For First Time Visitors

If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.

Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!

Understanding the Incomprehensible

Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.

May 29, 2013

M is for Misophonia

I learned a new word today. I have no idea how prevalent it is with trauma survivors but am sharing it here because some of my triggers cross over from trauma. Am hoping writing of this doesn't trigger anyone, so just in case you are a survivor in early stages of healing, please use caution if you do proceed.

Since my teens, long before I knew I was a multiple or had experienced/was experiencing trauma, I was hypersensitive to gum cracking, eating noises, and things like clinking of silverware on a plate. I recall one time counting the number of times my mother said "um" while talking to me instead of hearing what she said. Flash forward from age 16 to 60 and take into account I just recently changed trauma therapists after being with one for 15 years. The new therapist told me of misophonia and suggested I google it because of the triggers I realized I still had after just having a tremendous emotional healing experience. Here is part of the definition I found from Wikipedia:

"People who have misophonia are most commonly annoyed, or even enraged, by such ordinary sounds as other people clipping their nails, brushing teeth, eating, breathing, sniffing, talking, sneezing, yawning, walking, chewing gum, laughing, snoring, whistling or coughing; certain consonants; or repetitive sounds.[7] Some are also affected by visual stimuli, such as repetitive foot or body movements, fidgeting or any movement they might observe out of the corner of their eyes. Intense anxiety and avoidant behavior may develop, which can lead to decreased socialization."

You can also google and find a complete list. It's classified as a neurological disorder and apparently neurofeedback can help although I don't know to what extent at this point. I did read of one person where the sounds did not cause such an intense feeling after neurofeedback. Some think it's genetic. However, having been a multiple, I know my brain had to take circuitous routes for information to get from one place to another. Perhaps it routed right through where misophonia originates in the brain. Plus some trauma triggers might be mixed in with misophonia triggers but I'd have no way of knowing at this point.

Before knowing of this word just hours ago, I did/do have coping skills for it. The iPod was my gift from heaven since it was acceptable in many public places and could drown out most offensive sounds. Restaurants were places I was prone to run out of due to my fight or flight response. Others have a rage response to the sounds. When trapped with nowhere to hide from a triggering sound, such as a doctor's waiting room or airplane, I almost always have a pair of foam earplugs with me. They are inexpensive and work, but you may have to play around with the different sizes to find the ones that work for you.

There is a misophonia support group online which I just joined. What a relief not to feel alone. I had tried EMDR and another therapeutic technique called brain spotting which eliminated my one trigger for awhile but it gradually returned. I did that twice so now believe it is "hard wired" and only neurofeedback would work if anything is going to work.

If this is all that's left of my trauma, I'm a happy camper. But life would be so much more fulfilling if I found a way to reduce or eliminate the impact of misophonia. For some it can be socially debilitating. I'm hoping this post will help shed some light for others.