Friday 30 September 2016

You're not mental, you just have misophonia

Published 17/08/2015 | 02:30

Because I grew up with someone who wanted to have a special place in hell constructed for people who eat noisily I assumed it was normal. I assumed too that conditioning from early childhood was why I shared the sensitivity and the belief. I can't quite shake that belief, alright I haven't tried, but I have come to realise that not everyone minds chompy, slurpy noises quite as much as my mother and I.

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Apparently a lot of people not only do not have murderous thoughts about anyone who eats with their mouth open, they don't even notice. So someone could be sitting beside you biting every single one of their crisps before their mouth is closed and you wouldn't even register. I would have to leave. Or take their crisps off them. Maybe a bit roughly.

Realising that not everyone shares this sensitivity does inevitably make you wonder who is the weirdo, you or everyone else? Am I just oversensitive or a bit easily irritated? And it's not just mild irritation, it's like someone is scratching my brain with a toothpick. It really gets in there, can become all-consuming and makes me full-on angry. And it's not just eating noises either, it's any repetitive noise. It can be people playing games on their phones, a pen being clicked and unclicked repetitively, a song line sung over and over, ongoing sniffing, especially the Turbo Sinus Snort. Though it's not just me who is repelled by that because while everyone sniffs only very few do the Turbo Sinus Snort, why do the people who love them a) not tell them it's disgusting and b) love them?

If you don't know what I'm talking about you probably just think I'm a mentaller. But if you get it, you really get it. And guess what? - we're not mentallers, we're not irritable or oversensitive. Well we might be any of those things but the noise sensitivity is a proper syndrome. Yes, the urge to box someone who sniffs a lot is called misophonia. It's real, it's proper, it's some class of neurological issue, it's OK!

The urge to box someone for the Turbo Sinus Snort is separate.

Sunday Independent

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