Lucy Babcock is in her fourth year in college and so close to acquiring that diploma and pursuing grad school. Most people suffer from senioritis but Lucy is battling out misophonia.
Misophonia is a rare condition that causes people to get easily irritated and experience strong emotional responses to certain individual sounds. These responses could range from disgust and rage to anxiety and pure fear. It’s difficult to live with this chronic condition because it limits your engagement with the natural noisy world. There are as many as 20,000 cases diagnosed per year. For more information on misophonia, click here.
You could only imagine how emotional being in a classroom is for Lucy, a place where fidgeting and trigger sounds run rampant. Sounds like clicking pens, typing or markers on a dry erase board are regular ambiance for most people, but for Lucy, they could mean dropping out of class.
For Lucy, life was always like this. She remembers as far back as Kindergarten, having these strong distastes toward certain sounds but it wasn’t until two years ago when she realized she actually had a real disorder and not just an intense pet peeve.
Lucy has dreams of graduating in the Spring and then going to grad school to study plant genetics. She admits that college would have been way easier if it wasn’t for the misophonia. Every single class came with its challenges, where her brain tried to rage against the anxiety.
“There are times when I have a teacher that maybe makes a trigger noise and I have to ask myself if I want to drop that class and sign up with a different teacher,” Babcock said. “Usually I make that decision within that first week of class, and if that professor likes to eat candy or suck on a mint while they are teaching, then unequivocally I cannot take their class.”
Every time a student would speak in class, it would immediately throw her off and block out the teacher’s words. She tries her best to sit in the back of the classroom, stay in the shadows and keep her head down in order to avoid contact with natural classroom clatter.
In order to combat the ruckus, she’s honed in on her focus and used her brain power as a weapon to soldier through it. She only has one year left to fight through Western Michigan University and she’s confident that she’ll make it.