Aaryn - Artist navigates misophonia with humor and yoga.

S7 E15 - 11/2/2023
In this episode, Adeel speaks with Erin, a North Carolina-based artist who navigates the day-to-day challenges of misophonia in her personal and family life. Erin opens up about her artistry, yoga, the mind-body connection, and her experiences within her marriage and family life in relation to her misophonia. She shares how her transition from corporate to freelance work has impacted her misophonia, emphasizing the complexity of having more interactions at home with close family members, intensifying her condition. Erin discusses the importance of open communication, especially with her children, and reveals how the pandemic has exacerbated her misophonia due to increased home confinement. She highlights her efforts in managing reactions and seeking understanding from those around her, while also touching on the idea of generational influence and the role humor plays in her coping strategy. Additionally, Erin recommends yin yoga as a beneficial practice for those seeking to ease their misophonia symptoms.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is season seven, episode 15. My name's Adeel Ahmad and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Erin, an artist based in North Carolina. We talk about marriage and family, art, yoga, the mind-body connection, the fascia, supplements and medication, and much more. Check the show notes for links to Erin's art projects. After the show, let me know what you think. You can reach out by email at helloatmissiphoneypodcast.com or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Missiphoney Podcast. And while you're online, please head over and leave a quick review or rating wherever you listen to this show. It helps drive us up in the various search algorithms and that helps us reach more Missiphones. A few of my usual announcements. Of course, thanks for the ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at patreon.com slash misophonia podcast. And of course, the book Sounds Like Misophonia, a self-help book by Dr. Jane Gregory and I, is out now in the UK and has just been released in Australia and will be released in the US on November 14th. You can order or pre-order wherever you are. This episode is also sponsored by Bazel, the personal journaling app that I developed for iOS and Android. Basil provides AI-powered insights into your journal entries and guides you with new writing prompts based on those insights. And you can even explore many different therapy approaches and philosophies. You can check the show notes or go to hellobasil.com. All right. Here's my conversation with Erin. Erin, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you.

Aaryn [1:56]: Thank you.

Adeel [1:58]: Great. Yeah. So do you want to tell us a little bit about where you are?

Aaryn [2:03]: sure so i um i'm in my home office i'm in charlotte north carolina um we've lived here for about six and a half years i moved from los angeles where i lived for 18 years which i moved there right after high school And I grew up in the Northern Virginia area right outside of Washington, D.C. So that was sort of like my first home identity. But I was born in North Carolina and left when I was three. So now I'm kind of coming back and I don't feel like a North Carolinian, but maybe in 18 years I will.

Adeel [2:39]: yeah well 18 years in la will definitely change change you a little bit very formative years too from 18 to 36 so i feel more like a california girl than anything else gotcha gotcha um no that's great okay and yeah i want to tell us a little bit about uh what you do the audience can't really see kind of your the background and everything but i i'm an artist um

Aaryn [3:03]: I do a couple different kinds of art. I'm a textile designer. I've been working as a textile designer, primarily in the fashion industry out of Los Angeles for most of my career. And then more recently, I've become a watercolor enthusiast. And then after my corporate fashion opportunities sort of tanked with the 2020 pandemic, My roots are here in Charlotte now, so I'm seeking opportunity that can be, you know, long lasting and sustaining. So I work for myself doing freelance in the textile industry, which is kind of non-existent sort of at this point in the industry. the fashion landscape um but i have my own business um from my history and graphic design and print design and i sell watercolor prints originals i make cards i make notebooks um the list is kind of growing so i do pop-up markets i have an etsy shop I'm active on Instagram, living that artist mom life. It gives me flexibility, especially to be at home when my kids need me. So it's good.

Adeel [4:12]: Right, right, right. Yeah, and I'll definitely link to all that in the show notes and when I post this. But yeah, so I mean, has that helped with misophonia? Sounds like you had a kind of a corporate job and now you're kind of in a cultural environment.

Aaryn [4:27]: Yes and no. Yes, because it really limits you know, the places I'm in. And thankfully, working from home currently as it stands, I have a lot of privacy during the day. So I would say that definitely helps the number of interactions that I'm having. But then if you really get into sort of my experience and how I encounter and live with misophonia, it really triggers me more at home with my intimate, immediate people in my life, especially yeah. So, you know, social interactions with people who are standing in line behind me, they can bother me, they can trigger me, but they're not, um, the kind of thing that I imagined before it happens that gives me anxiety and prevents me from going into that situation. It's, it's, um, yeah. So those aren't really the situations that have been the most challenging for me. It is the family interactions, the home interactions, um, that have been, you know, far more challenging for me in my experience were they from the kind of get-go or did that kind of develop over time like after you know it developed over time you know i've spent some time thinking back especially in preparation um for this interview um i have early memories of it but they were not intense i um i don't remember a single high school experience with a teacher or a student it may have happened um but not to the point where i was having issues at that time. I even don't remember like boyfriend experiences, even through college. But now I would say with my kids, my husband, my parents, my father-in-law, my brothers, my having dinner with my friends and their husbands, I think those encounters have become much more plentiful and the number of triggers that I encounter both on an audible level and visual levels as you know we've talked about they have just like skyrocketed in the last I don't know 10-15 years especially the last 5 years I would say gotcha gotcha does the pandemic have anything to do with that or just kind of like yeah yeah for sure partly because you just can't there's nowhere to go

Adeel [7:03]: Yeah.

Aaryn [7:04]: You know, especially when we were all home in the house, it was, you know, my husband, my two kids and my father-in-law, who is from England. And we brought over and he lived with us for about six years until until last year. And now he lives nearby in his own house. But, yeah, there was nowhere to go and it was just so stressful. I mean, that's like an unprecedented time that you can't even compare with just your day to day existence.

Adeel [7:32]: Right. How was, I mean, you named off a lot of people, family members, friends. How was the various reactions from all of them? What was kind of the range of reactions in terms of acceptance versus standoffishness?

Aaryn [7:48]: Well, it's interesting. I am not a very hidden person. Like I don't, I don't know. how to hide my feelings. Very expressive, just from my personality, just from like the get go. I have learned to edit over time, slowly, with help from people. But hiding things is almost an impossible feat. And needing to hide them is so much worse, right? Um, I would say that the personal relationships that have been the most challenging are the ones where I don't feel comfortable just saying like, ew, stop that. You know, not that I, I, um, snap on people, but with my husband and with my kids and even with my parents, I can kind of be real and not in a rude way. I've really gotten a lot better. I definitely have had examples that I'm sure have made some eyebrows raised. Um, But my ability to express myself calmly has increased vastly with a lot of work, just on anxiety and stress and nervous system and health in general. But with the people where I don't feel comfortable saying anything and I have to hide it, those are, you know, it's fight or flight, right? So I don't wanna fight about it, but as long as I can be like, hey, can you stop, you know? it's way better than fleeing because I was in a situation in my house where I felt constantly like I had to flee. And that was probably the most challenging time.

Adeel [9:26]: Right. Right. Okay. Well, so you said like things started later. So family life growing up, was that also a problem?

Aaryn [9:36]: It wasn't a problem, but it was definitely on my radar. So my earliest memories, I don't remember how old I was, but it would be, my mom pointing out to me that I was chewing with my mouth open. Um, so I think my mom has a little bit of this characteristic. I don't think she has it to the point where it was, um, debilitating or causing problems in her day to day relationships. Um, but she put it on my radar that I was chewing with my mouth open. And so I changed what I was doing, but I noticed that she was still chewing with her mouth open. And so it started to bother me and it could be like, um, interesting. Psychological to like, oh, here's my parents telling me that I have to do something and they're not doing it. So there's probably a psychological component to like noticing it and having it bother me. But I guess I was definitely at least in middle school by the time that I had an awareness for the dislike. And I remember a couple examples. Like I said, I don't remember. any example from like my high school boyfriend or being at dinner with his family or anything like that but i do remember eating a bowl of cereal next to my dad on the couch like in high school and and the the things i don't want to like graphic about the trigger specifically for the sake of everybody else but um you know mentioning it to him that he should stop doing that unnecessary sound because that's definitely a component to it right and like thinking that this person is making an unnecessary sound um and he would just kind of brush it off and i and i don't it didn't upset me that he brushed i mean it didn't it irritated me on a surface level but i could just leave Because, I mean, come on, as a teenager, your parents are probably always irritating you on some surface level. And I love him dearly. But he's a very zen man. He doesn't get bothered. Like, even in the last year, I was explaining the situation that was vastly upsetting me. And his advice is really like, have you ever just considered not letting him bother you? And that's just the kind of guy that he is. He's so non-confrontational, but non-confrontational because he just doesn't have a problem. He would just kind of joke it off and I would just walk away. My brother is like that. My brother chews a lot of gum. He's a little bit older than me, lives down the street. We hang out all the time as families. He just kind of laughs at me. They don't take it seriously, but it's not a person I'm living with that I have to enter into a common space with on a daily basis. I'll go over to their house and we'll all be eating. And one of my biggest coping strategies at home with my own family is that it's like mandatory that we listen to music as we eat dinner. Just background music. And so I'll just be like, you know, smart speaker, play some music when I'm over at his house. And they don't mind it. They don't do that. That's not their habit. But I'm just like, who's going to complain? But it's something that is kind of necessary for me, especially if certain foods are more problematic. And you're like, oh, cool, barbecue. All right. I got to prepare for this, you know.

Adeel [12:51]: are you then focusing on the music a little bit more or are you kind of letting it for me?

Aaryn [12:56]: It's almost like a physical switch when there's background noise. I don't hear it. Like I just don't, it doesn't, Like that's why public settings don't bother me. I can go to the movie theater for the most part, have a good experience, except once in a while, you know? But sitting on the couch with my kids right here and eating popcorn, I will go nuts like that. I can't get, it's too loud. It's too intimate. And that's a part of the problem at the house is that there's not enough background. It's almost like we're in a library. So in a mall, at a restaurant, as long as it's not too much stimulation with too many people and too much noise, because that's a different kind of problem. Then, yeah, adding the noise, it just levels everything out, kind of cancels out that ability to pinpoint all my attention on a particular sound.

Adeel [13:56]: Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, a couple of interesting things there. Yeah, I was thinking about... I had a discussion, a couple of discussions with people about earplugs. And some people were saying earplugs almost make it worse because it's like a little bit quieter. So they're kind of trying to focus more on the sound. They're trying to like find that needle in a haystack. So I don't know, for some people it kind of...

Aaryn [14:25]: No, I think there's probably a point to that. I only thought to get earplugs like a year and a half ago, and it's been life-changing for the home situation specifically because I'm just not playing. It's not like mall office music where it's on in the background all the time. But when I was doing my research on what kind of earplug to get, I saw the point that for people with this issue, having a fully silent earplug that doesn't play music can be more difficult because you really get used to having no sound. And then it becomes, you know, more contrasting when you enter into a situation.

Adeel [15:00]: Yeah.

Aaryn [15:01]: I have the music ones and that's usually what I'm doing when I have them in.

Adeel [15:07]: Gotcha. Oh, did you say you have music playing when you have noise-canceling earplugs? Yeah. Yeah, I tend to usually need something playing over. I can't just do straight-up silicone earplugs.

Aaryn [15:22]: I sleep with earplugs in.

Adeel [15:24]: Okay.

Aaryn [15:24]: And with those, I can still hear way too much. I just feel like my hearing is really good. Except when there's a lot of noise and then I can't hear anything. I don't know if that's age-related or specific to me.

Adeel [15:40]: Yeah. You were talking a little bit about overstimulation. And you're an artist, so I was thinking the idea of HSPs, highly censored people, highly censored person. Have you heard that term?

Aaryn [15:51]: You were the first person who said that, actually. And then I did a little digging and it... I would have to talk to somebody who knows much more maybe a professional because it sounds like there is a border or cusp or a lot of overlap in a Venn diagram between certain autism spectrum issues and then sensory issues and I would love to like have a therapist to talk to more in depth about that because looking back and reading about oh my god now because it's so prevalent online right all these like ADHD lists and advocates and tests and stuff like that. And as well for autism. And I see a lot of those things in myself. And especially like, if you go back in my history, I've of course corrected on, um, especially like social interaction stuff. I'm still weird and quirky and will make people uncomfortable, but I've gotten a lot better about that, I think. Um, but yeah, sensory stuff. I definitely have always had a bit of that. Um, I don't know.

Adeel [16:55]: What are some weird and quirky situations that you've... I don't know.

Aaryn [17:00]: I just like... Well, looking back, and I said this to a friend recently who only knows me recently, and she was surprised to hear me say this. But anybody who's known me for a really long time will be like, yep. But when I was younger, I would say I relied very heavily on verbal communication from other people. So picking up nonverbal communication, reading between the lines. I didn't I didn't even know. Why would I have to do that? Aren't you just going to tell me exactly how you feel? Because that's what I do. there was no filter there was no pause there was no um running it through somebody else's point of view or emotional state that was definitely a skill i had to work hard at that other people kind of had to put on my radar for me thankfully kindly you know people who love and accept me i have a lot of positive qualities i promise but um I think there was a lack of awareness of other people's feelings, I think. And I think I said these words during our last interview, but everything was so loud inside of me. An instant. So I would just say how I feel, and the feelings were loud, and the thoughts were loud, and the sensations were loud, and I would just share it all. And so when other people don't do that, it's like they don't, you know, why would I presume to know what you're thinking if you're not going to tell me? Or it's the opposite. And you're like really in your head and you're thinking, oh, my God, they hate me. Oh, they think this, they think that. And so you're encouraged to not do that either. So where's that fine line between intuition and, you know, reading those nonverbal cues and imagining things and getting left and letting them run away in your head?

Adeel [18:46]: Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. It's an interesting, interesting line. You mentioned earlier. you wish you had a therapist to tell you which of the things pertain to you or not. Have you talked to any therapists about misophonia?

Aaryn [19:03]: I haven't. I would love to. I'm not against it.

Adeel [19:07]: Not a lot of them know about it yet, so...

Aaryn [19:09]: I feel like I've been so high functioning that there's not a good reason, you know, for me to go see it. I think I should. And everybody says that you should. And I know a lot of people who have nothing bad to say about it. You know, you might have to find the right person. Obviously, not every person is going to be able to relate to you. It feels a bit like a luxury at this point in my life, and I would love to change that. But financially and time-wise, it's easy to just keep pushing it aside. And thankfully, like I said, I am a very expressive person. I am really friendly. I have a lot of friends. I have a lot of really emotionally intelligent friends, friends who have been through a lot of therapy, friends who are just very mature and intuitive. And I think I receive a lot of support on a regular basis over years and years and years of my life. So I feel like I get a little bit of free therapy from a lot of people in my life.

Adeel [20:11]: Yeah. Have you met anyone else who has misophonia?

Aaryn [20:14]: Oh, my God. Millions. Yeah. So I think that's been, you know, just like thinking of your of your little checklist of like what we're going to talk about support and non-support. I really had far more support in my life than non-support. That's great. You know, and non-support would be like, you know, my dad and my brother being like, you know.

Adeel [20:37]: Right.

Aaryn [20:38]: Girl.

Adeel [20:38]: Stop thinking about it.

Aaryn [20:39]: Yeah, yeah. But non-combative, right? Like those people aren't making me feel bad. They're not verbally abusing me. They're not triggering me on purpose. So thankfully, even the non-supportive people haven't been a problem in my life. But the support, like one of my earliest memories of... having companionship on this issue was my dear friend who I used to dance with and, but in like dance classes, ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, all of that. So we danced a lot together in high school and we realized through discussion that we both had this thing and this was years and years before we had a name for it, right? This was like in the 90s. And so we both knew we had that thing and that was finally somebody who understood like our craziness. And eventually in my early California years, we were roommates. And that was one of the best roommate situations I ever had because we could easily just be like, shut up, you're doing it. And the other person was, oh, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. So it was a really easygoing situation. And I knew it was a thing that you were probably born with. I had other neighbors throughout the years that also would say, oh, yeah, I hate that, too. And it wasn't as well known or as discussed. But that person who was my neighbor in California, he's the one who like his wife shared the link. The first time I ever saw the word misophonia, it was like a study and they were like, there's this thing. And that was extremely validating. And it was through these personal relationships of other people who had the same issue and that we were able to find a name for it. All of that was just baby steps to validation, I think.

Adeel [22:34]: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah, that's great. Yeah, it's kind of grassroots. There's no, it's not really in the media enough. There's the same couple links that we all talk about decades later. No, yeah, that's great. And do you find, you know, you're an artist. Do you find art is part of your therapy for sometimes maybe for misophony in particular or just in general?

Aaryn [22:59]: It's funny. you you know as an artist i see these other i follow a lot of art profiles and um i've seen several other people post about how they have to paint every day because it's their only sanity and um and that's not it for me that's um i don't know i'm a career artist i'm a designer i'm a natural artist i'm a creator i've been making stuff my whole entire life with my hands i'm really into color um But for me, it's not that emotional outlet. I do really like the release in it. There's something very meditative about, especially something like this. Nobody asked me for this. Nobody showed me a picture of it. For listeners, I'm pointing to the painting behind me. So in my own personal art, there is something meditative about being able to, I guess they call it intuitive painting. I didn't come up with that. I don't even really write that about myself. But Where it's just free flow, you know, whatever. No plan, no specific outcome. But most of my career has been designing. You know, somebody saying, hey, I need a duck, you know. So there is something really great about this. But for me. painting is almost stressful. I have to have space. I have to have no distractions. Like I would never try to do a big painting with my kids in the other room because they'll say, mommy, I need a snack. 35 times watercolor. It's time sensitive. I'm going off topic. So for me, yes, art is therapy, but my music, music is a big, um, a big big outlet for me and growing up dancing that was therapy that was emotional release for me so i have found that in the last couple of years i've rediscovered that that release for myself and spending time by myself, listening to music, going to yoga, moving my body to music. Those have been a lost form of therapy and a mind, a mind body connection. Like that's a whole tangent and pivot that like I could, we could segue into that next.

Adeel [25:12]: I would love to.

Aaryn [25:13]: Yeah. I could, I could just spend the next like remainder of this episode talking about how yoga has become a huge. tool in my tool belt um and for like 10 different reasons um not just misophonia but other aspects of your psyche yeah i would the whole nervous system like if you if you think about it as being a nervous system dysregulation disorder i've heard it caused called that um And, you know, like in the first Misophonia Association panel discussion that I watched, the woman, I think, described it as like a physical reflex in your body. And I'd never heard it described that before. To me, it's just like screaming in your head. You know, you're not aware of what's going on in your body. And I got so excited. And I told that to my husband. He was like... yeah yeah i can of course it's a physical reflex i can see every time that you do it so like even if you're trying to hide it you're probably not and if you are physically hiding it that energy and this is going to sound woo to probably a lot of people but that energy they say it's not created or destroyed right so it's going to transmute into something um and and yoga definitely one of the ways um that it helps me is that, you know, you're releasing that pent up energy, that tension, that physical tension. You think it's emotional and mental, but there's a physical component to it. And yoga has, yeah, you know, part of misophonia is like, it's a mind-body disconnect, right? Your body's hearing something, your mind's upset, your mind's upset, it transforms into tension in the body. You carry it with you all day long. It's hard to release. And so yoga gives you a physical way to release that, but it's also a conversation that you have. A lot of people will think of yoga as an exercise, and it is. There's like 10 different physical benefits that you're going to get from it, from real nervous system issues to improving your fascia. But really, yoga philosophy is... a study of the mind and all of the ways in which we make ourselves unhappy and so even when you're not doing the physical asanas even if you're not on your mat you're in your car you're you're at a meeting at work like you could be doing yoga because yoga is really an evaluation and study of your own mind but without judgment so like the biggest um message that that i like go to over and over with myself as a student and with my students because i also teach yoga um is to notice without judgment and my my teacher my favorite teacher and guru she's the one who said that to me i didn't come up with that but noticing without judgment It's kind of a mind fuck for us with misophonia because that's the whole definition of what we're doing. There's no opportunity to not have judgment. And so yoga doesn't really help me. I can't say it fixes me or cures me or helps me in the moment that I'm experiencing a trigger, but it helps me unload some of that in all the other times where I'm not. And it helps me fill up my cup so that I'm not going to pop when it does happen.

Adeel [28:42]: Gotcha. So yeah, like a lot of things, it's hard to deal with it in the moment. But if you can somehow pre or post, help it pre or post process your trigger, that's a huge win. And yeah, I mean, calming that nervous system, whether it's yoga, self-soothing or a combination of all that stuff. Yeah, I think it's key. hard part is remembering to do all that. But if you're doing yoga and you set up a regular practice, it sounds like it can definitely have benefits and it's having benefits for you.

Aaryn [29:14]: Yeah, so I will expand a little bit that I just said a lot about yoga in general and the philosophy of it. But yin yoga specifically has been the most helpful for me in my own practice. And I think it has the most potential to be a tool for people with this disorder. And the great thing about yin is that you can do it by yourself at night in your bedroom on your floor. You have to kind of know what you're doing, obviously. to do anything by yourself. You have to know what to do. But there's a lot of resources. There's videos online. You can look at pictures like it's not a very motion filled yoga. It's very static. It's very still. But basically, Yin is the other half to Yang. Right. And the Yin and Yang. And it is the slow, dark shadow side of things. And it is where It's where we're going to do the most healing to our nervous system. And instead of so like with regular yoga, we're building our muscles. We're doing dynamic movement and stretches. But with yin, we're bypassing the muscles. We're completely relaxing, like letting gravity do all of the work for us while we just focus on. and slowing everything down, it's a little bit confrontational in the meditative side of things because it's more meditative. We're not moving our body. When we're moving our bodies and balancing and working, it's easy to not think, right? It's easy to be like, oh shit, I gotta balance. And so you're not worried about what's for dinner tonight or the thing that so-and-so said to me. But when you're sitting there real still for like five minutes at a time and nobody says anything to you, that's when your mind starts going this. So it can be difficult. It can be challenging for people. But it's also filled with a lot of sensation. It's like a deep stretch class. We're not just lying in corpse pose on our back. I don't want to say stretching, but it's going to feel in layman's term, like very intense stretching. So I don't know. There's something about it. But basically, we're bypassing the muscle and we're getting into the fascia system. um if you'll please allow me because i want to get this right and be concise yeah to the listeners so in yoga specifically this quiet stretching type of yoga where we hold poses for longer um it is said to improve something called interoception i don't know if that's something that you've talked about um But just to read the definition, interoception is the process of physically detecting and cognitively interpreting sensations from inside the body, including muscles, skin, joints, and viscera, i.e. internal organs. Yin builds body awareness and body awareness improves our ability to self-regulate our emotions. So basically, and the thought is that by improving our fascia, by like bringing new blood and oxygen to our fascia through these long, relaxing holds, um the fascia is where this bi-directional communication of interception happens it's like when you get a gut feeling right it's that um and it's bi-directional it's not like we think our brain is in charge and our body is just the car that it's driving but i think there's a lot more um intuition and wisdom in our body than we give it credit for and we we just um we don't honor it and we don't treat it the way that it should be treated. But our minds can become so unhappy. Why should we think that it should be in charge of everything? Why should we think that it knows best? So by doing these longer holds and breathing a certain way and meditating and improving our fascia, we're helping the communication between our body and our mind. And like I say to my students, you're having this conversation with your body, but you're kind of doing the listening. instead of the talking to your body. And I think that's really powerful because as we suffer from these experiences where we're triggered, we want to break that connection of body and mind, right? We just like, we wish we could turn it off. We want to run from it. It causes anxiety. The anxiety is a bad feeling that our body is giving us. That's the feedback that we're getting. We don't know how to turn it off. um so in theory like i said it hasn't cured me it's not making me a saint around my kids all the time but having this framework for me on a physical level that it's doing the work without me even telling what to do but on a mental level like the mental evaluation of like how all the mental yoga side of it, the philosophy, it has helped me create that pause, that little split second where I can think and feel before the fight or flight kicks in.

Adeel [34:28]: Right. No, that's huge. I think I recognize that because sometimes it's not conscious, but maybe if I have the right level of lowered stress, I'm like... There's a split second where I'm like, I would normally be flying off the handle right now, but I have this extra moment to try to catch yourself. Because that's the problem most of us have. We don't have time to catch ourselves, and that break happens, and body and mind are completely unattached, it seems like.

Aaryn [34:59]: But I will say, like, I just I feel like I don't want to sound like I've got it all figured out or it's easy for me. I think I'm just lucky. I think I'm just in a really lucky, supportive place where I'm not in the office where my boss is triggering me or the person next to me is triggering me. I have a really amazing, supportive husband who identified it in me before and goes out of his way to, like, not trigger me. to the point where like most people, most people would have just left their wife, I'm sure by now. Um, so, and, and I, and I, and I'm, and I have the freedom, uh, to spend a lot of time on self care, you know, like I, um, I think my life has been way more stressful in the past than it is currently right now, the way that it is with my career and the age that my kids are and the support that I get from my husband. I'm trying not to take it for granted or believe that it's always going to be this way because it's definitely been harder in the past without all these conditions sort of lined up in my favor. But it's allowed me to explore additional coping mechanisms, and I'm hoping that I can bring those with me to when it's not always so easy.

Adeel [36:17]: Yeah. No, it's great. And yeah, you're kind of, it sounds like you're in kind of a sweet spot, but you've, but you've, I don't think it's all luck. I think you've kind of like probably moved towards that way. And so you kind of created a little bit of that for yourself and it's kind of what we have to do. You have to take your own agency. You mentioned a couple other, you know, things in your toolbox, coping methods. Do you want to speak to some of those?

Aaryn [36:43]: Sure. I would say, yeah, just working on my physical health i think um has been only beneficial i think for my mental health um you know having gut biome issues having um skin you know i i was diagnosed in my 20s um which is almost 20 years ago now um for having rosacea. And so that's more of a physical thing that, you know, people can have aches and pains that they ignore for years, but if it shows up on your face, like you're doing something about it. And, but I would go to my doctor and she was like, Oh yeah, you have rosacea. I'll give you this cream, steroid cream. It's like, okay. And I put it on and it works. And I was like, all right, well, what's, but like, why do I have it? And what's the deal with it? And how do I fix it? And she's like, Yeah, we don't. You just use this thing forever. And I was dissatisfied with that. And it was actually, that was the beginning. That was like the first symptom and a whole line of symptoms that sort of snowballed up from my late 20s into my early 30s to the point where I was very, I don't want to say sick, but like I had a lot of big, big red flag issues in my health. And I was going to my doctor and taking tests. And she was even referring me to other doctors to get a second opinion. And nobody had anything to tell me. You're fine. Your tests are normal. You're healthy. And I'm like, no, I mean, I'm not. But I don't, you know, they had nothing for me. And so that's when a friend of mine. said to go try an acupuncturist. And I believe in the needles, in the power of the needles. But for me, the most powerful part was the consultation, the sitting down and talking to you for like a whole hour and asking you questions and looking at your tongue and evaluating your diet and talking about your lifestyle. And then I only, you know, because I couldn't afford $200 Los Angeles acupuncture appointments. But it put me on a path that gave me something to look at. They gave me their, you know, Chinese medicine diagnosis. And I got Google so I can, like, look up what should I stop eating? What should I start eating? What are the symptoms of this? And so I guess that put me on a path to alternative medicine and just understanding that, like, covering things up with, you know, covering up the symptoms is not a solution to the problem and it's whack-a-mole, right? Like you, you plug up one hole and it's going to pop up somewhere else. And so that's been a really long journey. And then having kids has been really depleting for me. And digestive problems and skin problems. And I think a lot of it was gut related for a really long time. Kidney stones. So just minor things. You know, it's not like I've ever officially been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. But I guess it started making for me a connection between being able to fix it. You know, having... things not just be inevitable in one direction getting worse and worse and worse. Like maybe I can backtrack on something. And I have reversed so many small, minor ailments over a lot of trial and error and professional help from nutritionists and other reading books and all that stuff. But oh, my God, you know, and it kind of goes with my personality, because the first time I also listened to one of the Misophonia Association panel discussions, some doctor said the word. perfectionism disorder. And I was like, what, what is that? That sounds like maybe I should, and I don't want to sound like I'm going to diagnose myself with everything, but I definitely think there are some tendencies. Like if you ask my parents about me as a kid, they never, they never had to put rules on me. They said I was really hard on myself. So I think it kind of goes hand in hand with this tendency towards perfectionism that i feel like whatever problem i have i could probably solve it um and and i know that's not like entirely true and could be kind of fatalistic to think that i can solve every medical problem that comes up i know that's incorrect but i have been able to dial back a lot of small things and so it's got it's encouraging like what else can i do and so um i am at a point in my life where i've been i've incorporated a lot of things i take a lot of supplements which um have helped with a lot of things um and i juice and i'm doing all this yoga now um and and yeah and and having the and having the having my own business that's hugely validating for me so it's just a sweet spot in my life where i have a lot of balance that i did not have when i was working a full-time job and my kids were younger

Adeel [41:59]: Right. Yeah. No, but it took a lot of work to get there. Like you said, trial and error. And so that's kudos. And yeah, all those things sound great. Any supplements that you think maybe affect dysregulation? I'm assuming you're not just taking Centrum one a day or something.

Aaryn [42:19]: No. Oh, my God. Just one.

Adeel [42:23]: If you were going to a desert island, what would be the top five?

Aaryn [42:29]: Well, if I had to bring my number one supplement, magnesium is probably the one that probably everybody could benefit from. from um i actually like my son is in he was very constipated and we have some potty training challenges with him and he's five um and the kids laxative that's non-habit forming and it's safe to continue it's just magnesium so even even he you know is taking my doable magnesium um I take a supplement that is for like protein digestion. And the person who told me to take it, like the nutritionist who I had done some testing with, she didn't know that it helps rosacea. And so I had taken a couple bottles of it and she was like, you can stop taking this now because we were going on this protocol. And I stopped taking it and my rosacea came back. Like I noticed that when I went on her protocol, a lot of things got better. And I couldn't pinpoint which one because I was taking a whole new protocol. But when I stopped taking this one, betaine HCL, I don't know how it's pronounced, betaine, I don't know. Um, but that one, I did a little Googling on it and I found some like pub med type study papers that link, um, an improvement in rosacea. So rosacea is a gut biome disorder where you're not digesting things properly. Like your gallbladder needs to produce more enzymes or something like that. And so like, for me, that is one, again, for vanity reasons. Like, I don't, I don't want to go with that one. Um, I don't know. Just again, I, it's hard for people to go off the beaten path. Like you go to your primary care physician and everything's covered by insurance. I am fortunate that they tell me I am healthy because not everybody has that luck, right? Like that's not to be taken for granted. But they've told me I'm healthy when I know that I'm unwell and just through these needling and slow over time. And I don't think you need to take something forever. Like once you fix a problem, you should be good to go, you know?

Adeel [44:39]: Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, we had an herbalist on a few, yeah, a couple weeks ago talking about, yeah, various things and teas and stuff that she makes and sells. I mean, it's all about, I guess, relaxation and nervous system regulation.

Aaryn [44:59]: I will say something interesting that I've been trying to promote with some of my friends. So I did this gut biome test, which is literally like they send you a box and you poop into a thing and you scoop it and you send it back in a little tube. And they do a full panel read on what enzymes you have and if you're not digesting this or you're too high on this kind of acid in your stomach. And they're selling supplements now, too. But one of the things they recommended on my last panel was for gut inflammation. It was to help gut inflammation. And it's clinical lavender oil. And you can buy it in a pill form. And so I was like, what? Lavender oil? And, you know, everybody, lavender, you know, just smelling it is supposed to relax you. But so I went on Amazon and I started looking at just the reviews that people were leaving because I just love the anecdotal Amazon evidence that I get. And all these people, I was really surprised, all these people said that their doctor was recommending that they take this so that they can get off their prescription anxiety disorder medications. And in these comments, people were listing all these medications that, like, I can't even remember because I'm not on any of them. But people were saying this. Like I'm getting off of, oh my God, name some anxiety meds.

Adeel [46:27]: Like Prozac, Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa, Zoloft.

Aaryn [46:32]: So they were naming all these things. They were like, it works just as well with none of the side effects. And people who have like... yeah panic disorders are switching on to this clinical lavender oil but they're not saying for gut inflammation my my test said for gut inflammation but i mean it just goes showed the connection between gut inflammation and um our mental health and brain disorders you know right right right

Adeel [47:00]: I guess, yeah, I mean, you have a very supportive partner. Did you have to, did that take a while to kind of, like, get to that point? I'm sure a lot of people listening are saying, like, how do you broach the subject? And, you know, as you being a super open person, I'm sure you've had a lot of opportunities to talk about it or mention it to people. What are some tips that you have maybe for people to try to explain it to people around you?

Aaryn [47:25]: I don't know.

Adeel [47:28]: Not to put you on the spot, but it just comes naturally.

Aaryn [47:31]: I don't know. As an American, I had to go to England and find a nice, sensitive man. Okay, okay. I think I just got lucky because, like I said, my boyfriends and partners before my husband, I never had a trigger so bad that it became like a relationship problem. And I love my husband so dearly, but I learned very early in the marriage, nobody swallows more loudly than my husband. Even he can hear it. And so he'll go into the next room.

Adeel [48:04]: I can't stand it at home. If it's too quiet, if there's no music playing.

Aaryn [48:09]: And how can I get mad at somebody? Chewing with your mouth open is one thing. Chewing gum behind me in line. Like we said, these are things that are unnecessary. right like you've deemed them like you don't need to make that sound or like cooking a pants whatever right um like that's pretty necessary and he cannot change that and there is no cosmetic surgery i'm gonna recommend for him to you know and it's funny because my 10 year old daughter does it too like this is a new development in the last year she has she she takes after him somehow um with that body part and in a quiet house i can hear her drinking water from the next room over And I'm like, but anyway, it, it, it created, um, a situation very early where I didn't know what to do and he didn't know what to do. Um, but I guess he didn't, he's, he's not a confrontational person. Um, I don't know. He just loves me. I'm very, I don't know. I don't honestly, he's not really a people person. He doesn't like a lot of people. Sometimes I wonder like, how did he end up picking me? Cause you know, like what I do going to these pop-up markets and talking to strangers all day, I love it. It's like, it fills me up. Um, But it's a nightmare for a big population of people. And I would say probably a large percentage of our community would not be something that they would ever want to do. I don't know. I guess I don't have advice. best advice would be to not fight with them about it and just try to make them understand. But I mean, I have a friend, my friend from college, you know, I don't think this is why her first big relationship didn't work, but I think her partner took it personally. know and so I can't explain why he doesn't take it personally or he decided not to take it personally I can't claim to have any responsibility over that I tried I snap less I think early in the marriage and probably because that coincided with that low point in my own physical health it was harder for me but

Adeel [50:31]: Yeah, no, that's fine. You said a lot right there. Swallowing is definitely one of those weird things. I mean, yeah. There are intravenous bags. Swallowing could be an anachronism at some point. a joke um great and and yeah maybe um so your kids being you know getting i guess around 10 and 5 um have you thought about do they know about misphonia have you thought about broaching the subject it's funny um oh they they know all about it and i guess that's part of why

Aaryn [51:09]: it works for me because i'm allowed to be myself and again um but even like with my kids in general my ability to give them warnings and stay calm and keep my nervous system not over stimulating has gotten better but i still have a have a breaking line right um like my kids have heard my daughter has heard you with your mouth closed probably five times more than she's heard I love you and I love her but like even now she needs constant reminders she's like completely incapable of chewing with her mouth closed my kids know about it you know my my friend who lived with in college she had a kid and we were talking about this recently because like I said having friends that I can talk to about it is a big part of my release valve and coping strategy but she has a son who's very young and she's like I'm not gonna let him know I'm not gonna I she doesn't want to be responsible for like inviting him into the club I guess She didn't use those words, but that's how I'm interpreting it. And she's thinking that she can... Oh, please forgive choice of words. But she could bear the cross, right? And keep it in and not put this on him. I personally will see. I'll come back to her in a couple years and see how she's doing on that. Because I don't know how you'd be able to do that. And sometimes I worry that I'm going to offload this in a... Nurture way instead of nature, you know what I mean that like my daughter's gonna pick it up just from seeing me do it And I've seen her kind of stress out sometimes and make an inclination that she's heading in this direction Personally, I don't think she's gonna suffer from it I think maybe my son will be more at risk because just he has a lot more similarities and and brain that with me then then she does but being able to ask them to close their mouth being, and honestly, once my daughter figured it out, she can see it on my face too. Like we'll be at the bus stop and the bus will come by and the wheels will screech, which isn't necessarily that disgusting. But she'll see my face. Everybody else is fine. And she'll look at my face and my face goes like this. so and like and and with my father-in-law living with us previously a lot of things that were triggering me she could see it in my face and so like even especially with him it was hard for him because i didn't feel like i could just unload and say everything i felt more of that um pressure too bottle it up I guess which is very unnatural for me and that made it more challenging um but there I don't know how I would be able to hide it and the burden of having to hide it would make it all so much worse for everybody that I think I would eventually pop um Okay, and then conversely, I think me being able to talk about it, me being able to try to cope with it in a healthy way and knowing that I have a limit and how I act before I get to that limit, I think maybe I'm modeling good coping behaviors for them that maybe will help them be more aware of other people's feelings and emotions and nonverbal communication than I was when I was a kid, you know? So I don't really know. I guess the jury's out and I'll have to talk to my kids' future therapist to see how that shows up for them. Because I have a very good friend who has recounted to me that his mom at the dinner table growing up was really difficult and that she clearly in our recounting of memories um that she was definitely suffering from misophonia and that she didn't have coping mechanisms and that she would lash out at the dinner table and how you know he's a very sensitive person and as a kid like he has memories of this. And so I have talked to friends who, who they didn't, they didn't experience misophonia themselves, but they experienced it from an unhealthy perspective in their family from somebody else. And so I feel like I've had a lot of conversations with different people about this over and over.

Adeel [55:19]: Yeah, there's a debate about how much of a spotlight to shine for your kids. Because, yeah, you can see there's pros and cons. Hiding it and then blowing up is not a good thing to witness. So, yeah, it's interesting. I think that, well, if there is a consensus, most people just try to not avoid it, but don't try to spotlight it. Don't, you know, come into the room and just mention Misophonia all the time. Anyways, so yeah, Aaron, look, we're already coming up to an hour. Yeah. Yeah, this is great. I mean, we've packed a lot of good information here. A lot of stuff we'll be Googling after my next meeting. But yeah, I don't know. Anything else you want to share? I mean, I'm going to obviously have links to all your stores and all that stuff. But yeah, any other words of wisdom or just...

Aaryn [56:18]: I don't know. I guess just seeing like the humor in it, the humor, humor is a big part of the coping mechanism for me. Like even when I'm being triggered at the moment, I can kind of go inside my head and scream like a, like a joke, like a, like a Seinfeldian line, like, and then I'm going to tell one of my friends, like I'm already planning on which friend I'm going to tell about this situation. And that gives me a moment to like extract. from that physical, visceral moment, I guess, a little patch. And then I tell the story and they laugh at me and then they apologize for laughing at me, but I'm like, no, that's what I need. I need this to be my stand up power and laugh at myself, right? Because of how you feel bad, right? Like that shame of how you feel is part of the experience and humor, I guess, gives me a way out of it. Even if I'm just planning who I'm going to tell and when I'm going to tell them. And then, you know, and then and then they send me the memes about murdering somebody. Right. Because we've all seen the misophonia type memes. Right. But even like, you know, five minutes before I did this interview, I saw my dad and I was like, oh, I'm going to do a misophonia interview. And he's like, what's that?

Adeel [57:39]: I'm just like, that's funny. Um, cool. Well, yeah. Aaron again. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for coming on. I'm glad we can, uh, yeah. Finally finish a conversation. This is going to be super helpful to a lot of people. And, uh, yeah.

Aaryn [57:54]: Try yin yoga. That's what I'm going to tell people. Yoga. Yoga is a vast thing. You could get lost. It's overwhelming, but go Google yin. Find, um, there's a million YouTube videos. Go find it at a studio. Um, I don't know. I, it might not work for everybody, but I, I recommend it.

Adeel [58:13]: Thank you again, Aaron. I'm going to go and look a bunch of this fascinating stuff up. 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 helloatmissifortypodcast.com or go to the website, missifortypodcast.com. It's even easier just to send a message on Instagram at Misophonia Podcast. You can follow there or Facebook and Twitter with 4X. It's Misophonia Show. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at patreon.com slash misophoniapodcast. The music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace.

Unknown Speaker [58:56]: Au revoir. you