One thing I decided I have to do is to set aside specific days/times to sit down to do blog posts, update reference links (such as the new ones in the scientific research and video pages), and respond to comments sent to the SenseHaven.com website. I feel badly that I've been doing so sporadically ever since my relocation in August, but I'm going to do my best to get back on track. Just like there are certain evenings during the week when I go to ceramics classes and choral rehearsals, I'm putting SenseHaven formally on my schedule - one evening during the week, and a couple of hours one day over the weekend - to get back into a regular routine here.
Anyway, despite the chaos of trying to settle in from the move (still), things have been going well for me. I'm still happy at my new job. The people are great and I'm enjoying the projects that I'm designing too. The only thing at work that has been frustrating is my exposure to misophonia triggers. I guess it's par for the course, given that I'm working in another open office situation, but last week I did take a moment to speak with my direct supervisor to let him know about my misophonia.
Essentially, I felt self-conscious having walked out of a video conference call introduction to one of our teammates in Macau, mainly because two of the younger designers were chomping on Tootsie Pops. (Not licking... Crunching!) I've felt uncomfortable around them at prior meetings in conference rooms, mainly because they are ALWAYS chewing gum, but the sounds of the lollipops clicking against their teeth just sent my triggers threw the roof. It wasn't a formal meeting, just an opportunity to show my face to our colleague abroad before my supervisor proceeded with the rest of his meeting, so I know my supervisor didn't think twice about my politely excusing myself. I've been trying to find the right time to let him know about my condition and after the lollipop triggers, I felt like it was a good time to do so.
It took a couple of days to finally get a good opportunity to talk with my supervisor, but he was very nice about it. I had a feeling he would understand. He's probably been the nicest and most laid back supervisor I've ever had in nearly two decades. Despite his understanding though, I still struggle with my work environment. Unlike my prior firm when I essentially was a department of one, here, I'm a part of a bigger team, so isolating myself from triggers is not something where I see an easy solution. I'm also VERY involved with colleagues from the other disciplines, many of whom frequently come to my desk to collaborate.
One person with whom I coordinate a lot, has a good sense of humor and we both joke when he startles me trying to get my attention when I plug myself into my music to drown out surrounding triggers like whistlers or food bag rustlers. Unfortunately, my misophonia got the better of me at the end of last week when he stopped by my desk to ask me a question. I started to search for a file on my computer in answer to his question and he just happen to notice an open box with lighting samples on the table behind my desk that was filled with bubble wrap. I snapped, "STOP!" to him when he started popping the bubble wrap, which I know took him by surprise. At first, I don't think he understood why I reacted so harshly, but I explained to him how certain sounds are like nails on a chalkboard to me, and the bubble wrap was EXTREMELY annoying. I wrote misophonia on a piece of paper and gave it to him. He said he'd look it up, but I have no idea if he did or not.
I also had a frustrating trigger experience last week during a 24 hour business trip. As always, air travel is a stressful experience trigger-wise (I won't rehash airport triggers, since I've posted a lot about those.) When I got to my end destination though, I got in a taxi to take me to the conference hotel. It was about a half-hour drive, which wouldn't have been bad, but the driver was chewing one of those soft, sweet gums that I haven't smelled in a LONG time. (Something like Bubbalicious or Hubba Bubba...) The smell was sickly sweet but even worse was the slow motion of his jaw and cheek with every chew. It reminded me of a cow slowly chewing his cud. Although we talked a little bit at first when we pulled away from the airport, after a while, I couldn't even look straight ahead. The gum chewing sounds and motion overwhelmed me - to the point where I put on my earbuds to listen to cell-phone music and stared out the side window.
It's triggers like that that every now and then make me wish I lived in Singapore - where it's against the (strictly enforced) law to chew gum.