My sister has this thing when she eats. Her jaw makes a loud clicking sound. It's really loud and it's really annoying to sit next to while she does it. She's going to hate me for writing this because she is obviously self-conscious about it, but I'm writing about it because it turns out, I'm not crazy for thinking my sister is annoying! There is a condition, like arachnophobia, that explains my problem -- and it is MY problem, not hers. My condition is called misophonia. It's a medical condition that causes people to get very upset over specific noises. I don't get mad at my sister, I get mad at the noise. So wait, maybe it does mean I'm crazy in a way. All I do know is that it's not my fault when I get annoyed.
Scientists at Newcastle University in England have deemed this feeling I get as a genuine mental abnormality. Those that suffer from Misophonia (are they called misophonics?), have a small abnormality in the frontal lobe of their brain that causes them to get really annoyed with certain sounds. Not just jaw-clicking, but things like the sound of eating or heavy breathing. Even the the squeaking of a desk chair or the sound of people kissing also affect people that suffer from misophonia. Suffer. That seems like a strong word for such a silly annoyance, but I'm going with it. I suffer when I hear people chew their food and when I sit in a squeaky chair. I suffer like claustrophobic people suffer in a dark cave or the way people with masklaphobia suffer when they see a team mascot running around a sports arena (yes, that's a real thing.)
Most brothers probably think their sisters are obnoxious. Thankfully, my sister is awesome and this is the only annoying thing about her. She is a super sister, a thoughtful person, a wonderful mother to my niece and nephew and an all-around great human being. We get along really well, better, I would say, than most brothers and sisters.
Except for the clicking thing! The clicking thing is rough. It's not so loud that it's audible when the whole family is together or if we are out at a restaurant, but when it's quiet, say, early in the morning at breakfast, it's all I can hear and concentrate on. She says she doesn't notice it and that it doesn't hurt, but wow, it sure seems like it should hurt. It's like her jaw is unhinging and then clicking back in place. This condition from which I suffer, misophonia, makes it worse than it should be.
So have some sympathy, loud eaters and heavy breathers for us that suffer along with your every bite and every breath. We can't help ourselves, it just sounds so freaking annoying that we are slowly burning inside; holding back an emotional explosion. Be part of the solution, organize a fun run or something. How do we get something to go viral like the ALS thing a few years ago? That's how important raising awareness for this is.
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