Interview with Michael Frederick Lawrence, by Shaylynn Hayes
When did you discover you have Misophonia?
My symptoms began at 6 years old. My mother had Misophonia and was always telling me to chew with my mouth closed. I could see by her expressions and comments that everyone’s chewing bothered her.
My first triggers were my brothers eating at the table and my sisters constant snacking and gum chewing. It was torture growing up with those constant triggers. At 14 years old I began eating in my bedroom. Avoidance was the name of the game, and still is!
How would you describe Misophonia?
For me it is an extreme reaction to sounds, particularly eating/chewing sounds, but many others especially if they are repetitive. Also a sensitivity to some repetitive movements and touch. Misophonia is a form of sensory processing disorder with some individual uniqueness’s. By far, the problem is a “fight or flight” reaction to chewing type sounds. Loud sounds of any kind are also bothersome to me.
What coping skills or treatments have you tried?
Coping skills are for the most part avoidance. I have used earplugs and noise canceling head phones or earbuds with some type of audio/video device. It works great in airplanes.
Treatments are a long story!
Over 30 years ago I tried hypnosis and desensitization. Both were ineffective. I tried a tapping technique. No luck. I went to a faith healer! No luck. I spent a few years doing Dianetics and some Scientology courses and auditing. No luck!
In those days, I believed that Misophonia was a psychological problem having to do with some emotional traumas in my past, though I still believe that emotional trauma can play a part in some cases.
So 32 years ago I moved to Los Angeles and spent many years doing Primal Therapy(Primal Scream). I still do it off and on because it helps me in many other ways, but it did not bring any relief from my Misophonia symptoms.
Oh, and I tried many anti-anxiety drugs but they did nothing but ruin my sex life.
Five years ago I read on the Yahoo Misophonia of a man in Iowa who got rid of his symptoms doing Neurofeedback. So for about 2 years I did 4 different types of NFB near my home with zero improvement.
I worked for a few months with Tom Dozier doing his “Trigger Tamer”, again with no success. Tom had a friend Scott Sessions from Wyoming, who was a chiropractor and was having some success using traditional Chinese Medicine techniques and another called PRT. I saw Scott on 3 separate occasions in Wyoming and California, but did not have any success.
Not one to give up easily, I contacted the doctor in Iowa who had such good success and spent 1 ½ years working with him. I rented a house there and shuttled back and forth to Arizona. Once again I have no improvement. I was his only patient with no improvement at all, so he recommended an old colleague of his, Dr Nicholas Dogras who developed a technology called “Neurofield” and spent 2 weeks working with him. It helped me sleep better for a couple of weeks, but I would need more treatment. Dr. Dogris had a protégée, Jamie Moore of Moore Neurotherapy. Jamie has treated over dozen patients with sensory processing conditions using Neurofield so while I was in Iowa I drove a few hours west to see Jamie in Omaha, NE.
Jamie was the first one to explain to me that Misophonia, which he calls and orphan disorder, was a mostly physical problem and had to do with the problems in the gut, the nervous system and the body as an intricately interrelated whole. I think Scott Sessions was trying to tell me the same thing, but in a different way.
I had no improvement the 4 days I worked with Jamie, but he started me reading about holistic medicine and introduced me to NUCCA chiropractic, which opens up blood flow and communication in the spine and nervous system.
Next I found out about a NUCCA chiropractor and his wife, Jack and Mary Stockwell of Utah who also do GAPS diet and nutrition work. Based on the finding of Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, who used diet to recover her son from Autism, she believes that most neurological conditions originate in the gut and she developed a diet, The GAPS Diet, as a way to treat these conditions. She believes that toxicity is a major part most neurological disorders. I began GAPS in February and still do since it can take a number of years to take full effect. I also take many natural supplements daily to support the repair and rebuilding of my body, beginning with the gut and moving on to other organs and ultimately a cellular level.
I read an excellent book called “Nutrient Power” by Dr. William Walsh which is compilation of over 30 years of research understanding and treating various neurological disorders by testing a patients biochemistry and treating it with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. This is done by Mensah Medical, which uses Dr. Walsh’s research as a guide to treatment. I just began that 2 weeks ago.
I also bought a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber and I just started using that every day. It has been shown to be very effective with many conditions including Autism, which is very similar to Misophonia in many ways and has a lot to do with body and brain toxicity and inflammation. The HBOT helps speed up healing in the body and reduces neuroinflammation.
Diet, exercise, avoidance of toxic chemicals and processed foods, Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment, proper sleep and rest, meditation are a major part of my treatment right now. Had I known that Misophonia was mostly a physical body condition I would have begun with my body work and then moved on the fine-tuning brain waves with Neurofeedback. In my case, I should have done this in reverse. The sooner a person addresses these problems, the faster and more easily recovery will be possible. I have so many issues to correct now that I am in my 60s
What led you to holistic approaches?
I have probably answered this question already, but I do believe in treating the whole person, body, mind/brain, and spirit. Everything affects everything else, so it can take a few doctors to correct the many problems that have caused ones case of Misophonia.
Have you had success in lessening triggers?
No, not so far, but I am very hopeful.
What do you believe to be the most important part of alleviating symptoms?
I believe that you have to begin in the gut. Healing and sealing the gut so that undigested foods do not get into the blood stream and get to the brain is a major part of correcting the problem. Avoiding toxic substances in the environment and diet. Getting rest so that the body can heal and repair. That may in most cases be the most important part.
Do you believe your over-all health(illness, fitness, nutrition) has had an impact on your Misophonia?
Excellent question and the answer is unequivocally yes! Poor diet can lead to gut dysbiosis, where the bad bacteria and microbes outnumber the good, and cause excess toxicity in the body. This will cause inflammation in the brain which will give a person sensory problems. It will also lead to poor functioning of all of the bodies systems and organs. The liver and kidneys will not properly remove toxins and the body will not produce adequate neurotransmitters. When the immune, endocrine, and digestive systems are not working well, we have sensory processing problems. The brain will not be able to process all of the sensory data coming in if it is inflamed, toxic and overloaded. It will go into “fight or flight” in this situation, because that it all it knows how to do. The higher cognitive brain tries to make sense of this and comes up with irrational thoughts because it’s confused. It is not rational to have homicidal thoughts about someone you know and may love, just because they are chewing gum in your ear! Poor diet not only puts toxic substances into the body, but it also robs the body of essential nutrients that the body needs to function normally.
What advice would you give a person just discovering the disorder?
My advice would be to begin by reading some books.
“Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride.
“Why isn’t my Brain Working” by Dr. Datis Kharazian. Also his book on the Thyroid, which I believe, plays a big role in many Misophonia cases.
“Healing without Hurting” by Jennifer Giustra-Kozek
“Almost Autism” by Maria Rickert Hong
And look for a good functional medicine doctor. Also look into Mensah Medical and try Bio-chemical therapy.
I really like the Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment, which I think will help me
See if there is a NUCCA Chiropractor in your area and get a couple of corrections.
The books I recommended will give many other good ideas.
At some point you may try Neurofeedback and/or Neurofield.
Whenever possible, avoid processed foods. Eat organic and grass-fed and pastured meats and animal products.
This is not a quick, easy fix! Children should respond more quickly than adults since there is less damage to repair in most cases.
Be very wary of Vaccines for young children. If they already have a compromised immune system and a leaky gut, the neurotoxins in the vaccines can be very detrimental.
And do your homework. Drugs will not heal the body and correct the problem.