Hi. I'm hoping some one might be able to point me in the right direction for help with the problem outlined below. It's getting more and more severe and I'm getting more and more shut down by it. I'm in my late 40's now and saw my first therapist for this in college. Since then I've seen a total of 7 therapists; two psychiatrists, three psychologists and two hypnotherapists. None of them were able to help and none of them really seemed familiar with this type of issue --they didn't know of similar cases and didn't seem to have any particular insight on how to approach it. I've got to believe that somewhere out there is a professional who will hear this story and know what it is and how to approach it and that's what I'm hoping to find here.
My "problem", as best I can describe it because it's rather strange, is with severe irritation to particular noises and visual inputs although using the word "severe" is a tremendous understatement. These "irritations" can enrage me to an extent it's difficult to describe. It's almost like a switch is flipped in my brain. These irritations started when I was around 6 years old with just one stimulus. Unfortunately, over time that one "stimulus" has grown to include many other things that are vaguely similar to the original stimulus. I'll try not to write on forever but here's a synopsis of things from the beginning.
Around six years old, my Mom's snapping of her gum began to bother me. She was a prolific gum chewer and almost every other chew of her jaw would produce a pop from her gum. (Just writing this angers me enough to want to throw my ****ing keyboard out the window). Soon, it was not just the snapping that bothered me but merely the sight of her chewing gum would do it as well although the actual popping noise still produced the most rage. I dealt with it by trying to put up with it, avoiding it, complaining about it, getting her to throw out her gum but whatever I did was no match for the rage that would come on when exposed to this. I could never put a dent in it. When exposed to someone else who was popping their gum, I would flee if I could.
--I now think of my Mom's gum popping as the "original and primary" irritation.
Within less than a year, this irritation had grown to include my family's eating noises. (I now think of all the other irritations that grew from the original gum popping as "secondary.")
I hated to sit down at the table with my family for meals or be around my brother when he ate his cereal in the morning. I would throw tantrums at the table and get sent to my room to eat; this was a huge relief because I was away from the irritation. When it became obvious to my parents sending me to my room wasn't a good solution, they forced me to stay at the table for meals. This was excruciatingly unbearably and I would sit there and try and put up with it, kind of feeling like my head was going to explode the whole time and some how make it through most meals. Things that were crunchy were the worst; salad, chips, raw vegetables, carrots etc.
Little by little, the problem expanded. Soon, my family's breathing noises began to bother me. Sleeping with some one else in the room, overnight camping trips or a stay in a motel room with the family were terrible. Then, I guess "building" on the eating noises, I couldn't stand hearing the clink and clatter of my family using their spoons/knife/forks while eating ie I'm in my bedroom with the door shut and my Dad's eating his bowl of cereal in the kitchen and a million frigging times his spoon hits the bowl, especially at the end when he just has to get every single last molecule of milk and cereal out of the bowl. Here's another weird one; my Dad would always sit in the living room or in front of the TV with his legs crossed and the ankle of his crossed leg he would rotate around and around and around. I couldn't stand this.
My response to living where so many things drove me crazy was to spend as much time alone away from my family as possible.
Up through high school, the number of items that bothered me "grew" slowly. And here's an interesting observation: the original, primary irritation of my Mom's popping gum that enraged me so much ..... if a stranger popped their gum, it would produce a huge reaction from me while if this stranger did something that was a "secondary" irritation, it wouldn't bother me as much. ie I could be in a cafeteria with friends eating and it wasn't much of a problem; I could be with a friend who was chewing gum but not popping it and it would bug me but not enrage me, I could be in a restaurant with friends and do ok. As I got older this began to change. Even by the time I was into high school I was noticing I could no longer go to a movie because of all the people eating their ****ing popcorn. All that chewing noise would just enrage me. Now it wasn't just my family's chewing noises but others chewing crunchy stuff that would do it.
Into college and for the last 20+ years since, my irritations have grown to include many more things and my reactions to them are stronger and quicker. I've been dumbfounded by this over the years and think it's the strangest thing. I avoid restaurants, movie theaters and will never ever put myself in a group situation such as attending a play, lecture or talk. There's always someone there doing something that sets me off. Still at the top of the list is popping gum or even the sight of someone chewing gum; I can't even stand to have the TV on a baseball game because so many of the players chew gum. Clicking, snapping noises are bad, finger nail clippers are the worst.
But many other things do it as well. Here's one of them that's bizarre: almost any oscillatory, repetitive motion someone does angers me ie I'm in a book store in front of a row of books and out of the corner of my eye I see someone who's sitting in a chair and bouncing their leg up and down, I hate it. Or I'm in my car at a stop light and the women in front of me is repetitively curling a length of her hair around her finger, over and over and over again, I can't stand it a have to look away. Noise and clatter in general now puts me on edge to the extreme.
It feels to me as if there's literally a physical nerve path in my brain that's burned into place and somehow all these stimuli find their way onto this burned in path that goes straight to my centers for rage.
Through the psychiatrist's I've tried many of the modern antidepressants and also gave Depakote and Neurontin a try. None of these had an effect on the irritations. One psychologist tried some learned relaxation responses and another (who was quite good and I spent multiple years with) did more conventional therapy and while I got lot of insight from it, it also had zero effect on the irritations. Needless to say, living like I do is a huge set up for depression. But at least I feel there's a reason for the depression; I think if anyone lived this way depression would be an issue.
The only other thing I can add is this problem with noises apparently began after returning from a stay in the hospital when I was around 6. I was there for a week with a blood infection, continuously had a very high fever and was delirious for some of the time due to the fever. My parents tell me there were a couple days when the docs were giving them a poor prognosis for me. My Mom says she thinks it was sometime after this that I began getting weird about noises. I'm not sure there's any link. It definitely could be a coincidence.
Anyone have any idea's on this? My resiliency is almost exhausted and life is quite difficult.
Try identifying the sound before getting upset. if there is one sound try to identify the other sounds in the room that are softer like the furnace or the air conditioner. Stretch your body and seek out anything that makes you feel good and comforts you. Like soft things or lying on your back.
This is the first time that I have read an account that really hit close to home!
I thought there was always something wrong with me - I am constantly irritated to the point of rage by certain noises: chewing loudly, heavy breathing, whispering. My number one arch-nemesis who makes the worst of these noises is my dad. For years, I have not been able to stand him and all the noises he makes seem to be magnified x10 while it doesn't seem to bother other family members.
Over the years I have only become worse. The fact that I was always being told off and in trouble for my reactions - covering my ears, growling out of anger, snapping immediately into a bad mood, and being forced to still be there with all the noises has not helped.
This has even extended to visual stimuli - I cannot stand it when I see my dad licking his lips. It drives me insane!!
I've also found other family members' noises irritating, but only to a small degree compared to my dad's. If it's anyone else, it would be bearable or doable to an extent.
This has obviously placed strained relationships on my family. And I have never known where to go for help or heard of anything like 4S until now!
I went to a few therapy sessions last year after an angry tantrum towards my family and a huge fight with my dad where I threatened to cut him off.
The therapist said that my problem was fairly typical of people who ave experienced some kind abuse. My dad has always smacked, belted and screamed at me as a child. He often yelled at my mum and generally my whole family and was a big tantrum thrower. Because I was a 'feisty' child, I was smacked and belted more often than anyone else. However, my dad also hit me when I was a teenager and on a couple of occasions in my early 20s (once he turned around from the driver's seat in the car and smacked me on the leg and yelled at me for being emotional and commenting that I didn't want to be discouraged by my parents' advice) with the 'last straw' incident at 23. Ofcourse, this was always known as 'discipline'.
The big fight happened after I visited my family and became increasingly irritated and in a bad mood towards everyone. I finally admitted later it was because I could no longer stand being around my dad and this put me into a bad mood. It wasn't right for me to take it out on everyone else but the rage really just puts me into a really bad mood!
Prior to my big fight with my dad, I have never 'back-chatted' or verbally attacked him. Only spoke in a negative or emotional tone or had been in a visibly bad mood. Surely that doesn't warrant a smack? Especially as a teenager?
The therapist said that my finding him extremely irritating was like a symptom or a defense mechanism as a result of the abuse I experienced from my dad. It was as though it enabled me to have control over him, because when I was smacked or screamed at as a child, I would be completely powerless against him.
I pretty much blame him for my mental problems and that he should never expect me to become a kind gentle person in light of the environment I grew up in.
I must admit that I had an attitude towards my parents at times and even bullied my younger sibling when we were children - all traits that I think I learnt from my dad.
Just the thought of his noises and even a picture of his face is often enough to drive me into a rage, despite living on the other side of the world from my family. I really feel that I want to cut him off. Even though he has expressed sorrow and has apologised after our big fight, I still don't think he understands what he has done to me. As far as I can remember, I have always been blamed for being the way I am and that it was all just an excuse for my true character.
On top of that, none of us understand what is really wrong with me. I've googled 4S and am in the process of reading up on a site I found.
I'm 25, living overseas far away from my family and admittedly battle feelings of resentment, but my condition may not be as a result from my upbringing. But I just want to thank everyone who has posted to this forum, so that someone suffering from this, like myself, happened to stumble upon it as a result of googling 'metal irritations'.
I ran accross this post today and am really surprised to find others with the same condition that I have. I began looking at this today because my cube mate is eating pretzels and is driving me to the point where I will be very glad when he is done or I may have to leave the room or put on headphones to get my work done. I am in my mid 40's and this issue is worsening each year. I did not receive abuse as a child, but I did suffer an abusive marriage of which I have been free of since 1991. I am unsure where to go at this point. There are a few noises that really set me off, chewing loudly, smacking gum or food, and typing on the keyboard are the most dangerous to where I want to scream or run from the room.
It makes me feel better that i know more people have this and not just me. I always thought i was a complete outsider. My mom's gum chewing sets me off too. But the worst is sometimes when she talks, her mouth makes this strange little clicking noise. It's difficult to describe but it drives me literally insane. The worst part about it is i feel like i'm the only one who hears it! Lately, i hear the noise all the time when she talks and i can't even have a decent conversation with her without getting really upset and explosively angry. I've only just turned 16 and my mother and i have grown apart because of my noise and visual irritation issue. Do any of y'all have the slightest idea of how to help because i'm clueless.