Misophonia – My Art Of Silence

What Is Misophonia?

Misophonia is a disorder that triggers a strong emotional reaction to particular sounds. Misophonia actually means “hatred of sound”. From the age of 12, I remember developing strong emotional reactions to particular sounds. The trigger for me was hearing my father eat chicken. I remember watching and hearing him eat fried chicken, which resulted in a personal strong internal rage. Over the years, these sound triggers have developed to many forms of actions and sounds. Misophonia has quite the modest research on the condition, though here I seek to express how it feels for me and impacts my art.

Living With Misophonia

Before I get into this, please be aware that I am expressing how if ‘feels’ and not what I ‘do’. The information below is quite disturbing. However, I assure everyone that I am currently sound minded and have both ears attached- sorry Van Gogh.

My reactions to sounds depend on the source, location and position. For example, when I hear anyone eating, I usually feel a great sense of immediate anger and have thoughts of chocking or other violent acts for the person or hoping they choke themselves. Ok, yes I already sound crazy, but the thoughts are an uncontrollable instant reaction to the sound, which is also just as instantly removed from my mind. I will often use verbal or visual distractions. I may also remove myself from a situation when hearing food being eaten. The same goes for breathing, drinking, sniffing and also coughing. All these trigger an immediate sense of range and anger within. Luckily, I only have internal reactions or non-violent physical reactions. However, the anger is like no other and causes me great distress and anxiety for the sound period and some time after.

Misophonia Triggers

Here are all the triggers that cause a physical or metal reaction. I usually just control myself within when these triggers happen (anger, frustration and disturbing thoughts). However, at times I also have an immediate physical response such as dizziness, sense of confusion, snappy angry responses, sweating, briskly walking away from the situation or pins and needles/goose bumps.

The triggers include, eating, drinking, breathing heavily, two dominant sounds at once (music and someone speaking), barking, buses, trucks, busy locations with many sounds, food bags (crisps) opening, people touching food with their hands, siping, slurping and touching fabrics. Actually, touching fabrics is a whole other blog post! I have a full body reaction to hearing or seeing someone run their hands on fabrics with a dry look, sound or feel. The best way to describe the reaction I feel is like most feel when hearing fingernails scratch a chalkboard. Just add a bucket of ice water over the head and a sense of dizziness.

Using Misophonia For Art

So that is misophonia for me. It’s one of a few conditions I have that keeps me entertained throughout my day. It’s frustrating at times, but great to use as energy toward my splashing and splatter aspects of my art. I try to use the inner anger and frustration to excite the emotional aspects of my abstract expressionism art creations. Sometimes I intentionally set the triggers and let them cause anger and frustration as to allow for an overexcitement of energy towards the painting. I crunch on a rice cracker, build intense anger and frustration within, them splash paint onto the canvas in wild vivid motion.

I hope my little blog post about misophonia might help you or someone you know make sense of why they may react strongly to particular sounds.

Take care

Ashvin Harrison

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Ashvin Harrison is an Internationally acclaimed Australian artist living in Brisbane, Australia. His unique expressive creations of charcoal and paint examine the human condition through philosophical and emotional inspirations. Ashvin is a self taught artist whom has created and sold artworks in over 40 countries since becoming a full-time artist in 2017. Ashvin Created this unique genre style, referred to as 'Motus-realism', in 2012.

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