Attention and Focus Is Really MY Biggest Problem

Discussion in 'Support' started by linearb, Mar 26, 2015.

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    1. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      A month ago I was completely miserable, all I could think about was the ringing, constantly, obsessively.

      The past couple weeks have been much better; on 'bad' days it's been on my mind maybe 20% of the time, but for most of that time, it's been more like 2%. I woke up yesterday and walked around my apartment in silence doing things for a half hour before I thought to consciously recognize the sounds a single time.

      I don't think that the nature of the sound itself has changed whatsoever in that time. All that has changed is that I've gotten back on track with my meditation/exercise and I've been making sure I sleep 8-10h a night.

      What is simply bonkers to me, is how variable my experience of this condition is. Right now it seems like a quiet little noise at the tippy-top bit of my audio experience, which dissolves almost completely into the sounds of the room once I let my attention expand. But, I know that if I just do nothing but focus on that sound, it will swell and swell until it seems to consume my entire spectrum.

      Anyway, I'm just throwing this out there to state my own personal experience over the past couple months. We have had a lot of discussions on here about "attention" vs "volume". For me, attention is volume. Pure and simple. When I actively monitor the tinnitus perception, my brain allocates more bandwidth to it, it swallows up more and more of the sonic background in my environment, becomes impossible to ignore (and then not ignoring it just cranks it up further and further). It's a feedback loop, and I seem to start winning as soon as I stop playing the little game and just leave the sound alone and let it do its thing.

      The "I can't ignore it, it's too loud!" thinking is something I know and understand all too well - but in moments of clarity, IE, right now, I know it's a sort of ludicrous statement. My entire nervous system is on fire ALL THE TIME. Millions of nerve cells are signaling across hundreds of thousands of miles of synapses. The amount of sensory information which is perceived and then scrapped before it comes to the attention of the conscious mind is absolutely staggering.

      If I attend to, say, the sensation from the bottom of my right foot with HALF the energy I put into tinnitus monitoring sometimes, I quickly realize "ahh, there are too many sensations coming from my foot at all times! I can't turn them off!"

      There is nothing unique about the tinnitus signal in this regard. Any sensory input which is I monitor obsessively will become problematic and seem to become much more significant than it is...
       
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    2. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      For me, luckily volume hasn't been an issue yet. The fact that it exists at all is what upsets me most. I see it as a problem that needs a solution. I went my whole life not knowing people heard sounds in their head, and I thought hearing damage would only make things sound quieter.

      How much attention I give it decides how much trouble it gives me, in the same way you described. It swallows up all my thoughts and perception if I let it. Now I've learned to try and break the cycle before it grows too big.
       
    3. Alex Senkowski
      Tolerant

      Alex Senkowski Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      I know what you mean. Last night I tried to sleep without taking Remeron and I ended getting so nervous about not falling asleep that I made my T louder and had to take the drug anyway.
       
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    4. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      @Alex Senkowski I actually went through the same thing last night, thought I'd be fine without a sleeping pill. I waited like 20 minutes, then noticed I was focusing on T and was worried I wouldn't fall asleep or I'd wake up in the middle of the night. So I just gave in and took one.
       
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