Facing the Music (or, “More Scientific Proof I’m Not Insane”)

10659245_10152822307719282_4512605465960057842_nThank you, science, for letting me know that I am not, in fact, psychotic. I’m pretty sure that I am not, and that I live an honest and relatively sane existence. The music I hear when nothing’s on, and the oven timer that keeps its pace once turned off — those are auditory hallucinations not completely understood, but openly presumed to be connected to the demyelination process.

Who knew that I’d keep turning out happy that it’s “just” MS?

In high school, as a new driver, I would hear police sirens. I was a good kid and my father was a police officer… so this, of course, poses a Freudian query. They sure sounded, however, like they were a couple lanes over. It was only occasional so I shrugged it off.

Thankfully I never hear pan flutes.

Thankfully I never hear pan flutes.

Shortly after college, music began in silent rooms and showers. Most often, it sounds like a concert being held next door; there are no lyrics to make out, but the sounds elicit vague synesthetic responses just like would actual songs from a very low radio.

Oh, and I feel it is important to italicize that I do not hear voices. There are no mysterious words whispered in my ear or any such thing.

Most recently once the car alarm or oven timer goes off, I will continue hearing it for 5-10 minutes. “it’s just a memory replaying,” say the experts:

Husain and her team determined that the woman didn’t suffer from any mental or emotional problems, and that she had normal hearing. So they turned their attention to her past MRI films to look for patterns of disease activity that might explain her odd hallucinations. The films revealed that since 2010 she had developed a new lesion deep within the white matter of her brain that was still present but no longer enhancing or active. –Earworms and MS: What Musical Hallucinations Can Teach Researchers

Up until coming across this article, I handled this phenomenon quietly — any manner of hallucination is enough to, at minimum, inspire trepidation in loved ones. After this many years, it’s become comfortable being kept secret. My intention here is not to “come out of the closet and be all proud” but just to express relief.

There’ve got to be other people living with Multiple Sclerosis who are familiar with this… what kind of sounds or music trick your mind?

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    • Lindsay
    • August 29th, 2016

    I know exactly what you are talking about! I have the same auditory experiences where sounds will continue in my head for minutes to hours after I hear it. I thought it was just some obsessive respose but am learning it is probably MS related. I am a 35 yr old female with MS and have had it for 20 years. I believe that I have other synesthesias as well. I began writing music about 6 years ago and this plays a part in my music writing. Sometimes it is helpful but it can also be so awful because I cannot turn it off in my mind and I feel like I will go insane.

      • oligoclonal
      • August 29th, 2016

      Thank you for the response — how awesome is it that we have both just gotten to meet someone else with these seemingly crazypants Sx! I love that you write music!

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