Real Life: I Can't Stand Hearing My Boyfriend Eat!

Faith Watson’s noise phobia is so bad the slightest noise can leave her in tears
BySarah SwainMonday , 10 March 2014
Faith Watson
© Caters
Faith Watson
Faith’s man Dave has stood by her
© Caters
Faith’s man Dave has stood by her

They’re everyday sounds such as people chewing gum or tapping pens on the table. But Faith Watson says simple background noise can drive her crazy. The biggest irritation, one that leaves her in fits of rage, occurs when she hears someone eating – and it’s her partner of one year, Dave Scott, who bears the brunt of her illness – the slightest chomp or chew can ruin dates. Faith, 20, from Suffolk in the UK, simply cannot tolerate some sounds.

Faith’s Audio Anger has Spiralled Out of Control 
“Certain noises make me feel like strangling someone and I have different triggers for certain people, making it hard to control,” says Faith. “If Dave and I go to a restaurant there needs to be music on in the background, so I don’t have to think about the noises he or other people are making around me. If we have a night in, the TV needs to be on quite loud or I can’t stop glaring at him.” 

The condition means that many of its sufferers are limited to where they are able to go – and who with. “My condition is particularly bad with Dave,” says Faith. “This means that the slightest noises he makes can trigger an uncomfortable feeling of anger and the need to remove myself from the situation. But luckily Dave is very supportive and always tries to eat quietly!”

Faith has faced a difficult time trying to explain the problem to others and has found that few people around her understand the complex situation. She was even forced to drop out of college after suffering years of torment caused by classroom noises. “The class was so quiet that I picked up on every little sound – the tapping of a pen or someone chewing gum would drive me crazy,” she says. “I would leave college crying every day – I realised I had no choice but to quit.”

It’s Taking Over Her Life
Faith’s confidence plummeted as the extreme phobia started to dominate her life. Her anxiety spiralled out of control, and by the time she was 18 she felt so low that her doctor put her on antidepressants. Then, when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, her mum, Helen Watson, 52, died suddenly from an undiagnosed digestive disease.

“My mum and I were so close, and when I look back at what I’ve been through I’m lucky to have got through it,” she says. “My mum always said I should have been a model but I never had the confidence to try it. But before I met Dave I managed to diagnose myself online with misophonia – and with a doctor finally confirming it I have been able to get on with my life.”

Since meeting Dave and receiving treatment for her anxiety, Faith has gained the confidence to fulfil her mum’s wish – and her own dreams – of having a go at modelling, and hopes to make it a successful career.

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