A woman whose rare condition stops her from enjoying Christmas dinner with her family has spoken out about her struggles.
Louise Lansbury, 34, is a young lady who was diagnosed with misophonia, a rare disorder that causes her to suffer extreme emotional and physiological responses to certain sounds. Reactions may include anxiety, panic attacks, and the need to flee and isolate.
As Louise explained, the festive season is particularly hard for her due to all the family gatherings. Due to her condition, she fears spending Christmas dinner with her family because she doesn’t want to “lash out in a rage” over noises her family makes while eating and talking to each other.
Calling the festive feast a “nightmare,” Louise admitted she tries to wolf her food quickly so that she can leave the table before getting upset.
“My anxiety about going out this year is quite high, even going to my parents. I usually eat as quickly as I can, then remove myself, before going back to my room, so I don’t lash out in a rage,” the British woman explained.
“I’ve always had very sensitive hearing, things always seemed louder to me than others around me. When I became angry, I would act up as a child. When living with my parents, I would lash out, have a go at anyone eating loudly, run to my room, and stay there in silence.
“As I got older, I realized that certain sounds started to make me feel angry and in the last 10 or so years, it has turned into rage. So I avoid eating with people at all costs, as if I don’t remove myself from the situation, I’m afraid I’ll lash out. I’ve had to learn how to control the anger and rage, where I simply walk away.”
To calm down, Louise usually retreats from the people she’s with and spends some time in silence. In other instances, she plays her favorite music while wearing headphones that isolate her from other noises in the surroundings.
“Everything I hear is amplified, from loud slamming doors, to even noises that are meant to be quiet. I am constantly on edge and I have drifted away from my parents, as well as other family members – but after helping them understand my situation, we are now growing closer again,” she added.
“I feel that people think I am making it up, but I’m not. Try having someone eat next to your ear – with their mouth open – and imagine every single sound you hear being amplified. I know this is my condition, and I have to deal with it, but a bit of respect is the only thing I ask for.”
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