Friday, January 6, 2012

My Disease

In addition to the hypochondria that I have been told I suffer from, I have recently been diagnosed (self diagnosed, but that's not important) with Misophonia.  Literally, Misophonia means "hatred of sound", most specifically sounds which non-misophoniacs would classify as "quiet" noises such as chewing or breathing.  These noises can annoy or even infuriate a sufferer of Misophonia, such as myself.

The first time, my family and I became aware of this debilitating ailment was on a car trip to Colorado for a family vacation.  My brother was eating some chips. I felt this overwhelming desire to thrash him, take his bag of chips and hurl it out the window.

I believe we were both scarred from the experience.

I love going to the movies, but it is an absolute requirement that I get popcorn when I do go.  I need to drown out the noise of other people obnoxiously shuffling about in their popcorn tubs, insensibly crunching and smucking, with my own less offensive chewing noises.  This is one of the reasons that it was so displeasing to me when I was not offered popcorn on a first date to the movies.  If you haven't read about that date deal breaker, please click here.  Without the distraction of my own tasty tub of corn, I will spend the entirety of the film trying to control my anger so I don't lash out irrationally at the unsuspecting movie goer behind me who is making abhorrent chewing noises.  The opening of candy boxes and the sounds of crinkling wrappers are also detrimental to my enjoyment of a show.

In high school, one of my teachers allowed gum in the classroom but her rule was that you had to chew the gum so that she was unaware you had any in your mouth.  "Chew with finesse" was her motto and I have since adopted it as my own, especially since I started dating The Chomper, aka Manfriend.

Manfriend knows how to work over a piece of gum, but the list does not stop there.

This is Manfriend eating scrambled eggs.  He chews scrambled eggs more thoroughly than most people chew steak.  Hey Manfriend, your eggs are soft.  I swear you won't choke.  Just swallow the eggs already!!  And do it quietly.
How I view Manfriend and a plate of scrambled eggs

How Manfriend claims he eats scrambled eggs.

This is Manfriend with cereal.  He prefers excessive amounts of milk to slurp.

Manfriend also annoys the heck out of me with his breathing while he is asleep.  He makes this noise when the air passes through his lips which sounds eerily similar to the sound that Darth Vader makes in Star Wars.  Pooh, pooh, pooh.  When I wake him up in the middle of the night to point out how incredibly obnoxious his breathing is, he usually gets annoyed with me as if I am the one keeping him up.  Okay, so maybe I am, but he starts it by breathing.  Darth Vader.

I have learned a few ways to cope with my malady over the years.  My main method is to muffle the offending noise with my own less troubling sounds.  In addition to purchasing popcorn at the movies, I also make random verbal noises.  I didn't realize I did this until Manfriend pointed out that I am constantly doing it. Lots of the time the noises are sudden sounds which apparently don't seem to have a real purpose or make sense.  I've decided it is a coping mechanism and that I need to do it so I can continue on as a contributing member of society with my Misophonia.  Manfriend has likened these outbursts to  Tourrette Syndrome.  Perhaps it is Tourrette's.  Shoot.  I probably have Tourrette Syndrome in addition to Misophonia and Hypocondria.  Manfriend questions if I sit in my office at work alone and make noises.  I'm not sure of the answer.

Another coping tactic that I am especially proud of is teaching Cinderella, Manfriend's daughter, to say the word "Nom" while she eats.  While "Nom, Nom, Nom" is probably not good table manners, it is more pleasant that the actual chewing or slurping that comes from a child eating.  Also, Cinderella is really cute when she says "Nom."

Over the holidays, after I demonstrated to Manfriend once again how to properly chew gum with finesse, and after he informed me that he had seen the demonstration many times and HE GETS IT, Manfriend remarked that he finds it odd that I can be so particular about certain things and so oblivious to things that most "normal" people would find annoying.

Quite frankly, I don't know what he's talking about.


  1. This post honestly made me laugh out loud SO hard! Thanks for the entertainment, you totally made my day.

  2. This was awesome! I am the same exact way! I love the picture of you and Manfriend - that is exactly how I am with Antonio and his snoring, breathing, chewing, slurping, and the little sounds he mutters to himself - drive me insane. He's a good sport about it because my coping mechanism is to make the sounds back at him when he does it and he laughs. But I hate eating with him and sleeping next to him, yet I love it too but I get no sleep and don't eat much. What to do what to do...

    One time there was a little old lady on a very long busride smacking gum I mean SMACKING it right behind my head and the whole way I had to tell myself "you can't punch her in the face, you can't"

  3. You know, I am finding that quite a few people are fellow sufferers after writing this post. I thought about 1) beating Manfriend for chewing loudly AFTER he read this and 2)joining an online support group. I did neither. Thanks for reading!

  4. I love this!! Manfriend should understand this because it is annoying!

  5. I am the EXACT same way! I literally want to hit people in the face when they make noises ~ specifically chewing and swallowing and slurping and sipping noise. It drives me absolutely batty. I get all crabby and bitter and it just puts me in a terrible mood. My BF scrapes his silverware with his teeth when he eats... I want to cut his face off :(

  6. I'd also like to point out that those loud movie chewers/bag crinklers have an ABSOLUTE TALENT for making noise during the dead silent, poignant or suspenseful parts of the movie. It totally ruins the moment. Aren't they embarrassed?! Your post made me laugh so hard because my mom claims my dad is a sleep, "puffer," because he lightly puffs out air on each exhale. She says that between that on one side, and the cat's snoring on the other, she has no idea how she sleeps.

    Travel Tales by Betsy

    1. YES! The movie crinkling always happens at the silent parts. I can hardly take it! I am glad to hear there are other sleep puffers out there and that Manfriend isn't the most annoying man in the entire world. : )

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