Exulansis: The tendency to give up talking about an experience because people are unable to understand it.
John Koenig - The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Schopenhauer, like many creative geniuses, such as: Kant, Proust, Darwin, Kafka, Aristotle or Darwin, hated noise.
Schopenhauer hated, among other things, the whips used on horse-drawn carriages. If He heard the motorcycles of today!.
According to him, people insensitive to noise are also insensitive to art and poetry.
In Martin Scorsesse's excellent documentary with Fran Lebowitz, at one point, psychiatrists in New York are said to spend their time helping people who can't stand noise.
Almería is not New York, by any means!, but without a doubt, I have had the misfortune of experiencing completely Kafkaesque situations in the years that I have been here. Things that have never happened to me anywhere else.
How I wish Kafka lived here for a year and then He wrote this Post…
When I discovered Selective Sensitivity to Noise. SSS For its acronym in English: Selective Sound Sensitivity or misophonia, I understood why I have suffered and continue to suffer so much.
That is why I have decided to write this Blog, not only to explain my specific case, but also how, since there is no solution, it is only possible to adapt to live with it.
Certain repetitive sounds, regardless of their volume, unleash or trigger a feeling of anxiety, which is not a simple annoyance, nor a mania, nor a madness, nor a phobia.
It is an uncontrollable neurological reaction that is somatized in many ways.
Reading that people with misophonia don't live but survive broke my heart.
In my case, some of the noises that make me sick are not just perceived by me.
I do not have hyperacusis, they are heard by anyone who does not have hearing problems.
The problem is that they only hurt me.
They weaken me in a way that the exhaustion is like having run a marathon.
I remember a friend who was asked: "Does it bother You that I smoke?"
He answered: "It's not that it bothers me, it's that it harms me."
The word diversity has been on everyone's lips for a few years.
Well, there is also a neurodiversity.
I hope that at some point, that kind of empathy will also be fostered. I write about this because I am tired of hearing approaches that place people who are sensitive to noise, to a greater or lesser extent, as moody, capricious or people who are out of their minds.
The phrase: "Don't be so sensitive", has accompanied me all my life.
Always as a reproach.
The only person who has ever said to me : "Never apologize for being sensitive, ever," was a dentist, when He heard me apologizing for needing more anesthesia than usual.
Being too sensitive has always been considered a flaw. In both aspects, the purely emotional and the physical one.
For example, I could never go down to the garage when I was little, it made me very sick. I had to get into the car on the street.
Thanks to a specialist in Australia, I discovered that gasoline, leather and plastic, among others, are triggers for the migraines that I began to suffer at the age of 10.
Being different is something innate, not fixations that you develop over the years.
I use the term Peculiar.
Peculiarity: Characteristic of a person or thing, by which it is distinguished from others.
When I first realized I was going to be quirky, and I was right, I was still a very young girl and I had to sleep one night in my parents' bedroom. They had a beautiful old clock, and the ticking kept ringing in my head and I couldn't fall asleep.
On another occasion, during a family meal, there was one of those player pianos that play songs on a loop.
There were about 5 or so, no more, and they were repeated cyclically throughout the meal.
Nobody was bothered, only me, who was on the verge of an anxiety attack (without even knowing what anxiety was), hearing the same 5 songs repeated.
When I took driving lessons, the teacher did not stop taking in and out a pen with a click.
I asked him to stop and to please not doing that on the day of the exam.
He told me that I was too sensitive and I remember that I replied:
“The good thing about being sensitive is that I am also sensitive towards others”.
I have to say that I did not fail practices for that. Driving is just not for me.
Like these, I could give 50 more examples that have made sense in recent months.
Society, in general, is very sensitive to diseases that cost millions of people their lives every year.
One of these diseases is Cardiovascular Health. First cause of mortality in women in Europe and the United States.
There is a lot of disclosure about it, but not everything is opting for a healthy diet, not smoking, exercising, having a job that you are passionate about and having hope in life.
There is a direct link between noise stress, especially at home, and cardiovascular diseases.
It is curious how Society is in solidarity with the final effect, not with the intermediate steps to prevent it.
Just a few days ago, a man said on TV that there are several blocks of buildings in which everyone is receiving antidepressant treatment due to the noise they suffer from living next to the train.
Certain places or circumstances may be hostile to you, but when the hostile place is your own home, the consequences are devastating.
The explanation of why we get sick in this type of situation is absolutely scientific.
When we find ourselves without a way out, without the possibility of action and without the possibility of avoiding the situation that makes us suffer, without being able to predict it or stop it, we enter a state of inhibition, which makes us more vulnerable to infections, to developing cancer, hypertension and stomach illnesses..
When there is a way out, a chance to escape, when we can act on a problem, none of this happens.
That is why people subjected to noise in their own home end up getting seriously ill if they don't leave.
This has been known since the 70s but we continue to ignore it.
You always have to go straight to the treatment of anxiety or depression, not for what can prevent you from developing it.
Years ago there was much talk about depression, today much more about generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks or adaptative disorder. Never have so many antidepressants or anxiolytics been prescribed.
The pills should be the remedy for chemical imbalances and the tragic, not the unfair or avoidable. But living under epidural seems to be the best option we are given.
That one in three people is on medication and that the majority is due to living in inhibition and not being able to escape from a job, a relationship or an environment or at least to rebel, is dramatic.
It is as if they told you, drink two drinks every night and relax.
It is identical. The same.
It's about quieting the pain but not tackling it head-on or confronting the people who cause pain.
Before, nobody said that they took medication, now you feel attacked if you don't want to do it.
- "But at this moment there is noise? ...
-“Then don't talk about it."
The negative effects of constant exposure to damaging noises do not stop when the noise stops.
Since I know the term: Misophonia, I understand that I can only adapt to live with it. That there is no cure or treatment.
I remember the movie Hot Shots… when they gave Lloyd Bridges some earplugs... and He drank them with a glass of water.
Well, the other way around... unless I put the pills in my ears I don’t see how pills can help.
Weeks ago I was thinking of writing about all this, but I was blocked by the fear that everything would get worse, that I would not be understood, fear of being judged even more.
Today I give up silence, because my life depends on it.
Because it's been way too many years now...
Because I have done my best to overcome many things that were in my power, but in this case, it is not in my power.
Because even if nothing at all changes outside of me, it will change in me.
What has changed is that I have identified the most harmful noise of all: the opinion of others.
That is the first noise to be cancelled.
For that, there are no sound canceling headphones, it is only possible by being on your side.
Resilience or integrity is the ability to adapt to adverse situations with positive results.
Also, resilience is the ability to succeed in a way acceptable to society despite stress or adversity.
Well, there goes my form of resilience: Being on my side, for a change, and taking guilt out of the equation.
If the noises that I mentioned at the beginning cause me suffering, imagine how all I have experienced since I came to Almería has affected me.
With or without misophonia, some noises are not acceptable when living in an apartment.
The first time I had to move to another apartment, it was because the neighbor was wearing heels all day long, even when She arrived late at night.
The second time it was because of a couple of Ladies who had a clock that faced the wall of my bedroom and that gave all the quarters the average and the hours with the sound of London’s Big Ben at full volume.
I had been in that apartment for a month and they told me that it wasn't such a big deal... it wasn't such a big deal being woken up every 15 minutes... (I understand that it's a method of torture)... well, one night, I was left with my neck completely stiff and not being able to walk.
An ambulance had to come.
The most incredible thing is that the two owners of the apartment who refused to turn off the clock, did not live there. Enters Kafka again.
After a month or so of being there, I had to move... and NOBODY understood it.
The third time, I moved to a penthouse where Nuki and I were super happy, until all the air conditioning machines on my roof, all the ones in the building, started vibrating and I couldn't sleep or think.
Apparently after I moved out, they fixed them and soundproofed them, or so they told me.
NOBODY understood that either, since the decibel level was not illegal.
I came to the Appartment from where I am writing this, fleeing from that vibration that was so painful for me. Certain frequencies are terrible and this one definitely was.
It was a truly traumatic moving, due to endless incidents and difficulties, moreover, at a turning point in which I was still training and wanting to start my new life as a textile designer.
But the worst surprise came when I saw that I had a new unexpected noise: The constant scraping of furniture.
Rebuilding myself and reinventing my life, emotionally and at work, was a leap into the void. An act of faith in myself and in life. As I have been explaining in other posts.
Everything that I had fought for so hard was falling apart.
It couldn't be that I had to dismantle my life once again for something so absurd in theory.
I had to stop it.
I had the bad idea of going to see the neighbors, of leaving them ironic notes, (my humor was not understood, no wonder if I believe Schopenhauer), of writing to the Administrator, of asking to be treated at the Neighborhood Council.
It was a very bad idea, because when you add a sense of entitlement to the cocktail of lack of empathy, what you get is that everything goes further in a very bad way.
It was a mistake on my part.
First, because I showed myself defeated before them, exhausted by all the incidents of a moving that lasted for months.
Second, because legally, during the day they can make all the noise they want.
Third, because even though it is three in the morning, they are capable of ringing my doorbell at three in the morning to complain that I complain to the guard.
Enters the Kafkaesque part of the matter once more.
If the guard told my father that I was making noise at 3 AM, He would scold me, not the neighbor who complained. But where there is arrogance, there is no common sense.
Because for them the one who can´t live in Community is me.
Literally saying: "You have a problem, because in my house I do what I want". I will never forget the evil soap opera smile of one of her neighbors. And I told her: ”What example of what empathy is, are you giving to your children by laughing at a person who is suffering?”.
I'm afraid there is too much talk and questioning about hypersensitivity and not at all about lack of sensitivity.
Is it normal that once and again I have been left with the only option of moving out for avoidable things like using felt glides on furniture, or slippers or turning off a clock?.
Is that decent? Is it showing humanity to do it knowing that it harms others?.
Curiously, they have managed through signatures to close a Bar. In other words, when the majority is bothered by something, they mobilize.
Is that the key? Do you have to be a majority?…or maybe an owner?
After that, for the first year, there was a brief moment of “We are enchanted with you and your dog, looks like no one lives above us”, which is what I've heard literally word by word everywhere I've lived.
But it didn't last long...
Trusting a gossipy neighbor can lead to endless escalation.
It can also be the case that a person makes noise as revenge for feeling ignored or not getting a response to their constant harassment and surveillance.
Then everything becomes worse because the scraping furniture becomes intentional and you start losing the ground you gained by showing that you were educated keeping in mind that even if a flat costs a million euros, it is still a flat and there are things that can´t be done.
For example, giving a child the noisiest piece of furniture in your house to use it as a baby walker, or using the balcony as if it were the porch of a mansion.
Everything escalates until… one day you faint and the ER doctor tells you to call for help.
So naturally, I did what all of those who suffer mistreatment from others do: go to the Psychiatrist and go to the Neurologist.
As I said above, there is no specific treatment to withstand noise.
They both told me that the only thing I could do was to move.
Something that I could not consider, because the suffering that I experienced was proportional to the enthusiasm with which I have made this apartment my workplace and to all that I have invested in making it my home.
What helped me the most, is hearing during my entire consultation with one of them, that he was going through the exact same thing as me.
When he confided in me how he felt about his neighbor, it was hair-raising.
That was what helped me the most, knowing that a professional, experienced an anger and impotence, even greater than me, towards the same problem. And without putting the issue of misophonia on the table!. And there was no mention of misophonia because the noises that were affecting me were NOT typical of misophonia, they were Universal.
The treatment He gave me was terrible, the pills were too powerful.
I suffered full-blown drug poisoning.
The doctor apologized for not wanting to believe me when I told him: "I am very sensitive to any chemical, from a glass of wine to a single Valium pill that can make me lose the ability to move from the neck down."
I spent a year and a half taking a few drops that literally made my mind slow down.
(I read a few weeks ago that people with misophonia have a brain that goes too fast).
But the scraping of furniture and the knowledge that it was deliberate, continued to cause me the same sensation.
Precisely, during the absolute lockdown of the Pandemic, I was taking those drops.
But it was horrible all the same.
I remember a particularly terrible Sunday, when I complained to the guard about the noise and He told me: "They have guests and I feel bad bothering them." We were in full strict lockdown!. And they had guests. Go figure…
The mixture of arrogance with a lack of empathy and with SSS is something explosive.
During the Pandemic, millions of people suffered this type of situation and of course, in the end everything explodes.
You answer and give them their own medicine.
Because as I explained, it is the state of inhibition, of not responding, of submission, that makes us sick in the long run.
But then, the only thing that matters is your retaliation, not the hours and hours and days and years, since 2017!!!!! that you have been suffering.
And a feeling of guilt is added to the condition that you already have.
And here comes Kafka again, despite having exploded, you continue to receive little notes and flowers...
Normal that in the end, I decided to set limits and directly report anything that was reportable.
Believing yourself untouchable and unreportable because you are an owner, means that I got threatened with the argument: "You're crazy, you have to go live in an isolated house and you're not the owner of the apartment, I'm going to call the owner." Call him to have you kicked out, obviously.
Hypersensitivity to disrespect and arrogance, in all its forms, is crazyness for many people.
I know the problem is mine.
But I also know that the one who does not know how to live in a Community is not me. Unless to live in a Community you have to level yourself down.
A neighbor told me that He almost got into a physical fight because of the noise some children made. When people educate their children from their own arrogance, you can imagine the results. And this neighbor does not suffer from misophonia.
In my case, I have only informed about the notes and flowers and little messages that I have received and I have remained stoic in the face of mockery.
On other places, when I go visit, things are even worse than here, and as everyone with misophonia knows, all we can do is run away from the source of distress.
But that can only be done when it is not your house.
When I will hit PUBLISH everything will remain the same, but at least I will have freed myself from not expressing with complete freedom the moral damage, damage to my work and tremendous health problems that all this causes me.
There are artists who create from pain, due to the nature of my work, it is not my case.
Sometimes everything is calmer and sometimes it is a torment. It also depends on who is moving into the rental flats.
But I no longer make the same mistake of knocking on their door and begging them.
I already learned that you only end up feeling worse, humiliated and judged.
Discovering the existence of misophonia has not only given me tools to deal with it, it has also clarified why some sounds activate a reflex act of replicating them to dampen the feeling of aggression that I experience. Like elephant like walking over my head for example.
It is not something that benefits me at all, because I have been educated very firmly in not bothering others. Always hearing: "girl there are people below" and in the end I have ended up apologizing for giving them their own medicine or feeling terrible and unable to express it.
But if I take the feeling of guilt out of the equation and remember how they have laughed at my suffering, tried to get me thrown out of the apartment and ignored my formal requests via the Neighborhood Council and the Administrator, I think I have taken all the right steps until I ran into a wall of arrogance and against that wall, nothing can be done as a person who is for rent and who in their eyes lacks rights.
So in the end I have no choice. Between surviving or worrying about what they think of me, I have to choose to survive.
It is always said that no one is all alone, that everything works out, that everything has a solution. It is usually said when someone has already thrown in the towel and it is all too late.
And it's true, no one is alone.
We are surrounded by people. 1/3 doesn’t care about you, another third can't help you, even though they want to, and another third can help you but doesn't want to.
There has never been so much disclosure, so many psychologists, so many cheesy Posts on Social Media, so many Blogs like this one, so many support platforms and Apps.
But until Psychology stops being a business and becomes a lifestyle, we will not evolve as a Society.
I hope that the people who are reading this and having a hard time, have found something to help them, including taking medication if there is a treatment that works for them, and those who are cheerfully saying that others are nuts, will do a little self examination, since life always ends up giving us all a lesson in humility, sooner or later.
Many people who have laughed at my peculiarities have ended up suffering much worse things firsthand.
No one is free, from being trapped by something, at some point.
My wish is that we all can live together in Peace. Bringing and helping to take out of others, the best version, not the worst. Among my peculiarities, resentment does not figure at all.
And to the one third that has tried to help me or at least empathize with me, a Big hug.
Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to Adapt.