I hate the sound of chewing.
I don’t mean “the sound of chewing mildy irritates me”. I mean, “the sound of chewing makes me palms sweat, my asshole clench and my body seize up”.
I have two very nice coworkers. Unfortunately, as sweet as they are, they are loud chewers. Open mouthed, lip smacking, crunching, “mm mm yum” kinda loud chewers.
On some days, they can crunch and munch on breakfast, lunch, crackers, gum..you name it...for HOURS.
When that happens, I can hardly focus to get any work done.
At one point last week during a staff meeting, the sound of the gum that had been chewed for two hours intertwined itself with my cortex so bad that I dug my nails into my palm so hard that I bled. It was not a great day.
So why does this bother me so much? I’m not just an asshole, it’s a symptom of my bipolar disorder called “hypersensitivity”.
Hypersensitivity can occur in manic or depressive states and is noticeable as a condition from an “amplified” state of mind. When my mind is completely amplified, these sounds like nail files, clicking nails, repetitive moaning and sighing all make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I become highly irritated, jolted, anxiety ridden and cannot tune those sounds out.
When I tried to subtly mention it to my co worker, it was laughed off. How could I be so silly? It’s just sound ha ha. They tell me i’m “cranky” for no reason when I block them out with music, so I can’t win.
I can’t just “get over it” or “tune it out” - that’s just not how mental illness works. Instead I have to swallow it down every day and not say anything. It’s torture.
According to bpHope.com, here’s what I can do:
Trying to live a normal life when you are bipolar can be really hard. I have to bite my tongue not to ask people why they can’t chew with their mouths closed like an irrational wildebeest. I also get freaked by loud traffic noises, things being dropped, and get paranoid if I hear rustling in another room.
If I could give up any superpower, it’s this one.