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I have misophonia, and it’s my superpower

Hi. My name is Shane Haniff and I have misophonia.

Editor's note: This is a piece I wrote in 2021 for the website, Misomatch. You can find the original article here. Thought I'd share on here, as misophonia continues to be an awful undiagnosed disorder.

Before my misophonia was misophonia

I used to get triggered by repetitive cell phone notification sounds and the constant ringing of the doorbell. Back then, I thought it was just a pet peeve. These annoyances didn’t hit me as hard as when I started to get triggered by the sounds of footsteps upstairs from my basement apartment.

I was living in the basement of my Mom’s place in London, ON. I left a toxic work environment that summer and started a podcast based on mental health and lifestyle. The show is called Shower for the Soul. I was living my boyhood dream of being a broadcaster. I should’ve been happy. I was. But then these mysterious involuntary reactions happened.

Once I got triggered, I’d throw things, yell, and punch walls. This wasn’t me. I didn’t know this person I was turning into. I found out very early on that with misophonia, we think that every trigger is done purposely to annoy us. We think that the whole world is out to get us. I knew Mom wasn’t doing this on purpose. But misophonia muddled my mind and these crazy, far-fetched ideas that Mom’s the enemy caused me to go downhill fast. It sparked a deep depression that lasted for months.

And let’s not forget – I still didn’t know what misophonia was at this time. This just added to the emotional weakness. The dangerous fear of the unknown.

Misophonia took me away from myself

Back to the deep depression. Spent the whole day in bed, with the lights off. Light gave me migraines. I thought throwing myself into my podcast would help – wrong. I didn’t even have the energy to work on that. Everything seemed hopeless.

I wasn’t the same Shane. I was scared of the person I was becoming. I felt alone, I lacked my regular pep for life, and so overwhelmed that if I had to share an ounce of genuine feeling – good or bad – I started to cry.

Let’s fast forward a bit. Skip the lockdowns, the hospital visits, the many hours at the pub, just because I didn’t want to go home, the loneliness, impromptu trips to Detroit and Toronto and the hours of sleepless nights. Ok, stop here – it’s October 2020.

I thought I won the jackpot. Problems solved. I was moving out. I found a basement apartment in East London. Perfect. Let me repeat myself – I found a basement apartment. And enter Misophonia phase deux.

A new lease on life

The new apartment gave me a whole new lease on life. My pep returned. I was working and going full-force with my podcast. Shortly after the new year, the triggers returned. It got to its boiling point in the winter and continued until this fall. While I felt like I was back to square one, unlike last time, I knew what I was dealing with and was able to diagnose it accordingly.