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What It's Like to Have Misophonia on Christmas Morning

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Wake up, it’s Christmas morning! That means it’s bound to be a great day full of carols, family, food, and presents, right? Wrong. It’s about to be one of the hardest days for someone like me who has misophonia.

7:15 a.m. All is fine in the world… so far. You walk into the living room and wait for the rest of the family to wake up so you can partake in opening Christmas presents. You enjoy these last solid few minutes of peace and quiet because you know, at any moment, someone is going to come in and disturb the stillness.

7:22 a.m. See, that didn’t last long. The youngest of the bunch is awake finally and the family is ready to rip open gifts. The dreaded sounds of paper tearing open, the crunching as the paper gets crushed and thrown aside, and sometimes there’s even bubble wrap to pop. Joy. But you smile through the noises that are killing you because 1. This is family time 2. Your family will just think you’re being rude anyway, and 3. How do you explain that noises make you genuinely angry?

7:45 a.m. By this time, all the presents should be unwrapped. In my family, that means it’s time for stockings! This is the worst of all. Why? Because there are snacks in the stockings. That means now you have to listen to wrappers being slowly opened while you wonder, “Why can’t you open that any quicker?! Why can’t you open it more quietly?!” It only gets worse. Everyone suddenly seems to start smacking their lips, crunching loudly, or chewing at a volume that shakes you to your core. “Chew with your mouth shut, please,” is what you hope comes out of your mouth, but at this point all you can really say to your brother is, “Why can’t you chew with your mouth shut?” It’s not your fault that it came out rude, but no one is going to understand that.

8:30 a.m. As if stocking snacks weren’t enough, now it’s time for breakfast. More smacking of lips and utensils scraping against teeth. This is why you’ve mastered the art of eating either quicker than or less than everyone else so you can leave the room to get away from the noises, but you play it off as though you’re going to go check out some of your Christmas goodies.

Fast forward into the day where you head to your extended family’s gathering: More presents. More paper ripping. More paper crumpling. More snacks, lunch/dinner, smacking, chewing, and the list goes on and on in a vicious, repetitive cycle.

The only hope today is the silence you find comforting when you make your little escapes to another room, outside, or the bathroom. Peacefulness is waking up before anyone else just to enjoy the first few minutes of quiet on your Christmas morning, and restfulness is when everyone goes to bed at the end of the day as pleased as possible and you finally get the rest of the night to regroup. The day will have been hard, but you survived! You made it!

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Thinkstock photo by Sebastian Gauert

Originally published: December 22, 2016
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