Tim - Unique Journey of Coping with Misophonia

S3 E16 - 1/20/2021
In this episode, Tim shared updates on a Misophonia survey he conducted, aiming at understanding triggers and garnering ideas for support tools, which saw an overwhelming response. He discussed the challenges of transitioning to online learning during the pandemic and highlighted the relief found in noise-canceling headphones. Tim described his involvement in construction work following his internship cancellation, contrasting experiences of living with a large family, and dealing with Misophonia triggers. He explored boxing as a constructive way to channel frustrations and shared a paradigm shift in his perception of Misophonia, moving away from viewing others as perpetrators to understanding Misophonia as a unique brain reaction. This shift facilitated a more productive approach to managing the condition. Tim concluded with optimism for his ongoing project aimed at helping those with Misophonia.


Adeel [0:00]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is episode 16, season 3. My name's Adeel Mag, and I have Misophonia. This week's interview is finally out of Germany after three weeks straight, and we're going to catch up with a past guest, Tim, who is actually the fourth person I interviewed. Many of you filled out a misophonia survey by Tim for a project he's working on, and we'll get a little update on that. We'll hear how it's been like to be at college as they start opening back up in person, as well as some success he's been having handling his misophonia through a couple of mental and physical shifts in his life. I just checked the calendar for future interviews for Season 4, and it looks like there are at least 22 interviews lined up already to be recorded in March. So that's going to be another solid season here in 2021. Always room for more, so you can go to the website, misophoniapodcast.com, and find the Be A Guest link. I've been also forgetting to mention our contact info up front. So just to let you know, you can email me at hello at misophonia podcast dot com or find us on social at Misophonia podcast. All right. Let's just get into this week's catch up conversation with Tim. Tim, welcome back to the podcast.

2021 [1:22]: Oh, yeah. Glad to be here again.

Adeel [1:24]: yeah so um why don't we maybe give a little and you were on one of these you know first five or i didn't even look back actually the first five or six episodes yeah i think i was actually episode four it was uh december 4th is when you posted it of last year right so yeah i know i remember you know when we talked a little bit about obviously your past we talked about you know i want to hear how things are going at school obviously we did not anticipate you know the changes yeah that's been a whole thing Yeah. And then you were working on some interesting projects and you had like a survey that a lot of people, I think, responded to. So, yeah. And it's actually come up on a couple episodes. People have referred to that.

2021 [2:05]: Yeah, that's right. I remember that. That was really cool. Got to hear someone else talk about me. It was very fun.

Adeel [2:12]: right right in a good way at least on tape yeah yeah yeah but um so yeah why don't we uh yeah why don't we go back to like what's what's been going you want to talk about maybe that survey since we're there and uh how things have gone since then i'm sure people will be curious like what happened yeah their uh responses

2021 [2:30]: Yeah, yeah, I can cover that briefly. So for those of you who don't know, sometime, I think it was early spring of 2020, I sent out a survey asking people, you know, a couple questions about misophonia and what kind of triggers they had and what they would like to see and, you know, things to help them. It was crazy. I got like 300 responses in two days. Absolutely incredible. I only needed like 50. And so I got all this data. It was awesome. And the reason I put out that survey is I'm working on a project to help people cope with misophonia better. I can't say too much about it, obviously. You know, NDAs and copyrights and blah, blah, blah. But Basically, what I'm working on is some sort of device to help people block out triggers way better. And I've actually made some significant progress on it recently. And the surveys helped with that tremendously. I was able to get some more funding and stuff because of the answers from the surveys. So if I make some huge progress and have something meaningful to talk about, hopefully sometime in the near future, I will post that somewhere. So hopefully you'll be hearing something good soon.

Adeel [4:05]: Yeah, we talked about it briefly off the air-ish because it's kind of hush-hush and very exciting. So that's cool. Definitely would love to get the scoop if there's any good progress on that.

2021 [4:20]: Once something that I can talk about happens, I will be talking about it because I'm pretty excited. And again, just thank you everybody who did the surveys. I know it was something little, but it really, really helped me out. So I really appreciate it. And it was awesome just like hearing from, you know, basically over 300 people who had misophonia and I emailed a lot of you guys back and we had small conversations. It was really great.

Adeel [4:45]: Yeah, it's a great community type people, and we all look out for each other. So, yeah, that's great with the survey. Yeah, so, but you're still in school, right? Is that the case down in Missouri? So, you wanna talk about... Mississippi, not Missouri. Oh, Mississippi, sorry, okay. Oh, yeah. Hey, I'm a recent American citizen, so come use the place. So we talked, yeah, I guess it was late last year and the world was all relatively rosy. People were going into school, people were going to work. I want to talk about what's it been like since March, I guess, for you.

2021 [5:25]: yeah well i guess starting with march obviously you know mississippi state the university you know closed down they shut off campus i had to go back home and finish you know the rest of the semester online and that was kind of tough because you know for one i didn't have my own room anymore i had to live with my family and the internet was bad and People didn't know how to do online classes. And all in all, it was just like a heightened level of stress. And you combine that with living with people again. And that was really tough to handle. That was actually when I bought some noise-canceling headphones instead of just a little earbuds. That helped tremendously. I got the Sonys. Oh, the new Sony, I think the Mark IV just came out or maybe... Yeah, I ended up getting the Mark III actually, which was frustrating because I got them right before the IVs came out and so they were super expensive. Then the IVs came out and they dropped like a hundred bucks. I was like, man, should have waited like a week, but yeah.

Adeel [6:29]: That's 2020. You never know what's going to happen.

2021 [6:31]: Yeah. And I had my internship over the summer canceled. And so I had to work construction, which wasn't bad. But, you know, I had to live with my family over the whole summer instead of what I was expecting, which was getting my own apartment somewhere else and living by myself and all that. And so...

Adeel [6:50]: And you have a relatively large family, I believe, right?

2021 [6:52]: Yeah. I have nine siblings. Some of them have moved out. So I think over the summer, how many were there? I want to say I think seven siblings and my two parents, including me, were in the house this summer. And so that's a lot of people. And for most of the summer, I was sharing a room with one of my brothers. and that gets tough on its own because he doesn't have misophonia and we had very different schedules and so there's a little bit of tension there. I'll say the worst part of the entire summer was the last five weeks because I was working a full-time job and then I decided to take Physics 2 in five weeks which was a really smart idea.

Adeel [7:37]: Like a compressed schedule for this one course? Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

2021 [7:40]: And fortunately, it was only physics too, but it was really, really difficult because I had like two-hour classes, two-hour videos to watch every single day after I got home from work. And so I was drinking, you know, three monsters a day, barely getting any sleep, that sort of thing. And combined with the stress and all of that, my misophonia, it's probably the worst it's been in a couple years, to be honest, in those last few weeks. It was really bad. But... Fortunately, they let us come back to campus this semester. Some of the classes are online. Some of them are in person. So I get to live in my single dorm room again, and I get to get enough sleep, exercise, and all that stuff. So it's gotten better since then.

Adeel [8:23]: So you're in your single dorm room, meaning it's that single apartment. It's just you in there.

2021 [8:28]: Now, it is on a hallway with other dorm rooms, but it's my own little space.

Adeel [8:34]: Gotcha. Okay. Okay. That's nice. And, uh, and, and how is that, how's that floor? Like, is it, uh, the respect, uh, sound after hours kind of thing or is it, uh, I haven't had any problems.

2021 [8:47]: Normally the people in this storm are, we all, we all basically are here because we want quiet and we want to be away from people. And so everybody pretty much just, you know, keeps their distance, keeps the volume down. You know, we're all pretty respectful of that, which is good.

Adeel [9:03]: Yeah, keeping your distance. This is one of the things that I think would be a great permanent change for us.

2021 [9:09]: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Adeel [9:11]: Have you thought about that? Like, yeah, obviously, you've had some rough patches with because of COVID, being at home, obviously not fun, doing compressed schedule at home, not being fun. But have you thought about some of the maybe the positives that you want to see continue? Um, you know, honestly... Maybe that's it, just staying away from people.

2021 [9:36]: Apart from the fact that... If you want to, yeah. Yeah, apart from the fact that it's a lot easier right now to just not be around people.

Adeel [9:43]: Yeah.

2021 [9:44]: You know, and I have a better excuse not to eat with people at the moment, you know, because, like, everybody's going to have their masks off or whatever, and so I can make that an excuse. Right. But other than that, honestly... there's not really a whole ton that I like except for being alone. Right, right, right, right, right.

Adeel [10:04]: Yeah. I mean, and, you know, that's a big thing in those moments when you don't want to be triggered. Just being able to be alone and separated from people, I guess, is, you know, it's good. It's good. I think going forward, it will be easier to have that option. Yeah.

2021 [10:21]: And I think people are more, like, comfortable with just... saying, hey, I don't want to hang out or stuff like that because we've had to get comfortable with it. And that's another plus. Right.

Adeel [10:34]: Gotcha. Okay. So yeah, you spent your summer with your family. You got a pretty large family. And you have other siblings. You were living with your brother who didn't have misophonia. But I think you do have siblings with misophonia as well, right?

2021 [10:48]: Yeah, actually. It used to be just me, my dad, and his has gotten better. I talked about that in the last episode. And then my little brother. But that number has grown since then. Two of my younger sisters have also developed misophonia to some extent.

Adeel [11:03]: Wait, since we talked?

2021 [11:04]: yeah okay okay yeah so the the number is growing i think at this point they outnumber the non-misophones in the house so that's cool there's like a little uh supreme court situation here pretty much yeah

Adeel [11:19]: Interesting. So how is, okay, yeah, that's, you know, without, you know, we don't need to like maybe put words in people's mouth or whatever, but I'd love to have your siblings on the podcast if they wanted to. I'm curious, how did that, how did that develop? Did it develop kind of during, or did it kind of come out during this COVID time when everyone had to be back together or was it brewing slowly for them? I'm just curious how at this age that they started to exhibit signs. Yeah.

2021 [11:48]: I have four younger siblings, and there's my younger sister, then younger brother, then two more sisters. And so my younger brother is the one who developed it, you know, a few years ago. And then the sister younger than him, she just started developing it. Not very majorly, as far as I know, but she's been having some triggers. And I think that's just... you know, classic onset of puberty, that sort of thing, you know, a little, a little late.

Adeel [12:16]: Yeah.

2021 [12:17]: You know, but I think, I don't remember how old she is. I think she's, shoot. I think she's 16.

Adeel [12:23]: It's hard to keep track. Yeah.

2021 [12:25]: Yeah. Tell me about it. But, um, the sister right below me, she had visual triggers for a while before she had any auditory triggers, which is interesting. It's really strange. But recently, I think in the past, you know, eight, 10 months or so, she started developing some auditory triggers and those just kind of exponentially exploded along with her visual triggers. I think it has to do with stress and she had a not great job for a while at a kitchen. And so that could have something to do with it, but yeah.

Adeel [13:05]: Okay. Okay. Interesting. Yeah. So yeah, some of your siblings are obviously around that age when this kind of usually starts. Yeah. Interesting. Okay. And so has that kind of changed the dynamics in the house at all? Like have everyone suddenly have soundproof bedrooms?

2021 [13:27]: Man, I wish.

Adeel [13:28]: Strict regulations posted on the fridge.

2021 [13:32]: Honestly, that would be great. But really the only things now are, you know, we have two different tables where we eat at. All the non-Mrs. Phones eat at one table. All the Mrs. Phones eat at another table with earbuds in it.

Adeel [13:44]: Okay, yeah. And maybe the chairs are facing outward.

2021 [13:47]: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, it's a very common conversation now that like, hey, you know, this is triggering me. And, you know, since there's so many people who have misophony who are now living at the house, it's become a lot more of like a thing that we have to work through, you know, because there's a lot more there's a lot more character conflict that goes on because so many people have so many different triggers and they all deal with them so differently. Okay.

Adeel [14:19]: Yeah. So it's, so your triggers are fairly different. So it's hard to kind of like, uh, kind of centralize on exactly. We're going to cut this out and everyone's happy, but it's, everyone's kind of triggering each other because you all have different triggers.

2021 [14:33]: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And my, my sister has the mostly visual triggers, you know, it's a lot harder for her. She can't just put in earbuds and block it out. And also she she tends to be a lot more like upfront and blunt than the rest of us about things, which is I like that. It's a good trait. But when it comes to misophonia and like dealing sensitively with other people, it's a lot harder. And so that, you know, that's created a thing that. We you know, we need to work on as a as a family, you know, because we have other people in the family who are very sensitive and, you know, kind of. They're, you know, they blame themselves for things and stuff like that. And so we have some dynamics like that that make it really hard to work out, I guess.

Adeel [15:20]: Yeah, it's all this guilt and shame that gets kind of thrown around.

2021 [15:25]: Yeah, and everybody's feeling guilty for things that other people are doing. And yeah.

Adeel [15:31]: Gotcha. And, but are you the, your younger siblings are probably still living at home permanently, like full time, right? So they haven't really, they haven't really spent a lot of time outside in the world to like negotiate through life together. So that, that'll be interesting or might kind of smooth some things out.

2021 [15:51]: Yeah. The sister has the visual triggers. She, she has like a full-time job and she, you know, is going to college part-time. So, you know, she, she's experienced that more, but she's never lived anywhere except for the home. So. Yeah.

Adeel [16:05]: Yeah. Gotcha. And I know my, I had my. My next door neighbor, who's a pastor on the show, he's only got like one or two triggers, but like, you know, his, the church that he's a pastor at is shut down basically until January. I think you go to church a lot. Has that, is that still going on? And was that a trigger in the past? I hear from folks who go to church that churches are definitely a, can be a, Not the best location.

2021 [16:40]: Yeah. So right now it's kind of 50-50. So the church that I go to in Mississippi, we're doing two services so that we can split people up and we're live streaming the services. So, you know, there's not a whole ton of people who actually attend the church. It's, you know, maybe two-thirds attendance.

Adeel [16:57]: Yeah.

2021 [16:58]: But... It is still, you know, a pretty triggering situation. I play in the worship band most of the time. So, you know, during the songs and whatever, I'm fine because I'm playing music. What do you play, by the way? Pretty much anything, to be honest. Oh, cool. Guitar, bass, mandolin, you know, drums. Whatever they need that week, pretty much. Wow, that's cool. But, you know, during the sermon, you know, there's just one guy talking up front. Everybody else is, you know, dead silent. Ish, yeah. Yeah, exactly. They're not making any talking noises. They're clicking pens and fidgeting and, you know, waving their legs. And all the little children are very restless. And so I always sit in the very first row and I always have my earbuds in with white noise. And that tends to help because I don't get the visual.

Adeel [17:53]: Yeah, I forget. I know I've talked about this with a few people and you might have been the first where we kind of like debated the... the back versus front of the room um thing and i'm i'm with you i think if i were if i were in a situation like that i would want to be in the front with the white noise or oh yeah i'm always the front guy yeah yeah because you got all your senses covered then you know exactly it's kind of like a natural natural barrier yeah your head and your field of vision Right. And then hopefully the speaker is in front of a really, really big podium so you can't see anything.

2021 [18:31]: Or she. Yeah. Normally he's pretty good about it. He hasn't done much to trigger me. And if the speaker is mic'd properly, he won't be making noise. But sometimes there's a pastor who... You know, his voice just, it's just not right. You know, maybe his mouth has some residue in it or something like that. And it's just, it's just bad. But honestly, that's even worse in the live stream because you're only getting that. So I try to go to the regular services instead.

Adeel [19:00]: Oh, did you say it's worse in the live stream? Yeah.

2021 [19:03]: Yeah. Because in the, in, in the actual, you know, building. the you know you're not just getting the mic sound you're also getting the natural sound you're getting the reverb you're getting the reflections all that stuff so it kind of masks it out to some extent but on the live stream it's just what's coming in from the microphone and it's normally very dry audio and it's very up close and so if there is any sort of triggering noise it's going to be there and it's going to be loud

Adeel [19:32]: Well, you should do what I do and just pump in some brown noise into the live stream.

2021 [19:35]: I wish I was in control of that.

Adeel [19:40]: Right. It would affect like one or two people probably listening. It's probably not worth the effort. People will look at you like you're a psycho.

2021 [19:49]: They already do. It's okay.

Adeel [19:50]: I'm used to it. Do people at your church, do they know about your misophonia? Outside of your family?

2021 [20:02]: Honestly, this is actually something I kind of want to talk about. So I'm going to take that question and make it broader, if that's okay.

Adeel [20:07]: Of course.

2021 [20:09]: At the church, like the people I, you know, the band members, people like that, they kind of know that something is up with me, you know, that sometimes noises bother me. Well, hopefully not from the glare anymore. I'm trying to get better with that. But there's one guy, you know, he chews gum and he's pretty loud with it. So if he's ever chewing gum during rehearsal, he'll be like, hey, can you stop chewing gum? He's like, yeah, sure, no problem. And so, you know, they're like kind of aware that something is happening. I haven't really told them what it is. I think I've crossed out the name a few times. But, you know, for the most part, it doesn't cause problems. If they ask me to sit with them, it depends on how I'm feeling. You know, sometimes I'll be like, yeah, sure. No problem. Other times it's like, no, I'm going to have to sit in the front. I can't, I can't deal with it today. You know, cause one of them's like super restless and he's a drummer. And so he's constantly like drumming on things. Oh God. You know, not, not to call him out or anything. He's a great, amazing dude. Love him to death.

Adeel [21:06]: His name is Michael... No, I'm just kidding.

2021 [21:08]: I wouldn't do that, too. No, but making that question broader, telling people, that's actually something that came up in the convention. That's another thing. Attended the convention last weekend. Yeah, I thought I saw your name there. Yeah, I attended your little session. It was good to see your face combined with the voice and have a mental picture of what you look like now. So that's cool. But highly recommend the convention.

Adeel [21:40]: I shaved in the middle of the convention, so that might have been when I had my big beard and then I shaved it the next day.

2021 [21:45]: I think it was a deal. Well, it wasn't clean shaven. You had the beard. Okay, okay. Which, by the way, I think looks great. You should keep it.

Adeel [21:53]: Okay.

2021 [21:54]: It came up in the convention. Like, one of the sessions I attended was, you know, how do you tell people? When do you tell people? That sort of thing. And something that I have started doing recently that I brought up in that session was... I don't like to introduce it to people when I'm being triggered because we all know that's a landmine. There's so many things you could go wrong. If you let yourself slip for a second, you can get really angry and then you can accidentally blame the other person. They could get upset and they can make it worse and blah, blah, blah. So what I like to do is the people that I hang out with a decent amount. I like to just bring it up just kind of as a very small conversation point, you know, just some random time. I'm not being triggered. We're all having fun. You know, I'll bring it up as like talking about a past event or something like that, you know, and I'll explain what it is very briefly. And then anytime we hang out, you know, maybe not anytime, but sometimes when we hang out, I'll throw it out as a joke or if somebody's, you know, going to get a snack and I know I can handle it. Um, I'll just bring it up like, Hey, better not eat for too long, you know, and we'll, we'll just talk about it briefly. And so what I do is I like, I bring it up in normal times so that when I'm triggered, I don't have to introduce it to them. And it's also not, they know it's not like this gigantic, huge deal. It's just something that I have to deal with. And so, so far that's worked out great. I don't know how it's going to continue working. I've only been doing it for like two months. But the people that I hang out with, they're super understanding now. They don't get upset about it. We can find a compromise normally. One of the guys I hang out with a lot, he was going to eat some goldfish. And I was like, hey, how long are you going to be eating that? And he was like, it's just going to take me five minutes. And I was like, okay, I have a time box now. I can deal with this. It's perfect. And nothing bad happened. And so because he knew why I was asking that, it was able to not be a bad situation, I guess.

Adeel [23:59]: Yeah. So when you when you first bring it up and you say you bring it up, bring it up quickly, I think that's kind of where people are kind of maybe get a little stressed out. It's like, OK, well, if I'm trying to bring it up and semi casually and within like a short period of time, like they're worried about, OK, how should I phrase it? Because if you F up that moment, you know, like you said, it could be kind of a landmine. So do you have kind of something in your head that you. that you, you know, some bullet points that you always hit?

2021 [24:32]: Yeah. Yeah. Normally I, I mentioned it's some sort of, you know, processing disorder, neurological disorder, you know, uh, sound processing thingy, you know, whatever you want to say, it makes it clear. It looks like something that's happening physiologically in your brain.

Adeel [24:47]: And you say that it's happening to you. Cause, uh, you know, if you suddenly come out with that randomly and like, and people might look at you with like really big eyes, like, uh, why are we, we were just, we were just talking about a movie and now we're talking about your neurological disorder.

2021 [25:02]: uh yeah normally i just you know it's something that i have it's happening to me yeah and normally they're cool with it you know now i'm around college students you know we tend to be fairly aware if not over aware about that sort of thing so it's a little easier for me but yeah i mentioned you know it's a processing disorder um certain sounds bother me um That's really about it. I don't try to get into specifics. I don't try to give a life story. And I never, ever, ever get into the thoughts and the reactions that we have because that's... You don't want to tell that to someone unless you already have a solid friendship with them and that sort of thing. Because if you just blurt out to a random stranger, hey, I have murderous rage thoughts sometimes, they're not going to like you that much. Unless they're a fellow misfit, then it'll be an instant connection.

Adeel [25:56]: You especially want to keep that away from a school environment these days.

2021 [26:01]: Exactly, yeah. Yeah, that would not be good.

Adeel [26:04]: Yeah, that's not going to hold up in court.

Unknown Speaker [26:06]: Yeah.

Adeel [26:10]: Anyways. Okay, interesting. Yeah, no, that's great. Just to kind of keep it, yeah, keep it very kind of high level and fairly short. And then the other question is like, how is it, you know, are you like, you know, is it people that you know relatively well, or is it, you know, someone that, you know, everyone in class kind of thing, people you just met, like, how do you think about, you know, who to tell?

2021 [26:38]: yeah yeah um for the most part it's only people that i see somewhat regularly um you know honest obviously if there's a you know an urgent situation kind of an emergency situation someone needs to know i will tell them But for the most part, it's normally after I've hung out with someone a few times and I know that I'm going to be hanging out with them more. So I need to kind of get this out in the open before it's too late. There was one time that there was this guy who I was giving him a ride somewhere. First time I'd actually met him in person. I kind of knew him and I knew we'd be hanging out more. and he got into the car and he was chewing gum and i was like okay i have to you have to say something so i did say something and turned out it was okay he's fine we're all cool but normally i like to just tell people after i know them a little bit I'm not the kind of person to, you know, stand up in class and be like, hey, everybody, I have a problem and I need you all to deal with it, you know. Right.

Adeel [27:38]: Yeah, I mean, I guess we're, I mean, misophones, we're relatively self-aware compared to the general population. So we kind of know.

2021 [27:45]: I would hope so, yeah.

Adeel [27:46]: You know, if it's obviously somebody that we're only going to see once, they don't need to know. But if it's somebody that we feel like we're going to see regularly, yeah.

2021 [27:56]: we can also even cut those people some slack but if exactly we're gonna see regularly um yeah they need to they need to they need to know and get their uh get their act together and the the ironic thing is like when i tell someone you know and and they know what it is i automatically feel more comfortable and so i'm i can deal with the triggers better because i'm in a comfortable situation and so if you tell someone about misophonia and if they know about it

Adeel [28:24]: for the most part you won't have to bring it up as much in triggering situations and you know it's a little counterintuitive but yeah that's been my experience so far yeah again so you wanted to um you see you want you want to talk about kind of a broader um in a in a broader manner is there is there uh anything else you want to say about like you know how you share it with people um outside of school even too or um some strategies you have there

2021 [28:53]: Or maybe not.

Adeel [28:55]: Yeah.

2021 [28:56]: Yeah, I'm trying to think. I don't really have much contact with people outside of school right now because we're all locked down and stuff. I will say one more thing. Making it a joke. can feel like you're minimizing yourself but if you explain it first and then joke about it afterwards that is super helpful it's healthy for you it makes other people feel more comfortable it you know makes it makes them know that it's still something that's important to you but that you can take it you know You're not super serious about it. And my experience so far has been, if I joke about it with people, when there's a triggering situation, it won't be very emotionally charged, but they'll still do what they need to do to stop triggering me, which is good.

Adeel [29:46]: Yeah, that's kind of the ideal balance there.

2021 [29:48]: Exactly.

Adeel [29:49]: Because humor is a great coping mechanism. I guess the one fear that some people would have is like if you're If you joke about it too early or is the other person, other people around you actually going to take it seriously?

2021 [30:05]: Exactly. That's the line to toe. Yeah, it's a tough one.

Adeel [30:09]: Yeah. But I think it's a line worth going for.

2021 [30:12]: Oh, absolutely.

Adeel [30:13]: Yeah. So another thing I want to talk about. So is this your freshman year at college?

2021 [30:19]: Is this current year?

Adeel [30:21]: Yeah. Oh, actually, well, was last year your freshman year?

2021 [30:23]: Last year was sophomore year, so I'm a junior now.

Adeel [30:25]: Sophomore year. Okay. Okay. So, yeah, you're in the middle. Regardless, you know, in the past year, I had, I think, Natalie from UCLA who started the student misophonia group. I just call something different misophonia support group or something like that. But anyways, you know, I was really excited to see that group first and then have her on. Is... Have you seen anything like that or have met anyone else at your school to maybe start a group? Have you already thought about that?

2021 [31:00]: I've actually thought about it a lot. And over the summer, I did try to make some connections and get that to happen. But I personally don't know anyone on campus who has misophonia. There's one girl that I know, I think she has it, but it's not very bad. And we don't really talk about it much. So other than her, I don't know anybody else. And I went to the... student services people and they were like yeah you know to make a to make a student group you have to have five members blah blah blah so you know if i meet five people who have misophonia i will absolutely start something but for now you know i can't really so so just try to trigger that girl as much as possible three just need three more people and then you're good I have seriously considered getting a table and setting it outside the union. I've considered that. I don't know if I want to do it yet or not. But if I get desperate, I probably will.

Adeel [32:01]: Yeah, I wonder. I mean, you must have just cork boards or bulletin boards around campus that you can just throw something up there. Maybe get somebody to notice, especially maybe near a library or dorm. Especially dorm. Anyone with misophonia is probably running out of school, going back to their dorm. That may be a good time to catch them.

2021 [32:29]: They're either either in the dorm I'm in or they're off campus somewhere living by themselves. Right, right.

Adeel [32:37]: Yeah, okay, that's interesting. So you haven't met anybody at school who's got miso or at least is kind of aware of it or talking about it. And yeah, I guess you don't really have, other than your family in school, you don't really have too much contact with people. But we may have covered this last time, but have you come across other people other than online who've got misophonia? Maybe I guess through church. I don't know if you would have met anybody.

2021 [33:09]: I know there's somebody or at least a couple people. I think they were in person. I'm not sure. And I do not remember them at all. So I guess the answer is I think so, but I don't really remember. For the most part, my communication with other misophones is either with my family or online. I've met a few people through your podcast. I met a few people in the, you know, in the convention. And so. Yeah.

Adeel [33:38]: So do you want to talk about, so I was at the convention, just obviously my talks, I had like two or three that I was a part of, but what were some of the other, what was some of the other highlight sessions that you, that you went to?

2021 [33:54]: Okay. Um, well, some, some of the most fascinating ones I thought were, you know, the medical research ones, um, especially Dr. Menino is, you know, he's all about like, yeah, exactly. Neuroscience and physics and all sorts of cool stuff. Just genius. Um, so that, that was really interesting to see the advancements in the study of like what's actually happening with our brains and how that connects with misophonia and stuff like that. Um, attended one talk with maybe one talk with uh dr jaffe that was the one about you know how to tell people when to tell people that was a really good uh it was kind of like an open group discussion that was good right yeah all just the presentations about you know the actual science of it those were my favorite apart from discussions

Adeel [34:48]: Yeah. Yeah. No, it'd be good to, um, hopefully next year we'll be in person and we get to kind of get the, get everyone together in one, in one place. It's always a, it's always a good time to, uh, to, I think we were trying to get it. They were trying, they were trying to get it to be in, uh, I think Philadelphia this year, but, uh, yeah, obviously that felt there. Maybe they'll try that again next year or find a location.

2021 [35:12]: I hope at least it's like a hybrid. Cause I'd really prefer to, you know, meet people in person. I think that would be fun.

Adeel [35:18]: yeah yeah and a lot of people are afraid of that but uh i can i can tell you that uh a lot a lot of us go there because the um the in-person part of it is uh is yeah you can't you can't beat that that's uh even though we're all misophones there's something about that uh Just being surrounded by other people. I mean, you get to do that all the time at home, but it's probably a little different.

2021 [35:40]: It's definitely different.

Adeel [35:41]: Be around people who have different life stories, but are all kind of have this common illness.

2021 [35:49]: Yeah. I will say that the most... unexpected thing for me was how comfortable i felt like normally i'm really good at talking to new people you know i'm a fairly outgoing person i kind of put myself out there but there's always you know like a level of stress and stuff like that when when i got on like the first you know group calls on thursday evening Like, I felt completely comfortable. It was like I already knew all these people. It was like I was continuing a conversation that we'd had earlier. Very, very surreal experience.

Adeel [36:26]: Yeah, man.

2021 [36:27]: I just joined a call. I jumped in. They were talking about something. I piped in a little bit. And, you know, then we talked for two hours. And it was like, wow. I have not met these people before, but I automatically feel an instant connection with them. And it's not even like we spoke a connection. We didn't talk about, you know, oh, we all have misophonia. We're the same. It was just something that I felt, you know? Yeah. Really, really cool experience.

Adeel [36:54]: Yeah. No, that's exactly how... I couldn't have said it better myself. That's how it's always felt like when I've gone in person. It's like, even if you haven't said one word, you kind of know half of them because you know this gigantic part of it. Um, yeah, sometimes we just, I mean, a lot of time we're all, a lot of us are introverts. You're more of an extrovert.

2021 [37:20]: No, I'm not an introvert for sure.

Adeel [37:21]: Yeah. Even though introverts are just chatting up with each other and, uh, But then even we can just wallow in silence and we feel comfortable and we kind of feel like we know each other. Yeah, exactly. It's pretty amazing.

2021 [37:35]: There are, if you don't mind me butting in, there are two things that I want to get to before the interview is over, if that's okay. Oh, of course, yes.

Adeel [37:42]: That was my next thing. I was going to be like, yeah, I want to hear what else we should do.

2021 [37:48]: Okay, perfect. So they can kind of come from this conversation about the convention. What is the... One of the sessions I attended was by Dr. Menino. He was talking about yoga and movement and related to misophonia. And that kind of got me thinking about something I've been doing recently that I hadn't really thought about. But after the session, I thought about it and I was like, wow, that's really important. So something that I started doing this semester especially is taking more care of like my physical health. Because in the past, I've kind of been, you know, lackluster. I eat kind of healthy. I exercised occasionally. I got some sleep. I drank some caffeine. But this semester, I really wanted to crack down and, you know, work on my physical health. And so, you know, I've been doing weight workouts every morning. I cycle three times a week. I use a boxing bag twice a week. I've been doing yoga whenever I get the chance. And Something interesting that happened is when I started doing those things and when I started getting more sleep, regular sleep, and I have basically cut off caffeine completely, like my misophonia suddenly got way less sensitive. I wasn't really expecting that, but I've been able to deal with triggers recently that I could never have dealt with last year. You know, stuff that would have sent me into a panic attack last year I can handle without earbuds in. And it's literally that drastic. It's not like, oh, it's slightly better. It's like night and day, how different it is. And by no means is my misophonia cured. I still have triggers. I still have all the reactions. It's still tough. It's just like such a drastic difference in two months of regular, you know, exercise and stuff. And I was listening to my interview last year, partially because, you know, I just wanted to hear what I sounded like back then and partially to, you know, know what I talked about. And one of the things I said was, you asked me what my coping mechanisms were. And I said, headphones was my biggest thing, like earbuds and headphones playing white noise. That was what I considered kind of the most important coping mechanism. And honestly, at this point, I kind of have to disagree. Because, you know, earbuds are great. You know, they help in the, you know, the emergency situations. Nothing beats them for blocking out trigger noises. But now I kind of think that's secondary to like the physical health and sleep schedule and stuff. You know, I didn't think that, you know, people say, yeah, if you work out, you know, your emotional health will be better, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, and I kind of believed it. I kind of bought it. Didn't really... do much with it but honestly just two months even one month of regular working out and like doing stuff like that and yeah you know it takes two hours out of my day but being like totally honest that is the biggest difference i've seen with anything i've done about misophonia ever It's better than earbuds. It's better than any sort of drug you might take. It's better than therapy. It's better than playing mind games with yourself, trying to think your way out of it. And I guess that's one of the things that I kind of wanted to bring up in the interview is, you know, A lot of people, I've been on the support groups on Facebook, stuff like that. And in your interviews, people are normally talking about their life stories and stuff, and that is fantastic. And something I wanted to add to that is you know, kind of a, instead of ranting like on the support groups and stuff like that, I kind of wanted to give a, I guess a success story. It's not exactly a success story. I am very much in the middle of it and it's not cured my misophonia by any means, but I kind of wanted to give, I guess, encouragement to people and something to do because it's not like exercising is this huge life changing thing. You know, you don't even have to do everything that I do and it's not like you're, you know, getting surgery or going to therapy three times a week and trying to like rewire your brain or anything. It's just something simple. You can do, you know, 20 minutes. You just do a quick, you know, uh, workout in the morning, go for a run, anything. If you do that regularly, like that's probably going to help your misophonia more than anything else. Cause I know it has for me.

Adeel [42:33]: And has many other benefits too.

2021 [42:35]: Yeah, exactly.

Adeel [42:36]: And just reinforces, Miss Sonia, it's just part of your, I mean, it's a health issue. Exactly. And, yeah, I mean, and obviously we've talked many times that it's exacerbated by stress. And exercise and sleep, any, you know, any issues with that will cause stress. So, yeah, that's great that that's been working out for you. And I hope you have definitely more people. exercise, better try to get more sleep because I think you're, is it, do you feel like it's the, you said, you know, you're still getting triggered, but does it feel like they recover, that recovery period is getting shorter? Like being able to come back?

2021 [43:16]: Yeah, the recovery period is way shorter.

Adeel [43:18]: My tolerance for triggers? Okay, tolerance for triggers.

2021 [43:21]: Yeah, so normally it's with the smaller triggers that I can deal with better. At this point, if it's a small trigger, I can just gloss over it and barely have any reaction. I can deal with it so quickly. Now, obviously, if there's five people eating around me and I have to deal with that for 30 minutes, yeah, I'm going to freak out. I'm going to have a panic attack because that's just what happens with my brain. But... just average day-to-day situations and experiences, it's become increasingly to the point where I kind of just gloss over the triggers. You know, I deal with them and I move on. There's no pause. There's no, okay, I have to sit for five minutes and recover. It's much more just like a, you know, it's like I'm stepping over a pebble instead of trying to climb a step, I guess, if that makes any sense. Yeah.

Adeel [44:13]: Of course, yeah. That's huge because I think a lot of triggers are probably, you know, I wonder what that threshold is. Someone should maybe do a study of how many triggers are that low level. I don't mean low level in a way to minimize them, but low level in the sense that if you were to have a simple exercise program and make sure you monitor your sleep, you can actually get over that. Because that's not insignificant. That could be life-changing in terms of your productivity.

2021 [44:43]: Yeah, well, it's all about the buildup. It's all about... You know, you get triggers and you have to deal with them. And the more triggers you get, the harder it's going to be. And this isn't scientific at all, but basically what I think about my exercise doing.

Adeel [44:59]: We're not a science podcast.

2021 [45:00]: Don't worry. It's like the triggers, you know, fill up this buffer. And then exercising, you know, empties the buffer. It makes it smaller. And so if you keep that, if you kind of get that to an equilibrium. you'll be able to handle most triggers in a fairly normal way. And yes, you'll still have misophonia. It's still one of the most important things in my life. It captivates my thoughts constantly. But it's not like it's ruining my life anymore. It's more of something that I can deal with every day. And if there is a bigger situation, I will have to take bigger measures. But for the most part, that has been amazing. Also caffeine. I love caffeine. Caffeine is the best. It makes me so much more productive. It makes me concentrate so much better. But I got off caffeine this semester and emisophonia just instantly got better. Like after I took a week off caffeine, I noticed a huge difference. And that makes me sad because I love my energy drinks. I love the sharp focus.

Adeel [46:06]: Yeah, Mr. Three times a day monster.

2021 [46:09]: Exactly. Super productive, like easily addicted to caffeine person. And I kind of just had to accept that I'm not going to be able to do that because it's not worth the consequences. Yeah.

Adeel [46:21]: interesting okay yeah because i've i i haven't never drank caffeine for a coffee much for a long time except very recreationally and then uh um sounds like a drug but well exactly but uh i mean lately i've been drinking more just out of habit i'm at home and whatever it's yeah exactly um i don't need it i kind of i don't know i feel like i have kind of a natural energy when i'm motivated about a project But I haven't really noticed it maybe make my misophonia worse. Like you definitely could notice a big change.

2021 [46:54]: Oh, huge.

Adeel [46:55]: Yeah.

2021 [46:57]: Okay, cool. I'm an engineer, but I have somewhat of a scientific mind. I was conducting experiments on myself, basically. That's what this semester has been. And so I conducted experiment with the caffeine. I didn't change anything else in my life. except for drinking caffeine and I was drinking caffeine one week and then I wasn't drinking caffeine the next week and I compared you know my triggers and obviously there's other variables there's I couldn't control my sleep completely exercise wasn't completely constant but for the most part the caffeine was the large variable and I did notice a huge difference in less people in the face and my general mood exactly yeah yeah there was there was much less of that

Adeel [47:42]: Interesting. Yeah. Cool. Okay. Yeah, I really like that analogy you said earlier about the buffer filling up and with more exercise, you're kind of clearing that out more and more so it's not overflowing. It's kind of like water boiling and keeping the temperature just low enough that it doesn't overflow.

2021 [48:03]: Exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Adeel [48:05]: interesting and the punching bag has helped dramatically with that right and emptying emptying all those angry thoughts you just bring all the stuff up to the surface and you punch it out yeah you feel a lot better afterwards so you do you do do you actually think about i mean i mean punch bags are a great exercise but i'm curious if in your mind you ever um come back from a trigger or uh kind of imagine that you're punching out misophonia

2021 [48:27]: Consciously. Yeah. Yeah. That's kind of part of the exercise is I bring all that stuff up. I put on my heavy metal, you know, I just kind of get in the zone and I just get all the anger out in a constructive way instead of stuffing it in. Cause I'm a huge stuffer. I like to suppress things. I don't like emotions. And so, you know, it takes some practice, but it's also a good way to gauge, um, how stressed out I am because the more I bring to the punching bag, the more stressed out I am. If I don't bring as much, I know I'm doing pretty good.

Adeel [49:02]: Yeah. Very cool. Before we get to your heavy metal recommendations, is there anything else you wanted to share maybe that you learned over the last year? Yeah.

2021 [49:15]: One last thought, and it kind of came from the convention, kind of came from my own thoughts over the summer because I was dealing with misophonia in a whole different way, you know, with the virus and being with my family when I didn't expect to and all the other things that combined the summer. I was really thinking a lot about misophonia and there was kind of like a paradigm shift that happened in the way I thought about it. And this is very thin ice, what I'm about to go on to. So I tried to write it out. I tried to write it out so that I actually said what I was thinking. So I feel like back when I first figured out what misophonia was, and a lot of us, when we first developed misophonia, we kind of think about it in terms of we're the victim and they're the perpetrator. know they're doing the triggers and we're being harmed by them um or like you know somebody's they're the triggerer and we're the trigger ease i guess but over the summer kind of a shift happened and i i kind of stopped thinking like that i i stopped assigning blame to people um The way I started thinking about it is my brain just happens to react to sounds differently than other people. So I need to take steps to handle that. It's kind of like putting on reading glasses when you have to read something. It's just your body handles things in a different way. And so you have to do something to help because your body can't handle that specific environment on its own. And I'm not saying that, oh, this is completely our problem. You know, it's your fault. You have to deal with it on your own. You know, nothing like that. If you need to ask someone else to stop, you should absolutely do that. I do that a lot more so than I have in the past. And, but it's not like, hey, you're doing this to me. You need to stop. It's like, hey, there's this thing in my brain. Can we work together so that we can handle the situation? You know, it's not a, there's no blame. There's no guilt. There's nothing like that. Nobody's doing anything against anybody else. It's more just, okay, there's this thing. I'm going to deal with it however I need to deal with it. And if that includes asking other people to stop, I will do that. If that means leaving a room, I'm going to do that. It's not a bad thing. It's just a thing. And ever since I started thinking about it that way, it's been a little bit easier to talk to people about it. It's been a little bit easier to ask people to stop. It hasn't made my misophonia better, but it's given me much more of a productive approach to handling it, I guess. And I brought that up in a... in one of the discussions at the conference. It started the whole thing. There were people on both sides. It was a debate. It was fun. Very exciting. And so I know it's thin ice. I know people have very different opinions on it. And some people really hate the idea of thinking about it like that. But it's really helped me. And you know, if it helps you, yay, I guess. But I just wanted to share that. And I wanted to share it in a way where I'd actually thought it out and written it down. So I said what I was thinking.

Adeel [52:41]: Well, it's about kind of consciously, yeah. Well, it's about consciously kind of maybe consulting yourself first, right? Before assigning blame or anything to somebody else. Yeah. And it's come up a few times on the podcast where it's like, yeah, At least in terms of how to phrase it to other people by not necessarily coming out in the first sentence.

2021 [53:05]: Exactly.

Adeel [53:06]: You need to stop hurting me. You're going to kill me. Instead, kind of framing it as... I have, my brain has problems processing certain types of sounds, and you happen to be making that sound right now. And so, yeah, yeah, it's interesting that there would be a kind of a debate. I can see it as a touchy subject because we're kind of, our brains have been wired for years and decades to kind of assign, you know, a fear factor.

2021 [53:39]: Exactly.

Adeel [53:41]: But, you know, the easiest person, you know, the most convenient person we have to talk to is ourselves.

2021 [53:47]: Exactly.

Adeel [53:48]: Might as well start there. And if you can make some progress, it seems like you have. That's I mean, that's great. Yeah, that's great. Dude, we've like we've covered like physical and mental kind of help and kind of how to kind of take care of both. This is this has been. super super helpful yeah i hope it's i hope it's helpful for some people who are listening we'll have to when i do the new uh website i'll have to have like uh uh workout routines and uh on you know a little misophonia pickup recovery workout routine or something um do you yeah anything else you want to share um that you've kind of come up with or heard recently man um That might be it. I'll cut this part out. Those are two huge, meaty, really helpful subjects already.

2021 [54:44]: Honestly, I wrote some talking points down and we've covered all the talking points. Sweet.

Adeel [54:51]: Cool. Well, Tim, um, yeah, this is, it's been great to catch up the first kind of, uh, catch up episode, uh, first, first person to be on the, uh, on the podcast twice. Yeah.

2021 [55:01]: Thanks so much.

Adeel [55:03]: Um, yeah, great insights here. And, uh, but this is not the last we've heard from Tim. I think, uh, your project, your secret project that you're working on, I think is going to be, um, you know, potentially groundbreaking for, for, I really hope so. And really, yeah, really grateful that you're working on that. And I wish you the best of luck. And I can't wait to hear good stuff from that.

2021 [55:25]: Yeah, it was good catching up with you too, Adeel. I really, really enjoyed the conversation.

Adeel [55:30]: Yeah, and hope to see you in person maybe at the next convention.

2021 [55:34]: Absolutely.

Adeel [55:35]: Thanks, Tim. Always great to catch up with my MISO friends, and in this case, too, super excited about this project Tim is working on. If there are any more developments, I'll be sure to report here on the show. Remember, you can reach out at any time on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast and Twitter at Misophonia Show. If you're enjoying the shows, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. You can just actually hit the stars. You don't even have to write anything. Music as always is by Moby, and until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.