Most people have never heard the term “misophonia” before. My spellcheck hasn’t even heard of it. If you actually get into the etymology of the word, it can be roughly translated to “hatred of sound.” Before you make any assumptions, let me elaborate.

This is not misophonia:

Person nearby is eating loudly.

“Ugh, that sound is so annoying and gross.”

This is misophonia:

Person nearby is touching something that sounds like a food wrapper.

Your stomach does a hundred flips and your heart rate increases by about 10 bpm. You want to scream and cover your ears. You suddenly feel hatred towards the person making that sound. You have to remind yourself that you don’t really hate them. Or maybe you do… You can’t remember now. Hearing that sound triggers instant panic in your mind because it is almost always followed by…

Nope, don’t say it. Even the word makes you cringe. Andddd deep breaths. Stay calm. Get the headphones into your ears as fast as you can and blast some death metal to drown it out. In the quiet moments between the songs in your playlist you think you hear crunching. Hurry up and fast forward the song to a noisy part. Breathe. Force yourself to stop clenching your jaw.

Is it over? Exhale of relief. Give your ears a break from the headphones. Oh no… More crinkling? This is too much for your nerves. You have to leave the room.

This is me every day. It’s embarrassing to admit it to people, but sometimes I have to in order to keep myself out of a situation that will make me completely miserable. I’m fully aware that to many people, “misophonia” sounds made-up and ridiculous. Some people even think it’s funny to torment me on purpose. But they don’t mean anything by it.

They just don’t understand.