S8E4 - Ben S.

S8 E4 - 5/16/2024
In this episode, Adeel speaks with Ben from Indiana about his lifelong journey with misophonia, highlighting the unique challenges he faced from his early years into adulthood. The discussion commences with Ben recounting his earliest memory of misophonia, which involved a distressing incident with a babysitter and being triggered by the sound of chewing gum. This experience seems to have left a profound impact on Ben, shaping his perception of his condition. Ben opens up about growing up in a masculine environment and how navigating misophonia was particularly challenging in such contexts. Moreover, he shares his experiences as a minor league baseball player, where the culture of chewing gum added another layer of difficulty, forcing him to be constantly aware of his surroundings to manage his triggers. The conversation also touches on Ben's current coping mechanisms and how he handles misophonia within his family life, especially in terms of creating an understanding environment for his son. Adeel and Ben's dialogue offers a raw and honest look into the complexities of living with misophonia, the importance of finding community, and the ongoing journey of explaining the condition to those without it.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 8, Episode 4. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Ben from Indiana. This is the first time Ben has talked about misophonia and he shares a lifetime of experiences going back to his toddler years which had some very negative events and I want to just issue a content warning that there is some discussion of abuse at the hands of a babysitter. He discusses his early memories of being triggered by chewing gum and then the challenges growing up with misophonia. especially in quite a male and sort of macho environment. Ben was also a minor league baseball player, and we talk about some of the unique challenges in that environment. We talk about how he copes now and how he handles it with his family and son. After the show, let me know what you think. You can reach out to me by email at helloatmissiphoneypodcast.com or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Missiphoney Podcast. By the way, please do head over and leave a quick rating or review wherever you listen to the show. It helps drive us up in the algorithms, which helps us reach more listeners. A few of my usual announcements. Thanks for the incredible ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at patreon.com slash missiphoneypodcast. This episode is also sponsored by the personal journaling app I developed called Bazel. Bazel provides AI-powered insights into your journal entries and guides you with new writing prompts based on those insights. You can explore many different therapy approaches and modalities. It's available for iOS and Android. Check the show notes or go to hellobazel.com. All right. Here's my conversation with Ben. Ben, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you here.

Ben [1:55]: Well, thank you for having me.

Adeel [1:57]: Yeah, so do you want to tell us roughly where are you located?

Ben [2:03]: I grew up in western Kentucky, in the Owensboro, Kentucky area. It's kind of right on the river between Kentucky and Indiana. But now I live in the southern Indiana area.

Adeel [2:19]: Cool. What do you do? I am a...

Ben [2:26]: quality slash engineering person. That's my job is in a sort of like an automotive field where we, we, we're a supplier to like a larger automotive company.

Adeel [2:38]: uh places we we don't make it not for like cars but for um semi-trucks and yeah you know diesel trucks yeah yeah cool and um yeah so i guess yeah maybe you i don't know we can talk about um a little bit of kind of like what's what's what's been going on mr funny was we talked like actually just a few minutes ago i mean um i should probably mention now like you've never talked to anybody about mr funny right no and you know um when i was growing up right nobody

Ben [3:08]: that I knew of, you know, had it. Now, there's times where people would say, you know, people just eat with their mouth closed or something like that because, you know, when I was younger, the only really triggers that were were people like making slapping sounds like when they were chomping or, you know, really sloppy eating. And, you know, I remember that. But, yeah, I've never met anybody else that had that. In fact, up until it might have been when I was listening to just going through podcasts, I found this podcast and, and I really didn't even know there was a name for it. And, uh, it really, it really helped me to figure out the, wow, you know, it's one of the unique experiences. Like you had, like I finally had that, um, epiphany where like, wow, oh my goodness, there's actually other people that have this and I'm not completely crazy.

Adeel [4:03]: so yeah well that's great that that's uh you know that's kind of why we do this is to kind of like spread awareness to people who don't have it but also people who do have it to kind of be able to relate i'm glad you were finally able to we're finally able to put a name to it um do you want to talk about like going back to the early days like uh what were what were maybe some of your first memories and experiences like um

Ben [4:29]: You know, I've had kind of a roller coaster of a life. My parents were super, super great people, very loving. But, you know, when I was young, the first memory I have of it, I was I was young. I was like, I know I've heard people mention on the radio this show that a lot of them seem to be like in their early teens or maybe even a tad bit earlier. But I don't remember life. without having that as an issue. So like I had a babysitter and I was, may have been, you know, molested some, I'm sorry to say that out there. I don't really say this too awful much, but I remember her chewing gum and just chomping on it. And, you know, To be honest with you, that's probably my very first memory of having it. And, you know, up until, like I said, I started listening to the show. There might have been some other things. I've always tried to see what's wrong with me. But I did not realize that other people had that problem. So I thought it was just based off of that incident when I was a kid. I mean, that was a long, hard time for me. I don't really... I really don't go into it much and I don't want to, but it's, uh, I mean, it was years. I mean, it wasn't just like, you know, one time internet, but you know, and, and as I grew older, I realized that, you know, maybe it wasn't that. And, you know, like it really did, you know, bother me. I always had to kind of distance myself from people. And, uh, and the big kicker is I, for, uh, You know, I was a pretty good athlete. Some would argue that. But anyways. But I played. I got drafted out of high school to play baseball. And so I played in some minor league teams for a certain organization. And, you know, it's weird because most of the time when I played, I'm old enough. I'm in my... middle 40s and you know people still did chewing tobacco a lot then yeah but when when people would chew gum you know you would think oh what a great life i mean it was torture it could be torture i'd have to really position myself to not be by certain people and you know it's really tough to be good at something and and really uh have to be careful you know where you sit on the bus in the stands i mean there's you know it's really kind of a crazy just it's just kind of difficult when you think about that life and then you know when you go out to even right now i mean when i go out to watch my son play uh sports you know i just sit by myself i mean you know my my wife she'll sit with me she understands exactly why i do what i do but most people do not they think you know i think they think i'm being too good to sit by somebody but that's never that's never really a uh issue in my life it's just the fact that you know big bobs over there chomping the gum like crazy And seeing how loud it can pop, it's torture. It's a real torture for somebody like me. Honestly, people that don't understand about this affliction, I don't even know what it really is, to be honest with you. To me, you don't see the inside of you. There's no blood pressure cuff on you that's causing a red light to come on so everybody can see that for some reason something's triggering you but but my adrenaline really does start pumping really hardcore and you have to leave i mean you know it's uh it's you know if people only could see it through your eyes for one day you'd be a lot more careful about you know how sounds make others feel

Adeel [8:58]: Right. Yeah. It's, uh, it's, it's just, you know, on top of, uh, you know, the, the tortures that it causes us, it's, it's just so hard to explain to other people.

Ben [9:08]: It sounds so irrational.

Adeel [9:10]: It sounds so dumb. Yeah.

Ben [9:12]: It's so like people say, well, and I, I always, uh, give out this uh pre-warning that like hey this is going to sound stupid you know i preface it by saying hey this is this is going to sound completely dumb but you're driving me crazy because you're chomping your gum with your you know and you can i mean you know and i don't know if everybody feels the same way but i almost can't stop watching you do it you try to stop try to look away you know everywhere you go you have to be careful where you sit you know, you can't just go to the movie theaters. I mean, I can't anyways. And so they're like, man, this is so loud. I'm like, I love it. Please let it be that loud. Cause I don't want to hear anything else.

Adeel [9:56]: Yeah.

Ben [9:58]: Do you try to explain it to people or, uh, I do to certain people.

Adeel [10:04]: Yeah.

Ben [10:04]: Like the industry I work in is pretty much male based and it's, you know, there's a lot of, Hey, look, you know, there's a lot of, uh, macho yes for sure and you know everybody really is super nice that i work with honestly this is a very great place i work for i i you know i just don't want to say i don't want everybody to know who i am because i don't want people to intentionally do it thinking they're going to be funny but uh but you know they're it's really good environment to work in uh but yeah i uh i tell certain people like it seems like in like it's easier to tell to people that are caring. Usually that's more of a female, females, but you know, it's even with them, it's really, I feel foolish telling them, but at the same time, I feel like that nobody knows about it. You know, it just, you can sit there and steam and have the worst day ever. And to them, they're like, oh, this is pop, chomp, pop, pop, chomp. And they're like, you know, like nothing's happening. And it's, you know, if they can only feel the rage inside of you.

Adeel [11:19]: Well, our brain just gets hijacked. They're able to somehow just not even notice it.

Ben [11:25]: Right.

Adeel [11:25]: You know, tune it out. Yeah. We get fixated. what was your reaction like of your family when you were well i guess how were you if you were you getting triggered at home it's a you know uh that down around the dinner table things like that like by your parents and uh or was it mainly the the babysitters chewing gum well it was just i had one babysitter just to get this one off i had one babysitter it was a really bad ordeal it was a it was a female and that lasted for a long time so but i don't

Ben [11:59]: you know i kind of i was so young then i mean like three four or five years old that's how i mean a long time ago but uh like my family they would it just depends like my parents didn't chew gum so that part was really good um and then my my father didn't understand as much but he was super not i mean like my parents were very loving people and they just thought even i thought there was just something wrong with me and it just made you know i it was just something that maybe it was uh you know i'm just have a really bad uh pet peeve and just don't like that for whatever work for whatever reason and and that wasn't the case but i thought that too but you know sometimes people thought uh if you just had to sit around it and be around it you'll get used to it i'm like uh yeah i don't think so i mean it did not work for me and i did not want to even try that because i mean i you know i turned into the incredible hulk and i did not like it at all right no exposure therapy has been is kind of roundly dismissed as not not the thing to do for misophonia as a treatment although some therapists are insistent that it is Yeah, I know. But you know, probably the hardest part of my life is still, and it's always been, having those friends that you don't really want to tell because maybe they joke a little bit too much. And with myself, I'm very... I... and very impulsive. So, I mean, and I'm a pretty big dude and, you know, I'm not a little guy at all. I mean, I'm six, two, two 75. And I don't, you know, you can literally kill somebody who tries to make fun of you. Yeah. But you know, I mean, you can't, you can't do that to everybody. And you know, it's, and they don't mean it that way. And you want to not care, but you just, you don't have a choice, but it's the friendships are what's hard. The closer you get to somebody, the more you expect them not to do that. It almost makes you a little bit more upset if they do it. They don't do it on purpose. Most of the people that really love you will try to do it the right way. You don't want them to walk on eggshells around you, but how do you... how do you get somebody to walk that fine line?

Unknown Speaker [14:46]: Right.

Ben [14:46]: You just have to say, Hey, you know, it's a slip up and you just got to keep telling yourself that. And if it happens a bunch of times, you got to say, Hey, you know, you're torturing me here. Please stop. And they just have to understand.

Adeel [14:59]: Yeah.

Ben [15:01]: Well, that part, that part that, I mean, it doesn't matter how big and strong you are. If you're never going to have any friends because you can't, you can't, trust them enough to not really do that you know and and that's been always been an issue it's always been the fight or flight issue i think is what they used right so like if you like in high in high school yeah i got into fights a lot because the people doing stuff like that but when i was in college you know i would have to really defend You know, try coming home. I mean, you know this. You're the only person so far that I know that I could tell this to. But imagine coming home. You've got four roommates, which is fine. They're super nice guys. They're great. One of them is chomping ice as loud as he can. And you're like, hey, man, will you stop it? What, chomping ice? That bothers you? I'm like, you know, I don't want it to bother me. But, yeah, it's bothering me. You know, what do you say? And then that's where it's like – I wish people could only understand. I don't know that I want, you know, them to have this, you know, that you wouldn't wish that on anybody. But at the same time, you know, I'm like, what do you do in those situations? So I just do the best I could. Sometimes it was me saying, all right, I asked you twice. I'm tired of asking you. I'm telling you to stop. And then next thing you know, everybody in the house is mad at you because you're just really trying to relax for a minute. And you can't. And that's where it's tough and people don't understand it. And I might be different than most, but... My adrenaline just starts pumping. I swear it feels like I could pick up my car. And there's probably been times that I could have. But it's just the fact that I'm not mean at all. I'm super nice. Maybe that's one thing it's taught me to be is try to be understanding.

Adeel [17:13]: Extra empathetic. Yeah.

Ben [17:14]: Yes, for sure. I mean, I've got ADD. That probably does not help at all.

Adeel [17:20]: It's a common overlapping condition.

Ben [17:23]: well, how do you manage on a plane? You know, like how do, how do, like when I go on a plane, you know, people or anybody that I'm with at the time, they're like, oh, you know, we have, I have to try to, a good thing in Southwest, usually because, you know, I'm trying to figure out where I'm going to sit at, where I don't have to sit by anybody if I can avoid it. Especially if they're the gum poppers. They drive me crazy. I don't know if everybody else has that same one, but it drives me up a wall.

Adeel [17:56]: Right. Yep, that's a very common trigger. And yeah, I mean, on planes, I just got to put on my noise canceling and put on some music.

Ben [18:07]: Do you ever have it where you put your noise canceling headphones on and you can't hear anything except for the pop? That's where I'm like, oh. Yeah. That one thing. And I'm like, but...

Adeel [18:21]: I'm going to put the music on top after, yeah. But that raises an interesting point. First of all, a couple of points. Noise cancelling isn't going to get everything out. But I've had people say that even with the noise cancelling, the way this condition works is like it's almost then even more looking out for sounds because it's like even now the quieter ones, it's kind of like a heat-seeking missile. It's kind of like looking for sounds. It can kind of be worse. as some people it hones in on those only those really sounds really good but yeah but yeah so how did you tell your uh your wife your partner and like um you know about it seems like you obviously you just found out about it very recently i'm curious kind of like how her um reaction to it has been well i mean she's been very understanding about it and you know

Ben [19:18]: it is very difficult to say but she she's been very interesting her mother was uh she kind of i think she told me really what it was called and i just thought she her mother was being uh kind of like silly but i think your mother-in-law your mother-in-law found the name well she worked uh i believe with uh like mental health patients and stuff like that. So she kind of knew some of, some of that, you know, the wording for it. And so I didn't, I just thought she was being, you know, kind of just being silly about it. But I think she's the one that I've heard that word from first, the misophonia. But, you know, I just thought I was completely alone. And, but I, I've been telling my wife or anybody that I'm friends with or close with, I'm like, Hey, you know, this is going to sound stupid. It's going to sound dumb. And I said, I 100% can tell you that it sounds that way. And I would feel that way if I was you. But I said, you know, there's certain things that are going to cause me to not be such a nice person. I said, and it's, you know, it's, it's, I don't know if it's voluntary or involuntary, but to me it's involuntary because if I hear that sound, then immediately I go from being relaxed and like everybody else to focus and looking at that one item. And I said, and I can't stop hearing it. And it, it, it almost, I always tell people, if you can imagine somebody putting their fingers down the chalkboard every single time they did it, just a normal sound, there's certain sounds, but, and then that also slaps you in the back whenever you're, You're in, you know, in the shower and somebody just whacks you in the back and you're just like, it's like a stunning surprise. And it happens over and over and over again. That's kind of what it's like. It just depends on the day and the intensity.

Adeel [21:31]: Yeah. Are there any things that work for heavy noise? Things like, you know, at least like a more stressed out day or a day that our nervous system is already kind of frazzled. It's worse. And, you know, there are other days when we can kind of get over it a little bit easier. Have you found any patterns there or any kind of coping strategies?

Ben [21:54]: uh no really the only one i found is just going away from the situation yeah that's the flight especially that's it i mean you know up until i was from 20 something you know middle middle 20s to you know when i was born all in between there was always fight right and then i learned that was probably not a great idea you know even though in my mind at the time it feels completely valid that's not the way to go so then I had to figure out how to do flight like you know people are like oh you know some of the worst things for me to attend are some of the things that people really love to attend so like for example yeah like hey guess what you know Billy Bob's getting married Please don't make me go to that. Hey, guess what? Oh, Bobby Sr., he passed away. We got to go to the funeral. We got to stay the whole day. Oh, don't make me do that. Probably the funerals are the worst of the bunch just because everybody's like, hey, you can't get so close to him. Just get a piece of gum. Here's a piece of gum. I'll take a piece of gum. Here's a piece of gum. mean i'm like oh no right so so but on those situations uh luckily everybody's always okay if i have to leave for a little bit because it i don't know what else to do you know i don't know how else to cope with it you know and and i don't want to make a scene i don't want to be you know that's the

Adeel [23:42]: you gotta you know you just gotta know when to say hey you know what i gotta leave for a little bit and you gotta have a plan b exactly an escape route yes you're exactly that's a good point there's something i've thought about something i've realized i'm sure it's not an original idea and i posted on instagram is this the uh the idea of conservation of energy as like i could make a scene but that's just going to like make me feel even worse afterwards. And so kind of weighing that, uh, you know, making a scene and then, then it takes even longer to recover. I'm basically thinking about the scene for the rest of the day. And if I just leave, Hey, you know, probably in 10 minutes from now, I'm going to be fine. I can go do, I don't know, take a good, do a hobby or something. I'm, I want to be productive at. And, uh, and it's just the, uh, the difference between the two, um, uh, kind of choose your own adventure situations is so stark that it helps me kind of like get through, you know, a little bit. I try to, I'll just try to think conservation of energy, conservation of energy.

Ben [24:50]: That's funny you use Choose Your Own Adventure books because you know how you think about certain things and then all of a sudden they come up all the time. Well, I've said Choose Your Own Adventure books probably for the last week or so because I have ADD also, which might be common amongst everybody, but I couldn't just read a book. You can't give me a book. I mean, I had to go through standards and stuff and I just... It takes forever to get through them for me and my work. But if you give me a book, I'm going to either fall asleep or my mind's already wandering about 18 other things. So when I read that book, the Choose Your Own Adventure books were the only ones I could really feel like, look, yeah, I read this book, you know, because it was like, oh, I died. Thank you. And I read that book. I felt accomplished.

Adeel [25:41]: Right, right, right. It's funny. How about your son? Do you mention misophonia to him? Do you think about how to communicate that with him?

Ben [25:53]: Yes. Maybe, I don't know if everybody else does this, but my son has always known about this for me. My son, he's a very smart person. A young man, he is, you know, I'm very proud of him for sure. And he understands that it's just a condition I have, and he's known about it my whole life. I've had him, you know, he's never really said a thing. But, like, I eat by myself. Well, you know, I mean, a lot of times I have to eat by myself. Like, you know, I want to do like everybody else does and have the, like – scenes from the nutty professor where everybody's eating around laughing to have a good time I want that but that's never going to be me I can eat with people but they just have to understand that you have to eat you can't be over there seeing how many times you can lick your fingers and start chomping on their food I mean it's like what about Bob have you ever seen that show? where uh the movie one big yeah the yeah the movie what about bob when bill murray is overly enjoying the food from bob's wife and he's going these mash oh these you know that's i mean i don't know if that's part of my misophonia or if that's really just me being annoyed on that one but i'm like oh my goodness gracious you know that's what it i i tell people it's kind of like that but just really it's kind of but it's worse it's like you know but yeah so whenever we eat i usually just eat with one person that understands that like we're choosing my wife or just my son understands it too but i have to tell him sometimes stop slipping up I eat your mouth closed and he's just, you know, he's, he's such a good kid. I don't, I can tell him to do it and he'll at least try. Yeah. But, but I don't know how maybe some of the other people I've listened to, like they just grin and bear it during like meals and, and you know, maybe they're, they're significant. Others don't understand. And they just like, Oh, you know, how can you be, you know, I don't understand. I don't understand how they cope through that, but I really envy that.

Adeel [28:30]: A lot of people that are kids don't actually bother them, maybe until they get older.

Ben [28:33]: Yeah.

Adeel [28:34]: Thank God for that. That's true. But there are a lot of people who do kind of eat away from the table or kind of hover around, kind of like they're standing and eating kind of thing. And so there's some optionality to move around if the situation warrants it. Right, yeah. It's a way to somewhat be engaged. you know, or are you going to be the first one to kind of like, uh, you know, take the plates away or, um, just can do some chores, you know, at the beginning or after. And so it kind of minimized the time that you're around the eating.

Ben [29:15]: Right. Yeah. Well, the, uh, all I, all I know is that probably one of the, the, uh, you know, I've kind of thought about what are some of the pros, the positives and the negatives of the situation. It's really hard to say there's a whole lot of positives, but maybe the best, I mean, really honest goodness, and as much as you can't see it, like you don't feel like it's a tangible thing, like people don't understand that, you know, it's a sense and it really can do this to you, but maybe just understand, like one of the biggest things uh, like maybe one of the positive things is whenever I learned other people had it and, and, you know, I honestly goodness for years and years and years, I just thought, well, what, what's wrong? You know, what's wrong with me? Why I'm the only person that struggles with this. Why am I, you know, is, is, is it really from, I always thought it was from like whenever I was a kid and going through, you know, the certain things with the, you know, being, uh, molested some by my babysitter. I just always chalked it up to that was the cause. But the more I've listened to the episodes here, and I've actually just done some other research to try to figure it out, and it just was really a good feeling to know that I wasn't alone. I know that's an old cliche from everything that anybody's ever had, but... When you have to sit in your own mind and justify how mad you are because somebody was chewing something, it's a tough pill to swallow sometimes. And you really feel like you're defective as a person, even though my attitude's great all the other times. But it's a bridge you burn immediately. It seems like you go from great to a bridge burnt immediately. because you're you know you can be furious if you act out on it but but one of the positive things i've really found is there's other people like i don't know that i've ever met anybody i'm sure i have and they just didn't you know they just don't say it out loud like i don't but you know it's a it's one of those things if you learn once if you're a guy like me and you're around a bunch of guys that are macho they're gonna make fun of you and you're gonna get you're going to get mad about it and there's nothing you can do. So you just, for the environment I'm in, I just don't say a word about it. Right.

Adeel [32:00]: Well, one thing, I mean, yeah, I mean, there's, we're still understanding what it is. One thing, one thing I'm pretty confident now is something I wasn't sure of when I started this podcast is like, you know, I don't, I wouldn't say we're defective. I don't think, I don't think it is a, like some kind of like a brain deformity that we were born with. Right. I think it's a combination of things. Right. Probably. And, you know, I don't want to, you know, do any diagnose i'm just talking right talking from my experience but it seems like a lot of us did have some kind of a lot of us not everybody had something in our child which would would maybe as an alcoholic parent or something or some adversity that that we then kind of um and then this misophonia was kind of like a a developer warning signal that was kind of like that we don't need anymore but it's still sticking it's still stuck in our heads so um i don't know some people may call it defective i i kind of think of it as a um obviously like you said i wouldn't wish this upon anybody else but i almost think of it as like uh your body's trying it's trying to help you in its own right but like it sees danger and it's trying to alert you yes right um so i kind of think of it that way i don't know if that's in any way helpful it's sometimes it is helpful to me because like if i can kind of like find the you know this part of me inside and kind of sometimes even before i'm having dinner with family and stuff i try to talk to myself in my mind and say okay nothing is going to hurt you you're not you're not under attack by um you know, if this goes back to like evolutionarily, it's not like some tiger is going to attack you or nothing's going to hurt you. That can kind of like help maybe not make everything go away, but can kind of help me help that ramp up, be slower or that, that, that return to normal kind of be a little bit faster. So, um, I feel like there's something there to that idea. Right.

Ben [34:04]: And, and sometimes I feel like the biggest hypocrite in the world, because, um, I can eat whatever I can do, whatever I want to. And it does not bother me one bit. And you would, you would think, I mean, you know, people from the outside looking in where I think it's gotta be torture eating yourself. You can hear yourself eating. And you know, that's, there's a lot of truth to that, but you know, I've always wondered to me, that's where I thought, well, you know, it just shows you it's in my head because I can do it all day and it doesn't bother me at all. And you know, here I am getting irritated with other people, but yeah, it's a, I've always wondered if anybody else thought if, if D so you have the same issue, like you could, like whatever your bothers you, you can do the same thing and it doesn't, it doesn't bother you. Right. I mean, you're okay with it. It doesn't even. Like me, if you're chomping gum right here beside me, it's going to drive me crazy. You know, my adrenaline starts pumping and everything, my blood starts pumping. And I'm like, oh, my goodness, I can do the same thing, be chewing gum right there. It doesn't bother me a bit. And I'm like, wow, I feel bad about that. I feel guilty. about that part whenever I realized that. I was like, oh, whoops.

Adeel [35:25]: No, that's common. Self-triggering is not common. It does happen sometimes. Some people actually need to... Some people actually have trouble sleeping because the breathing or snoring or something makes it harder for them to fall asleep. So they kind of... I don't know what they do. Or earplugs, but then you kind of hear yourself. So it's... yeah it's it's tough for something but it's rare self-trigger is very rare and i i can't think of anybody who like triggers himself eating um right so but i think it comes down to uh and i think it's another reason why kids your own child doesn't usually trigger people is because you're if this is a brain warning you of danger your brain somehow at least has figured out that you're not a danger to yourself or your child, your own flesh and blood is not a danger to you, you know, maybe until they get older. So I feel like that fits that thesis.

Ben [36:21]: Right. Well, you're right. Because I mean, you know, honestly, I've always, I went to, I went to college and my, uh, I went there to be a school teacher, which I'm not obviously, but, uh, so, uh, But I've always been around kids, and they can do it, and it doesn't drive me crazy. Now, I don't know that if they just did it for 100 hours straight, I wouldn't go bonkers. But, like, I have my – I have two pets, two puppy dogs, and they are the – I mean, it doesn't bother me as much. But if they do it over and over again, instead of being like a trigger, it's just annoying. You know, so there is some, you're right. I mean, it seems like little kids, it doesn't bother me so much. And then, like with animals, like my puppy dogs, they can eat and slurp up whatever. It doesn't seem to bother me. And I don't know why, but that's just my brain, I guess, works that way.

Unknown Speaker [37:22]: Yeah.

Ben [37:23]: Yeah. That's neat. I've learned some stuff on here because I really, really have. I don't know anybody else with it. I've seen people say that celebrities have it.

Adeel [37:36]: like i don't know how they would function but okay yeah i mean i was just talking to interviewing somebody yesterday who reminded me that yeah kelly ripa this is kind of the first celebrity really like announced it publicly that's like around 10 years ago and a lot of people discovered what it was from her from watching her but uh yeah there there are yeah they're a number of silver silver men uh um there is uh yeah just a bunch of people have been mentioning it um Lisa Loeb I had on the podcast last year.

Ben [38:07]: Oh, I think I listened to that one. Okay, that was Lisa Loeb on there? Okay, well, that's pretty neat.

Adeel [38:14]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And she's been wanting to get more involved in the community as well. But you're right, it's hard to function. I always wonder how people... I've had a bunch of musicians on, so it's always interesting to hear how do you... Your livelihood is performing on stage, and then you're in front of...

Ben [38:34]: hundreds and thousands of like coughing and sneezing and people like doesn't that distract you but try to be able to tune it out try going to a baseball game try being a baseball player and you are now in the dugout with everybody that has has all that gum i mean it they have tubs of gum and like you just go in there and they just grab as much gum as they can and they see how loud they can chew it open their mouth i mean it is it was torture i mean people don't understand that and i love sports i you know i still do stuff with sports and it it can be torture when you have you just you still don't say anything because it just i mean you just You just have to avoid certain people and you just stay out of their way and you just try your best to do. But I can imagine playing right now. I mean, they don't, I mean, they, everyone, everybody on there's got the biggest wad of gum. And I feel bad because you're like, hey, that's great. I'm glad that you're happily chewing that. But I could not sit by right beside you at all. I'd have to play a completely different position than you way over here.

Adeel [39:59]: What do you do at work? I can't picture you sitting at the cafeteria table waiting for everybody to come in. No, I don't.

Ben [40:10]: I don't. I eat by myself every single day, just like always. And I can do that. Most people aren't that bad, honestly. Most people, you know, 75% of people you eat with are not that bad. It's the outliers that see how loud. I mean, it's like they can see how loud they can be when they eat. It's like the taste is dependent on how loud they smack their lips. You're like, are you serious? I mean. Come on. But, uh, but you know, I, I don't, I have, I pretty much have my own office and it's so kind of loud and dull stuff out, but I'll listen to like music and podcasts. I try to listen to music throughout the day, but just because I listen to podcasts while I'm typing, I'll start typing some of the podcast or, you know, or measure measuring something. I'll, I'll forget to do something. So, I mean, if it's just music, I mean, it, it's takes my mind off the other stuff. So I listen to that, but yeah, I mean, I've been, I, I go through times where I can, uh, where I listen to podcasts or music, but I, I really, people are, most people don't bother me at all. It's just, if you have to get stuck with somebody and you can't get out of there, I mean, then I'm, I have two choices. One of them, I'm not going to do the fight response anymore. I'm too old for that. And I wouldn't do it anyways. But secondly, my choice is to just tell them and hope that they're caring enough and respectful enough to just please understand during the time that we're together.

Adeel [41:57]: Are you seeing any therapists now for anything? And have you ever mentioned misophonia to any professionals?

Ben [42:06]: uh i have seen uh way back when i had to go for being having that situation when i was younger for you know two or three years and i would talk to them and you know i would mention things like you know that about it but you know i was so young i didn't know i mean i just thought it was part of going through that when you were, uh, when I was younger, but the, uh, but honestly, I have tried to go to one time to somebody that was supposed to hypnotize you. And I did, I don't even know. I wasn't hypnotized, but I was doing everything they said, but I didn't, I thought, well, surely I'm not hypnotized. I don't think I, I, you know, but it didn't work. And I don't, I don't know. I mean, it didn't make it any worse, but you know, it, I mean, the popping gum was something that happened probably in my 30s. That's where it started driving me crazy. It didn't drive me crazy when I was younger. And then certain people that breathe and they do stuff with their hands and they try to always rub them together when they're dry. I mean, I don't know if that's really bad or just annoying, but it seems like people's... I don't know, idiosyncrasies, like people that do the same thing over and over again. It seems like I'm like, oh, like, you know, I had a like somebody I knew he would eat and he would go, oh, every single time afterwards. And it's all I would I couldn't concentrate on anything. But then they started getting on my nerves. I had a football coach that did the same thing from like South Park and those that one of the guys goes, okay. Okay, okay. But he would do that, try to get us pumped up. Hey, guys, we got to go up there. They're talking trash, blah, blah, blah, okay. And all I would do.

Adeel [44:13]: Yes.

Ben [44:14]: It'd count how many times he said, okay. That's all I would do. And people would think, man, dude, what do you think about what coach said? I'm like, 73, what? What did he say? I don't know. He said, okay, or 73 times during that speech. So that's what I think coach said to me. What did he say? Did he say something profound? Oh, well, I wasn't listening. I was counting her grades. Right, right. And then by the time you tell people that, then they start counting. So I'm like, oh, maybe that's nothing. You know, because you start noticing it. Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Adeel [44:51]: No, I can relate. I can relate, man. And I don't know if that's, yeah, misophonia or partly ADHD. Yes. but I can totally relate and I'm sure a lot of listeners are nodding along too but it's interesting you said about the hand rubbing hands together that was I clearly remember that being a trigger for somebody early on in like the first couple of seasons because her dad used to do that when she was growing up and so and it just kind of stuck

Ben [45:22]: Well, I think for me, and like I said, I'm just speaking for me, it seems like it's just somebody that you care about, that you like, you know? And you don't want to get irritated with them, but the ear, like, are you seriously saying, literally saying burp after, you know, like, they'll do this? And they literally say burp. They go, ooh, burp. I mean, they say burp. Not just burp. They aren't belching, also. They're saying the word burp. I'm like, okay. I thought I'd been doing it. Like, you know, I'm just trying to, I mean, I don't even do it that loud, but they literally go, I mean, I thought maybe I was wrong the whole time and that's what you're supposed to do. But yeah, it's, it's, it's funny, but you know, it's like, goodness gracious, will you please stop saying that after every time you do that?

Adeel [46:24]: Right. Okay, that's a new one. To actually say the word burp. Interesting. It's hilarious. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I was going to also ask about other senses. I think you probably alluded to visual triggers, maybe. Are you also, beyond sounds, are you also triggered by looking at people?

Ben [46:54]: things like that yeah yes like i mean not to the extent but like if you know for example um this is this drives me crazy too so let's say that we're in a grocery store or a some kind of you know any kind of store you know it could be wall art could be home depot doesn't matter You go through there, and you can hear somebody popping five aisles over. It's almost, honest to goodness, it's almost like I got to go see what that is. I mean, you know how when you watch a scary movie, you're like, please do not look under there. Why would you look under there? That's ridiculous. Don't do that. You know it's like that, but I have to go see. It makes you confirm it's somebody popping their gun, and then I look at them. And I'm mad at them and they're not really doing anything. You know, I'm like, I mean, I can burn a hole through them. And I think to myself, Ben, why are you being this way? But it's just so quiet in there. And then it's almost like I want to discover that it's not them doing that. You know, it's like, please don't be. Oh, it is. You know, why would I even remotely go over there? But that that kind of visual thing I do for people. chomping with their mouth wide open it bothers me but I'm not around enough to know so I try I'm trying not to but when I watch like baseball for example I mean those guys on there I am not kidding with you some of the times those guys are on there I don't think I can open my mouth that wide much less chew something that wide I mean it's just like I'm like are you serious but you know and they're not doing anything wrong it's 100% it's just 100 something about me that causes me to do that but you know i feel that's where i feel like oh my goodness gracious you know this is such a bad thing to you to feel this way but you know and because i can relate to baseball you know i relate to that and i remember all the stuff so so that's kind of where it gets me and then you know but that's as visual that's pretty much as far as as far as it goes that's i don't really have a big time problem with that but People are popping gum. I do have to go, usually go find where they're at. I'm like, where in the world is that coming from? Yes.

Adeel [49:16]: Heat-seeking missile. What does your family, your parents, think about it now? Do they have family accommodating?

Ben [49:25]: Well, my parents passed away. Oh, okay. Yeah, so they've been gone. But they've always... They... they passed away before i knew what this was called for sure so plus you know i mean they they've known that you know i've kind of had that issue when i was young you know you know the whole yeah the babysitter thing but uh so they just really have always kind of you know, put a lot of stock that that's what it was. And I did also, you know, I didn't, I feel the same way. I felt like, you know, Hey, people get annoyed by it probably, but they don't feel like I do where things just instantly go from zero to a hundred. And then you're, you're like, wow, this is horrible. But I mean, you know, my parents are very understanding. They're very, they're very nice people. And you know, it, it, you know my parents I miss them to death and they they were super nice but it's hard to it's hard to get anybody to really understand unless you can I mean I don't know if they can even have empathy for it or anything because it's just so hard for them to understand and it seems like to me like the guys are definitely for the most part you know it's harder to make understand that this is a real thing. And, uh, just because they tease you about it and they're like, you know, but, uh, but my dad, he, he, uh, he was understanding. He, he knew that I just could not do it for whatever, whether he thought I was weak. He never thought he never really was, uh, thought I was a weak part. You know, he never really treated me anything other than great. He was super nice. Um, So, but, you know, I wasn't trying to argue the point either. You know, I wasn't trying to make everything work. The less I talked about it sometimes, the better it was. When it comes to this particular subject. Anything else, it usually was better if I talked about it. But, yeah. But I've always, I know, like, I've always wondered if there's, like, some kind of magic... something that somebody takes and they're like, oh, this really what cured it. But I mean, I've tried a lot of stuff. I've tried like noise canceling headphones. I've tried, you know, and it does help. Like, you know, if you're on a plane, the good thing about the plane is you can't really hear that great anyways. But if you have noise canceling headphones in it, it just makes it that much quieter. But, you know, you have to sit in the airport. You got to stand in line behind everybody. You got to, you know, hey, you know, there's that one, you know, We call them, I call everybody mamaw, not grandma, but there's a grandparents out there that go, all right, everybody, I got the gum here, got a whole pack of it. And you're like, no, you know, it's like, no. And so, yeah, I've always, I've always been like, oh my goodness. All right, guys, it's going to pop your ears real bad. So everybody chewing gum as loud as possible.

Adeel [52:42]: Yep. That's what it definitely feels like sometimes. Um, yeah. Well, yeah. Ben, we're coming up close to an hour. Um, we've covered, yeah, covered a lot of stuff here. Yeah. Any other, like, uh, yeah. Other stuff you want to share about your experience that, uh, you know, with misophonia, with people listening, um,

Ben [53:08]: No, it's, it's fun. I mean, as, as far as, you know, in my life, I really feel like that. And probably in most people's lives, you feel like how you feel 99% of the other people feel, you know? So, you know, that's how I felt about everything. And then to find that this was the one thing that nobody else disliked, you know, like I'm, that doesn't drive me crazy. Nope. and and to feel by yourself about this and it's and it's like you are alone i mean like it's like you're a prisoner and nobody a lot of times i don't know that you're a prisoner but you just feel isolated from certain situations like you know i just because you can't go uh you know if you're scared to go to to anything like if you want to go to a baseball game you want to go to uh you know a concert concerts aren't usually that bad if you're going to a funeral wedding anything don't i would say don't let this stop you because but just have an exit strategy yeah a plan b whatever you want to call it but you know and make sure the people that know about your condition you're with them and they understand that you know you're going You're going because you want to live your life. But if the situation arises where you can't handle it, it's completely OK. And, you know, and the people that really care about you understand that it's going to be OK to leave that situation just because, you know, you do want to try. You don't want to not go to things because you're scared of this, that and the other. And in this case, it might happen in sounds. Don't ever let that stuff stop you from trying to live your life to the fullest. Everybody's got problems. Some you can see, some you can't. Every single person that walks on this earth has some kind of problem. And sometimes you can see it. Sometimes people are handicapped. They have a missing leg, whatever. You can see that. But maybe they also have other people you think don't have any problems at all. They look like everything's perfect. everybody they have problems too it's just how do you deal with those problems that's how i look at life in general i don't let things stop stop me from doing it but but i always do have a way to get out if in in our case you have to have a way out because you have two or three options and two of them are horrible and so you know you don't want to be getting mad at people for stuff they have North, the idea they're doing wrong. Yeah. I just, I just, I just like to have a way out. That's, that's pretty much it, but I would still live my life and don't, don't not do, don't tell yourself, Hey, there's too much. I don't want to do that because there's such a high chance this is going to happen. Yep.

Adeel [56:13]: yeah i agree that's having that optionality to kind of like just leave a situation sometimes it's all it takes to kind of help us feel less um prone to a reaction is to just know that optionality and all we ask of others at least is just that empathy right to kind of not be shocked that wow somebody just has to you know all we need if we need to leave the situation it shouldn't like turn into a big scene right yeah okay it's it's a it's it's very it's just it's a crucial piece of self-care and you know other people should be able to move on with their lives too if we just leave a room that's right yeah

Ben [57:02]: Try not to turn bridges.

Adeel [57:04]: Yeah, exactly. But no, what you, everything you said there was, was, was great. And I think that's a, those are, those are a lot of different messages there. And great, great, great. And in the episode, yeah, it's great to, great to, great to chat and great to, it's great. It's always good to be kind of like one of the first people that somebody talks to a misophonia. So hopefully I hope, you know, this was helpful to you and my open doors to kind of, you know, help you, talk to the people, but maybe people will, will reach out, uh, and want to chat with you and it'd be great to, uh, you know, if you can find a little community where you are in Kentucky or Indiana, where you are now.

Ben [57:41]: Yeah. Right. It's, it's, it's pretty much one, you know, it's just right across the river. So yeah. Well, I appreciate it very much. And, uh, and thank you.

Adeel [57:50]: Thank you again, Ben. Always great to hear someone talk about Misophonia for the first time. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast. You can hit me up by email at hello at misophoniapodcast.com or go to the website, misophoniapodcast.com. It's even easier just to send a message on Instagram at misophoniapodcast. You can follow there or on Facebook and on Twitter or X, it's Misophonia Show. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at patreon.com. The music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [59:12]: you