Here I am sitting in a coffee shop again, feeling the warm sunshine and looking out the window to a clear blue sky... Not a cloud to be seen... I'm confident that we've finally seen the last of the snow (at least for six months or so...)
My cockatiel ("Tooki") was unusually whiny this morning (one of my worst triggers at home when he does it), so it hit me that I'm LONG overdue for posting an update here. I seriously think that my being unemployed has seriously spoiled him - much more than usual. It occurred
Other than that... Last week was really a rough one for me. Unfortunately, I didn't even place in the Toastmasters' (TM) Division contest, which was hard on a couple of fronts... I felt that I really knocked it out of the park, even more so than the earlier contests, but the loss had its ambiguities. Before they announced the winners, they said that someone submitted a protest to the judges. I have no clue if it
Although I got over the speech contest results, Tuesday I experienced the worst trigger bombardment since being laid off from the company with a horrible, sound-amplifying environment. I attended the second seder at a local synagogue and if it weren't for the fact that they sat me at a center table at the front of the auditorium, I would've jumped at the chance to run out of there as fast as I could. Not having lived near family for over two decades, I've gotten used to going to high holiday services at the local synagogues, but unlike the synagogue I used to attend back in DC - which served close to 700 people, but the room was completely carpeted - this seder was much smaller (perhaps 150 people) but the room had hardwood floors. That might not seem like a big deal but it really exacerbated my misophonia BIG TIME.
I got there pretty early since I hadn't pre-registered and didn't know if there'd even be an open seat for me, and was directed to a center table in the second row. A few people had already been seated, so I took an empty seat in between an older couple and a seat that had a purse on it. A few minutes later, a 91 year old gentleman (I heard him tell his age to another couple at the table) moved the purse to another chair and sat next to me. For whatever reason, the elderly man moved his chair within a few inches of mine - yet was two feet away from the person on his other side. Even when I go home for holiday meals, some of my biggest tactile triggers are when adjacent seats bump into mine or when the people next to me bump into my legs/arms/etc. He not only did that, but I'd say three-quarter of the service was sing-a-longs (sometimes creating new lyrics to popular songs). He, and the gentleman to my left, kept tapping their feet with the
I'm sure he was just trying to be friendly, but whenever he talked to me, he'd put his hand on my shoulder which, after a while of being stressed out by the fidgeting and tapping triggers, really made me very jumpy and uncomfortable. Since we had to eat matzo during the service, he also kept spitting matzo crumbs at me with every sentence. (Granted, the guy to my left spat matzos when he talked too...) Even after explaining my misophonia to him during the interim meal break (which he seemed to understand), once the seder started up again, I had to back my chair away from the table because the closeness of his chair and his foot tapping stressed me out again. Normally, I'd leave before the second half of the program, but they started up before dessert was finished, and being in the center table at the front of the room didn't leave me an opportunity to leave discretely. So, I sat through the last half hour and left as soon as I was able.
It took me most of the rest of the week to decompress after 3+ hours of being in that extremely tense situation (one of the reasons why I hadn't posted a blog update in a while). Perhaps it was extra-stressful because I hadn't been exposed to such a long-duration bombardment of triggers in nearly four months. It does make me wonder if I'm going to be able to put myself in such a situation again. As I've mentioned in previous posts, holiday time (even non-religious holidays) have always been uncomfortable for me regardless of whether they're with family or in these public group events. I'm not really religious to begin with, but there are times that I think to myself, "What's the point of going if I'm so uncomfortable with triggers that I can't even pay attention to what's going on around me?" It's one thing to close my eyes at the back of the synagogue and focus on the microphoned speaker, but I can't do that in a dinner setting while sitting around a round table. People would think I'm falling asleep or being rude.
I guess that's a topic to think about in another post...