Misophonia


Guzzle guzzle guzzle munch munch gobble gobble chomp

I know that it sounds like a Disney villan, but it is actually the word for an irrational and disproportionate emotional response to sound- in particular to lip-smacking, chewing, slurping and other eating related sounds. Turns out that this is a word that describes me, as I discovered thanks to a co-worker earlier today. It was like the office had been turned into a Foley stage and the mic levels had been cranked up to eleven for a breath pass. In retrospect, I’m not sure how I managed to make it through so many Foley sessions in which eating and breathing sounds were being recorded, but sometimes you gotta suffer for your art. 

At any rate, I find that I’m experiencing a similar reaction to news feeds. I gloss over photos of political figureheads the way that I used to gloss over photos of other people’s babies. Remember when people got annoyed by too many babies on their timeline? This was once something to be annoyed about. Increasingly I’m experiencing this irrational, disproportionate reaction to words like “epic” and “eviscerate”. Tweets are not works of classic poetry. Put downs do not cause politicians to literally spill their guts. ( Yes, eviscerate literally means to spill guts. Figuratively, “spilling guts” means to confess the truth. Politics involves neither.) 

Also, “literally” gets bandied about willy nilly. Although today I learned that “littorally” is also a word. It describes the area of water near the shore. So if you go to the beach and stand in the surf you can literally be littoral. 

At any rate, I’m suffering from hyperbole fatigue. I’m so tired of every comment and tweet and status and headline being launched so fast into exaggeration to have lost all meaning. We’re not people anymore we’re catchy labels: we’re Snowflakes or Deplorables, we’re Alt-Right or Black Lives Matter, we’re Trolls or Social Justice Warriors.

What happened to “Friends”? 

I keep telling myself to log out, to back away, to disconnect from the media ( social or otherwise), but I keep coming back. I keep struggling to remind myself that, just like my lip smacking co-worker, it would be futile to blame the noise for annoying my ears: it is my reaction that causes me the discomfort. And I can choose how I wish to control my reaction.

So for now I am working to let it go: to focus on the real people in my life and to treat them like real humans. Who might, occasionally, smack their lips.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 3, 2017.

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