Has something ever upset you so much that you feel like you’re in one of those old cartoons where the character’s whole body gradually turns red from toes to head, with little wiggly steam lines emanating from its head? Like you’re literally going to explode with rage? That feeling’s always just a baby carrot away when you have misophonia, an apparently not-that-rare disorder that roughly translates to “hatred of sound.” The main symptom of misophonia is wanting to cut a b anytime you hear someone smacking their gum.
People fall into one of three camps: they know they have misophonia and have to deal with their Hulk-like rages on the regular; they have misophonia but didn’t know it was a thing and are currently contacting their significant other/family members to tell them their apple-chewing-induced-blinding-rage is part of a legit disorder; or, they don’t have misophonia and are blissfully unaware of the death wishes misophonia-sufferers are sending them on a regular basis.
In order to educate the latter, here are 8 things people with misophonia want you to know. And you better believe I’m writing this with my headphones on.
1) Don’t chew
I mean, I know you have to chew. You can’t just swallow your food whole (although, thanks for trying for seven years, Beth). But, there’s a way to do it without any liquidy, gushy, slurping sounds. (Seriously, just typing the words “liquidy,” “gushy” and “slurping” grosses me out.) Chew with your mouth closed, take reasonably-sized bites, and try to eat with a little decorum, ya filthy animal.
2) It’s not a made up disease
Misophonia is real! WebMD, The NY Times* , and even the infallible Buzzfeed say so. But the main reason I know it’s real is because I live it every day. I think I’m starting to understand why Van Gogh cut off his ear.
3) Don’t crunch either
Please, if you have to eat baby carrots, nuts, or apples, do it somewhere where people can defend themselves. Like in your sound-proof bunker. Definitely not in a meeting. And for the love of all that is holy, do NOT put chewing sounds in your TV commercials. I’m looking at you, Twix.
4) We’re geniuses
Some people think people with misophonia are just bigger complainers than normal people. But science disagrees! Science says we’re more creative, and Science even goes as far as calling us geniuses. And you can’t argue with Science. (Well, you can, but you’d have to be a huge dumbass.)
5) We can’t turn it off.
Do you think we want to be this way? Do you think we enjoy taking on Big Gum in a war we can’t win? Do you think we want to weigh the consequences of attempted murder every time we go to a movie theatre? Do you think we enjoy coming up with non-passive-aggressive ways of asking our husbands to please never eat again in our presence, thanks so much? Misophonia is our curse, and as of now, there is no known cure.
6) Smacking gum is just rude
I’m pretty sure that even if I didn’t have misophonia, I would not be okay with hearing a 40-something woman smack her gum. I hear this ALL THE TIME and it baffles me. Did no one ever teach these people how incredible rude that is? Or how unprofessional you sound chewing gum on a conference call? Or how it makes you look like a huge a-hole when you’re dressed like a grown up but smacking gum like Violet Beauregarde?
7) Almonds are not an appropriate meeting snack.
When I’m in a meeting and someone is snacking on nuts, I feel like I’m in a hostage situation and not even a sexy one where Jason Statham is involved in my rescue. My body goes into fight or flight, and I’m pretty sure I could lift a car due to the adrenaline. So, unless you’re looking to impress some clients with my car-lifting Hulk rage and/or you’re Jason Statham, let’s eat our snacks at our desks, when misophonia sufferers are in arms-reach of the safety of their headphones.
8) We are trying to tell you something with our glares
And that thing is, “PLEASE STOP, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.” We know it’s “our problem”, not yours, but that doesn’t make it any easier to listen to your auditory putrefaction.
Do you have misophonia? Do you have any coping techniques you can share?
And on the flip side, do you chew your gum like an a-hole? And if so, what can we do to get you to stop?
*Side note: Why do misophonia articles, like this one, insist on including audio clips? When you visit your doctor to talk about your possible alcoholism, does she ask you to take a shot of vodka and see how you react?
p.s. I realize this is not apples to apples.
p.p.s. God, that just made me think of chewing apples. Gross.