Have I got Misophonia, or Am I just an Angry Person?

Image result for Misophonia or just easily irritated

Imagine you are at the theatre or cinema. You quite possibly don’t come very often; it’s expensive isn’t it? You sit through the crappy adverts and trailers…the theatre goes dark…music…opening scene and… BAM! Some bastard opens a packet of sweets.

Do you ignore it? Can you ignore it?

I sure as hell can’t.

 

Trigger un-Happy

Misophonia is defined as the hatred of sound. But not just any sound, there are usually specific sets of sounds that trigger a response in the listener. For many it is lip-smacking or open-mouthed-eating noises, or pen clicking and repeated sniffing.

Cinemas Should Sell Quiet Food

I personally cannot bear it when people sniff repeatedly – I offer a paper tissue. Pen clicking makes me want to slap the writing implement right out of their hand.

But most annoying is background noise in theatres. Watching Black Panther recently, a man seated in the row behind me opened his sweet packet after the movie had begun – why not do it before-hand? And at regular intervals, he opened a noisy wrapper, and even stuffed his hand into the packet on his kid’s lap. Honestly, just shut the fuck up!

Fight or Flight

And it doesn’t stop at the ears. For the duration of one of these trigger events, my muscles tense, my jaw clenches; I can feel my heartbeat rise – my body is essentially preparing for a fight!

So, for the rest of the movie, my ears were attuned, not to the wonderful experience before me, but to the crunchy, scrunching behind me. I was fit to burst by the end.(It didn’t help that the woman next to me read all the subtitles to her son).

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“Aargh!! Eat your food quietly!!!”

Anger

Seriously, if it wasn’t for the fact that my husband was with me, I may have clobbered the man with his own child. Hubby says “Just ignore it.” or “Tune it out.” The problem is, I can’t. Believe me, I have tried.

But why was I so angry? I mean, I was REALLY angry. I swore all the way home, driving in a manner to cause hubby to leave nail indents in the car seat. I would have loved to vent my anger on sweet-wrapper-man (and the woman), to drown him in a barrage of expletives and venom.

Is It Just Me?

So, do I have an anger management issue, or some perception of sound issue? This is a regular event for me. At work there is a lady who makes this little half-cough-half-noise in her throat, we are only in the same room for staff development once or twice a year – but I want to strangle her by the end of the morning. Another person I know breathes heavily! I want to shout “Stop fucking breathing! You might die? So what!” My own father used to make weird shuffle motions and noises with his hands and feet when watching the TV, (I did shout then), a student smacks his lips and my hackles rise. Another has a snuffly cold and I’m tempted to punch him in the head!

Misophonia is difficult to identify. Studies have been done, but it doesn’t come under an particular ‘umbrella’ – it isn’t a physical difficulty, it isn’t a mental health issue, so what is it? And is there a way to ‘cure’ it?

Maybe cinemas and theatres should have Misophonia Days, so people who may fall into this uncategorised category can watch their entertainment in peace!

What irritates you, drop me an angry comment.

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That means you cinema-sweet-wrapper-man
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PDA Syndrome

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* WARNING *

*May contain images offensive to some people *

I had a funny conversation with friends last night. They are a married couple and were complaining about public displays of affection – PDA. When they were going on holiday last summer, a young couple in front of them were doing some heavy snogging –  what my friends regard as ‘heavy snogging’ compared to me, or anyone else is all relative.

ME: “Was it open-mouthed?”

HIM: “Yes!”

ME: “Tongues?”

HER: “Ew, yes. It was gross!”

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No PDA here.

I laughed, maybe they were very much in love, or going on honeymoon, I suggested. Whatever, I thought my friends’ outrage funny. So I posed a series of questions – How much PDA is too much? And here, I am not talking about the rare instances when a couple feel they have to go into the realms of extreme – like this couple –

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Serious case of PDA. What were they thinking?!

Holding hands – Fine, no problem.

Arms around each other – Okay.

Kissing on the cheek – Fine.

Kissing on the lips – Hmm, no.

Squeezing a partners buttocks – No!

Full on deep kissing – Absolutely not!

HIS addendum was; if the show of affection was politically motivated – ie: two gay men/women at a Gay Pride event, or similar, did this, then he could accept that it was done with purpose. But stepping out of a store onto the street to find a couple enjoying a grope and a bit of mouth action – No Thank You!

I told them they were too English. We do have a reputation for being rather restrained and ‘stiff upper lipped’. And apart from when we get steaming drunk and everyone is a friend, we tend to be reserved about emotions – especially affectionate ones!

Why do we feel uncomfortable when we see a couple engaged in PDA? As long as they aren’t getting naked and having full on intercourse or doing heavy petting in the park, then shouldn’t we be more accepting? Is it about etiquette and good manners? Does the sight of an older couple kissing spark revulsion more than if it were a young couple – or vice-versa?

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Public Affection can be sweet.

Does the public space make a difference? I asked my anti-PDA friends, what if there is a couple kissing deeply under a tree in a moonlit Paris? That was fine apparently. What about Hyde Park? No! One of my friends is a high school teacher and occasionally encounters a couple of students kissing in the corridor, when she tells them to stop and they query her, her response is great: “Would you want to see Mr and Mrs Finnegan( a married couple) kissing around the school?” They would not, is the reply – so don’t you do it!

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Tongues on a Train – the follow-up to Snakes on a Plane!

I know there are countries around the world where PDA are taboo; if not illegal. I read comments from the British Middle Classes calling PDA ‘repellent’ and ‘ghastly’. I think they/we need to get over ourselves. But I wondered where in the UK were we most and least demonstrative with affection. Should public displays of affection be banned? Some people think so!

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A quick kiss in Kerala 

Londoners appear to dislike it the most. Nottingham likes a bit of public romance. Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff like a street smooch. I couldn’t find any solid statistics – though I have to admit I didn’t search that hard – but I did find lots of articles calling for less shows of affection in the UK; even light kissing.

Personally, I don’t care if it’s ‘showing off’, or over the top. If a couple feel the urge to express their romantic inclinations then I think it’s lovely. Maybe if more people were snogging and squeezing each others bums and being affectionate, we wouldn’t have all the discourse, wars and aggression and so forth. Of course there need to be some boundaries, but so long as bedroom activities aren’t in public, then what’s the harm?

Next time you balk at PDA, ask yourself two questions –

1.Would you rather they were fighting?

2. Aren’t you just a teensy bit jealous?!

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One of the most iconic images of PDA. VJ Day picture taken by Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt  on August 14, 1945

 

 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/relationship-advice-and-romance/11251250/Kissing-in-public-No-thanks-were-British.html

https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/157803/Should-kissing-in-public-places-be-banned

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3783454/Woman-iconic-V-J-Day-Times-Square-photograph-died-aged-92.html

http://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/kissing-in-public-kerala-triggers-a-debate-for-change/501941

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_display_of_affection

On Autism #2

Oliver – We Love You Just The Way You Are

Oliver * has a huge, bellowing, hearty laugh. His pink face lights up behind his glasses as he responds to a joke told by his friend. He is a larger than life character…

I worked with Oliver from when he was 18 years old to 21 years. If you did not know him, you might think he was just one of those loud, occasionally foul-mouthed teenagers you see around the UK. He would speak too loudly in class, he laughed too loud, he laughed at inopportune moments, he swore regularly and brushed it off, when staff commented, with a wave of his hand and a ‘whatever’ sound.

Whoever said people with Asperger Syndrome do not smile, were so wrong…

 

To read more of this post, please go to:

https://sfachikitsya.com/2017/08/29/oliver-love/

 

Demons Ate My Sun aka Total Eclipse

It’s an exciting day for some people! Others are less so, and then there are the ‘meh’ crowd. All of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun.

I can’t get too excited as this eclipse will not be visible from the UK; many things are not visible from the UK, clouds and rain have a lot to answer for (as well as too much street lighting). I believe in London they might see a slight, partial eclipse – but I don’t live in London either! Besides, weather is dull, drizzly; British! Not conducive to astronomical activities.

Get your updates here: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipse2017

When we have had eclipses that can be seen in Britain, we mostly all see it at around a similar time. But as America is so huge in comparison, there is a kind of timeline of viewing which will peak at 2:44:59 pm EDT, when the moon obscures 71.6% of the sun; beginning at around 13:20 and ending around 16:00.

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Check out this link to find out where you should be: https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/20/16175776/total-solar-eclipse-2017-what-time-is-it

In the past, civilizations held differing views of the reason for an eclipse: dragons (China) or demons (India) eating the sun, dogs stealing it (Korea), a bear taking a bite out of it (Pomo; Native Americans), the sun was angry (Ancient Greece), the sun and moon quarreled (Inuit), a vampire tried to swallow it (Tatars, Siberia). There are those who still hold that it is a magical moment and traditions are carried out around the world to ‘reclaim’ the sun.

My husband is interested in astronomy. He also makes sundials; small pieces for the windowsill (hence name of his business Windowsill Art). He was contacted by a gentleman in America who is the head/secretary/leader (I don’t know what you call the person who runs an astronomy enthusiast society!) who asked for 38 sundials in time for the eclipse. He got to work. The number was increased to, I think 42 eventually. It took around 5 months to complete them. They were carefully packed off on their journey last month and arrived safely (no thanks to USA Customs!!!!)

I like the idea of the members of the society all turning up and this chap handing them a sundial each as they take their places; like children on a picnic getting a lunchbox!

t eclipse stone

I am looking forward to seeing the videos/photos/news reports later showing hundreds of ‘those weird Americans’, waving their arms while painting their chests like something out of ‘The Wicker Man’ and wailing for the return of the sun. It so could happen!

total

Whatever you are doing today, have fun, protect your eyes, don’t whoop into your neighbours ear, and pick up your litter before you leave!

 

t eclipse

On Autism

Today saw the posting of my first piece for the School For Autism Blog.

We can see the growing numbers of people diagnosed Autistic/Asperger’s across the world, not as an increase in this ‘condition’, but as the ability of specialists to recognise it due to increasing their understanding and knowledge through constant research.

India is one continent that is noticing an ‘increase’ in Autism, and some are dealing with it beautifully; with understanding, kindness and positivity.

I first heard about The School for Autism via Linked In and a woman who was advertising for writers. The piece I wrote, entitled ‘Working with Benedict’ retitled ‘Benedict* – A Special Child With Regular Needs’, can be read here:

https://sfachikitsya.com/2017/08/20/working-with-benedict-special-child-regular-needs/

 

Pain

 

We have all felt pain at some point in our lives, whether it be physical or emotional or psychological.

Pain_Quotes6

Last night, we had to go to A & E with a family member as she had such bad pains in her chest, she thought it was how a heart attack felt (she is 19 years old) – she is fine by the way; nothing found, heart is healthy; unexplained.

She was asked by various medical practitioners throughout the evening, “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most painful, where would you say your pain is?” She said 7 – which surprised me.
Why did it surprise me?

It got me thinking about how we measure pain, who is to say my pain is worse than yours? On a scale of 1 to 10, to me 7 is really high.

The word pain, comes from 11th century French peine “difficulty, woe, suffering, punishment, which in turn came from Latin poena “punishment, penalty, retribution. The earliest sense in English survives in phrase on pain of death.

We can also be a pain to another person by being annoying and/or irritating. Take pains to do something means taking great care. Plato and Aristotle, considered pain to not be a sensory experience, but an emotional one. So if the heart experienced pain, it was from an external source – anyone who has had their heart ‘broken’ in love might relate with this idea.

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I have never broken a bone (touch wood -we’ll do superstitions another time!), but I have dislocated a toe – kicking someone – no, I am not a hooligan, I was training in Tae Kwon Do and didn’t pull my toes back! I have cut myself on numerous occasions, I have stubbed my toe many times, I have stabbed myself with a chisel – I studied sculpture at Art college – I have torn ligaments, damaged both Achilles tendons, twisted a joint, fallen down stairs,suffer from migraines, have osteoarthritis and have given birth -once – once is enough!!

So, you see I am no stranger to pain – physical pain. I have been dumped by a boyfriend and had depression in late teen to early twenties, but what’s the worst pain I have ever felt? Besides giving birth, (definitely a 10!) it was a pain that Aristotle would say came from outside my body:

On a family and friends holiday in Cornwall 15 years ago, on a beach. Me and my friend ‘K’ and our girls; one each, were building a sandcastle. K’s daughter was 5 years old, mine 3. In the blink of an eye, my daughter was suddenly not there. We called and searched the immediate vicinity – a crowded beach filled with bathers, children, pod-tents, beach toys, surfers, rock-pools, caves, you get the picture. My husband and male friend ‘P’ had gone for a walk along the beach to investigate caves. K’s daughter stayed at ‘base camp’, keeping a lookout, I ran along the shoreline, K searched the rock-pools! The ensuing panic was horrendous, my chest was tight, I was crying in gulps and almost choking – I understood the phrase ‘heart in her mouth’ and grasped my chest in pain, it felt like my heart was literally in my throat and I was going to die from emotional pain. I ran along the beach yelling at the top of my lungs for my husband and P; they joined the hunt. This went on for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably closer to twenty minutes.

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Eventually we found her, less than fifteen feet from the sandcastle, crouched behind someone’s pod-tent digging away, oblivious to the activity and the search and our calls. You can imagine the relief; my body shook with it.

So on a scale of 1 to 10, how much pain was I in? Well, it cannot really be compared to the pain I experienced giving birth to same child, but I would still say a 10 – maybe 11 – because I’m dramatic. I cry when I see starving, dying or abused children on TV, I actually feel a pain in my chest – btw, it gets worse when you become a mother!!

People feel pains at different levels, we have thresholds, and some have a higher threshold than others – it does not mean that their pain is not real, or painful. Your pain is yours, and no-one can tell how much it hurts. Is a broken leg more or less painful than a broken heart? Who knows, but one things certain, you know you’re alive when you feel it!

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http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pain

http://www.internationalreporting.org/pain/history-of-pain/

 

I’m in love with…

 

 

…Sir Richard Burton, no not that one –

richard burton

This one –

Richard_Francis_Burton_by_Rischgitz,_1864

 

Born in 1821, Richard Francis Burton was something of a celebrity in his own time. Think of the typical idea of the Victorian male:

  • Manliness was a virtue, a form of control over maleness, which was considered brutish.
  • The Victorian man liked to form secret societies, such as the Masons.
  • He was not only the head of the household; his duty was not only to rule, but also to protect his wife and children.
  • Working was manly; whether working-class males in heavy industry, or middle-class males, upper class males could become involved in philanthropic works or other enterprising actions.
  • Sport! They watched it, read about it, did it. Sports and cold showers; to keep the ‘little man’s’ desires in check and to prove his worth – to be ready for attack.  E. M. Forster, apparently said that this “then led to “well-developed bodies, fairly developed minds, and undeveloped hearts”.
  • And most of all, Victorian man was British. And proud of it! The expansion of the Empire became entangled in what it meant to be a man, and so he served the Queen, he hunted creatures to near extinction; he pioneered and subordinated non British peoples. He was top man, the dog’s bollocks, king of the world (with little k.)

RFB

Burton fits some of this characterisation; however, his views on the rest of the world and in particular Islam and women were light years ahead of his fellows. He  was ‘sent down’ from Oxford (meaning he was kicked out), after a series of mischievous events. He took it well, bid his tutors farewell and headed cheerily off to become more than they could ever imagine.

RFB was not only an explorer, he was a geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. He seemed to excel at everything he did. I cannot think of anyone else alive or historical who was so accomplished. He was extraordinarily open-minded for a man of his time:

Letchford, Albert, 1866-1905; Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890), KCMG, FRGS, Maitre d'Armes, France

Burton did not think of women as inferior to men.  He was very much interested in sexuality and erotic literature – his accurate translation of ‘The Book of a Thousand and One Nights’, is full of steamy sex scenes. He translated the ‘Kama Sutra’, the most famous book in the world on sexual techniques to this day.

kama sutra

He slept with woman of all race, colour and creed (males too some reports say), he smoked opium, drank cannabis drinks with holy men, he hung about with prostitutes with no particular judgement on their profession. He took a spear to the face, when his and Speke’s encampment was attacked one night in Africa, and survived. He was spy in India. An Afghan pilgrim in the Middle East; he had himself circumcised so he could pass as native, one of the few white men to have entered Mecca in disguise. He spoke a fair number of languages too – fluent in 29!!! I can barely speak my native one right. And on and on his adventures go.

220px-Richard_Francis_Burton_in_Africa

I first heard about RFB in my teens I think. Then later on a friend who was interested in him lent me a book, ‘Sir Richard Burton’s Travels in Arabia and Africa.’ I read and studied it, sort of. But what really enticed me to discover more about the great man was a work of literary fiction.

The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi’, by Mark Hodder. The first of four books in Hodder’s Burton and Swinburne Adventures. In this alternative 19th century, Hodder really brought Burton to life for me – the outrageous behaviour, that British stoicism partnered with emotional passion, a huge, physical, Brainiac of a fist-fighter paired with the slight, red-headed, waif-like Algernon Swinburne; poet.

hodder

Two real persons from history partnered up for some beautifully written and roistering, boisterous adventures. And so I began my love affair with Ruffian Dick; I even wrote him into one of my own short, Steampunk stories, in which my protagonist, Lucy Lockhart encounters more of Ruffian Dick than the average English woman did!

Burton was adventurous of mind as well as body. He seemed to fear nothing. He did not judge other cultures as his fellow Victorians did (and some of us still do today), he was bold, brave, liked a laugh and a drink, and he was devoted to the love of his life, his wife; Isabel. His energy, enthusiasm, his curiosity for the people and world around him should be held as an ideal to work for today I think.

Sir Richard Francis Burton died, 20 October 1890.

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This August, I hope to make my own mini pilgrimage from the North, to London to visit his tomb at Saint Mary Magdalen Church, Mortlake.

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The same superficial view of holding woman to be lesser (and very inferior) man is taken generally by the classics; and Euripides distinguished himself by misogyny, although he drew the beautiful character of Alcestis.’ RFB. On Arab womanhood in 1001 Nights.

Women, all the world over, are what men make them; and the main charm of Amazonian fiction is to see how they live and move and have their being without any masculine guidance.’ RFB. On Arab womanhood in 1001 Nights.