It started with the idea, "Is ignorance bliss?" I thought to myself, "Even though I've had misophonia for decades, am I better off now that I know what it is, or was I better before I knew?" That might sound like a stupid question, because ever since I found out I had misophonia, I finally feel like I'm not alone/crazy with my frustrations about certain sounds. The reason why I thought about the question was because before I found out why I was annoyed at whistling, eating noises, etc., I just thought I had sensitive ears. (Small problem.) Now that I know about misophonia, I associate all my visual, tactile, smell and taste annoyances to the condition too and I'm hyper-aware of my environment as a whole. (Bigger problem.) Has the knowledge about misophonia actually added to my stresses?
Which brought me to my next thought... Every now and then I think about what the doctor at the Mayo Clinic said when I went to see if they could help me address my misophonia. That it's a conditional/situational issue, not neurologic, and how he referred me to their mental health group. (I did try to see if there was anyone knowledgeable about the condition in their audiology department before I headed home, but was told there wasn't.) I've had several other doctors since then push the mental health/occupational therapy route as well, which got me thinking about the "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" question... How many times have I read or heard comments about a person's misophonia being aggravated by stress/anxiety/depression/etc. but what about the possibility that a person's misophonia is what caused the stress/anxiety/depression/etc. in the first place? Which came first? The body/mind's stress towards triggers or triggers being created by stress on the body/mind? (I'm more of the belief that the triggers came first.)
The reason why I believe doctors lean towards the latter option with me has to do with my family history. As much as I believe whole-heartedly about providing a doctor as much information as possible about my (and my family's) history to help solve the puzzle about this condition, I've come to the realization that in my case, sometimes being so forthcoming about my family history automatically creates biases that prevent doctors from even remotely considering a physiological cause of misophonia for me. I've hesitated sharing my background here in this forum for a long time but given the second "deep thought" above, I feel like sharing may be a good thing, because it shows how some misophonia sufferers like myself have other hurdles to jump when seeking help from a medical doctor.
To make a long story short: When I was eleven, my father died of a heart attack and my mother committed suicide less than a year later. As soon as doctors hear "suicide" though, they've subconsciously rubber stamped "SUICIDE VICTIM" on my forehead and become biased that my misophonia is a direct result of these tragedies. That I must have some mental issues like my mother did... Never mind the fact that some of my triggers began before either of them passed away. They don't consider the fact that my father's sister and her family took me into their home and showered me with love, support, and encouragement from day one. That I really wasn't close with my mother, so she hardly influenced who I am today. (Heck, my aunt has been a greater influence on my life than my mother ever was.) That I am a true renaissance woman who is a unique combination of techie (computers and other sciences) and creative (sculpture, music, writing, theatrical). That I excelled in school: graduating Cum Laude from Mt. Holyoke College, as well as receiving masters degrees from UPenn and Harvard (I was top of my class in Harvard). That I became a leader in my industry, and even have worldwide notoriety from my professional writings and conference presentations. Haven't doctors ever heard of people getting stronger after major tragedies instead of weaker? Don't doctors realize that there are thousands of misophonia sufferers in the world that never had to deal with the kind of tragedies that I did?
For the most part, I don't tell people about my background because those tragic events are not the focus of who I am today. The last thing I want people to do is to change their demeanor towards me because of the stigma of something my mother did, not me. As far as people are concerned (particularly my coworkers and general acquaintances), my aunt and uncle are my parents and my cousins are my brother and sister. That's the only way that people can understand the true nature of our family dynamic.
It makes me have one more deep thought about my misophonia: Is it better to give full disclosure about a person's FAMILY history when seeking treatment for misophonia or is it sometimes better to provide that information on a "need to know" basis to prevent a snap judgment which may cloud the issue?
I may ponder the above questions for years to come...