One nice thing about being a person with mental health issues in this day and age is that there is a lot less stigma about mental illness, and a lot more sympathy and understanding for those of us who live with and struggle with these conditions daily.
In my last post I shared that, currently, Misophonia is not actually considered a psychiatric disorder. Well, I consider it one. Too bad I don’t have any credentials! Honestly, though… the way my Misophonia feels, the way it dominates my mind and my body so completely, I just really don’t know how else to categorize or define it. How about I describe my Misophonia, and you tell me what you think?
“A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.”
My Misophonia touches every moment of my day, from the instant I wake up, to when I eventually fall asleep at night. Technically, what actually occurs is the hearing of a sound – I’ll list the sounds that most trigger me most at some point – that for whatever reason my brain perceives as some kind of enemy. It varies, as there are many factors involved (including my mood at the time), but usually when my mind absorbs this enemy sound, it AND my body simultaneously react, and in a negative way. The aspect of Misophonia that I find the most distressing, other than its ability to ruin my life with so little effort, is that when I use the word negative, I probably should use the word violent.
A lot of people, when they talk about Misophonia, mention one particular triggering sound which I think most people can understand, and that is the sound of people chewing, or really, any kind of eating-related sounds. For those without Misophonia, finding themselves sitting next to a coworker who is slurping their soup might make them a little disgusted with the slurper’s table manners, and the sound might irritate them, but when the soup is gone, so is the irritation. Well, if I were sitting next to someone slurping their soup, things would not go so easily.
Physically, my heart would immediately start beating faster and harder. My chest tightens, like someone has wrapped their fingers around my ribcage and is squeezing their grip. My face starts feeling hot. Sometimes, my face feels so hot that tears start prickling in the outer corners of my eyes.
Inside my head? Well, this is where things can get a little hairy. First, there is an initial annoyance, and I review my options. Sometimes, simply removing myself from the setting is a possibility and I can easily excuse myself. But, there are occasions where that is impossible, and realizing that I’m “trapped” in a situation increases my anxiety tenfold. That’s when the anger floods my body with a river of heat that fills every limb, every pore, every cell of my physical self. Along with the anger is a bit of despair, as well. Nobody wants to feel the way this feels, and “this isn’t fair” is a common refrain.
Now, if I remain stuck next to the soup slurper, my anger will continue to escalate, until, if I still haven’t been able to escape, the anger turns into rage. And, with rage comes the scary part – the violence. Thankfully I have never found myself driven to physically hurt someone, but the fantasies of doing so… oh, they are something else entirely.
So, does that sound like something that might under the umbrella of mental illness?