When you’re desperate, you’ll try anything once. So there I was, sitting in a folding chair around a table in a church basement with a bunch of alcoholics. I think every adult who’s been through the shitter and back has found themselves at an AA meeting at least once. Most of us don’t stay. We buck up, get jobs, pay our bills, and start drinking like adults again. I was in quite a bind though so I was trying this on for size. To ensure I sat through the whole meeting, I tagged along with a friend of mine who had been successful in the program. She was my ride home. I wasn’t going anywhere.
It seemed all right. I was jubilantly conversing with the other losers around the table when a shimmery faced granola girl in cotton shorts sat down beside me. She was chewing gum. I grimaced at the discovery. I’ve never been able to maintain my sanity when someone around me was chewing, on anything. Gum is the worst. I was reading an article on Wikipedia about a neuropsychiatric disorder called misophonia. The word literally translates to the hatred of sound. The disorder is characterized by the insurgence of extreme anger, and even violent thoughts in reaction to specific sounds. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one suffering this ungodly affliction.
Every felonious smack of her mastication billowed through the air in hellish cacophony. It was all I could hear. The smacking grew louder and louder, echoing like the screams of a banshee, amplified by the superior acoustics in the church basement. I could see her jaw gyrating in my peripheral. That bothered me, as it was a cruel reminder of her lack of concern for my suffering, so I cupped the palm of my hand over the side of my face in an attempt to blind myself from the image. Just as I was doing my best to maintain my composure, the tics started to occur. The Wikipedia article discussed how some people afflicted with misophonia symptomatically suffer from involuntary tics in reaction to hearing their trigger sounds. The main one cited in the article was mimicry of the sound. Mine were a little different, yet no less severe. Violent foot stomps, involuntary twitches, and exasperated sighs overcame me with every chomp of this vile woman’s gum. I suppose this is why misophonia is classified as a neuropsychiatric disorder rather than a mere psychiatric disorder. Continue Reading »