Rachel - Food Service Worker Navigates Misophonia

S7 E30 - 3/13/2024
This episode features a conversation with Rachel, a barista and bartender from Philadelphia, discussing her struggles with misophonia. Rachel shares her early experiences developing misophonia in a turbulent home environment, unpacking them recently in therapy. She details coping strategies like breathing, meditation, and setting boundaries, emphasizing the role of support from loved ones. Challenges unique to her include managing misophonia in a food service job and navigating relationships, citing a past relationship with a maladaptive partner and a current healthier one, yet still struggling at meal times. The conversation delves into the complexity of misophonia, including the variability in triggers and stress levels, and concludes with Rachel expressing appreciation for the discussion's validation and comfort. Adeel and Rachel touch on broader societal issues like the need for understanding and spaces for coping with misophonia, humorously advocating for a world without gum.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 7, Episode 30. My name's Adeel Ahmad and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Rachel, a barista and bartender in Philadelphia. We talk about her early experiences with the Misophonia coming at a young age, which was also a very turbulent and volatile time at her home. We talk about how she's been unpacking a lot of this recently during therapy and she also talks about her college experience and coping strategies she developed like breathing and meditation practices, as well as setting boundaries in relationships with her family. She highlights the importance of understanding and support from loved ones and the challenges of navigating partner relationships with misophonia. I thought this was a Great conversation really highlights a common theme, which is early childhood experiences, especially at home, and the tension and the complex trauma that can affect and perhaps spark misophonia. After the show, let me know what you think. You can reach out by email at hello at misophoniapodcast.com or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. And by the way, of course, please do head over and leave a quick rating or review wherever you listen to the show. It really helps move us up in the algorithms if people are looking for information about Misophonia. A few of my usual announcements. Of course, thanks for the incredible ongoing support from our Patreon supporters and If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at patreon.com slash misophonia podcast. This episode is also sponsored by the personal journaling app I developed called Bazel. B-A-S-E-L. Bazel provides AI-powered insights into your journal entries. and guides you with new writing prompts daily based on those insights. You can even explore many different therapy approaches and modalities, and it's available on iOS and Android. Check the show notes or go to hellobazel.com. All right, now here's my conversation with Rachel. Rachel, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you.

Rachel [2:10]: Thank you. It's good to be here.

Adeel [2:13]: So, yeah, do you want to tell us where you are, kind of what you do, that kind of stuff?

Rachel [2:19]: Sure. I live in Philadelphia and I am a barista bartender. Previously, I have been a coffee roaster and I used to sing classical music. So I do a little bit of, I dabble in a few things.

Adeel [2:38]: Yeah. Okay, cool. Well, yeah, I mean, well, maybe might as well start kind of right with your, what are you doing? Like barista, bar, your environment, which, you know, can be good and bad. It can be background noise, but then they could also be patrons that you probably want to rather not have at your establishment. What's, you know, what's life like?

Rachel [3:01]: It's quite true. I feel like it's interesting that I chose to be in food service just because of misophonia very much affecting my life. And there are definitely some times where I feel affected and I can't do anything about it. In coffee roasting, there's something that we do called cupping. where we will taste multiple coffees. And in it, when you're tasting the coffees, you are quite literally slurping from a spoon.

Adeel [3:43]: Okay, I've heard about this. Yes.

Unknown Speaker [3:46]: Okay.

Adeel [3:46]: Yeah.

Rachel [3:47]: And that offered some challenges. Right.

Adeel [3:53]: When I first heard what that meant, I was like, ooh, yeah. But okay. Yeah. But so how did you, how did you get through that? Did you get to like, did you kind of mentally coach yourself or did you say, Oh, tell your boss I'm out of here.

Rachel [4:11]: A lot of the times I was curating the experience. So I found that that helped when I felt a bit of control over it.

Adeel [4:21]: Yeah.

Rachel [4:22]: I could walk away. I could go grind some coffees, be by something loud. I think that being in some sort of control of the environment helped a lot.

Adeel [4:38]: Yeah. Well, it sounds like you had some optionality and that's sometimes the most important thing is if you can at least know that you're not trapped, that you can move around, that, that kind of helps. So that's cool. That's cool. And so, okay. Well then how about, okay. How about outside of work? Like, uh, what's, what's life like for you living situation, you know, that kind of stuff.

Rachel [5:00]: Sure. I live in a classic Philadelphia row home. And luckily now I live in a very quiet neighborhood. Sounds through walls really affect me. Like low bass affects me. I don't need to get too much into triggers, but... So city living can be challenging sometimes because of that. But I usually have some kind of fan going. I have earplugs userly at hand.

Adeel [5:37]: Right, right. Yeah. Do you have to put them on all the time or is it just kind of the comfort of knowing that they're available?

Rachel [5:43]: It's the comfort of knowing they're there.

Adeel [5:45]: Well, we'll maybe talk more about your life, but I'd be curious to kind of rewind and go back to kind of early days for Rachel. Like, when did you first kind of notice it? What was going on around then?

Rachel [5:59]: Sure. Yeah, get right into it. Safe space?

Adeel [6:08]: Yeah. I feel that. Most people can relate.

Rachel [6:14]: It started sometime when I was around 10. And two of the first things that affected me that I noticed were my bus driver. Would smack on her gum. And I loved her. I would sit as close to her as possible. And I remember overnight noticing it and then not being able to be near her. And that made me really sad because I loved her. So it was like this really interesting feeling, feeling rage for someone that really didn't do anything to me. And then second was my father's nose breathing. And I've just started going to therapy and talking through this stuff. And I realized that I would get on the bus right after my mama would have some angry times with me. And then my father's breathing, he would only be around like after work. And usually those times were really tense times for my family. And I'm starting to see a lot of connections in those things, which I guess is helpful to know where it might be coming from.

Adeel [7:56]: yeah i mean i don't know if you've read the book but that's kind of where i'm at where i've kind of learned connections so um yeah i can totally well i don't want to say totally relate but i can kind of understand um yeah i mean tense situations and then you're suddenly off on going on this bus and your your nervous system is effed and you as a child it's hard to your brain's making whatever connections it's trying to make

Rachel [8:24]: was your um i don't know so i'll dive into the random things but like was your best ever chewing gum before you know this this yeah but i never noticed it makes sense yeah i would have a friend sitting next to me who's like chewing through an entire pack of gum you know you can't just have one piece when you're a kid and um it wouldn't bother me and then all of a sudden it did

Adeel [8:46]: See, that's why I, I, I don't know. I'm, uh, I'm getting into speculation, but I don't think it's, that's why I don't think it's part, it's all about the sound. It's about the context and what was going on around.

Rachel [8:58]: That took me a long time to be okay with. I was just like, oh no, there's just something wrong with me. Oh no, there's something wrong with my brain and I can't do anything about it. And, um, I feel like reading. your book and um therapy and just some good old thinking um yeah it's um starting to feel okay yeah i think it's like a journey like like i i think probably where you're at where i'm like oh i've made all these connections i'm not gonna rush into like hey i need to solve

Adeel [9:44]: In Misophonia, I'm like, there's enough to process here, probably. And then that's kind of where you're at, sounds like. Which is a great step. Most people haven't made these connections yet. And that's why I'm trying to get more people to try to talk about this stuff to maybe make this connection. I'm curious, I don't know, specifically about Misophonia, were you starting to react to sounds with your family? And how were they interpreting that?

Rachel [10:12]: Yes, it was a big challenge when I was younger. One, because no one in my life knew what was going on. And I didn't know how to talk about it because I was in a home that was not okay to express negative feelings. So there were a few times where my... mother would be driving ragefully she was a scary person to be in the car with and she would be chewing gum and I would ask her to stop and sometimes she would spit it at me Wow yeah so that was really hard and I think that she just thought I was being a brat but really it it was really hard so I would just press my face against the cold glass and on the window and that would feel nice and um yeah so my family's reaction wasn't great um it wasn't until my best friend in high school um she was the first one that i told that didn't think i was crazy and actually advocated for me And she didn't know what it was either. But she's the one who found out and told me about it and was like, you should read this article. I wish I could remember the article. But I was either... just out of I think I was just out of high school so this is 2009 yeah so it's probably because there wasn't a lot right so it must have been the New York Times article probably something but it was like oh my gosh it has a name wow yeah

Adeel [12:09]: Could I ask, what is your relationship like with your parents now? Because it sounds like it was quite, wow, quite volatile. It was turbulent.

Rachel [12:23]: It's still challenging, but I love my parents. And I feel like despite... I feel like my mother was dealing with some serious trauma herself and did not deal with it in the proper way. And I set some really hard boundaries. And it was years of work, I felt like. And if something was off, I would say something and say, hey, if it doesn't change, I'm going to leave. And then if it didn't change, I actually left. Yeah. And I mean, of course, that would take me being independent and having my own car and not like being under their wing, you know, so it was really hard. in high school when I was realizing like, Oh, I don't need to deal with this, but I still have to.

Adeel [13:22]: Um, maybe it wasn't fair to me. Like jump to the present. Cause maybe were there times that your mom was not volatile? I mean, it sounds like there must've been. Yeah.

Rachel [13:32]: She's actually a really cool lady. Yeah. She's, um, yeah, she is an interesting one. Um, and I love her a lot. Um, yeah, but, she acted inappropriately and hurt me a lot.

Adeel [13:49]: Was it kind of a Jekyll and Hyde? Like, did you know when things were? Okay. Yeah. So it must've been very confusing then. Yeah. Cause you didn't know. Did you, did you sometimes not know when the boundaries were? Cause I've heard this term in actually my own therapy of not, of having kind of unclear or unknown boundaries that you would. Either you would step over or something would set her off. Was it that kind of situation?

Rachel [14:16]: Yes. I didn't know the boundaries because they would always change.

Adeel [14:23]: mm-hmm makes sense yeah what about with your your dad so um you said he'd come home from work and then was he also kind of like a little bit unpredictable at that time or was it just the dynamics which is kind of like um get a bit chaotic with everybody together

Rachel [14:46]: um he was very predictable um my dad is very steady and loving um but he would be complacent so if my mother was in one of her moods he would either side with her and say sorry later or leave oh okay gotcha gotcha Yeah. But talking about sounds through walls, I would listen to the sounds of her footsteps to know what kind of mood she was in. And I don't know, again, like reading through your book and like. thinking back on my childhood, which I really have to dig because I forget a lot. I feel like a lot of the things that affect me now are from trying to understand what my life would be like that day.

Adeel [15:46]: Yeah. What do you mean by what life would be like that day?

Rachel [15:52]: I mean, her moods would change day to day. Sometimes multiple times a day. Yeah, when I was a child. Now I keep safe distance.

Adeel [16:02]: From her, right. Did you have siblings too?

Rachel [16:07]: No, I wish. I really wish I did.

Adeel [16:13]: Interesting. Yeah, that's so interesting that you said about the footsteps and through the walls. I've talked to so many people, myself included, who would be like, you know, be listening for him when am i am i hearing am i going to hear my name get yelled out from like two floors above kind of thing or uh or our parents are arguing that kind of stuff where people would be you know kids would be listening to and then we don't like parts of our brain or nervous system are trying to protect us Can I ask, you don't have to get into specifics, but the nature of possibly your mom's trauma? Do you know anything about that? You don't have to touch too much.

Rachel [16:57]: I know a bit. It was from her father. And he... had gone through employment issues okay um my mom was born in 57 so um he i know had rage issues and would physically abuse his children in life gotcha gotcha okay okay yeah and she would never admit it to me i've asked her and tried to talk it through with her and she would only say that she had a happy life

Adeel [17:32]: Got it. So obviously never mentioned even the therapy. Really shoved it down.

Rachel [17:37]: Yeah.

Adeel [17:38]: Gotcha. Yeah. Okay. And well, why don't we stick to kind of a usual path? I mean, at school, like, so your best friend was actually an advocate.

Rachel [17:48]: Oh, so thankful for her.

Adeel [17:50]: How was like other students, friends, teachers?

Rachel [17:54]: School was really challenging for me. I had a hard time focusing. I feel like a lot of the stuff I learned was on my own in my room because, I mean, I don't need to list everything, but like clicking sounds, clocks, knees, I mean, knees shaking.

Adeel [18:17]: So the visual triggers were starting to kind of, yeah.

Rachel [18:21]: Absolutely, yeah. And, yeah, gum, of course, is a big one.

Adeel [18:29]: um yeah and so luckily people weren't watching youtube on their phones yet because that's just bad for me too right right on the speakerphone eh yeah yeah yeah yeah oh gosh oh yeah so this is but then you okay so you graduated from school and stuff and you went out into the world did you um So I guess, when did you leave home? And what were the circumstances around that? Was it misophonia influenced?

Rachel [19:02]: Oh, no, it wasn't. I went to college. I went to college for classical singing. And that proved to be really challenging, too, because... You can imagine the practice rooms were really loud and clashing. There were clocks in the rooms. So I had a really hard time there too.

Adeel [19:25]: I took piano lessons a few years ago and I had to smother the clock under my winter jacket because it was just before the teacher came in until I admitted it to him. He's like, oh yeah, don't worry. It never made sense to me.

Rachel [19:41]: I couldn't keep time. Exactly. I'm like, we're in music school here.

Adeel [19:46]: and we're not always playing to the clock right yeah okay so yeah that must have been challenging but yes well how did you how did you get through that If you do.

Rachel [20:00]: Not well. I feel like I needed a lot of decompression time after my classes. I would spend a lot of time alone in my room and feeling hopeless. Again, you're in college. There's people listening to loud music. So I... Wouldn't use that I wouldn't use earplugs. They would use headphones and I would like either blast white noise or Play a soundtrack that I liked but I had horrible sleep all through college. Um, and I really felt trapped in some situations. Yeah.

Adeel [20:48]: Did you meet any other, I mean, did you get any, any friends like your best friend in college or, um, I would, I would, I'm curious because, you know, when I'm thinking in music, if people be extra sensitive to the sound, maybe it, maybe you'd be having more chance of finding somebody who might be able to sympathize. Did that happen?

Rachel [21:07]: Oh, it did not for a long time. I didn't talk about it with a lot of people unless we were really close. And most people that I did tell would say stuff along the lines of like, well, you could get over it. Like, just don't let it bother you. um yeah my grandma this isn't a this isn't music this isn't like an art uh yeah you would think that there would be a little bit more empathy than you know yeah yeah auto mechanics or something like that oh gosh in classical concerts um the poor patrons who are paying for their tickets i would be so upset when i start to hear the crinkly sound yes yes yes that hard candy. I'm like, okay. At least it's temporary. That's what I would say. It's not gum. It's temporary.

Adeel [22:06]: Right, right. yeah i always ask people who perform like how how did that work and how did you keep your concentration if you if you did or you must have like maybe you have i would expect you would have to like the opposite of decompression you'd have to kind of like really psych yourself up and oh yeah like i try to do is i try to convince myself if i know i'm in a situation just uh tell myself in advance no one's gonna attack you jump on you or or yell at you now that we know that yeah it might be related to you know what it possibly is just remind ourselves that we have that distance um did you were you did you you know do you have that kind of language or ability to do that at that point or it was just like roll the dice yeah yeah i would just be like all right here we go who knows what i'm walking into um i would bite my tongue a lot so like just kind of like get through it

Rachel [23:05]: Um, sometimes I would leave and cry in the bathroom. Um, but, uh, yeah, it really wasn't until maybe I was like in my late twenties that I really started to feel, um, Grounded and it when I started to heal some of my childhood trauma and learn some meditative practices And breathing practices then I was able to find comfort in some of those situations So, yeah, I wish I knew I

Adeel [23:49]: back then what would help yeah so how did how did you maybe speak to like when did you start to make those realizations was it well okay sorry i'm gonna jump all over the place but uh yeah sure when did you um well i guess when did you start to go to therapy i'm assuming you will start to go to therapy maybe for just recently stuff oh just recently okay yes

Rachel [24:11]: Yeah, I just started therapy. I should have been going to therapy for so long.

Adeel [24:16]: As most of us. As most people.

Rachel [24:19]: I've needed it. But now I'm in a place... I have a really great job and I'm finally making good enough money to pay for therapy. So that helps. I... started going to therapy because a really traumatic thing happened to my family i don't know if i need to go into it i feel comfortable but it's like it's really bad um don't worry about it it was like a big wake-up call um for my family um and uh i started going to therapy for that and then i was like hey I also am dealing with this.

Adeel [25:03]: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So you didn't go, obviously you didn't go for specifically for misophonia, but... Mm-mm. Mm-mm.

Rachel [25:10]: We're tagging that in.

Adeel [25:12]: So actually, yeah, since we're on the subject with your therapist now, does your therapist even know about misophonia or did they know about misophonia when you went in? No.

Rachel [25:21]: Okay. No, but I recommended Sounds Like Misophonia. I was like, you should read this book. I don't know if she will. But she's like, I love learning about these things. I want to help you. And she immediately was like, it's from your childhood. And I was like, no, it's not. And then I was like, okay, maybe it is. i'm curious what made her did she did she i mean obviously she knew about your past and um well or did she kind of like did it seem like she just kind of like it's like she knew she just instinctually knew instinctually knew because she i was like well it's like a thing that's happening in my brain and she was just like yes and trauma reframes the way that your brain works. And so I was like, oh, I guess that makes sense.

Adeel [26:24]: Astute observation. I mean, I would get that connection as well. Okay, so recently, I mean, has she given you any potential tips or anything or anything novel that you hadn't read or thought of before?

Rachel [26:36]: Mostly that statement. It was like almost like permission to really dive into what could have started it. Um, honestly, sounds like misophonia is really helping me a lot. Actually used it. One of the tips today. Um, do tell, do tell. Um, it actually really helped. Um, I was in a workout class and this super friendly person, um, was standing next to me, smacking on their gum. And I was like, oh my gosh, I want to stare daggers into your head. And I remembered a tip in your book that says to reframe the sound. So I was thinking that they were walking through some mud and sloshing around. and that helps to like change like where the sound might be coming from right right yeah that's that's definitely in the book yeah that's great yeah it didn't hurt the sting or it didn't change the sting of like the initial like oh that sound bothers me or that sound is causing my heart rate to go up

Adeel [27:55]: But it lets you get back to normal. Yeah, yeah.

Rachel [27:58]: Yes, yeah.

Adeel [28:00]: That's great, yeah.

Rachel [28:01]: So I've been trying to do that.

Adeel [28:02]: Cool, cool, cool. Yeah, that's great feedback. That's great feedback. And you did mention like some breathing tips or exercises. Obviously, it sounds like you learned those before starting therapy. I'm curious, kind of like...

Rachel [28:19]: yes how you discovered things like that and was it was it for misophonia or just kind of other um i guess it wasn't specifically for misophonia it was to find peace um Yeah, I would do yoga and meditate for a long time and find this really calm place. And I remember when I first started doing that on a regular basis, I found myself reacting a little bit less. And I was like, am I healed? Like, what happened? And then slowly... Hallelujah, you've opened your doors.

Adeel [29:10]: Hallelujah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Right.

Rachel [29:15]: But no, I wasn't healed. And when stress... comes and goes, you know, the ebbs and flows of life, my reactions to certain sounds will intensify. But I am able to breathe through it more now than I was able to before. I don't feel as hopeless.

Adeel [29:41]: Yeah. You know, I also didn't realize the importance of breathing until recently, even though I've heard it many times over my life, I guess. It is a key thing. It's not just about mindfulness. It's, I don't know, it's consciously breathing in and out. you know properly does does help um oh yeah but another thing like you said like yes stress and sleep like if we don't have those we're obviously more likely to kind of go off on sounds it doesn't cure it but it kind of handicaps us if any of those are kind of off Um, so yeah, I didn't realize that not too long ago either. Um, do you find, um, uh, have you picked up kind of your, I don't know, any of the, you know, a lot of us have like, um, comorbid conditions, some, you know, maybe anxiety. We're not, I'm curious if you've, I don't know. do you feel your mom's anger issues have kind of like come into you are you do you also tend to have a similar kind of reaction to i don't know things in life um i've tried really hard not to be like her oh but that part of her yeah

Rachel [31:00]: that part of her yeah um i guess i am part of her so i'm gonna be like her a little bit you said she was pretty cool um but i do feel anger and i feel like what i learned from my mom is to pause and like love that part of myself and try to understand why before i react to it um this is really important yeah yeah it's really hard because you want to like react immediately when you feel something is unjust whether it is or not um But I saw, and I mean, I experienced the way that it affects people when you don't stop and pause first. And I think that practicing that over and over again also helps with my reactions to certain sounds. Because I really love, I mean, this definitely comes from being abused in my childhood, but like, I want people to feel good and be happy around me. I want everything to be okay. So when I do feel anger, I try my darndest not to react in that moment. Yeah.

Adeel [32:41]: Yeah, no, that's an understandable point. And I think kind of the same way. Do you feel like, you know, the term HSP comes up a lot where people are like, feel like, we feel like, because I think I'm at least borderline HSP where I feel like I'm reading the room a lot and looking for those emotions of everybody else and trying to make sure that everybody is, if I even sense that something's going to, there's going to be a disagreement, I can kind of feel like I can sense it way in advance and I'm trying to, make sure everything's okay. And then if things are not, then I feel like extra anxious. You know what I mean? I don't know. Do you, uh, you might kind of relate to that.

Unknown Speaker [33:22]: 100%.

Rachel [33:22]: Yes. So much. I'm, I read, um, the four agreements recently. Have you ever read that book?

Adeel [33:31]: No.

Rachel [33:32]: Oh, it's so wonderful. Um, I wish I had it near me so I could remember the author's name. Um, we'll Google it.

Adeel [33:39]: I feel bad. Yeah.

Rachel [33:41]: Yeah, we'll Google it. But one of the four agreements is to, well, one, not to take things personally and two, not make assumptions. And those are really hard because I walk into a room and it feels weird and I assume that I had something to do with it. Or I could fix it. And yeah, I definitely attune to the person that is going through a hard time or could be a danger. Yeah.

Adeel [34:30]: Do you know, I don't know if and how much this relates to you, but you know a lot of us feel a lot of guilt and shame with misophonia, especially how we may have reacted with those death glares to people that probably didn't mean anything. You know, it could be family members, it could be friends. Sounds like that's happened. And it's kind of built up, maybe.

Rachel [34:57]: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I feel a lot of guilt around misophonia. And even if I ask nicely... I'm like, hey, this sound is causing this feeling in me and I'm wondering if you could make this alteration. And even then I'm like, oh gosh, I can't believe I have to ask someone that I love who is nourishing their body to change what they're doing. Yeah. Unfortunately, I love feeding people. I love hosting people. And every time I'm like, gosh, I hope they chew with their mouth closed. Right. Yeah.

Adeel [35:50]: How does that... I guess, how does that go? Do you have to do that a lot? And have you ever had a bad reaction?

Rachel [35:59]: Um... Again, when I'm in control of the situation and I'm busy, then I'm usually okay. If I am hosting, I can walk away to the kitchen and be busy doing something.

Adeel [36:18]: Even at your home, not the work kind of stuff?

Rachel [36:22]: Work is different. I practice a lot of steady breathing. It upsets me. when someone is uh having a work conversation on their phone or watching videos in a public space i feel like that's rude in general um without feeling affected by it but um That gets to me. Or slurping sounds. Because I work in a coffee shop, people are drinking a hot beverage. But again, I love... It's such a contradicting experience because I love creating that cozy environment for people. So...

Adeel [37:18]: So that's interesting. I don't know if you get this feeling, but I usually kind of forget almost that I have this money until it hits. Because, you know, we don't like to think about it and we do like the world. We like sound. You like creating a cozy environment. It's almost a Groundhog's Day where I feel like every day it's kind of a, oh yeah, cool, this is awesome. And then all of a sudden, what? Oh no. And then I forget again and the next morning I wake up.

Rachel [37:49]: Oh no. Yeah, I don't like to think about it, but I'm trying to think about it more recently. Like being okay, that is part of my life.

Adeel [38:00]: Well, I think it's a big step to know where it potentially came from. Cause what I try to do, um, have talked to my therapist is like, think of that child from back in the day and soothe that child as an adult. That's a, that's a big part of different modalities. Uh, so if you can do that regularly, I think that's part of what can, um, um, rewire the brain over the longterm. It's not an easy thing. It's hard work. The first step is kind of where I think you and I are at.

Rachel [38:33]: Yeah. It's really hard work. I remember going online and being like, what could help misophonia? And one of the things was like, don't socialize. And I was like, that can't be. That can't be it. Just don't go be around people. I love people.

Adeel [38:52]: That would help, but it's not practical.

Rachel [38:55]: Yeah, it would definitely. This is not the answer. I did. I was looking. I mean, for so long, I was like, man, I wish there were like special hearing aids that would like block out certain frequencies. And I looked into it and there are hearing aids that are made for people with tinnitus that have like a low. like low volume like brown noise or something playing and i guess you can do that with headphones but um i don't know anybody out there making these things

Adeel [39:38]: you can get those prescribed for misophonia from audiologists there's a company called Widex and they do that stuff and then supposedly the audiologist kind of tunes the frequency and the volume I mean personally I don't think it's much different than like you said playing different brown noise or white noise through your headphones and adjusting the volume yourself but that's what audiologists will do

Rachel [40:09]: again it's not it's totally different than kind of analyzing your childhood kind of thing it's well yeah you know that's important too but i guess for dealing with it in certain situations yeah um like i want to go to concerts and i feel like i avoid them because of the lack of control in my environment people talking or um um yeah talking eating candy yeah classical concerts obviously different than like uh you know my bloody valentine yeah rock concert yeah like that very different yeah that's what i mean like uh the last time i went to the orchestra was a nightmare you're in tight seats people are bobbing their heads that was a really hard situation and again i just had to run off to the bathroom and cry for a minute because I felt so overwhelmed but I miss going to concerts and I definitely avoid them is there anything else you avoid people types of events kind of things that you wish you could go to or see more of certain kinds of restaurants if I know it's going to be super quiet I got those like calmer ear plug things. It's supposed to redirect the sound or something. They maybe have a placebo effect. I don't know. I still feel affected by sounds if I put them in. But I feel like maybe I'm taking a measure. But mostly I just go to slightly louder restaurants, somewhere that I know is maybe spinning vinyl and focuses on the music.

Adeel [41:55]: Right. Are there any... let's say has it has it has mr funny kind of like come between you and friends or family in terms of like i will not or i'll think twice before spending time with this person

Rachel [42:11]: Absolutely. It has affected so many of my relationships. Like if I know someone's going to be chewing gum all the time, I just will not hang out with them.

Adeel [42:22]: Yeah.

Rachel [42:23]: I can't.

Adeel [42:25]: Do you try to first talk to them or you just like, I'm not, it's not worth it. Okay.

Rachel [42:30]: I try. If it's a friend that I feel like I really want to develop a relationship with, I'll try to talk about it. But sometimes I don't even try. And I'm just like, all right, this is not going to work. And it's really sad.

Adeel [42:49]: what about, um, like what about family events now when you get together for like, if you get together for a Christmas, we don't get together.

Rachel [42:56]: Um, I guess, so I grew up with a big family. My mom had five brothers, uh, two sisters.

Adeel [43:05]: Okay.

Rachel [43:06]: And events were all, we were, it's a big Italian family. And, um, there'd be a lot of food. All my uncles ate super loud. Um, But again, it would be a really loud environment anyway. So, yeah, I would kind of just go off by myself and eat alone with no explanation. But that extended family does not get together anymore. And most recently... my parents have actually become sensitive to misophonia. Um, they, not like they have it themselves, but like helping me and like, they'll make an effort to put music on, um, which is really nice. Um, and my mom's actually, uh, very recently started researching it and was like, Oh my, this is actually a thing. You're not just being a brat.

Adeel [44:16]: Yeah. So that meant a lot. Was it doing the research or was it other things that happened that caused the shift?

Rachel [44:27]: I definitely think that one, setting boundaries. I feel like made her respect me as, like, an adult human being. And she started to, like, genuinely listen to me. So that... Setting boundaries really worked for my relationship. Again, it took years, but... Yeah, that worked. And then also... Um, this traumatic event that happened in my family, I feel like really reframed her brain and made her a little bit more sensitive. Um, yeah. So I was, I think that she started to be like, Hmm. Cause I would tell her about it. Be like, it's a real thing. You read about it. There's information. Um, and she finally did. Um,

Adeel [45:37]: Well, that's promising. Okay.

Rachel [45:40]: Yeah. Yeah.

Adeel [45:41]: Um, have you talked to her about, have you made the connection with her to kind of these things that you talked about or that's not even not talking about that?

Rachel [45:52]: No. Um, she, I feel like the times where she gets out of control, um, She's not lucid. And it's almost, I don't know. I don't know if it's a healthy thing to do, but I don't talk about my childhood with her and how it affected me. Because she will try to turn it on me, and that just ends up re-traumatizing me. So I'm just like, okay, I will work on this. And then also try at the same time to have quality time with her. Now, because she's a different person. She still does have outbursts that I hear about from my dad. But she, again, because of boundary setting, really tries to rein it in when I'm around. Yeah.

Adeel [46:58]: That makes sense. I mean, you don't have to do everything at once. Think step by step. Yeah, exactly.

Rachel [47:03]: It's like, you know what? I don't really need for her to apologize for that because I don't think she had control over herself. She had control over getting help, but like, um, I just, yeah, I don't need that in my healing process.

Adeel [47:26]: So you mentioned, I don't know, friendships, relationships. How do you want to, has that affected kind of like, you know, that side of your life, personal life, I guess?

Rachel [47:38]: Yes. Yes. I was in a relationship for a long time with a jazz musician. I was going to say a musician. another musician yeah i'm no longer in a relationship with him and i'm in a new one and um in my previous relationship he oh my goodness he was such a mouth wide open eater and he would try to you told him about the yeah i told him he knew about it he tried to be sensitive to it but he's just like uh just living his life and like yeah yeah yeah and tap in and yeah tap in and everything um i'd be like please please be quiet um but uh it kind of works because we never spent time together. He lived it, his life at night and went to gigs and I worked in the morning. So I feel like we were always ships passing in the night. So like, I feel like I didn't really have to work on anything with him because we were never eating together. And I left that relationship and am in a really healthy one now. And we spend a lot of time together and meal times are tough because it really makes him sad that he could be causing pain for me.

Adeel [49:21]: Mm-hmm.

Rachel [49:23]: And it hurts me to have to tell him when something's bothering me. And he doesn't understand when certain things will be okay. Because again, the ebbs and flows of life, the amount of stress that I feel at a certain time will change when certain sounds affect me. And he's just like, what are the rules? I'll follow them, but I don't know. And I'm like, I don't know what to tell him sometimes. Which I think is part of the reason, I mean, it's why I bought your book. It's why I'm here right now. It's because I really am trying to do all the things I possibly can to, I mean, maybe not make it go away, but feel a sense of control. or be okay not being in control, I guess is the better thing to say. Yeah.

Adeel [50:28]: Yeah, I mean, there's no magic bullet. Where I'm at, it's like, I think, taking some of the examples in the book, the ones that can... Not every example, not every tip will work for everybody, but some things will work for people in the moment. And then working on, I think, what you're doing is kind of like trying to find the links to the past, if there are any... And trying to heal that, I think, is a big part of it. It's not going to happen right away. But I think these are important first steps. And yeah, having the optionality. Just understanding that you can walk away and come back. If you're not de-stressed in the moment, at least go away, decompress, and come back. I think society should give us... the space to be able to do that. I don't think it's, I think society should get rid of gum. That too. Yeah. Yeah.

Rachel [51:26]: Gum is illegal in my perfect world.

Adeel [51:29]: In Singapore, it is. Is it really? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't know if you remember. I digress, but this is an interesting digression. But I think it was in the 90s when there was a famous case of an American who was chewing gum in Singapore and he got caned. And there was like a big international incident.

Rachel [51:50]: No!

Adeel [51:52]: It was a slow news year.

Rachel [51:57]: Oh no, I feel bad that he might have been hurt, but that's kind of what I want to do when I see someone chewing gum.

Adeel [52:04]: Yeah, but short of that, the things we talked about I think are good stuff.

Rachel [52:13]: Don't do that. Wow, maybe I need to go move there.

Adeel [52:21]: Hey, maybe we should, yeah, maybe we should, uh, maybe I should host a, um, a one week retreats to Singapore. It's a funny podcast retreats. We're coming up to about an hour. I think obviously we've covered a lot, a lot of this stuff went deep and hopefully, I mean, hopefully this was helpful. I don't have like, cause I don't have like, I'm, I'm fascinated because I think, I don't know. I think you've made some of the same realizations.

Rachel [52:46]: that i've made and i think it's validating to me personally and i hope it's somewhat validating to you very much um it's really nice to talk to somebody that understands i i've run i have run into a few people who are like oh i think i have that you know and they've never heard of it but they're like oh sounds bother me too and i'm like does it cause rage um fight or flight hijacks your mind exactly oh my gosh sometimes it's free sometimes i just don't know absolutely yes so yeah all of the above um it hurts a lot it's really um not great for your body but it's it's really been nice talking to you about it um it feels very comfortable and um i'm really grateful for what you're doing here

Adeel [53:44]: I appreciate that. And you're not alone. And, you know, when you were telling your story, honestly, I don't know if you've heard every episode, but there are a few people that have very similar stories. So I'm happy to kind of like rattle off some names after. Oh, I love that. I think those stories would be good to hear. And also, you can always reach out to those people. Because if you want to talk to people, we seem to be a pretty tight community. I've made a lot of connections that way.

Rachel [54:13]: I would love that.

Adeel [54:15]: Well, Rachel, thanks for coming on. This was super enlightening. I'm glad that the books helped.

Rachel [54:26]: Oh my gosh, so much.

Adeel [54:28]: And I'm glad that you're learning these things in therapy because I think these are super important that I wish more people knew about.

Rachel [54:33]: A long... Long time. I feel like I'm going to be spending diving into this stuff, but it's so worth it. It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it for sure.

Adeel [54:47]: All right. Well, thanks again for coming on.

Rachel [54:50]: Thank you so much.

Adeel [54:52]: Thank you again, Rachel. Thanks for sharing very important parts of your childhood and life that I know are going to resonate with many of us. You can hit me up by email at hellotmissifunnypodcast.com or go to the website, missifunnypodcast.com. It's even easier just to send a message on Instagram at missifunnypodcast. Follow there and on Twitter or X, it's missifunnyshow. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at patreon.com slash missifunnypodcast. The music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [56:09]: you