A Theory About My Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Off-Kilter, Apr 13, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Off-Kilter
      Artistic

      Off-Kilter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Now, I'm sure that this theory isn't original, and I'm also sure that every smartass who gets tinnitus comes up with some Grand Theory of Tinnitus that will lead to a solution.

      But I've thought for a long time about how I think about tinnitus. I've noticed how I think about tinnitus with and without masking, with and without stress, etc.

      I've come to the conclusion that both before and after "getting" tinnitus, I can only think about one thing at a time. When I say that I am thinking about more than one thing, I actually mean that I am quickly switching between things.

      This was hard to believe at first, but when I really paid attention to my thoughts, I never saw anything to contradict this. I've never been thinking about something not related to tinnitus, and also thinking about tinnitus, at exactly the same moment.

      So the tinnitus isn't the problem, the only problem is the mechanism that "moves" ,my thoughts from one target to another. It is a huge problem, but that's where the problem is!

      So, why do I have a mechanism that constantly moves my thoughts onto tinnitus, when that is the worst thing I could possibly do? What purpose does this mechanism have? Why is it reinforced?

      I have decided that there is only one possible theory: I am addicted to being unhappy. Never mind the tinnitus. I'm an unhappiness junkie. I've lived in unhappiness for so long that I crave it.
       
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    2. Path Maker

      Path Maker Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      Awesome insight. Now it's time to come fully through that state and have a visit or two or three or ten thousand with the concept that you both deserve and can get used to being happy. And I do mean, "getting used to," for it will actually seem strange and foreign at first, making you want to run in reverse to your unhappy "comfort zone"! But ... be gentle with yourself, and gently take your own hand and guide yourself back toward the light each time. You will not only get there, you will become used to HAPPINESS as your accustomed natural state. Go for it! :)
       
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    3. i.m
      Anime

      i.m Member

      Location:
      The "Lack of English" Land: Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      18/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      For me: Aspartame Poisoning. For Ent: L: TMJD / R: Dunno
      It's because you are in the fight or flight mode, so yuor brain is worried about this sound, and it is continuously monitoring it. The brain itself, after some time, will recognize that this sound is not a danger and it will be fading from our consciousness; this process is called "habituation". It's not being unhappy, it's all about our brain being worried :)
       
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    4. Off-Kilter
      Artistic

      Off-Kilter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I don't believe that is true in my case. That theory makes perfect sense, and it seems that very intelligent people believe it and use it as the basis of medical advice.

      I guess I am now officially a crackpot. But I don't believe that my brain is worried about the sound, at all. My brain wants to hear the sound. It's not a misfiring of my survival system, it's a correct firing of my reward system.

      You see, I've been like this for over a decade, starting well before my tinnitus obsession. It's just been one thing after another. "I" (in my most thoughtful state) want something different from what my brain wants. I want to live. My brain wants me to die. It's strange.
       
    5. i.m
      Anime

      i.m Member

      Location:
      The "Lack of English" Land: Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      18/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      For me: Aspartame Poisoning. For Ent: L: TMJD / R: Dunno
      @Off-Kilter i think that yours is some kind of psychologic issue, since every brain ( even yours ) habituate to the T. Maybe it's hard to believe and it needs time, but it works in that way, intelligent or stupid people whatsoever ;)
       
    6. Off-Kilter
      Artistic

      Off-Kilter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      My theory is that all of that is backwards. Everything for me is the exact opposite of the standard way of describing tinnitus.

      In fact, since it's an "exact opposite", maybe it ends up meaning the same thing. ;)

      I would say that I have to "unhabituate". The habit is to constantly move thoughts onto the tinnitus, and thus unleash a whole lot of negative thoughts that my brain wants to have. That, for me, is normal. It's my comfort zone, as Path Maker said.

      I need to stop "getting used to" tinnitus. I need to see it as something that should be avoided.
       
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    7. Mario martz
      Creative

      Mario martz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      this is something im actually working in therapy, i as well been addicted my whole life to feeling unwell no matter what.
      a few days before "contracting t" i was convinced that i ws going to have a heart condition, i was living in panic and terror, checking my pulse every 5 minutes (im not kidding haha) and this lasted from july 2015 to feb 2016, i dont wanna lie to you ... i was even avoiding getting out of my bed to work, because i didnt want my heart to race a little, lol... then i get over it for 2 weeks... and i started to enjoy my life and then Tinnitus appeard....
      coincidence? well.. i guess i told my mind for a few months that i dont deserve happines, that i was having something weird in my body... and you know what they said.. the universe gives you what you believe the most.

      so right now im focusing in enjoy my day no matter what, not even this noise cant stop me from loving, enjoying and make every day count :)
       
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    8. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Personal opinion:

      I think that "being unhappy," as @Off-Kilter is calling it, is similar to what psychologists call "catastrophic thinking:" worrying about everything, being convinced things will never change or get worse, that you never will be able to climb out of this downward spiral.

      Catastrophic thinking is a hallmark of anxiety mood disorders, like GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). And I think many people agree that anxiety and tinnitus can go hand in hand.

      For many people (including me), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reboot your thought process so you can shut down the anxiety spiral. Although gotta tell you, even though my CBT was immensely helpful, I still have my moments. Right now my husband and I are struggling with a new dog, a 3-year-old rescue, so sweet -- but, it turns out, with an incredible amount of baggage, including severe separation anxiety. I find my own anxiety is going through the roof, as I can only envision negative outcomes. But I am working on it!
       
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    9. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Hey I can relate to a lot of what you're saying here, and before I had tinnitus significantly, I struggled with constant obsession on a number of other sensory related health concerns.

      So... Different people have "different kinds" of tinnitus related distress. I can relate to yours very well. I have a friend with significant tinnitus who seems to have no distress at all...
       
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    10. Path Maker

      Path Maker Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      @LadyDi Hang in there with your sweet rescue dog! Three years ago I adopted a rescue kitty who was literally shaking all over when I brought him home, and he shook even in his sleep for well over the first year, even though it is quiet and peaceful here and I am gentle and soft with animals. He would get close, back off, and repeat these cycles. At times, this caused me lots of anxiety because it was so frustrating to have a pet constantly running away from me. I also had/have another cat here when I adopted the terrified one. I actually adopted the scared one BECAUSE he was so scared. He had languished in his cage at the rescue for six months and nobody was adopting him. Well, it's three years later and he is now a kitty overflowing with confidence and joy and love. He is still ever-so-slightly skittish, but if you just give him that three extra seconds he needs when you approach him, he fixes it himself inside and tells himself he is safe and then HE comes to me. I carry him in my arms all the time and he just graduated from sleeping at the foot of the bed to coming up by my head at night and curling up into my arms.

      What I'm saying is that you can envision positive outcomes. In fact, just by holding the positive outcome in mind, that will communicate those feelings to the dog on a subtle and overt level. He will absorb your positivity, even though at first he is not ready/able to just suddenly change.

      I also adopted a third cat eight months ago and we have been undergoing some issues with cats being jealous/swiping at each other/one left out while the other two bond/etc. It has been upsetting to me and I suddenly realized that my being upset and reacting that way a bit was not setting the tone any better here.

      So last week I switched to the "trust in time" function in my brain. I told myself and the cats that we are all going to be one big happy family and that all three of them are going to be pals together.

      And just by holding that intention, things are changing! The one who usually swipes at the other did not do that this morning, and a few days ago, I walked into a room to see all three laying on the bed in a big circle, facing each other.

      It's a start!

      You and your dog are at the beginning of an amazing healing journey. In a year or two, you will look back and say, "Wow!!!" :)
       
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    11. Off-Kilter
      Artistic

      Off-Kilter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Here is a thought experiment that I have often considered:

      Imagine that one day, everything you see is slightly shaded red. You go to the doctor, and he tells you that there is no cure, that everything you see will be just a little bit more red-shaded than it should be, for the rest of your life.

      Is this a perfect metaphor for tinnitus? If so, why do I imagine that tinnitus is "worse" than this?
       
    12. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      when I had my initial onset of tinnitus I also became aware of visual processing problems which, on the whole, are not entirely dissimilar to "everything a bit more red-shaded" (though more like 'visual snow'). In the beginning I found the visual stuff at least as distressing.
       
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    13. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      @Path Maker, your response brought tears to my eyes. I don't want to hijack this thread -- but I did want to thank you. It gave me hope that things will get better for us. I have been so despondent, Howard is such a sweet dog and can't help his behaviors, which came through bad experiences with other humans. You're right, he needs my positive energy, not my worry. I will try to trust in time.

      Bless you for your love of animals, and for reaching out to me. I'll PM you and let you know how it goes.
       
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    14. Path Maker

      Path Maker Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      @LadyDi Definitely let me know how it goes, even all along the way! I am not sure how the private messaging works on this forum? But you are welcome to message me! If for some reason I don't get the message (I would respond right away), then please tag me in this thread and we can figure it out. There were MANY times during my first rough year or so with my kitty that I seriously wondered about ways to re-home him, etc. (even while deep down resisting that - my thoughts were truly reactions to the level of stress we had!). Of course I never would and never did but I just want you to know that that's how hard it was, until, it wasn't! I have three beautiful boy kitties here who are all becoming more and more of a rough-and-tumble bunch of loving brothers. We surely had some growing pains. I am so blessed and lucky to have them and learned a lot about myself while going through the rough times with them. You will too, with Howard! Celebrate every little moment of growth and the long term results will take care of themselves. Looking forward to hearing about it! :) :) :)
       

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