Another reason was that one of my extra-curriculars prior to the pandemic was another source of triggers and many people who caused the triggers were connected to me in Facebook, where links to my blogs are often posted. I knew it would make attending the activity awkward, if not uncomfortable for all parties. Now that I'm no longer at that company or involved in the extracurricular, I feel it's time to dust off this website and bring it up to speed again. It's amazing how many new resources of info are out there, including YouTube videos and support groups. I love how much progress has been made in getting the word out and educating people about Misoophonia.
As devastating as the pandemic is, one thing I can say about it is having the ability to work from home has, for the most part, mitigated most of my triggers. Yes, I still scramble to mute my TV any time commercials come on (for some reason, marketing people have been using whistling as background more often than in the past or taking advantage of people's high-fidelity sound systems to show off how crunchy their chips are). I also have a new feather baby who, when she's not trying to join in my work zoom conversations, she chirps non-stop to get my attention, which only exacerbates any triggers I may be experiencing.
Unfortunately, this past week has brought those tensions to a new high for me in a way that I haven't felt in nearly five years. I've been spoiled by being about to isolate myself from most triggers during the pandemic but in the rare times I do go out, I don't have that kind of control anymore. Last weekend, when I was exposed to a trigger and I asked the person to please stop, instead of just stopping, the person modified what they were doing and proceeded to then ask, "Does this bother you?" When I turned my head away, the person continued modifying what they were doing and asking, "Does this bother you?" The person continued two more times. I can understand an initial trigger being unintentional but to deliberately continue doing different variations of it and asking me if it triggers me is even worse than the initial trigger. Instead of de-escalating the situation as soon as I said, "Please stop," it was like telling someone not to think of a white rabbit. If the rabbit hadn't been on the person's mind to begin with, it is now!
My heart raced at being triggered multiple times and my adrenaline kept building to an all-time high for me. It took all my energy to not bolt out the door or blow up like a bottle of soda shaken and ready to explode - in the middle of a restaurant no less. There's a reason why this condition is often referred to as "Sound Rage," (which is also the title to Judith Krauthamer's wonderful book about Misophonia). I felt a panic that I haven't felt in a long time. A physical adrenaline burst that shook me to the core. Even a week later as I'm writing this, my hands are shaking and my heart is pounding so hard that I feel the throbbing pulse against my collar bone and at the back of my jaw by my jugular.
I wish I could go into more detail, like the detailed matter of fact blog recounting posts that I've done in the past, but I just haven't been able to calm down enough. Thinking about what happened brings back the sensations just as strongly as when the trigger occurred in the first place. On top of that, triggers that I normally can tolerate from my bird at home are now exasperated tenfold so that repetitive chirps to get my attention are as annoying as having a smoke detector with a failing battery at 1am.
I will say that the experience reminded me about how much this blog and website has not only been an outlet for me to vent my experiences, but also has helped people around the world, whether as a source of comfort for other suffers to know they're not alone, or for people with family/friends/coworkers who want to know what misophonia is all about.
I'm already bracing myself for many more triggers in the upcoming months. I have three upcoming trips planned before the end of the year. I haven't stepped foot in an airport since before the pandemic lockdown started, which is one of the most intense locations for being bombarded by triggers. Holiday time is also a big source of triggers. Avoiding holiday-related triggers is one of the reasons why I've spent Thanksgiving and other holidays by myself for nearly a decade.
I can only hope that I can get my heart to stop racing soon because adding new triggers on top of the adrenaline I'm already experiencing is going to just make it that much harder to come down.
Time to break out the kick-boxing gloves!