by Pam Winter

Sound Sufferer, Sanity Sucker, Serenity Slapper, Soundless Sobbing.

Small sounds – Huge problems
Breathing, chewing, chomping, slurping, bowl banging
pen clicking, keyboard tapping, whistling, walking…

Eyes engorged with sound,
synapses tied in a jumble of knots
implode with another breath.

Trapped in a crater of insanity
noise echoes, brain howls.
emotions erupt
fragments bombard.

I cringe,
gut ravaged.

Revel in silence

Misophonia, a neurological condition, is real.
Many in the medical community don’t understand and dismiss it,
often believe it’s a mental health issue.
People suffer in silence,
withdraw from family, friends, society, feel alone in a sea of triggers.

I shut down at dinner tables, cringe when people type on key boards, breathing puts me over the edge, gum snapping sends me outside my limits.
I can’t get away from sound.
When I was a kid my dad smacked his lips, I tried to mimic him hoping he’d notice and stop eating like a pig, but he didn’t.
I was afraid of him, so I suffered in silence.
My brother had asthma and snorted, a cousin had inner ear problems and snored.
I was afraid of the rage I felt with each inhale and exhaling breath.
So I clenched and suffered in silence.
My motto became shut down and half smile, I didn’t know what else to do.
Tension crunched in my brain,
I’ve lived on the edge of sanity, my nerves shattered,
face scrunched, my body clenched with the assault of each sound.

Now, I understand, my brain is just a little different.
When I get triggered by people eating or breathing, I bristle and move away.
I still shut down and half smile, people sense my energy shift and think I’m a bitch.
Sensory overload is the way I live, misophonia, a brain thing, it’s real.
Researchers are studying it, are learning, but don’t have a fix.
So still, I suffer in silence.

In class when people eat or drink or breathe a little loud, I can think of nothing else; my focus is trapped in each crunch, each crinkle of wrapping, each sip, each breath.
One day a fellow classmate was writing vigorously, I could hear nothing else,
each scrawl was an assault to my senses, a punch to my brain.
People click, tap their pens in thought,
that’s all I can hear and can’t write another word.
How do I go through life like that?
I suffer in silence

The other day at a PwA meeting two people mentioned they have misophonia.
OMG, I thought; thank you for sharing. I exclaimed “I love you.”
I thought I was alone, so alone.
Now I have allies, now I can see the ‘me’ in the ‘them’ and know they suffer too.
If there were three of us in a meeting of ten, how many more of us are there?
How many more people suffer in silence?
We are not alone,
As I write this, tears are flowing down my cheeks, I am not alone.
Thank you Path with Art,

Pam Winter

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