The sound of chewing drives you insane. I must be a heartless bitch, you think to yourself. Why? Why do I feel this way? One day you are sitting in front of your computer and decide to call on your trusty friend, Google. Beware…
As you already know, the internet has so much useful information. Just as it has helpful information, it also has harmful or not so accurate information. Let me just say- consider the source and do not believe everything you read. I am not trying to deter you from using Google, I am just saying that you need to be careful. The wrong information can be harmful.
Misophonia is a condition in which sounds have an extremely adverse reaction. When someone who has never heard about Misophonia does a Google search some typical searches may be:
Why does this sound annoy me?
Why does chewing make me angry?
Why am I bothered by clicking?
I just did a few of these searches and the term Misophonia popped immediately up. This is a relatively recent development. A few years ago, it took a more in-depth search to find the word Misophonia, a term that literally means hatred of sound. I find this term very misleading and inappropriate because hating a sound does not create the same reaction as being triggered by a sound. Some links will indicate it is a made-up condition and others will say it is a mental health issue. Misophonia suffers are also made out to be crazy, as if we do not feel crazy already. Am I right? Let me assure you, Misophonia IS a real condition and you are NOT crazy. (At least by being enraged by sounds). 😊
Once you find the term “Misophonia” the next logical step is to start to click on the various links because you are so desperate for relief. This is where you need to be careful. It is important to know that although there are current research teams working on Misophonia, there is not a current medication or treatment for this debilitating condition. You may stumble upon people claiming they can help, people recommending treatment such as exposure therapy. Let me stop right here and tell you- it does not work. Exposure to trigger sounds makes your tolerance to that trigger even worse. Why would you deliberately torment yourself by continually listening to someone chew or whistle? Your LIFE IS exposure therapy.
Suddenly you have the overwhelming need to see a doctor, for some reason having a medical professional confirm the diagnosis seems to be very important for sufferers. Possibly, the validation can negate the feelings of being crazy that most us have experienced. This can be very difficult. Most providers have never heard of Misophonia, it may be easier to say that there are only a select few medical professionals who have heard of it. Narrow that down to even fewer who have taken the time and dedication to research it. Some people immediately call their primary care physician and are very disappointed when they have never heard of Misophonia. If you think about it, many of us have seen various doctors over the years and have mentioned our repulsion of sounds, and those concerns have been ignored or brushed away. Even though this condition has a name, unless the provider is familiar with Misophonia it will continue to be dismissed. If you need an official diagnosis for work or school accommodations, it is best to skip the diagnosis. There is not a DSM code for Misophonia (A DSM code is a number that medical professionals use as a diagnosis code for billing and insurance purposes). Until Misophonia is in the DSM, it is going to be very hard to get medical recognition. If there is no DSM code, it must not be real? Wrong!
This is truly a case of the blind leading the blind. A doctor that is unfamiliar with the condition tends to treat it as a condition with similar symptoms. One misconception is that Misophonia is a mental illness. Although some Misophonic reactions may mirror mental illness it is not the same. Nowadays doctors are so prescription happy, it’s easier to write that prescription than to take the time to find out WHAT is wrong and WHY. Oh, this must be a symptom of anxiety, let me prescribe you this anxiety medication or this other medication for depression. Taking a medication for a condition that you do not suffer is the same thing as taking Tylenol for cancer or diabetes, it will not do you any good. Just because it is prescribed by a doctor does not mean it is the right method of treatment. Taking mental health medication when you do not have a mental illness can cause you to display symptoms of depression, etc. that you have never previously experienced. After several years of various medications, my doctor finally realized that my anxiety is all auditory-related. Hello! Isn’t this what I have been saying all along? The MD at the end of the credentials is just a title, it does not by any means equate to “all knowing”.
There seems to be another hot “treatment” being talked about called Functional Neurology. Please proceed with caution. Although I tend to believe “give anything a try” in hopes for some success there are several things to take into consideration. Finances! I am very apprehensive of any provider that does not accept insurance. Many FN’s are cash only. I wonder why? Do you really think they are in it to HELP? Or are they just trying to make some serious cash? Although there have been many suffers report some improvement, for each person with positives, there are also people with negative stories that they may or may not share. If you are willing to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket without guarantees, that is your choice. I also must wonder if it’s is the honeymoon effect? You want to believe something works so it does, for a while anyway. Prepare for the potential to crash and burn. I am not knocking this treatment, as there is not enough medical evidence to prove or disprove it. With Misophonia, what works well for one sufferer can make it worse for another. One person had a positive experience and suddenly many others are immediately jumping aboard the bandwagon, travelling cross-country spending thousands of dollars in travel and treatment in hopes for relief. It looked like a true cult following.
I used my friend, Dr Google and found a local Functional Neurologist who accepted my health insurance, so I opted to give it a try. Why not? It is not going to cost me anything, I do not have to travel. I did not show any improvement with my Misophonia, and I was very fortunate that it did not get any worse. Others were not so lucky. Would I call it a total waste? No, because I did show improvement in other areas. Regardless, I would not discourage the treatment, just do your research and decide for yourself if this is an option for you.
Many articles you will read are written by individuals without firsthand knowledge of Misophonia. How can you talk about something that you have no knowledge based on what you are reading on the internet? Do they live with someone who suffers? What makes them qualified to offer advice? Food for thought.
Marijuana and/or CBD oil is another “trend”. Personally, this is not something that I am willing to try based on my own beliefs. (To each his own) Some people swear by it, others say it does not help. A perfect example of what I am talking about with knowing your source. I have read so many comments and testimonials on the use of these substances, but I cannot tell you if they help or they don’t. Are people using it as an excuse to use marijuana? I don’t know. Based on my knowledge I know that marijuana usage slows response times, therefore it makes complete sense that your brain would have a slower reaction to the triggers. A slower response I understand, I cannot see that it would eliminate the reaction.
When I write my stories, they are based on my life and experiences, the life of someone who suffers from Misophonia. I share my experiences because I know many sufferers can relate, I want to help raise awareness for Misophonia. I also do not want people to be misled into thinking that they can be treated with medications or other treatments. Feel free to Google all you want but take it all with a grain of salt. It is your well-being that is at stake.