In recent years, I've become uncomfortable around large dogs. I'm not afraid of dogs, and little dogs don't bother me. (My family used to have terriers and I've had no problem playing with my friends' little dogs.) It didn't even phase me when my office had "Bring your dog to work day" since most of the dogs were fairly small and pretty much avoided my desk area. In recent visits home though, I've found myself overwhelmed by larger dogs. As a result, I know that some people in my family think I hate dogs. Needless to say, coming from a family of dog lovers, it's not something about which I'm happy, especially when it's announced that "Emlyn hates dogs."
You may be wondering what this all has to do with my misophonia. In earlier posts I mentioned that my triggers aren't limited to sound. Sound is certainly the biggest source of my triggers, only slightly greater than visual triggers, but tactile triggers are a close third. When I feel the vibrations of people resting their feet on the chair on which I'm sitting, I react by scooting my chair further away from them. Sitting on a bus, I'm always annoyed when a person's coat or bag touches my leg. Even the feel of certain fabrics against my skin aggrevate me.
So, this morning as I laid in my bed reflecting on years past and the many exciting happinings that I already have planned for the new year, a thought occurred to me about my discomfort with dogs. I don't hate dogs. I am just extremely uncomfortable by many of the tactile sensations I experience with larger dogs - like them licking me, drooling on me, putting their wet nose against my skin, jamming their nose up my crotch, or jumping on me with their full weight. Yes, I understand that's dogs way of showing affection, but I don't like those sensations. They annoy the heck out of me and when I can't get dogs to stop, even by pushing them away, I usually just get up and remove myself from them altogether. (Very much like my reaction to sound and visual triggers.) The only time little dogs lick me is if I hold out my hand to let them know I'm friendly and they're not very slobbery. They don't shove their nose up my crotch either (and size isn't the issue when we're both on the same couch). Larger dogs seem to want to express their affection to me, maybe as a new person to get to know, and as much as I wish it didn't bother me, their means of affection really make me uncomfortable. Even now my skin is crawling from remembering those tactile sensations.
Maybe it is related to misophonia, and maybe it isn't. I'm sure not many people enjoy having a dog's snout jammed in their crotch, but even putting that experience aside... Knowing that many of my misophonia triggers are tactile and that I do enjoy playing with little dogs, it may not be such a far fetched idea either.
I'm sure the more I learn about misophonia and apply that information to my past, I'm sure I'll discover other connections. Hopefully, this coming year I'll be able to get closer to finding some relief from the syndrome too - or at least promote more awareness about the condition to inspire some doctors/researchers to investigate it further. I'm especially looking forward to meeting with the Neuro-Otologist tomorrow. It will be very interesting to hear what someone who specializes in both the ear and the brain has to say about misophonia. (I'm told that he's seen other patients with it before, which is promising.)