych, yeah, I can't say the word, like, it's like, psych, no, I'm not going to try. But yeah, is it considered such a disorder or?

Adeel [53:22]: No, well, it's not in the DSM and there is, you know, there's, there are people trying to, get it there but it's a long process like um you know just talking to uh dr zach roth rosenthal about it i remember him talking about it at a recent board meeting of so quiet where it just is going to take a lot of more research and like even just events like uh just getting it getting the research publicized more to then get it to the point where it can be considered in an upcoming um dsm I don't know what they call it, manual or book or list. And that's what then gets it taken seriously by insurance, which then is for a lot of us, the only way we can get therapy is if it's covered by an insurance code.

Kristina [54:12]: Right. Yeah, because I do remember that therapy is really expensive in the I mean, I guess in the Western world, as we call it here, Canada and the States for sure.

Adeel [54:22]: Where we need it the most.

Kristina [54:24]: Yeah. I mean, here is actually pretty affordable, quite honestly. It's not that expensive if you have like a pretty decent, I mean, not even like a super high paid job, but obviously if you want to prioritize it and most companies actually, our company in particular actually covers it fully as well if you get diagnosed specifically. But obviously if I can't get diagnosed, I can't. get the treatment so it's it's a long process yeah it's it's interesting i'll definitely be following that because it sounds like it's important to get that recognition and i imagine that it's not like we're just fighting okay like we need to have that disordered name and put it into that manual like it's super important but at the same time

Adeel [55:07]: like the manual is like the holy book of you know disorders yeah i don't really care yeah i have a feeling but yeah i mean well i'm not saying i don't care but um once it's in there it gives it a certain level of um validity i mean exactly as if we should have any more validity it just yeah it gives it a little bit more validity i think more research probably i would imagine would get um you'd get more attention from researchers because, you know, they would just be right there. So, I mean, whether the actual cause or proper treatment is, you know, psychiatric versus psychological, I don't know. But that book, which I hadn't even heard of more than five years ago, is, I guess, a big deal.

Kristina [55:57]: Yeah, yeah.

Adeel [55:58]: for sure yeah so i mean we're coming up to like yeah we're coming up to a solid hour here um yeah christina any any they covered a lot of ground um but yeah i don't know anything else you kind of want to tell people made of i don't know of bulgaria or of the world about um i guess your journey yeah well especially to the people from bulgaria who'll be listening i'd say believe us

Kristina [56:26]: um we're really not making this up um and just try to be as supportive as possible and just give your friends or whatever whoever comes to you and says that they have that issue give them the opportunity to explain themselves without judgmental attitude towards them just i would urge people to be a little bit more open-minded And as from people around the world, maybe Bulgaria is not the only place where issues like that are stigmatized. So, you know, I'm pretty sure that if somebody is listening to that and they're from such a country, they would appreciate, hopefully they would appreciate somebody coming to talk about it. I would just urge them to be more brave, stand up for themselves, and just protect their own space, because at the end of the day, nobody's really going to be looking after you as much as you will. So it's your, in a way, it's in your hands how you're going to deal with that. Of course, with the help of others, but You're the driver, I guess.

Adeel [57:32]: Yeah, that's great. Yeah, thanks, Christina. And good luck in January when you have to head back into the office.

Kristina [57:40]: Yay, so exciting. Thank you.

Adeel [57:44]: Well, thanks again for coming on. Thank you again, Christina. Again, good luck with the office. And please continue being a strong advocate for misophonia in your part of the world. 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 even easier to send a message on Instagram at MrFunnyPodcast. Follow there or Facebook at MrFunnyPodcast. On Twitter, it's MrFunnyShow. You can support the show by visiting the Patreon at slash MrFunnyPodcast. The music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [58:43]: Thank you.