Loud noises have always been an issue with me. Most people are probably annoyed at the sound of a loud plane passing over their head or a screaming child in the grocery store, begging for a treat. However, with me, it's always been more than just an annoyance. Loud sounds, especially if they are persistent, are enough to send me into panic mode. When my ears are subjected to continual clamor, no matter what it is, I automatically have the reaction someone might have if their teacher was writing on the chalkboard and the chalk slipped, grating their nails against the board. I shudder just thinking about loud noises.
Last week, when the movers came to our apartment to pack up the furniture that we were not physically capable of carrying ourselves, they seemed nice enough. They introduced themselves as Dwight and Tyrone, and they quickly got to work on placing moving pads on all of the furniture. I sat with my recently purchased Post Secret book, considering each secret. Suddenly, my ears were attacked by a loud, obnoxious sound that made the muscle in my ear twitch. My hands immediately flew up to my ears, an automatic reaction I've had since I could control my limbs enough to do so. The movers were wrapping the furniture in a sort of plastic wrap, with the pads in between. I'm assuming this was to keep it from getting scratched or dented. After about 7 seconds of the noise, I shot a dirty look at them and retreated to the back bathroom, door closed, to read my book. About 20 minutes later, my mom came to find me and begged me to come help her with the kitchen. I couldn't say no, since I'd spent the last half hour hiding away in the bathroom. I ventured out, holding my ears against the horrible cacophony. I only made it about 3 minutes in the kitchen, before I was sitting on the floor, cross-legged, rocking back and forth, thinking to myself, "What is wrong with me?"
When I was younger, my heart would race and I would break out into a sweat every time that I even walked by one of those red boxes on the wall of my elementary school (the fire alarms). Kids would touch them, and my stomach would clench and I would have the biggest urge to run out of the building. I also used to hate touching balloons, out of fear that it would pop. Even today, if my windows are down and there's a motorcycle near me, I have the same reaction as the fire alarms. I cringe my face and quickly drive as far away as I can.
Today, Em decided that some yard work needed to be done. I hate lawn work, mostly because of I hate the sound of the lawnmower. She asked if I would come pick up some dog poop and maybe start some weeding. Both of which are hard to accomplish with your index fingers shoved into your ears. Every time the mower gets within about 10 feet of me, I break into a sweat and my heart starts to beat rapidly. So today, I waited until Em was finished mowing before completing my tasks. Then, I went straight to Google to find out if other people share my embarrassing problem.
Apparently, they do.
It's called Ligyrophobia, and it's an anxiety disorder/phobia.
I seriously thought I was the only person who cringed at the sound of every loud noise. When I try to explain this, most people just look at me and I'm sure they're thinking, "She's exagerrating!" or "She's weird!" ... but to me, there is nothing worse than a loud, unrelenting noise. And it's good to know that there are other people like me, and I'm not really all that crazy...