Sarah - Navigating Relationships with Misophonia

S4 E7 - 4/21/2021
In Episode 7, Season 4, Adeel interviews Sarah, a doctorate holder in traditional Chinese medicine and the owner of Aquarius Acupuncture. The conversation delves into Sarah's experiences with managing misophonia, particularly how it has influenced her social interactions and relationships. Sarah shares her initial realization of having misophonia upon a friend’s sister discussing it, leading to her recognition of her hypersensitive nature not being unique. She discusses her childhood experiences, like humming to drown out triggering noises, and how these sensory issues have shaped her both personally and professionally. Sarah and Adeel explore the challenge of explaining misophonia to others who often lack empathy towards the condition, drawing parallels to other irrational fears like that of spiders. The conversation also touches on Sarah's coping mechanisms, including her approach to relationships and how misophonia affects them, especially highlighting an instance with a partner whose habits were triggering. Sarah’s narrative emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, understanding one’s triggers, and the ongoing journey of navigating social spaces with misophonia. She also addresses the therapeutic approaches she has explored and concludes with an encouraging message for those with misophonia, highlighting the importance of self-acceptance and empathy in mitigating the condition's impacts.


Adeel [0:00]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Episode 7 of Season 4. My name is Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. My guest this week, Sarah, has a doctorate in traditional Chinese medicine and is the owner of Aquarius Acupuncture in downtown Manhattan. We talk about her experiences with misophonia, of course, especially how it has affected her social life and relationships with others, struggles with explaining it, and how she thinks about it through the lens of spirituality and being a highly sensitive, empathic person. Lots of new listeners coming in, and I just want to remind everyone, if you're enjoying the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to the show. It really helps the algorithms recommend it to other potential misophones. If you want to reach out, hit me up anytime on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast or Twitter at Misophonia Show. And of course, the email is hello at All right. Now, here's my conversation with Sarah. Sarah, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Sarah [1:08]: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Adeel [1:11]: So I'd like to know kind of where, you know, around where folks are located, first of all.

Sarah [1:18]: I'm located in New York City. I'm a doctor of acupuncture and herbal medicine. So I have my own private practice in Flatiron District. And I thought it would be interesting for me to be on your show since I'm going to have slightly medical perspective as well as a spiritual perspective. So thanks for having me.

Adeel [1:39]: Yeah, that's awesome. Flatiron District. So that's the legendary Flatiron building is around there?

Sarah [1:44]: Exactly. It's right across the street. It's so beautiful.

Adeel [1:47]: and okay yeah so the next question is you like what do you do see your doctor of acupuncture um that's yeah that's great and so you have missed the point of yourself right it's not that you're just that you're treating it or um i do and i didn't even know

Sarah [2:06]: my one of my friend's sisters i let her stay at my house and she was talking about it and how she struggles with it this is maybe two or three years ago and i was like oh my god that's a thing i i have that thing i just thought it was unique to me i thought i was quote-unquote special with these hypersensitivities. I'm a very highly sensitive person, but as you know from misophonia, it's not necessarily a pleasant sensitivity that we like, that we enjoy, or that we have as a superpower. Oh my gosh, so it was so refreshing. And then it was, you know, I found podcasts like yours, which I really appreciate. Thanks for having in the world. And it's been enlightening to find out that I have this thing that other people have that it's not, that I'm not so special in a certain sense. So it's, that's been great.

Adeel [2:59]: Yeah. How long have you known that you, I mean, before you knew that it was, it was the thing you obviously you knew that, um, you know, that it was bothering you. How long did you, how long did you, um, you know, how long back, how far back do you remember it?

Sarah [3:13]: I mean, I remember being a child. I remember being, um, Specifically in the first grade, I remember hearing noises to the point of disassociating and just kind of like humming over the other noises and then getting in trouble for humming. But I was humming to cover up other sounds.

Adeel [3:35]: Yeah.

Sarah [3:36]: And I was a very straight-A student, so this was very worrisome about the behavior for that. And I remember... wanting to play with kids, but other sounds happening and just having to check myself out of the location, just not being able to tolerate things and not knowing why I would get so emotional and people would be like, Oh, she's so sensitive. And the sensitivity is what helps me to be a healer. But then it also translates to this kind of sensitivity, which is hard to wrap my brain around.

Adeel [4:15]: Yeah. So that's pretty early age. I mean, a lot of people are, a lot of people have come on and talked about it, um, hitting around the, um, you know, middle school years and be a little bit, a little bit earlier, but, uh, but you, you remember, uh, from the first grade, um, and yeah, you were, you were humming with something interesting. So, uh, yeah, cause some people say that, you know, they really stick their fingers in their ears and try to try to block it out, but, uh, you were, um, trying to cover, cover it up with your own sounds.

Sarah [4:45]: Yeah, I don't do that anymore. Well, maybe I do. But yeah, it was interesting to find out that it's a thing. I think... I remember like a couple maybe like 10 or 15 years ago I remember I had a series of two roommates back then when I was still young enough to have roommates I mean I guess people of all ages have roommates but I remember being in my bedroom and the bedroom was really far from the kitchen and I could just hear the mouth sound it was like oh my god like just dying in my room with the door shut trying to put other so you're right actually I put other music on instead of creating my own sounds but I was mouth sounds through the walls right yeah someplace except thin walls I guess and uh Well, I find for me was I have I remember my grandfather talking about this, too. So I wonder I know my mom has must have something. But yeah, we haven't really talked about it too much. But I remember my grandfather saying like he had a hard time focusing on conversations in front of him because he could. he had super hearing and he could hear soft sounds in the distance. So like if he's having dinner, often the sounds of the other people talking would be louder than the people in front of him, even though the actual volume in front of him was louder. And I think for me, the misophonia is the sounds that really frustrate me they just become so loud. So even though the mouth sounds from the kitchen from these two different rooms, you know, one would make a chewing sound with his mouth. Sorry, trigger warning. And then the other one had this thing where he made like a refreshing sound after he took a sip of water. So take a sip of water and I don't want to make that sound.

Adeel [6:30]: Yeah, I think we know.

Sarah [6:32]: And many people listening. But it's interesting because I doubt that anybody else can would really hear that sound but my ears hyper focus on that sound it's like my ears look for that sound and then they get rude like i feel that anger coming up and it's fight or flight yeah yeah and i just like i start like feeling like an animal in a cage i'd imagine just like i need to get out of here and it's so overwhelming and i just thought i had really good hearing until which i do but it was just helpful for like playing music and stuff but it's So intense. Yeah. Yeah. You hear me laughing, but at this point I just have to laugh as I try to cope.

Adeel [7:18]: We do. Yes. No. I mean, and yeah, laughter, laughter is a, uh, yeah. The humor is a, is a kind of a coping mechanism in itself for us, I think. And so, um, yeah, it's, it's not unusual to just kind of laugh at how absurd this is.

Sarah [7:35]: You know, it's funny to me too, though, is a lot of people, if I explain it to them, they don't, it's not accepted. And it's, you know, they're like, oh, we'll just try this or try that. But it's interesting if you think of the perspective of somebody being afraid of spiders. We don't, like, I love spiders. Like, you could put a spider in my hand and let it crawl. Yeah, I love spiders. But if, so for me, it's kind of hard to understand somebody being so excited like having primal fear against a spider. And I imagine that's what it's probably like. Cause it's almost, I don't have a fear of the chewing or for me, it's the nail biting. That's like the absolute worst or people whistling out of tune. And it's just, it's, it's not a primal fear like a spider but it's a very similar like you said fight or flight it's a very similar sensation where i'm just like want to combat it or something it's just so emotional and it's i guess it's similar because if i'm like okay you're afraid of spiders i don't understand that but i can have empathy but it's interesting to me that people a lot of people don't seem to have the ability to have empathy for people with misophonia and it's maybe it's a lack of education. I'm not really sure, but have you come across that with other people on the show?

Adeel [9:02]: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, that comes up. Yeah. It comes up all the time where, uh, And it has many kind of implications in that a lot of people feel how they're just kind of, it's almost not worth bringing it up anymore because they've been kind of shut down or rejected so many times or just dismissed so many times. And then that kind of creates a cycle because you just get more frustrated. And yeah, but yeah, it is strange how it's not... I mean, it's not strange how it's just not taken seriously when it is to us. And it's interesting how you said you're not afraid of the chewing because, yeah, it's like, you know, it's almost like part of your brain is afraid of it, but then a lot of the rest of your brain is not. So it's this weird sensation that, yeah, it's hard to explain to others.

Sarah [10:00]: Yeah, I always wonder, like, the people afraid of the spiders, if we could rationally, because, you know, most spiders aren't poisonous or dangerous or they don't even bite. But it's, I wonder, like, if we were to explain it to them, like, oh, this is, the spider is safe. Would they still have the overwhelming emotion just like we have the overwhelming emotion that our triggers? I would love to research that.

Adeel [10:22]: That's an interesting analogy. Yeah, I wonder if anyone's tried to explain it that way to a bunch of people. Yeah. So interesting. And it sounded like your grandfather almost had a kind of hyper accusers. I don't know if he had fight or flight situation, but it's because there are people who are simply just like everything sounds turned up, but it's not necessarily that they are. uh enraged when they hear certain sounds like we are um yeah he mostly mentioned it was just something particularly interesting he was super calm about it yeah it was nice gotcha see so you had um so just going back you um so all through school you was it was it basically um school that was bothering you? Because for a lot of people, it's like it starts at the home with the parents-ish first and maybe family. But did it start to, from that school memory, did it start to expand to other areas like the home?

Sarah [11:25]: I think my mom must have it and my brother because they, you know, if I had start, if I start tapping right here, they would be like, please stop tapping. You know, like they are very I don't think we're... I'm still learning how to not tiptoe in my own house. I feel like my brother and my mom... It's interesting. We haven't really talked about it, but they're very sensitive to all noises as well. So I think the home was very safe because let's say somebody made a mouth sound, that would be, don't make that mouth sound. It's don't bite your nails. In a very loving way. But I realized later in life, other families don't have that. I was very... controlled in a certain way don't make the floor crack when you walk my house that's impossible because we have such an old house but yeah you know exactly yeah it's don't turn the doorknob this way so i think there's a lot of hypersensitivity in my family so actually so it's like walking on eggshells um probably from even before that first great memory exactly so i don't know if some of this behavior for me was also learned by Probably genetic.

Adeel [12:51]: Learned or maybe activated from, yeah, I don't know. Something, some recessed gene was activated. I don't know. I shouldn't be talking about the doctor.

Sarah [13:01]: I don't know either. We're just speculating here, but also maybe because the mouth sounds were not allowed in my growing up, maybe I wasn't used to hearing them. So maybe, I don't know. It's interesting.

Adeel [13:14]: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. But, yeah, okay, that's, yeah, that is interesting. So then you made it through school, obviously, with great grades, and somehow were able to, what were some of your coping mechanisms, I guess, after that first grade point all through school? Other than humming, you probably weren't humming all the way through.

Sarah [13:39]: Well, I got in trouble a lot for humming because I stopped. But it's definitely a disassociation. Because I would just get to the point where you... You're in school, it's strict. You can't get up and leave the room. You can't even necessarily use the bathroom. You know, you're allowed to use the bathroom as a kid, but, you know, remember the bathroom pass. So I would be like, sometimes I would just go use the bathroom just to get away. Not really even understanding it was a coping skill because I was so young. I think the coping skills were certain things like just blocking everything out or hyper focusing on a different sound like the humming of the fluorescent lights or maybe you would just like feel the fabric of my clothes so you know redirect it but i know that definitely made me a weirdo because you know people didn't understand like well she's not playing she's not talking she's like in the corner doing her own thing so yeah But another thing with my, I think this is misophonia too, is if, I don't know if you can tell, I'm pretty soft-spoken, but if somebody is talking at a certain volume, I just start going insane in my head. Like it's, like if somebody is just has a friendly voice and it's very loud, I'll start getting really triggered by that.

Adeel [15:08]: So a loud voice would be, there's a certain point where loud voices will just completely trigger you.

Sarah [15:15]: yes and yeah it also i know i think i have a similar thing yeah yeah you have like a very similar voice to mine i feel like we're kind of airy and just like flowy there's nothing there's no like punching to it you know i don't know no no yeah very like ah the sound is very i love the sound of your voice and Yeah. Like I realized even the other night, my friend, we were talking and I think I hadn't gotten enough sleep maybe, or I had a long day and I was like, wow, his voice is really like, I'm feeling that anger come up. I'm feeling, and he's such a nice, loving Porter friend. And I'm like, Oh my God. I was like, I wonder if this is the misophonia too. Cause I've had that before where I'll meet somebody really cool and really click. And I'll be like, you know, I, I know I won't be able to hang out with them because of the sound of their voice is triggering Have you heard that one before?

Adeel [16:10]: I have heard not as often, but it's got to be a thing. I know it affects me. It seems like they're louder than they need to be, and consistently so. It's like there's something that my brain latches onto, and then I can't get rid of it. I don't care how interesting they are. I'll read a book or something that they wrote. It hasn't come up a lot, but yours reminded me of one of my triggers. It sounds like you have a bunch of friends now, but does this affect your social circles? It seems like in school, people start thinking you were a weirdo. I'm just curious how it's played into your social life.

Sarah [17:05]: I think I hide it very well. I think I'm very... As we all do, yeah. Yeah, I think I'm very eloquent. Like, oh, I'm just going to, you know, get some water. Like, I make a real task to do so it's not even a lie. And I redirect. And sometimes I'll tell the person directly. It doesn't... work often. I don't want to be rude, but if it's a closer, even my closest friends know, so I can be like, mouth. Sorry, I'm having a hand in my mouth. Take it out. But you know, like I was dating somebody and he just unconsciously whistled all the time and it felt like knives were like stabbing me and it's, I think he thought it was kind of cute. Like, oh, she's sensitive. And it was really, oh yeah and he like bit his nails and i was like this is but it was interesting because you know when you're starting to get to know somebody they're on their best behavior so around like three or four months these things started coming out and to me i was like oh my god you bite your nails he's like oh yeah it's like a bad habit i'm trying to get over it but to me it was like how dare you yeah how dare you hide this from me as if you'd like killed and murdered people it was really hard and

Adeel [18:33]: Were those things triggers before as well? Like just as, yeah, just as noticeable triggers before you'd even met this person?

Sarah [18:42]: With other people, yeah. But because I think we were getting to know each other, he was more conscious of his behavior when we first started going out, maybe. Because, you know, for him, he said like, oh, well, I've always bit my nails. And I'm like, no, I would have noticed if you did it in front of me. I have this thing. And unfortunately... you know, if you're biting, I noticed it like he was doing it. We were watching like, like a TV series. And I was like, remember the first night I was like, Oh my God, he's biting his nails. And I, I couldn't, I didn't remember two episodes of the show. It was like an hour long show. And I was like, Oh my God, what am I going to do? Because in for two hours, I just obsessed over the fact that he was biting his, I couldn't. And I was so upset that I couldn't say anything because I knew in that moment, The miso triggered me so badly. If I said anything in that moment, I would have been like, blah, blah, curse, curse, curse, you know, stop. Like, that's the only way I would have been able to, because I was so emotional.

Adeel [19:48]: Yeah, that's the thing. It's like, usually we don't want to bring it up because we don't even want to deal with it or think about it. But then when we need to bring it up, it's in such an emotional state that it's not going to come out well.

Sarah [20:02]: I did end up bringing it up after, I think, either on the phone or the next time. I brought it up in a neutral time before I was triggered by it. And it went really well. But I bring that up because it's interesting because sometimes I will have new friendships and then I absolutely cannot be friends. with somebody who bites their nails unconsciously like I have one of my good friends for 20 years she has a terrible nail biting you know it's so bad I feel like such a bad person to be like my friends who bite their nails or don't but it's you know we talk about it we're such good friends she doesn't like food like pudding and stuff like soft foods and I'm like well I don't like crunchy foods because I don't well this is another trigger I don't like the sound of the crunch in my own mouth okay yeah I don't get triggered by other people's crunches like some miso people do, but my own crunching I don't really like. It's so loud. But anyway, with this friend, we have an agreement. We can talk about it. And our agreement is that I don't watch movies with her because that's when she chews her nails the worst. So I'll be like, well, I'm not watching a movie with you, and you know why. And she's like, yep, I know why. So it's kind of like that.

Adeel [21:17]: Have you tried watching a movie but not in kind of like view of each other or is the idea of it possibly a trigger possibly being in the same room enough of a problem?

Sarah [21:32]: I think the brain yeah it's it's I mean it's the hand even out of the corner of my eye if I see the hand go to the mouth I start anticipating it's Yeah, no, that's a good way to do it. I have done that with other friends where I just completely like sit sideways and they're like, oh, that doesn't look very comfortable. And I'm like, you don't want to get into it.

Adeel [21:56]: Yeah, or they can be in the sofa in the back and you're like closer to the TV or something.

Sarah [22:01]: All these things we do. It's so fun. Like once, oh my gosh, once I was on a plane and the guy next to me like was biting his nails the entire five hours. And I was like, well, I'm not getting any work done.

Adeel [22:14]: No, and yeah, you try to look for the sleeping, the eye blind kind of whatever they sometimes provide on a plane.

Sarah [22:24]: Yeah, headphones.

Adeel [22:27]: Yeah.

Sarah [22:28]: Yeah, and I think that's another coping mechanism too.

Adeel [22:32]: Sleeping mask is what I meant, yeah.

Sarah [22:34]: Yeah, the sleeping mask. I totally did. I had, like, a scarf I tied around my head just so I couldn't see.

Adeel [22:38]: Oh, there you go.

Sarah [22:39]: Oh, my gosh.

Adeel [22:39]: And, you know, the poor guy... Some women and men use their long hair, I've heard, to kind of, like, block as much as they can.

Sarah [22:46]: I do that, too, sometimes with my curly hair. But, yeah, you're right. And then it's also funny to think about this guy. Who knows? But he was probably so nervous about the flight or something that that was his coping mechanism was the biting. Yeah.

Adeel [22:58]: Because I've...

Sarah [23:00]: I think part of me being a healer too is I do have an ability to connect with people really intimately, strangers or close friends, just all sorts of people. So I am able to kind of gather my own research sometimes. Like I've asked a lot of people why they bite their nails and they just say it feels so good and it's so calming. It sounds almost like how people who smoke cigarettes or other substances to... calm and it's just interesting to think this i'm being triggered by this guy who's biting his nails and it's freaking me out and he's probably like freaked out by the flight maybe being maybe he was nervous about the flight or something going on in his life and then he's biting that is his coping mechanism and it's funny because to think his coping mechanism was possibly what's triggering mine to make me need a coping mechanism like a chain reaction I know, so much.

Adeel [23:58]: So you said, why don't we talk about that? So the misophonia and your current work, do you think that that in any way kind of influenced your career path? Like wanting to become a healer and just based on kind of what you felt throughout your life?

Sarah [24:21]: I think that for me and i'm not sure if this is the same for other people with misophonia so please let me know if you know but i'm i'm also sensitive to sound i mean i'm sensitive to sound but i'm also sensitive to light i'm sensitive to energy i'm sensitive to everything so but the miso is very particular it's you know maybe like i always have sunglasses and i put them on but I don't get angry about the sun or emotional or freaky as I would call myself feeling sometimes about certain sound triggers I don't like certain sounds or I can get overwhelmed by sounds but with the misophonia there's that overwhelming emotion that goes the irrational emotion and I think the overall sensitivity, like my ability to feel other people's feelings and stuff definitely contributes me being a healer. But with the misophonia, it's this funny mystery where I'm able to manipulate energy. I'm very good at kind of like There's a quote. I don't know if you know Ama. She's the hugging saint. When she talks about anger, even Ama, she's very balanced. She's like this guru in a certain sense. She will talk about anger. The anger arises, I feel it, and then she lets it go. I feel like through meditation and grounding and trying to have a balanced life and succeeding and feeling very good at all times, it's like... If somebody bothers me on the subway, you know, I'm like, I'll get agitated appropriately. And then I go on with my day. It's not like I feel very good at feeling my emotions. I feel other people's emotions as an empath. And I let it go. And there's something about the misophonia. You used the word latch. It's just something with the miso. It latches onto me in a different way. and i almost feel shame or guilt as a spiritual healer healing person that i'm not able to unattach from the misophonia it's a totally different trigger and it's for me it's so intense or maybe it's just another level of spirituality that i need to explore and get through but i haven't yet been able to succeed with these mouth sounds and whistling in the same way that I've been able to, you know, you could say the nastiest thing to me about my personality right now. And I could let it just flow off of me like a water off of the duck. But if you started like gnawing at your nails, I would not be able to let that go. And I don't know why.

Adeel [27:18]: Yeah, well, if you can ever find this, crack that spiritual code, you definitely should come on the podcast again. That would be a fascinating discovery. But yeah, it's like it's some kind of a... I think we've evolved to develop all these sensitivities at one level or another, but it feels like this misophonia is this kind of like a lizard brain going back millions of years where it's trying to protect us from some... danger that probably doesn't exist anymore or you know some some neurons are misfiring um in that in that area of the brain um yeah it's it's it's it's really bizarre and you have had we've had i've had other uh uh highly hsps they call uh highly sensitive people and uh they um yeah it's interesting that you you said it really well it's like your sense you're sensitive to everything But it's not that anger with regards to the sun or the sense of touch or whatever that misophonia inspires.

Sarah [28:21]: I'm a little hesitant to say this on a podcast, but it's not a real feeling. But in that moment, I'm like, I will do anything to stop this. And I know that's not actually how my behavior is going to go. But I just am like, I need to do anything I can to get away from this person, to get away from the situation. And I'm like, I wish anything horrible would happen. And I'm like, I don't really think that as a person, but it's like you get into.

Adeel [28:46]: Yeah.

Sarah [28:47]: I'm like, oh, my God, not me. So intense.

Adeel [28:52]: Yeah. No, I mean, you're not the only one. And it's it's it's it's amazing. Yeah. You the thoughts that go through your head are, you know, you don't really want to. fully mention them on it anywhere.

Sarah [29:04]: And they're, I like to remind myself they're fleeting feelings there, but it does take a longer time to come. I mean, like when you have these triggers, it's almost sometimes like I rode in a car for many hours with somebody who biting their nails and I felt like I needed a day to recover. It was so intense. I kind of feel like a jerk for saying that.

Adeel [29:30]: No, I mean, you're not the only one. And it's, you know, there's research coming out. Oh, there's research happening in this field. And it's not like something that can, it seems like it sounds like something that can just be kind of like worked on with, you know, traditional therapy. There's like a brain basis for this. it's not like you're in control of necessarily in control of what you're not like you're wanting to to do um whatever you need to do to get rid of the sounds there's um it's kind of at that point your brain kind of takes over in ways that you obviously don't want so i do find it's if i am eating right and my life is less stressful and i'm sleeping and i'm

Sarah [30:19]: I'm in my groove. I do find it's easier to navigate the situations at least, you know, to be eloquent.

Adeel [30:29]: Yes, stress is definitely a huge catalyst and exacerbating factor. Yeah, it's one of the things people try to do is just reduce stress. Yeah, eat right. Get sleep, most importantly. Yeah, those are definitely things you can try to control. And then in other cases, just try to... Sometimes, and I've mentioned this on a podcast, is like if you're going to sit down with somebody to eat, just kind of maybe take a few seconds to tell your brain beforehand where... You know, this could be kind of rough, but at least, you know, it'll be over in what, 20, 30 minutes or so. So just try to try to get through it. And maybe that kind of prep time can kind of help calm whatever is going on in that brain. It's the surprises. And like you said, like that loud voice that somehow that starts to come on when you don't expect it, that can that can cause the biggest problems.

Sarah [31:25]: You definitely are like being trapped on the plane where you're like, OK, I can't.

Adeel [31:30]: Oh, yeah.

Sarah [31:31]: yeah you're right because then it's it's a good reminder to even on the plane to be like okay this sucks but in five hours i will be getting off the plane and i guess i will accept hit the bar and my laptop we are just going to be like focusing on surviving now right

Adeel [31:51]: Do you have any... Why don't you tell us something about what you do for work and how you do heal people? I think that would be interesting to a lot of people, whether it's misophonia specific or not.

Sarah [32:04]: It's not misophonia specific, but it is interesting that, like what you were saying, to make misophonia less of an issue in our lives. You know, medicine, when it comes down to it, it's... It's a funny way to say it. My acupuncturist used to say it's eat, sleep, poop. So it's eating, sleeping, and then digesting and eating food correctly. And once you get those basics down, life is a lot more tolerable in all aspects. You're thinking clearly, your body feels good. And it's harder to get to that place for some people with other diseases and emotional things. But the sensitivity I have... And being an empath really helps. For me, I'm a physical empath, so I can literally feel things in my body. I'm still learning when and where they come from. Sometimes I'm on my way to work and maybe my shoulder will be hurting or my neck. And I've learned now to check in and be like, is this my shoulder pain? Or is this maybe I'll usually find out somebody at work. somebody one of my patients when i go to work will then have more of that feeling so i can kind of feel into people's bodies and i will seemingly ask really random questions that really resonate with people like it's like oh that's really weird you asked about my aunt however it's really pertinent to the situation it's just like just random information comes into my brain but it's very different sometimes information can be persistent and it'll be like a ask about the aunt ask about the aunt and i'm like i don't know why my body wants me to ask about their aunt when they're telling me about their foot or something but it's it's interesting but it's not the sensitivity allows me to connect with strangers people feel like i've known them forever the subtle energies And I think people might actually be really shocked to hear that I have misophonia because maybe it would kind of explain to them sometimes my strangely aloof behavior from being so personable and sweet and then running out of the room. Like, why did she escape to the bathroom for half an hour? But it's probably because I was triggered by something. And yeah, it's just to me, I feel like a very... you know, it's taken a while to get, I think the misophonia for a long time, I didn't understand it. So I was getting triggered a lot. And now I can kind of recognize like, Oh, I'm being triggered. I'm going to go do this and be used to like meditation, grounding energies, shifting things on myself to cope with the misophonia. But it's, as you know, it can be very overwhelming. absolutely do you ever do you do like regular meditation to kind of to kind of calm you down for for misophonia or uh i'm gonna see um yeah i meditate every day and now if i do get if the miso misophonia triggers me then i'll do like a grounding visualization meditation where you you create a grounding core that attaches you to the center of the earth. And I'm like, okay, misophonia energy, like anger, go down, go to that. Like I just visualize that the anger as a color or a pattern. And I send the energy down and visualize it. And as you visualize, so it is, and it leaves, but it's a lot of effort and it's a lot of, spiritual and emotional training. So it's, you know, this is something I'm 44. Like I've been doing this for decades and it still triggers me, but at least I can cope. Um, but I still can't really be around somebody comfortably. Who's doing those things. It's really, it's so, it's so painful too. Cause a lot of times you really like the person, but it's, you, you can't. And I don't know.

Adeel [36:23]: yeah no um i think we we can yeah we can we can all relate to that um and you mentioned you know that there are some people in your life do you know about misophonia um Is it something that you, I know you've kind of brushed on this before, but with your close friends, was it something that after you found out what it was, you just told them immediately? Or was it like, did you kind of then just wait till their next trigger? Or I know you said you hide it very well. So I'm assuming that for most people, they don't know. But I'm just curious how these conversations go between you, yourself and the people that you've told.

Sarah [37:01]: I think people like to hear about it. I think I can be a very private, I'm very open, but very private. So there's people, I think they appreciate when I tell them because it's embarrassing for me. And I like to kind of say, you know, this is really embarrassing to me, but I need to let you know. It's I like to talk to my friends who don't trigger me as well as my friends that do trigger me just to also get strategies and, you know, with friends because they know you so well, they can also help you with strategies that will work with your personality. So it's not this. Out of character way to deal with it, but I'm so lucky my my friend who told me about it, she's just so sweet and supportive and. she's really lucky because her now partner also has it. So they can very bluntly say, yeah, like they can very bluntly say, I'm going to leave the room while you're eating that cereal. I love you. Bye. I'll be back. And they totally get it. And they have some similar triggers and some different ones. And, but with her, it was, you know, she's like, I'm lucky because my partner has it, but these are some ways I still, communicate my needs. And so I was able to, since she was the one that originally told me about it, it was good because then she was able to kind of give me some language on how to talk to other people about it. Like she was the one who said, you know, when you're, when I first discovered with that one guy where he was biting his nails during the show, she had already coached me to be like, do not talk about it while you're triggered because that's going to make things worse. Like, you know, you can say at least the first time, you know, so.

Adeel [38:54]: Yeah.

Sarah [38:57]: Yeah.

Adeel [38:58]: No, that's a good tip. And do you talk to your family about it much?

Sarah [39:03]: I haven't but I think I imagine they would just say like everybody I think they just think everybody is that sensitive because like I said for me while being like very like they think I'm very loud they think you know like they think you're loud I'm loud so it I kind of grew up in this kind of backwards way where I thought I was like loud and making all these sounds but people kind of are like, oh, you're kind of like a mouse. You're very quiet in certain ways. I mean, I can be loud and outgoing in certain situations. And I'm not a shy person. But it's confusing to people because I'm quiet and outgoing. So it's an interesting...

Adeel [39:49]: Gotcha. So you think, so you were kind of, okay, so you're saying you're pretty quiet because your family thought you were so loud that it kind of quieted you down from a very early age.

Sarah [40:02]: Yeah, and I think it's because they have misophonia because there's actually nothing really to talk about with them because they're not doing any of the triggers because I think they actually have more triggers than I do. So, like I said, they'll be like, can you stop tapping? And I'm like, I don't even know how to tap. You know, it's probably like somebody.

Adeel [40:21]: Yeah, it definitely sounds like it. Do you feel like you do? I know you're very outgoing. It seems like you have a lot of friends who get it. Do you feel like it's... created some distance in any of your other family or social relationships, especially your long-term ones, like where it may have, I don't know, damaged things or created like undue distance?

Sarah [40:47]: Oh, for sure. Because one of my friends who bites her nails a lot, like we went on a trip together and it was... I just felt like for half the trip I was in a fight or flight because I hadn't realized. I knew she did it, but it really just escalated over the time or where the guy was dating. It really was like his inability to empathize with it. although I don't expect people to, it really made it hard because the more comfortable he got with me, the more he whistled and did the nail biting. And I was, you feel so superficial being like, I can't date somebody who does these things, but it, you know, we tried to work it out and he was very sensitive about it and really sweet, but it just, in the end, I felt like it was too much of a struggle to constantly be triggered you know I'd rather I think I wonder it's interesting you say I have a lot of friends because I do but now that I'm thinking about it in this moment I wonder if I have so many friends because of misophonia as well because like I said the friend I won't watch movies with she's great like we do all these things together we will not watch movies so there's other people I will watch movies with but I wonder I have no idea I haven't really thought about it I'll have to think about it more but I wonder if I have so many friends too because I know who I can do activities with comfortably.

Adeel [42:14]: Yeah. So it's like, you become friends with somebody, they have many redeeming qualities, but they'll trigger you. So it's like, as soon as they trigger you, oh, time to find a backup. And then you can always... Before you know it, you have tons of friends. And then you can always... It's like, for every situation, there's somebody who won't trigger you, so you go to them.

Sarah [42:34]: I wonder if that's what's going on. It's interesting. But it's also... yeah i don't know i do i have very long-term friends and short-term friends and new term new friends and so i feel like i'm successful at relationships you know i have my drama too as everyone does but not so much but it does some of it does come from misophonia because it's i do get like the one friend i went on the trip with i felt really triggered and then it how did that end did you are you still friends with them I'm not, something else happened, but I wonder, I was really relieved not to have to be around the nail biting and I feel guilty saying that, but it really, it's like a, it was interesting. I was like, I wonder if she didn't bite her nails if it, if I would have more easily resolved the issue. I wasn't sure. It's really sad to think about.

Adeel [43:37]: Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, I mean... The feelings of fear.

Sarah [43:40]: The anger that comes up with that noise.

Adeel [43:44]: Yeah, and it lingers. And like you said, it can creep into other issues that might be unrelated, but it just kind of makes it harder to come back from them.

Sarah [43:54]: And no matter how loving or supporting those friends are, I know for me, I would have anxiety about... Am I going to get triggered? Is she going to bite her nails tonight? Is she going to bite them extra because she's anxious? It's very exhausting.

Adeel [44:13]: Yeah, definitely exhausting. Have you ever lashed out? Do you remember at anybody?

Sarah [44:19]: That's not my personality, but I think my version of lashing out would probably be absolutely not talking to somebody, like leaving a party early. being dramatic in that way like aloof I think people would say that I can be a mood swing a mood swing that's a very good way to say it like you were so happy and giggly and then you just stopped talking and left the party and that's anybody listening that's probably actually me having a severe misophonia reaction

Adeel [44:53]: anybody listening, I know, I think knows exactly what you're talking about. So, uh, yeah, absolutely. Have you ever seen, um, have you ever gone to see like a, another, any other professional, uh, professional, uh, about your MISO, whether audiologist or any kind of therapist?

Sarah [45:10]: Ooh, not audiologist, but I've been to like talk therapist who specialized and I think it was cognitive behavior therapy. Mm-hmm. But I don't think they really... I didn't know the term misophonia at the time when I was seeing her. And her... take would be was more like expose yourself more to those sounds that are bothering you and I was like I don't think this person is understanding she's like and then over time your body will know that it's not actually being threatened with fight or flight and I was just like no but it doesn't I know it's irrational that's what's so frustrating to me it's like I know this is irrational and I wish I could just The sound is irrationally getting me all hyped up and angry, yet at the same time, it's real. And that's where it's really hard for me to unravel that because no matter how much I know the whistling or nail-cutting, I know they're not the threats to my life, my body will not respond differently.

Adeel [46:25]: Yeah. It's like half your brain is fighting the other half for dominance or just to half the brain is trying to, is, is rational. The other one, the other side is not. And it's, yeah.

Sarah [46:37]: I feel like I've wasted some, yeah, certain shows, musical shows because some, or a movie theater because somebody's like. triggering my misophonia and there's this whole battle going on in my head and i'm like well i can't there's assigned seats so i can't switch seats and you know i'm like just listen to the show like i can't yeah do you ever go to you ever go to see your favorite bands and then and then a few songs are great and then somebody says to have a conversation like you know it could be even like several people away from you and it's just that's all you can hear now yep it's all over here and yeah or somebody's like biting their nails and i can't

Adeel [47:15]: right for yeah exactly it's so so then you'll get the visual trigger right because i'm assuming that uh um right the the band's playing loudly but then you can see somebody watching and then biting their nails and that yeah that must be even though it's yeah it's yeah Even though you can't hear it, it's just a visual trigger. Yeah. We'll change the subject. Speaking of, we are kind of like heading up towards the hour. Time flies by. It's amazing when you start talking about misophonia. But, yeah, but I wanted to hear, like, do you have anything you want to tell listeners now that you're on the show and have this audience? Anyone tell people about, you know, your experience with Misfonia or any message?

Sarah [48:07]: I mean, if it's okay to self-promote just a little for this connection. My business name is Aquarius Acupuncture and you can find me on Instagram. I love talking about misophonia. So if anybody wants to slide in my DMs, let's totally welcome Aquarius Acupuncture. And yeah, I think just trying to be gentle with ourselves to try to breathe, send that emotion out. know it's irrational, but also know it's real at the same time. I think just acknowledging the realness of whatever emotion entangles you and latches onto you with misophonia, it's so important to just know it's real.

Adeel [48:50]: Yeah, in a world where we're constantly told explicitly or implicitly that it's not real, I think it's important to take that time to acknowledge it.

Sarah [48:59]: Yeah, because the less you fight yourself, the faster you can get untriggered by it. It takes a while. Sometimes it takes days for me.

Adeel [49:10]: Yeah, yep. No, absolutely. I'm sure I think a lot of people sometimes just have to take a day off, take a time off work just to get over the rest of the day or whatever.

Sarah [49:20]: Yeah, I wonder too. I work alone. I wonder if that's... There's all these things...

Adeel [49:25]: Well, God, yeah. So you don't have to deal with an open office. That's a whole other recurring thing.

Sarah [49:33]: It's been so lovely talking to you because it's like you're so understanding of this is part of like why I wanted to talk to you in the show too. It's just like you totally thank you for validating my feelings and my emotions and my experience. It's really that's part of the big problem is people not understanding it's real. It's hard.

Adeel [49:54]: Yeah, absolutely. And we'll have links to your business in the show notes. And hopefully people will reach out. And it's been great to see people coming on the show or listening, connect and wanting to actually talk to some of the people who have been on. So hopefully people will reach out. And yeah, it's a great way to...

Sarah [50:14]: get that acknowledgement and uh it kind of when you and when you think about what other people are going through it kind of helps you recover as well so yes and i want to thank everybody else who's been on the show in addition to you having this show but hearing everybody else's experiences it was so comforting and that's why i also wanted to share my experience because it's there's not a lot of information out there And it'd be really interesting. I'm like fascinated to find out what part of the brain this is attached to. Like I'm so into neuroscience. I'm just like, I'm just waiting for that Netflix documentary to come out about misophonia that it just breaks it all down.

Adeel [50:54]: Oh yeah. Right. Right. Well, yeah, Sarah, thanks. I want to say thanks again. And good luck with everything. And yeah, this was super helpful.

Sarah [51:05]: Yeah. And reach out to me over Instagram, too, if you have one. I think we're already connected on Instagram.

Adeel [51:10]: Probably, yeah.

Sarah [51:11]: Let's try to connect. And thank you so much for having me.

Adeel [51:14]: Thank you, Sarah. The link to Sarah's business, Aquarius Acupuncture, is just And there's a link in the show notes. Remember, if you liked the episode, please leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast. Hit us up on social media at Missifonia Podcast on Instagram and Facebook, now on TikTok, or Missifonia Show on Twitter. You can find all those links on the website,, and even contact me through there if you like. Music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.