Seiara - Cross-cultural Misophonia Insights and Coping Through Dance

S7 E22 - 1/11/2024
This episode features Seiara, host of the Behind the Stigma Podcast, talking from Dubai about her experiences with misophonia. Adeel and Seiara delve into her journey growing up in Azerbaijan, her educational path in psychology and neuroscience, and how her cultural background influenced her perception and management of misophonia. They explore different therapeutic approaches, the impact of visual triggers, boundary issues, and the beneficial role of conscious dancing in managing her misophonia. The discussion also covers the stigma around mental health in post-Soviet countries and how that has evolved, with both Seiara and Adeel sharing insights into their own struggles and coping mechanisms. The episode concludes with a message on the importance of finding personal ways to regulate one's nervous system and encouraging listeners to explore what works best for them.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 7, Episode 22. My name is Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Ciara, host of my favorite psychology podcast, the Behind the Stigma Podcast. And I'm not just saying that because I was on it once. Ciara is based in Dubai and often in London, with a background in psychology and neuroscience. from King's College London. We talk all about growing up in Azerbaijan, her family dynamics and reaction to misophonia. We talk about different therapies and newer stimulation studies, visual triggers, boundary issues, HSP and other constructs, dysregulation, and a lot more. We also talk about the idea of conscious dancing at the end, which is a big passion of hers and helps her a lot. After the show, of course, let me know what you think. You can reach me by email at or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Missiphonia Podcast. By the way, please do head over and leave a quick rating wherever you listen to the show on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. It helps move us up in the algorithms when folks are searching Missiphonia. A few of my usual announcements. Thanks again for the incredible ongoing support. On Patreon, if you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at slash misophonia podcast. And of course, I want to plug the book Sounds Like Misophonia by Dr. Jane Gregory and I. It's a self-help book on misophonia. You can get it anywhere in the world, online, offline. It's published from Bloomsbury Publishers, and you can find links to order in the show notes. This episode is also sponsored by the personal journaling app, Bazel, B-A-S-E-L, that I developed. Bazel provides AI-powered insights into your journal entries and guides you daily with new writing prompts based on those insights. You can even explore many different therapy approaches, modalities, and philosophies. It's available on iOS or Android. Check the show notes or go to All right, here's my conversation with Ciara. Ciara, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you here.

Seiara [2:21]: Hey, Adeel. Thank you so much. I'm very excited to be here. A little nervous, but very excited.

Adeel [2:26]: Yeah, no worries. No worries. It's a great conversation. Do you want to tell us a little bit about kind of where you are?

Seiara [2:36]: Yeah, for sure. Firstly, right off the bat, it's so funny because just before we got on the podcast, the first thing I thought is like, shit, I better not breathe too loud because I'm going to piss off all the listeners on here. So it's really it's at the same time. It's great that, you know, you can say this out loud. You can think this out loud and think, lol, people would actually understand what I mean, you know, because if you say that to anyone else, they'll be like, what?

Adeel [3:01]: But

Seiara [3:02]: um yeah so that's always a good thing but at the same time you're like oh shit i better not make any extra noise not to trigger or piss anyone off but yeah so um i'm actually based in dubai uae united arab emirates i grew up here but i'm originally from azerbaijan but yeah i guess i call both my home oh okay cool yeah i was i never asked you i was curious kind of what your what your background was so uh yeah i haven't talked to somebody from

Adeel [3:31]: Dubai or Azerbaijan so there you go it's a double win yeah and yeah but the breathing don't worry about it I mean you know I put like brown noise in the background for and it's kind of the ointment for many ills like it kind of gives everybody like a you know some white noise in the background and then it covers up like you know any kind of potential well not any kind of potential but a lot of potential like trigger sounds and what not so yeah Don't worry about it. Well, that's really cool. So do you want to talk a bit? I guess, how did you get to Dubai? What was your... life kind of path.

Seiara [4:11]: Sure. That's kind of crazy. So I, we moved here in like back in 92. So great. Now everyone knows my age, but I moved, we moved here when I was like literally two years old. Um, and my dad just started a business here. So think of Dubai when it was still a desert, right? Like now when you see Dubai, it's all skyscrapers. Like it's pretty amazing here but back then it was still pretty underdeveloped it was small buildings you know not more than like one mall so it's actually surreal to see how it's shifted in the past 20 plus years and yeah I used to travel to like Azerbaijan during the summer but most of my life I've just spent it here so Dubai is honestly my home and even when I travel as much as this sucks I'm always like I get like the itch to go home you know I'm like oh I miss the heat and especially when I travel the winter so yeah that's kind of my story honestly travel around a lot but I've always been based here in Dubai

Adeel [5:18]: Okay. And I know that you're, so let's, we'll talk about maybe, because you go to London a lot, and I'm assuming, it sounds like you're, I mean, you're at school in London. And the listeners know a little bit about your podcast, obviously. I've been on it, and I mentioned it in the preamble. But it sounds like you're spending a lot of time in London. Do you want to talk about, I guess, kind of what you're studying and kind of the background of your interest in psychology?

Seiara [5:44]: yeah sure so um funnily enough i'm actually traveling to london after tomorrow again so there you go but um yeah so my background's in now it is is in psychology and neuroscience of mental health so i did my masters at king's college london but during my masters i came across this organization in the uk called student minds And it's basically like a charity that focuses on student mental health in the UK along with other things. And it's more about collaborative research. So it basically intersects universities and students and allows the student voice to be kind of at the forefront. Um, I've been working with them for two years and we do, well, next this week is going to be like our first in-person meeting, but most of the meetings are online, but I do travel back and forth to the UK just because, um, a, you know, my university was there, my master's was there. And then B, it just kind of turned out because doing my master's there as I was connected with so many other students within my field. So we do a lot of like meet ups and hangouts and things like that as well you know so it's both like from a university perspective and you know studies and things like that but then kind of it became a place where I would just like comfortably like go back and forth to and yeah so recently I mean soon I'm looking to do my PhD as well and I'll be checking out a few schools again in the UK so I feel like that's kind of like become my new place now that you've mentioned it

Adeel [7:24]: Cool. Yeah. No, I didn't know you had done your master's and you were still kind of going back there. Do you know when you plan to start your PhD? Is that next year?

Seiara [7:36]: Fingers crossed. Yeah. Fall 2024. So September 2024. It's given me a bit of a while to prep mentally and, you know, all that stuff.

Adeel [7:47]: What are you doing? Yeah. Do you have any... idea what direction do you want to take it? Obviously, with your podcast, you're exposed to a lot of different things. I'm just curious if there's anything that sticks out to you.

Seiara [8:00]: yeah so um the field that i'll be going into so the phd will be in the field of philosophy of psychiatry so it's a particular field that focuses on questions that surround psychiatry in particular in in my interest it would be mental disorders so it thinks about things like the ethics of mental disorders you know morality um Questions like what does it mean to have a delusion, you know, and how is a delusion any different from, for example, someone who may have an irrational form of a belief, you know. And so it's it comes from it from a more. philosophical approach but my phd will actually focus on student perceptions on mental disorders so how people how students in particular in the uk population view mental disorder classifications and in turn how does that reflect on how they seek help or do not seek help so um and of course impact could be you know very diff different depending on multiple factors so that's kind of what i want to explore because the field is very divided right now you know there's the holistic approach yeah you know there's those that are completely um against classifications there are those that find it liberating and stigmatizing so that's kind of the gist of it our Are the perceptions of mental disorders liberating or stigmatizing to people? And if so, why? And kind of the role of biological explanations. There's clearly a lot I want to explore in that study.

Adeel [9:45]: Oh, yeah. No, it's still fascinating stuff. As a layperson who's, you know, who's got a bit of a brain, I can kind of see, you can kind of sense that.

Seiara [9:52]: You definitely do.

Adeel [9:53]: That kind of conflict in that, well, not, I don't want to say conflict, but that kind of like all these debates in the field. And I find it fascinating. On a philosophical level, but I think what you're alluding to also kind of on a practical policy level or, you know, person level because it affects how, if and how people seek help and what help they'll get. Because sometimes you'll go, you know, you'll just go to somebody and it could be a, there's like three different, completely different directions and you'll be, you know, shuttled into one because of insurance or something like that and they might not be the help you need.

Seiara [10:26]: Exactly. No, that's exactly how it is, right? based on the way things are currently done. It's as in the impact on people. are based on the current regulations or the clinical procedures. So actually looking into these questions, the hope is that, okay, are we actually giving the right support to people? Is this exactly particular for me? Again, I'm focusing within student population, so maybe that would be more in terms of university resources and things like that. But no, you're absolutely right from that perspective.

Adeel [11:06]: Well, no, we could go on for hours just on this topic, but maybe we can steer it a little bit back to misophonia, I guess. Do you want to maybe rewind back again to kind of like when you first started to, I guess, notice misophonia?

Seiara [11:24]: Yeah, much like most of, you know, the people who come on your podcast. It started when I was very, very young. I think when I was eight or nine. And my grandfather, bless his soul, feels so horrible. But he was the first person that... created a sort of reaction within me he would eat in a very unpleasant way which you know weren't very pleasant to my ears so uh my poor grandfather i would like shun him and be like grandpa you can't sit with me while we're eating and he's like wait what so um yeah it was it was very disturbing i would say for me some of my uncles as well would make you know like the slurping of soup so it definitely started with food that's what i've noticed um the trigger sounds i know some people don't like to use the word trigger but i guess the reaction to those sounds um And I would say now it's extended, though, to a very wide spectrum of reactions, I would say, to many different sounds. But interestingly enough, back in 2012... That was when I first heard of the term misophonia. So I was already I was already at the end of my high school years, you know, going into uni and like my bachelor's, I mean. And I remember Googling, I hate sounds and I hate certain movements. Yeah, it's like, you know, you're like this 15 year old. You're like, I hate everyone. I hate sounds. I want silence, you know. And the term misophonia came up and this was literally like, you know, like a decade ago. And I think it was like WebMD, you know, these like websites where they list like, yeah, I don't remember which one it was. I definitely think it was one of those. And it just said like, you know, misophonia is not like an official condition, but it's characterized by like people who have an aversion to sounds. I'm like, oh, yeah, that's that's me. That's it. You know, I have misophonia. And I kind of just left it there. for another 10 years and never really thought about it again. Yeah. Up until like recently somehow weirdly the sounds have been becoming way more severe than ever. I don't know if it's because we forget how it was in the past because we always feel things that are currently happening to us are way more intense and we tend to forget, you know, how painful things can be, you know. think of like when you break I don't know you scratch your arm you'll forget the pain in a week right but if it's happening right now that's when it's most intense so I don't know if it's becoming more intense or it's just the current experience is more intense but either way it's again that the whole misophonia conversation has kind of opened up to me because to be very honest I've been very dismissive of my own condition I would say I don't know if you had the same thing.

Adeel [14:37]: Yeah, you know, a lot of people, right. I had a similar thing where I found out about it first in 2007 or so. And obviously, you know, I had, well, I know I experienced it obviously at home growing up. But then I don't, it wasn't as big, it didn't seem as big of a deal like in college and at the beginning of my career but then um but then but but it was enough that seeing an article about it in 2007 i knew what it was immediately but but but it is true that then a couple of actually maybe it was only a couple years went by when um it kind of like a bit on the back burner. But yeah, then when I went into an open office environment and heard some of the stuff there, then it was like, okay, this is a, you know, this is a real thing. And it's not going anywhere. And yeah, so it's kind of, it does kind of ebb and flow and other people have said similar things. I'm curious, were you dismissive of your own misophonia because you just didn't think it was serious or... I don't know. You had that feedback from people who kind of like, who told about it.

Seiara [15:54]: No, it wasn't the feedback. It was definitely just me being dismissive to my own condition. I think I've felt like I did not want it to define me. Even by talking to you, if I'm honest, I was very shy and hesitant because I thought, is this really, you know, the first thing I want to put out there into this world? Because... And I guess, at least in my mind, each one of us are much more than our misophonia, right? It's something we live with, but it's not the entirety of us. And so for that reason, there was this hesitation, shame or even guilt that came with it because I didn't want it to solely be remembered as my identity. But on the other hand, and much, you know, thanks to your podcast as well, I see that now. There probably is nothing to be ashamed of, you know, and the more open we are about it, the more people can be aware of it too. So hiding it is actually probably making it worse in the longer term, right? Because it's not actually helping those of us who suffer with it and to make it better in the long run. Yeah, so I feel it came a lot with like an identity issue that I don't want this to be an identity of me because my personality is generally very, you know, kind and social and when we tend to get triggered um we can become a little bit aggro you know even if it's like an internal like a twitch it kind of goes against like my natural nature of being friendly and sweet or whatever it may be so i think that's where it kind of came through and i would just try to dismiss it almost and be like forget this just try to mask or hide it as as best you can

Adeel [17:38]: Right. Because I think it's funny, it easily gets simplified. We simplify it to ourselves that it's just an aggro kind of thing. So we don't want to be perceived as aggro. That makes sense. We know why we kind of like try to suppress it.

Seiara [17:53]: Right.

Adeel [17:54]: But even what I've learned from the podcast is it's so much, you know, it's part of everyone's you know, everyone who has misophonies is a very complex person. Uh, and so it definitely, you know, even if you wanted to try to, even if somebody wanted to define you as misophonic, um, you know, that's, it's so not the case as soon as you get to know somebody. Um, and it's opened me up to these other things like HSP, the nervous system and different ways to kind of like, um, to kind of like help. I originally, when I started the podcast, I thought it was just a pro probably some biological brain thing, you know, quote unquote, but, um, I've learned a lot more and, and uh yeah so i think i think it helps you know what we're sharing is gonna help us deal with misophonia and many other things too um but that doesn't dismiss the fact that this funny is a real thing because as we know we have some pretty intense reactions

Seiara [18:47]: Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. You nailed it on the head. And we now know through a lot of, you know, brain studies, brain scans and things like that. There are a lot of areas of our brain that are highlighted during, you know. the when we hear or when we see even certain triggers um for example the amygdala as i'm sure you already know the ventromedial prefrontal cortex all of these the auditory you know cortex hippocampus all these um areas in the brain and as you said yourself it's not just about brain reaction there's a lot of um childhood experiences that come through it because most of you know our trigger points come from there and it could be a lot to do with our relationship conditioning so as you said it's very complex and for each person it probably diversifies a little bit so um kind of boiling it down to sounds make me angry yeah it's it's definitely very reductionist kind of a way of thinking but you're right at the end of it all we do get you know heightened heart rate and what they call galvanic skin response um when we hear those sounds so um there are definitely those like physical triggers as well which again may go against our certain nature of like or our personality traits when we're not being when our nervous system is you know calm yeah yeah i want to come back to what you get what you just said about uh yeah the

Adeel [20:22]: the different parts of the brain. Um, because I think there is a, you know, I want to come back to a little bit to the kind of, um, that, that, I don't know if it's a debate, but, uh, the kind of the limbic versus prefrontal kind of, I feel like there's kind of like an unspoken kind of debate or something. Is this, um, a reptilian thing or is it something we can tackle purely from the, uh, on a, you know, more cognitive prefrontal, um, uh ways or if it's a combination but i i do want to um you know you mentioned childhood i'm just i'm just curious um growing up it sounds like your grandfather and your uncle were were triggers what about the right like your immediate family life your nuclear family was there um Were you being triggered by them? How were they? How did they did they notice your reactions?

Seiara [21:09]: Yeah. Honestly, I think my parents were generally very understanding, especially now. they've they try to be understanding to what was happening to me because even as a kid I don't know if this is a good thing or not but I never was able to like hold feelings inside so if I would get triggered like I would probably say something again not to like my uncles or whoever but if it was my mom or my dad or my sister um i would definitely like be very vocal about it like stop don't do that like this is you know this is really hurting my ears and they would be quite understanding about it and they wouldn't like push probe too much about it which i think was nice but in you know when i'm traveling to Azerbaijan we're always with Like you're never alone. So basically, if if you ever I'm sure you know this, like how extended families are. There's constantly gatherings. And, you know, I would travel to Azerbaijan in the summer for three months. So there's always someone around, you know, like my grandma, my cousins, my uncles. And there's constantly like trigger sounds. So it's moments like that where I would have to like run away or hide or go to the bathroom or like pretend like, you know, sometimes I would even speak over them like really loudly to try to like. Like, yeah, you know, I'm like, wait, what? And they're like, why is she screaming? We're like right opposite each other. So just kind of trying to find little ways to cope with it. But my mom, I think she actually has misophonia herself because when my uncle would drink soup, she would also tell him to stop that. So but I don't think it's as extreme as mine, but she definitely does get triggered a little bit, too. my sister on the other hand she has mixed feelings about my misophonia and good thing she doesn't listen to podcasts ever so she'll definitely not hear this and like you know um but i think she finds it extremely annoying especially when we're on holiday together and this is more recent rather than childhood but i think for her it just it kind of feels like just deal with it you know why are you being so difficult and it's again that's where that conflict inner my poor sister she's gonna be like what the hell but anyway this is where like the inner conflict again comes in because you really really want to be chill right but then When you hear the sound, you just say like, oh, you know, can we move to another table? Like, I can't sit in front next to these people because they keep smacking their lips or they keep blowing their nose. And it's I can't handle it. Like, I will not be able to eat here. So then she's like, oh, you know, you're making a big deal out of nothing. Like, why is it so hard to like do day to day like normal things with you? You know, so in those instances, it can be quite difficult and you feel guilty. You know, you feel bad because you're like, oh, i'm ruining this person's day with my own with my behaviors um so in moments like that it can be very tricky but again but luckily for me i'm blessed that my parents were always very understanding about it and um they would try to not trigger me in that sense yeah what was the um

Adeel [24:27]: kind of the culture around talking about mental health in Dubai and Azerbaijan. I'm assuming it was totally open and everyone loved to talk about it.

Seiara [24:40]: I sensed it. Oh my God. Yeah.

Adeel [24:43]: It's like, you know, I also come from an Asian background as well. So I can kind of like riff around that part of the world. I hope without offending.

Seiara [24:56]: Totally. not at all totally you can um and it's so funny because you know when people when you say like oh i'm feeling like i think i'm like properly depressed and they're like you know just um just like have soup and you'll feel better you're like oh great advice mom thanks you know so um But in Azerbaijan.

Adeel [25:21]: That's like a Christina. There's somebody named Christina was on earlier. Yeah. And her mom told her to just write it down on a piece of paper and then throw it out.

Seiara [25:31]: i love it so superstition yeah my grandma would probably like start telling me oh you have a bad eye let's do a little you know let's let's put some salt around you and chant something and then throw it in the fire and you're like wait what but yeah um bless her soul It's interesting because in, like, so Azerbaijan used to be a part of the Soviet Union, right? And in Russia or, you know, post-Soviet countries, which Azerbaijan was a part of, mental health or in more of a sense, I would say psychiatric conditions were very well studied, right? But they would see it as... it would be very extreme you know so if you're clinically depressed you need you know psychiatric care if you have a hallucination you need to be locked up and you're you're mad you know the whole madness kind of um narrative was very very strong so even most of my family are doctors by the way so they're quite open with these conversations and my mom studied neurology as well um you know she finished med school and she studied psychiatry so she she was quite you know my family is quite open within these conversations but they view it in a very different way you know so they would they would view it in a sense like yes schizophrenia you know someone who has hallucinations equals mental or mad you know whereas i would argue with her now and say well that's not entirely the case because not everyone who's you know schizophrenic is a serial killer which is like you know sometimes the narrative the old narrative so i would say there's a lot of that old stigma definitely um but it's changing i'm sure you know it's it's definitely changing Everyone has a therapist now, which is interesting. And Dubai.

Adeel [27:27]: Even over there, like Dubai and Azerbaijan.

Seiara [27:30]: So in Azerbaijan, you would always go see your physician if you have anything, you know. So even when I had anxiety and like serious panic attacks, a neurologist would see me, not a psychiatrist, you know. The neurologist would give you like Xanax or whatever, which I never took because I hated it. The point is that, yeah, you you there would be less of like psychiatry unless you actually need inpatient care. At least this is my knowledge. Don't quote me on this because I could be absolutely wrong. I've never lived there. But in the UAE, at least mental health has. It's really at the forefront right now. Yeah, it's actually quite amazing. There are so many apps as well. There's one called Fitzy Health, which is an online app that was created that is at reach for anyone. It's based in the UAE, but they do it globally, obviously, because they're online. There's a huge wellness center here called Lighthouse Arabia. And they do so much for mental health support, people, you know, suicide prevention, people who have grief, you know, lost someone. They do like, you know, different people who have been clinically depressed, addiction support. They have a lot of services. the narrative here is definitely changing however there are still many communities and groups that would not talk about their mental health especially men which i think is again very prominent in asia in general um and like in our parts of the region because you know men don't cry and men don't share their feelings so that is still out there i think just like the rest of the world but it's definitely shifting a lot there's a lot of awareness for it for sure

Adeel [29:22]: Yeah, that's interesting. That's great to hear. And yeah, I was curious if those wellness centers were, were they, you know, kind of secular in nature or didn't have any like, you know, religious kind of connotations or anything? Because, you know, growing up as a male Muslim, I was, I definitely get the whole, hmm, yeah, just don't think about that. Just read this book, this old book, and that'll solve your problems.

Seiara [29:49]: Have you ever like approached your parents with any, you know, whenever you felt down or if you ever felt that you were going through like a hard time?

Adeel [30:00]: I don't think so. No. I mean, it just kind of, it's usually, yeah, I mean, usually the, I would assume the answer is usually, well, you know, here, just pray two rakahs.

Seiara [30:13]: I love that. Yeah. I love that, just make a duai, you know?

Adeel [30:17]: Yeah, duai, yeah, exactly. So, yeah, definitely would not be... Right, unless, like you said, like, unless there was evidence of, like, some madness. So, you know, there's that... Yeah. Mental health is considered, like, you're insane.

Seiara [30:35]: Yeah, exactly, right? They're like, lock her up! I'm like, hey, he just has anxiety, calm down. Right, right.

Adeel [30:43]: Right. Those are for anxiety and then mental institutions are for like, you know, anything else mentally, you know.

Seiara [30:50]: Exactly.

Adeel [30:51]: Mentally related.

Seiara [30:53]: I'm kind of glad misophonia was never discovered. Imagine they just locked us all up. They're like... They can't function properly to sounds. We need to put them all in a room.

Adeel [31:03]: I bet there would just be a lot of exposure therapy. I can't imagine any other kind of nuanced way of dealing with it. They would just probably force it out of you or something. Try to.

Seiara [31:13]: Yeah. Excuse my language. By the way, you've done, you know, you've spoken to so many people. Has anyone done exposure therapy? Because to me, I... Oh, yeah.

Adeel [31:25]: don't really i think that's like a nightmare of an approach so i'm very curious yeah yeah yeah no it's it's definitely um um it's never come up and there's somebody a local here who's kind of worked at um clinics um that are more ocd based and i guess I guess because, you know, more maybe that because I guess the OCD, one of the therapies is actually exposure to, you know. And so so then I heard that, you know, when when people then take when parents then bring their kids to these clinics, the clinic just assumes that it's some kind of form of OCD and they just that's what they do. They just expose the kid and it's just horrible. And yeah, so I've heard about that, but I've never heard it go well.

Seiara [32:19]: Yeah, me neither. Exposure therapy for OCD, that definitely works. So I'm also a germaphobe. Of course, we have a million things that's right with us. And I actually did cognitive behavioral therapy and a form of like exposure therapy for that. And it definitely was very helpful. But for misophonia, it just can't work because I don't know how to explain it. For germophobia, it works because your fear is the actual germs, right? Your fear is, sorry, excuse me, your fear is getting sick, at least for me. So what was the fear behind the germophobia? The fear is that if I touch something and I don't wash my hands, I will get sick, right? And the more you, let's say, touch something and then don't wash your hands and you don't get sick, then that exposure eventually after a long term, you tend to, you know, your nervous system tends to not associate it anymore with danger right that's at least that's how i see it and that's how it worked for me whereas if it's misophonia the the fear itself is the sound so exposing it to more sound isn't gonna make it go away i don't know if this logic makes any sense but that's how i see it because yeah yeah but i've tried it and it it hasn't helped you've tried it you tried it for sound And not therapeutically, like not with an actual therapist.

Adeel [33:44]: Right, right. Right, just myself.

Seiara [33:45]: I'm like, I'm going to expose myself and not put, you know, noise-canceling headphones and see what happens in five minutes.

Adeel [33:51]: Yeah. Because, I mean, thinking kind of openly and kind of devil's advocate, I mean, you know, I've thought about if misophonia is a response to your nervous system, assigning danger to the sound based on maybe some could be some traumatic thing it could be some genetic thing from the past i don't know but you there i guess you know it's not completely illogical to think that um maybe listening to that sound and then not being attacked can kind of reassure your nervous system um that the sound is not going to hurt you or the thing that caught that's causing the sound is not going to hurt you um I can see how there could be some logic there, but it just never works in reality.

Seiara [34:41]: Yeah, you're so right. When you think of it in that way, it can. But even from what I've read, study-wise... there there hasn't been much you know progress for exposure therapy and misophonia so i'm just wondering you know why that is and i don't know if it's that we're we're too fearful of it and it's there's too much of an impact on us that it's impossible um but interestingly there have been recent studies i think there was a study published um in 2020 like literally last year on um what is that called give me a moment oh yeah neurosimulation like stimulating certain areas of the brain like either inhibiting them or excitatory them um and seeing how that works for misophonia which again is something that they do for um patients with ocd so you know that's interesting yeah was there any outcome from that that was interesting I think the study itself was, the paper was kind of more discussing what neurosimulation is and how it would work and how it currently works on patients with like OCD. But I don't think there's enough studies done yet on misophonia patients because... Mainly because there's so many areas of the brain that could be impacted and many ways that it could be approached. And also, neurostimulation does come with side effects, right? So things like seizures are possible. Of course, like the percentages, like, I don't know, maybe like 40, 50%. Um, but there's a lot of like side effects I would say. So it's something that needs to be taken into consideration and you can't just take a bunch of people and, you know, do, um, what's it called? Like transcranial magnetic.

Adeel [36:40]: Um, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Something else. Um, interesting. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Like, yeah, I guess. They're not like, as we, you know, as we know, there's a lot, a lot of study that needs to happen. Sounds like this, this paper was kind of more pointing to a direction, a potential direction for more research.

Seiara [37:05]: Yeah, exactly.

Adeel [37:06]: Yeah. Interesting. Okay. Yeah. So you mentioned, yeah, you mentioned germ, germaphobe. I think you mentioned earlier kind of alluding to like movement. So I'm assuming like mesokinesia, the kind of visual triggers is a big deal for you as well, maybe?

Seiara [37:23]: yeah yeah uh it is unfortunately um it's definitely a trigger too even just sometimes seeing people and i i've heard i actually read this in your book um with you know dr jane gregory that they mentioned A, it's the person sometimes that can be triggering for you, and then B, certain movements and certain tonalities. So it's interesting that two people could make the same movement, but one person may be a little bit more triggering than the other. And that's kind of mind blowing to me. Why? But generally, if someone is, I don't know how to explain, like making a chewing movement without even hearing the sound, I would potentially get annoyed. Yeah, it's strange. Even if someone comes too close and like... They don't actually scrape off me, but I feel like they would. Like even that sensory movement would piss me off. So I don't know if that's directly related to misophonia, but it has all to do with like sounds and, you know, movement being too close. Like, I don't know if this is also like a boundary thing, you know, feeling like you're being violated almost.

Adeel [38:45]: Oh, that's an interesting idea. Yeah. Because I have, you know, I've mentioned before, I feel like in the future, this won't be... this will be realized. This will be, um, um, the name might change, but it won't be just a, a sound thing. I feel like there is more going on, but that's the interesting, um, what you said about boundaries, uh, in almost a sense of being, yeah, some kind of violation happening. Um, cause all these things that's kind of what this comment, um, yeah, no, I, I, I do, especially with the, the, like you actually, yeah, you said like the, the closeness and the touching kind of thing. um sometimes but i'm wondering if like even the um i'm trying to think of it i'm trying to frame the sound and visual stuff as as kind of a bound i'm gonna have to ponder that because you know it's something that just seems like you're the sound is is really that's all you can focus on and it seems like it's right close to you and it seems like um you know i always think i i think often when i'm being triggered it's like you know everything's fine it's just one thing um That if I can make that go away, everything's fine. It's like it intruded on my current environment. There's almost, you know, in some ways it's kind of like a boundary violation.

Seiara [39:59]: Yeah, exactly. No, I feel that exact same way. And you tend to get angry at that person and, you know, you feel like they're doing it on purpose. Oh, that person's probably just living his best life, has no idea, scraping chairs, you know, chewing loudly.

Adeel [40:15]: Yeah.

Seiara [40:17]: they knew you were there and they came to yeah they were waiting for us you know this was all a part of their plan yeah yeah uh no you're right that's yeah that's an interesting way um yeah did you consider do you have you heard the term hsp i'm sure you have hsp highly sensitive yeah the highly sensitive you identify with that's so funny because um a few weeks ago my friend um she purchases the book i forgot the author i think her name is elaine something um some old school name yeah yeah i definitely need to find it now um but anyway so she purchases this book and she's like oh my gosh i'm reading the absolutely most amazing book it's called the highly sensitive person you have to take this test online because i think we're both it you know so And I've heard this term a few years back. Me and my best friend actually talked about it when we were kind of talking about we're both like, you know, I don't want to use the word special, but, you know, we have some quirks here and there. So she sent this to me a few years back saying, like, by the way, it could be that we're, you know, extremely different. um, were HSPs or whatever. And then again, like, you know, you read something and then you're like, yeah, you move on and forget it. And then two weeks ago, um, another friend of mine again sent it and I was like, holy shit, like this term, you know, I've seen it a few years back. Um, and so I reread it again and I'm like, this makes, you know, you really identify it. And Adeel, I feel like, um, I actually used to do a podcast where you talk about it with, um, you know, one, one of the, I don't know if you call interviews attendees. Um, how do I call it? Your guests, I guess I would say. Yeah. So, um, yeah, you, you really identify with the HSB, don't you? And generally people with misophonia.

Adeel [42:04]: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, and do you, do you think, um, is each, I mean, is HSB just a, is it taken seriously at all in like the, uh, I don't know, in the psychology community or is it just kind of like a, kind of a more pop culture kind of thing?

Seiara [42:20]: Yeah, I don't know enough, so I can't lie and say, but one thing I will say, though, I think we, this is a personal opinion, and I hope I don't insult anyone.

Adeel [42:33]: That's what we're all here for, yeah.

Seiara [42:35]: Yeah, it's like, it's very similar to when we discovered like attachment styles, right? I'm sure you've heard of this, that some people are secure attachments, some people are anxious avoidance, some people are ambivalent attached. And then based on these attachment styles, this is how and why we behave in relationships. And this is how, you know, we had formed relationships with our primary caregivers, which could be, you know, either our parents or whoever would, you know, raised us. So when we think of concepts and constructs, we have to take them, in my opinion, with a pinch of salt, with a grain of salt. Right. Because these are concepts or constructs that help us identify and understand and learn about ourselves. But they're not like. set in stone you know it's not it's not the same as let's say knowing how much you know insulin you have in your body or you know whether um you know the the beat of your heart heart rate etc if that makes sense when you look at it in pub med or like in any big you know journals there's not much on this topic so as you said i think it's more I don't know if it's pop culture or not, but it's like a concept or construct. I think Elaine Arons is her name or something.

Adeel [43:54]: Yes.

Seiara [43:55]: That, you know, she coined the term. But that's not to say that it's not real. You know, it's not to say that it's this concept or, you know, this... form of being doesn't exist it absolutely does because many people identify with it you know and i think it's extremely helpful to identify with it because again you understand yourself you understand why you react to certain things and it also helps other people understand you so i think they're highly useful but um i would never i don't like as you can tell identifying as one thing like

Adeel [44:31]: I'm you know I have misophonia I'm a highly sensitive person I have germophobia because then it limits you to much more of what you are if that makes sense but again that's my personal opinion yeah yeah I mean I think that's one of the critiques of things like the DSM is like yeah sure it helps you get some kind of um some kind of gets you in the door to maybe a doctor but then but then it's like sure there's a lot of studies behind you know how these uh names are um you know names of conditions are formed, but also kind of like, um, to a lay person, it can kind of be very black and white where, where it's much more complex. There's a lot of, you know, from even with misophonia, most of us have other things that kind of overlap. And so, um, I don't know. I feel like some of these boxes can kind of like get in the way of, uh, um, figuring out, you know, what, what's actually going on. And then something HSP is very encompassing, at least it's this kind of one appeal of it. It's, it's, uh, It's not a disorder or condition per se, but it's kind of like a continuum. But it definitely feels like a lot of us identify with it a lot more than others. I feel like I'm kind of borderline. I wouldn't say I'm completely over into HSP. But yeah, I wanted to talk about one thing. You mentioned attachment. theory, I think. Are you familiar with like, you know, Gabor Maté, and I think he talks about attachment and authenticity. That's the thing, I don't know, I talk about that a lot in therapy as well, and I feel like that is, I mean, obviously he thinks that it's kind of the root of many of our anxieties and conditions. And I've thought about that in terms of, I don't know if he knows about misophonia at all, but I've thought about maybe this in terms of misophonia. Um, and other things like, uh, yeah, well, let me just, I guess, but have you, have you thought about that? Uh, I don't know. Or can you maybe, um, speculate on misophonia and, uh, kind of attachment authenticity issues?

Seiara [46:48]: Yeah. That's a really interesting one. Attachment styles is an interesting one too, because according to this theory, we all have kind of a main attachment style. And that is based on the way, again, we had a relationship with our primary caregivers. And it's funny what you're saying, because On the one hand, if I speculate from, you know, like anecdotally, so from my own personal experience, not, you know, I'm not scientifically or anything, but although my, you know, parents were, as I said, extremely supportive and my mom was, you know, always like there for me, etc. you know post-soviet russian moms they're very cold you know i don't know if you know if anyone from like the soviets will tell we always laugh like people from you know eurasia eastern europe were like yeah our parents never said they loved us because like it's just not a thing there you know so um so there's a bit of that and there's a bit of funny enough you're bringing back a lot of memories um When we were young, me and my sister, we were both never allowed to be loud in public. Always, always shushed. Like, although my personality by default is, you know, very loud and, you know, as in I'm comfortable being social. But when we were young, like seven, eight, nine, up to 13, we were always told, like, when you're in public, don't speak. Like, don't, you know. um kind of give out your own opinion don't scream if we ever like scream don't rock the boat right like don't you know don't be loud and you know be respectful don't ever show discomfort so i think sometimes i always makes me wonder i don't know if i've just read too many psychology books at this point but when i look at kids screaming i'm like do they piss me off because i was not allowed to scream as a child you know so now it's my inner child screaming like you can't make that noise like how dare you because i wasn't allowed to make that noise right so again it comes to like avoidant attachment styles i guess but i mean i don't know how much that is all related at this point i'm literally just talking but um it is interesting that i wasn't allowed to make a lot of sounds so i was always very conscious of sounds in general Whether it's eating, whether it's talking, whether it's screaming and being loud or whatever. So I don't know how much that triples through. But then again, my sister didn't get impacted by that. So there's so many factors, right?

Adeel [49:42]: Yeah, I was going to say that. What you just said, I had a similar kind of background where, yeah, don't rock the boat. Don't be late for places. Don't be too loud. Don't show discomfort. Don't cause discomfort. and so um yeah don't be late to places did you say that oh my god that was a huge one for me oh even to this day if uh well even to this day if anyone in my family is is looks if it seems like they might be late for something or might be holding us up from getting somewhere on time i get really anxious wait i'm the same i'm not even kidding time is the one thing that freaks the hell out of me shit that's crazy huh Um, and yeah, I can, that can, that's a direct line to childhood.

Seiara [50:29]: Yeah.

Adeel [50:30]: Yeah. No doubt.

Seiara [50:30]: Like dad leaving you on the street if you don't come by 301, you know? No, no, I'm kidding. But kind of.

Adeel [50:38]: So, uh, yeah, I mean, that gets in. Yeah. So I'm always very curious about it. Kind of like, uh, obviously I have a, uh, lean a lot towards there's gotta be stuff in childhood that, that have kind of affected this. But then, yeah, as you were saying that, I was like, yeah, your sister, obviously. kind of went the other way or just didn't didn't didn't affect her you know obviously there's other factors is it something we're um you know not born to have but is there something that we're more some of some are predisposed either epigenetically or otherwise to to kind of have that switch flip for us that's kind of my next question which is going to be unanswered for a while.

Seiara [51:18]: Definitely going to be unanswered for a while, but I don't think it'll ever be fully answered because as you said, we are so complex and as the field of epigenetics is growing, we know everything is an interaction and a correlation between our genes and our environment. And by the way, what's even more interesting is even though you and your sister or your sibling, whoever, brother, sister, are grown in the same household, your relationship with your parents or your primary caregivers will still be different, you know? My sister was treated very differently. I was weirdly, ironically, the spoiled one of always, the younger one is always the more spoiled one, you know? So... My sister, I think I would say, had more of a detachment from my family than I did, for example, from my parents than I did. Not to say that she's not close to them, but just generally speaking. So even if we were in the same household and had the same environment, the environment would differ for us because, A, our personalities right off the boat are completely different. So that's in itself. And then even our relationships with our environment and the way we interact with it is different, too. So then that comes into play. And of course, our genes and things like that. So it's always going to be different, you know, so it makes sense. Meister probably has a lot of other things that I don't and vice versa, probably the same thing in your household and others, too.

Adeel [52:43]: Oh, yeah. And you said you were around family a lot. I'm curious, even whether in your nuclear family or other family members that you were close to, did you ever... Was there anyone who was often kind of dysregulated? Did you see a lot of dysregulated behaviors, like tempers and things like that growing up?

Seiara [53:06]: Not dysregulated, but... I'm not very comfortable sharing this. I don't know if you'd want to maybe cut it out or maybe not. But, you know, my dad, he when I was when me and my well, when we were very young, he got into a really bad accident. well they used to tell us it was an accident basically he was in russia and he him and his friends got into a huge fight and someone broke a bottle on his head and so he lost half his brain and most of the areas of his brain that were um impacted were some of his like um areas that are in charge of like i guess social cues but also other um areas kind of on the temporal medial lobe area but anyway so the point is my dad was kind of not well for a very big chunk of our childhood and i think i've like suppressed that a lot um which probably has impacted also because i grew up being super super super close to my dad as like from a very young age we were like besties and then up until he hit until i hit teenage years i was still very young i think i was like not even teenager yet like 11 maybe 10 or 11 you know my dad was in hospital for like a year um under you know you know, supervision. And then when he did come out, he was complete different person. So he had very dysregulated behaviors, which again, I probably suppressed for a long time, like touch with, thank God, he's all good now. But I think that definitely may have played a role, you know, but I just never looked into it because, you know, as human beings, we tend to shove things deep down and not look back.

Adeel [54:55]: No, that sounds terrible. I'm glad he's feeling better.

Seiara [54:58]: Thank you.

Adeel [55:00]: Yeah, I'm just curious because a lot of this is kind of... I know I've probably mimicked some of my behaviors based on, like, you know, volatility in other people's behaviors growing up.

Seiara [55:10]: Do you mind me asking, like, for example, an example?

Adeel [55:14]: Oh, well, yeah. I mean, it's actually in the... You know, it's actually in the... Actually, I wrote a letter to my child self that's at the end of one of the chapters of the book, I think. And it's actually... I kind of wrote it in real time as I realized that, you know, I would see... you know, I would, you know, I would, something would be misplaced in the house and then it would kind of like, it would go from Jekyll and Hyde situation where, you know, I'd be playing or doing whatever. And then suddenly everyone had to drop everything and like look for this thing and then be kind of like, you know, eviscerate for not finding it or having it misplaced or something. And so there was a lot of, there's a lot of that, you know, trying to listen to what are, what is everybody's moods on different floors of the house from like two floors away. And then somebody came on the podcast recently and, and recounted something similar and said she would, you know, kind of glue her ears to the heating vents to kind of hear what was being, I guess in her case, it was like parents fighting, you know? And so, and so, and then, and then the letter to myself also, I think mentioned that, Um, you know, the only thing that would stop this would be, um, usually the only thing that would stop this kind of like tense situation would be then a quiet dinner time. And so, and so my, I would be dysregulated. Well, I would be, my nervous system would be kind of like completely shot and then have to go sit down and listen to people eat. And so you can only imagine potentially, you know, what you're, what you're kind of like, what your body's feeling and kind of sensing. That's when I'm still kind of listening for different moods, right? But I'm also hearing all the chewing. And so, I don't know. It's a potential connection, but it's interesting to think about. So I always kind of ask people who've come on and have had alcoholic parents or other kind of things.

Seiara [57:07]: I want to hug baby Adeel. Give him comfort. Because I just know how horrible that is.

Adeel [57:16]: Oh, thank you. Um, no, so, um, whatever, you know, getting her, it's, it's interesting to see kind of these commonalities from people on it. It's, it's, um, it's, I think everyone's kind of like making these connections and hopefully making amends and, and at least we're able to kind of like, um, you know, move on from this. And, and part of it is, yeah, it is kind of soothing that, that child, that inner child that you've mentioned a couple of times.

Seiara [57:45]: yeah you know your book is actually i feel going to be very life-changing so i was so excited when i got it i read the first chapter like this is awesome i then i went to i think it was chapter two and i was like i'm scared that i'm gonna get triggered reading this book And so I skipped to, like, I think chapter four. I've been jumping from chapters. I really need to start reading.

Adeel [58:12]: That's kind of the point. Yeah, that's what I love about it. The instructions actually say, please jump around and put it down, come back. So, yeah.

Seiara [58:20]: Yes, I love that. And I think it was in one of the chapters, like, if you're not ready to, like, yet explore this in deep, just, like, jump to chapter seven, you know. So I've kind of been doing that. And just, like, reading... you know, your stories and also just other people, like what you're writing makes you think about your own experiences as well. That's why I think it's going to be so life-changing. I did have like a little aha moment. Again, it's a bit of a personal thing. So as you can tell, I'm a little reserved in sharing, but apologies for that. But it was definitely a very, you know, big moment for me to realize, oh shit, like this is connected, you know? And I think like in moments like that, you it almost feels like you feel better you know i don't know how to explain it even though it's not like oh my miss phony is gone now but you kind of feel like you feel like you understand yourself a bit better and that that feels empowering right so yeah i'm i'm excited to read it like a normal person and not like keep jumping and jumping um that's but yeah it's it's an awesome book and i definitely just recommend anyone with miso who has it to get it because Yeah, it's important to look within. And I think I'm glad that we are moving towards this kind of era, I would say, where people are very open to self-exploration, looking into, you know, their childhood, family behaviors and patterns, because these are the things that we could actually change. So, yeah, I think that's very cool. I did go off topic here a bit.

Adeel [59:55]: no no that's great i was gonna i should have a kind of a hard stop in a few minutes for a work meeting but uh yeah i was gonna ask i mean if you have any final words but that was actually a great i don't know that was kind of like a great way to sum things up but do you yeah do you have any kind of like anything else you kind of want to share with the audience um Not to put you on the spot, but... No, not at all. I think you've done a great job already. It's been great.

Seiara [60:19]: Oh, no, not at all. Thank you. You're very kind. I think you can cut this part out if you don't think it's relevant, but I think one thing that has helped me is just finding something that helps you regulate your system. So for me, that's dancing. In particular, something called conscious dancing. You've never heard of it. I highly... there is an episode on your podcast about it so yeah i'll try to put a link to it yeah um no no that's very kind but um yeah because it basically for me it combines the healing sounds of music which music is something i absolutely love and also letting go of tension that's held in your body so conscious dancing is you move a lot so It kind of allows you to enter this void if you enjoy, you know, deep house or if you enjoy listening to music. And it's very immersive that allows your mind and your body to kind of flow together rather than against each other. Because I feel, you know, in our day to day, we have a lot of resistance and there's sometimes a disconnect. So during dancing, I feel there's that harmony when your mind and body are finally like, let's integrate and it's peaceful to my ears. It's so regulating for my nervous system. So I think it's all about when trying to find things to calm you, find things that is regulating for you. And I think that kind of helps me if I go through a session of conscious dancing, weirdly enough for the next day or so, somehow my misophonia triggers won't be as intense.

Adeel [61:52]: yeah no that's great yeah mind body integration being i think more aware i think being more aware of your senses like this is a whole other topic but i feel like uh uh from some i don't know some books i've read from ironically from an architecture store that i've been to um i was pointing it's pointed out to me in this book i think it's called the eyes of this i don't know i forget what it's called it's actually right behind me but um the book's making an argument that uh our society now is so focused on visuals and kind of, and every, all of our stimulation is so processed that we've kind of become disconnected with our senses and maybe, and then I got, obviously I got to thinking maybe is that, is that somehow related to our, you know, dysregulation with our senses and potentially misophonia as being an outcome of that. So like I said, whole other topic, maybe it's more philosophical, but I think maybe you'd be the right person to kind of like, have another discussion about that but um yeah that's i want to take a look at conscious dancing again because i think that's uh yeah that's that's that's amazing to hear that that if that kind of calms you down for another day yeah it's definitely not for everyone but um there i think there is something out there for everyone so that's always a good thing Cool. Well, Ciara, this has been great. It flew by. Hopefully, you felt good talking. But yeah, I think we got a lot of great information. This is fascinating to get to know you better. And yeah, thanks for coming on.

Seiara [63:24]: Thank you so much, Ado. You're a wonderful host. And yeah, you make all your guests feel so comfortable. So I really appreciate it.

Adeel [63:31]: Thank you again, Ciara. Great to have you on the other side of the mic. And I look forward to many more episodes of your podcast. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this show. You can hit me up by email at hello at or go to the website It's even easier just to send a message on Instagram at Misophonia Podcast. Follow there or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast on Twitter at Misophonia Show. Support the show by visiting Patreon at slash Misophonia Podcast. Music is always used by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [64:25]: Thank you.