Accepting Tinnitus and Forgiving Yourself?

Discussion in 'Support' started by MattMSP, Nov 23, 2014.

    1. MattMSP

      MattMSP Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      This is my first post on the forum after lurking for quite a while.

      I'm having a hard time forgiving myself for noise induced tinnitus. I've always been very cautious about my ears - wearing earplugs to concerts, movies, mowing the lawn, and even vacuuming. A month ago I went to the shooting range and thought that I had proper hearing protection on, but my tinnitus is now much louder. Perhaps it is a spike but as time passes I'm less hopeful.

      I am angry at myself for going to the range (something I had done before) and ruining my body in a way that at this time has no cure. I haven't been sleeping and have had dark thoughts. The worsening of tinnitus has given me the worst depression and anxiety that I have ever experienced but am afraid to take any SSRI pills for fear of making it worse. I realize accidents happen, but it isn't making things any easier for me :( It is a vicious cycle as I tend to fixate on things

      In Summary, how have you been able to "forgive" yourself?
       
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    2. kmohoruk
      Nerdy

      kmohoruk Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise, Ear Infection, TMJ
      Hello @MattMSP,

      I saw your post on here and felt that I should really chime in here and share my story because our scenarios with tinnitus are very similar.

      Here's my story:

      I've had tinnitus for almost a decade (hissing in both ears) and was totally fine with it after the initial emotion of realizing that this condition that I have wasn't normal (I thought everyone had ringing in their ears and it wasn't until someone pointed it out where I then realized that this condition wasn't normal).

      I was fine until this past summer where just like you, I went out shooting with a female friend (who I had a bit of a thing for) who insisted that wearing shooters ear plugs was enough protection. I had always been very carful with my ears just like you, but in that one moment - I put my trust in someone else and paid a price for it.

      After the incident and when I went to bed that night, I noticed that it sounded like my tinnitus was louder. After that I became very depressed, sad, angry etc... Asking questions like how could I let myself do that, not listen to myself and instead listen to her and her terribly over "manly" father (who famously said, "I don't keep those wussy ear muffs in the house") etc...

      I ended up having to leave my summer job and return home to my parents house to try and recover. During that time I also developed hyperacusis (sound sensitivity - mine is with sounds of higher frequencies), and had another set back due to a car horn in the early fall which introduced a new ringing sound to my normally hissing tinnitus. I tried going back to school but couldn't, so I am now recovering back at home.

      Now the positive part :)

      Once I got back to my house, I would have many "bad ear days" and very few good ones. The thoughts of the future really scared me.

      But once I started to calm down and look at my life and realize that I'm still very lucky to have a wonderful girlfriend, friends and an awesome family who have been supporting me through all this. Once I started finding these positives it allowed me to relax a bit - to the point where it seems that my hyperacusis has let up a bit, and high frequencies started to bother me a little less.

      I remember hearing a good quote that @Dr. Nagler said on this forum that really started to help me let go of some of these feelings. It essentially said (I am paraphrasing here, so I apologize if it's a little off):

      "We can spend all the time in the world trying to figure out what caused/made our tinnitus worse, but at the end of the day it really isn't that productive."

      Once I read that, I realized that he was right and I started to try and get back out in the world a bit. I never really use ear plugs in real life situations (unless the situation requires it). I try to re enforce my mind with positive feedback (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and try and get my mind out of the "How could I let this happen to myself", and in turn turn it into "I'm really glad that this isn't something more serious," "I am really thankful for the people that I have in my life," "I so stoked to be able to go out on this awesome jog and take in the fall weather."

      Where I am now:

      I am currently still seeking out treatment here in Canada (it's taken 5 months but I will FINALLY be able to have my hyperacusis evaluated in the next week or so). But for me it's the hyperacusis and NOT the tinnitus that I'm really having issues with. Once I find out where I stand in regards to my hyperacusis (and seek appropriate therapy), then I feel I will be able to get out in the world again, with the goal of returning back to school in Fall 2015 and finish my diploma! :)

      Do I still have some grumpy days? Yes of course - But I'm working at it. But I have WAY MORE "good ear days" then "bad ear days" (mine are more due to the fact that I'm a bit grounded right now and don't have my car). I have also made a lot of progress. I sleep every night with no masking and haven't used any sleep aids in 2 months.

      I would say that if you're having issues with guilt, frustration or anger then it may be worth it to talk with a councillor (especially if it's one that knows how to talk with people who have tinnitus). Maybe also look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well. Do you have any one that you're able to talk with right now regarding your tinnitus? Liike family or friends?

      I just want to reinforce that I was where you were before (not sleeping/eating, lost weight, nervous/guilt ridden wreck, thoughts of suicide), but am much better a couple months later. While I am not there yet (and still have some ways to go), time really does help heal.

      I hope this helped a bit.
       
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    3. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise, whiplash; 08/20 H
      I think that emotions of regret, sadness, bitterness, and pain are all normal when you get tinnitus or hyperacusis. It's not a very talked about issue in society, so naturally we were uneducated before our onset and would blast our headphones, go to concerts without hearing protection, use power tools without protection, etc. These are emotions I'm still dealing with myself after giving myself hyperacusis from headphones (I was already habituated to the tinnitus), but I try to tell myself that I didn't know any better because society downplays the importance of hearing protection.

      I'm curious as to where other people are at mentally with these conditions.

      edit: Thanks for booting my thread guys.
       
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    4. TrevorSanders

      TrevorSanders Member

      Location:
      Ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure/Ototoxic Medication
      I’ve forgiven myself. As you said, we weren’t educated on the repercussions of loud sounds. Living in the present is our only option.
       
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    5. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      Some of us are way more at fault of causing this on ourselves than others. I am one of those at great fault.

      I will probably never forgive myself fully. But I AM more forgiving of myself now than I was 3½ years ago when this started. Still the regret is very much inside me, and I still fairly often (like maybe 2-3 times a month) wish deeply that I could go back and change my actions and have thoughts about how much better my life would have turned out, if I hadn't been so abusive of my ears. Thankfully I don't fall into thise state of mind too often. Not as much as in the first 1-2 years with this.
       
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    6. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I deeply blame myself. Although I did not go to concerts and have lived my last years very uneventfully due to my other kind of struggles, I overused earbuds. I dealt with circumstances (loud neighbours, roommates, depression) in which it seemed logical, but nobody put a gun to my head to do so. If I could turn back time, I would.
      But hearing protection was not big in my community. I've never seen anybody using earplugs/muffs to concerts, mowing the lawn, using power tools. Never.

      I discovered earplugs and used them for studying, but not for the hearing protection, just in order to keep the noise from the rumbling upstairs kids away and companied it with headphones over them (I'm so stupid, I know.)

      I'm bitter right now, because 4 years ago, when I first got buzzing/humming (off/on since then) in my ears I went to an ENT and if he had dedicated more than 5 minutes to testing and educated me a bit more than the usual "get used to it, just a noise" about noise exposure and consequences, I may not be so screwed right now. Again, mainly my fault, I could have been more proactive, but hearing professionals were not much of a help either.
       
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