For the past four years, for the most part I’ve been living in the shadow of misophonia, I almost forgot I have an anxiety disorder. Almost every day has been controlled by its grasp. Of course, this leads to feeling anxious, sick, and combatting other extremities like migraines. What I didn’t realize is that when I moved away from my triggers (this has happened twice in the past year), that I would sometimes feel worse and not better.
The reason for this is that I’ve had an anxiety disorder since I was 7 years old. My first panic attack was when I was 15 in gym class and I have been battling this longer than I have ever battled misophonia (for reference, I was 19). For people with anxiety disorders, you might notice that when you’re no longer surrounded by triggers – your anxiety disorder (if you have one) gets worse. For me, I’ve been realizing that just because I am in a better situation with fewer triggers, this doesn’t mean that my mental health journey is over.
I’ve been practically obsessing over things I can’t control. To tell you the truth, my misophonia was so bad that I actually kind of forgot what general anxiety is like. Let me tell you – it’s not fun either. This has been a great period of reflection and every day I’m having to learn to manage the new world that surrounds me. Just because the triggers aren’t as present, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have other problems to deal with.
Misophonia is hard to live with, but so is anxiety.
It’s important that we realize our mental health (and neurological) is not some isolated case. There are so many things going on in our brains that require TLC and while one problem might overshadow another, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be thinking about our entire brain and how to best go forward. I’ve started drinking more water and exercising, and while I don’t notice the full effects yet, I’m hoping that as time goes by I can find better (healthier) ways to manage my anxiety. I also have depression but lately that hasn’t been my focus. However, I do notice that if one thing gets set off, I’m way more likely to have problems with another.
Mental health is like walking on a balance beam. The important thing to realize is that we’re not alone on this journey and unlike physical ailments you can’t simply put it in a cast and wait for it to heal. Mental health takes effort every day to ensure that you’re living your best life… and sometimes it’s tiring. If you’re struggling with mental illness atop of misophonia, I want you to know that you’re not alone. We’re all on this ride together!