Cycling Between "Okay" and "Hell"?

Discussion in 'Support' started by linearb, Feb 3, 2015.

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    1. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Eight weeks ago I had a day where I realized, at ~5pm, I hadn't thought about my T consciously at all that day despite waking up at 9 and doing lots of things all day, some in relative quiet.

      Today I am obsessed with the horrible, relentless, painfully high pitched shrieking in my head.

      I don't believe that the sound is any "louder" now, but it's like the signal has more bandwidth. Like I am giving the signal more bandwidth, because I'm back in total panic mode.

      This is at least the third or fourth time that I've gone back and forth like this in as many years. There are complicating issues (long history of anxiety, basically).

      I need to hear that I'm not alone. I need to hear that other people experience these cycles in the same way. I see so many stories where people seem to simply get better and stop posting, and that's not what this has been like for me. If you look at my post history on the boards I've been on over the years, you see clusters of panicked posts, followed by lulls where I stop posting at all.

      If you can relate and have any comfort to offer, it would mean a lot to me. I am in a dark, dark place.

      If you have experienced this back and forth endlessness and found a way to step off the merry go round and actually remain stable for any period of time, I'd love to know what your path was. I'm sure that many are going to suggest therapy, which I'm certainly familiar with.
       
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    2. Jesse Pinkman

      Jesse Pinkman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      Depression makes T harder to deal with. And T makes depression harder to deal with. Not a good combo
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      I can relate to your 'bandwidth' term about T perception. It can fluctuate based on the mental state. Let me explain.

      I have ultra high pitch T and severe H which turned my good life into 'hell' some 6 years ago. My H has faded long ago but the loud high pitch dog whistle T remains. However my body and nerve have hardened to the mad scream and I don't give a dime to it high or low. You can say I have habituated. But about a few months ago, I have a recurrence of anxiety and panic disorder which I had suffered for decades on and off prior to T. During the onset of T & H 6 years ago, they literally opened the floodgate of hell of relentless A & P attacks and no amount of will power could stop these attacks except by using heavy meds. When the body was under so much fear and stress and the nerves being under the limbic system, my perception of T loudness and harshness was way more than it should be and I suffered.

      But given a few years, I habituate to T and my nerves are back to normal. I could tolerate really loud scream of T without any reaction and I could ignore it literally most of the time. However, during the recurrence of the anxiety and panic attacks a few months ago, though for reasons unrelated to T, my nerves were back to the limbic state and my ability to handle stress much weakened. As a result, that darn T became much harsher and louder and my brain was paying attention to it more. There were moments I began to doubt if my habituation to T was complete. Amazing what game or trick the brain can play on us based on our mental state.

      Luckily this time around, I held my ground. I just let those scary & catastrophic thoughts be around but didn't react negatively much. I also told the T bully to shut its mouth up because I won't react whatever it does. Instead of worrying about T this and that, I just focused on enjoying life regardless of T and panic attacks. Living life abundantly and enjoyably regardless of T is my new motto and I literally went on a cruise and a trip to Asia during those few weeks when I was on meds to control the A & P attacks. T screamed so loud that I could hear it during the flights on those trips even above the jet noise. I also went winter steelhead fishing regardless, and T could be heard above the sounds of raging rapids around me in our wild Canadian steelhead rivers. If it were a few years back, I would have caved into a mess by such level of ringing. No longer. I now learn many new techniques or strategies to combat these demons, things like CBT, mindfulness meditation, abdominal breathing, etc. etc. I learn to refute the lies of the T bully and won't react to it. T no longer has the same tyranny over me this time around. In a few short weeks, my anxiety & panic symptoms were over and the nerves exit from the limbic state back to the parasympathetic nerves, and now the brain doesn't give a dime to T high or low like before the panic recurrence. Now I truly understand how stress and our nervous state can affect our T perception. So now when T spikes, instead of staying home worrying and monitoring like before, I would be heading out of the door enjoying my life. T can go to hell while I enjoy a little bit of earthly heaven.
       
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    4. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Oh my goodness billie, I relate to all of that and it makes me feel better just to read it.

      You make it sound like your anxiety made the T spike really badly, but that it's better now.. is that right? It's so crazy to me how my mental state can literally make the sound louder and more painful. I've had enough bizarre experiences and drug trips that I should understand how malleable and relative everything is, but it's still maddening when it bashes me in the face.

      If you're doing better now, which it sounds like you are, do you think that you could be on the same plane and not hear the tinnitus over the jet noises? Why do you think that is? I believe it's true, but it just seems... magical, almost.
       
    5. valeri

      valeri Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2011
    6. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Remember my baseline is ultra high pitch dog whistle T. I am typing now on my PC which is playing the sound of crashing waves using 'aire freshener' sound generator. I can hear my T distinctly above the waves sound. The dog whistle is packed with so much condensed energy like a laser beam in the night sky, cutting through most sounds which are not as 'condensed' in the sound notes. Do I need masking now? No. I don't panic with the dog whistle screaming, but why keep hearing such a monotonous shrill of a sound when I can listen to soothing nature sounds, even if it is only partially masking the dog whistle. In a moment after I am not focusing on T as is now, my brain will fade this ringing out of consciousness when I get busy again. If you call this my baseline, then this is it. When I was in those flights, the limbic nerve was suggesting the catastrophic thoughts like 'your situation could get worse and no meds can save you' or 'can this T go beyond my human ability to handle?'. The trouble with the limbic state of nerve is that when the thoughts come, the body react and the will power can't do much to stop it. Also every sensation seems amplified because the body is on high alert for these 'threatening' sensations which include the mad screaming of a T ringing with a pitch like 10 times the pitch of a dentist drill. Perhaps my T is the same, but I tell you during those few weeks of high strung nerve with sleeplessness, T sounded like so much more than it is. I won't know if I can hear the T on the next flight. I will know when the time comes. Let's just say I won't let T dictate my life nor the quality of it. Tomorrow I have a day off, and whatever T wants to do then, the hell with it. Off the door I will go for another great fishing trip.
       
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    7. Geo

      Geo Member Benefactor

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      @billie48 i feel like i have the same pitch as you but mine keeps spiking..everywhere i go even with plugs even places that arent loud my doc said its because he thinks my nerves are too damaged..but im not sure these past two months have been hell because it has spiked at least 15 times and i am not joking it went from barely hearing it over tv in november to screaching over tv now...and i only had it on my left for two years and it jumped to the right but its jumping to quickly ike it wants to catch up to the left or something.. its hard to cope with both now since i got use to one only and the daily spike it doesnt matter if its outside or inside..my brother coughed next to me the other day and it spiked..cant catch a break and it spiked today as well
       
    8. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Ya, I had similar experience. Back then many of us new members called this condition 'sound-reactive T'. LOL. It ended up many of us were tip-toeing around the things we do and places we go. It is very annoying and anxious for sure. One thing I have learned about T all this years is its unpredictability. We spent so much energy trying to figure a logic or rhythm about T and mostly fail. It is a moody alien inhibiting a corner in our brain. I gave up trying to figure this out and I think it helps me when I stop worrying what can make my T worse.

      I think you need to check with your ENTs about your condition. Try ask the doctors here about your condition, especially with Dr. Charlie who has hyperacusis.
       
    9. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I just don't know what to do, how to hang on.

      I just woke up from fitful sleep, featuring a dream where my ringing was screaming out in my ears and I was on the floor at my parents house, begging them to let me kill myself to get away from the noise.

      I don't understand. Two months ago I basically felt fine and thought I was well on my way to habituation (again).

      I don't know what to do. I am barely holding my life together. Granted, my life is stressful, my job is demanding, but somehow I don't think losing that and then having an extra forty hours a week to literally do nothing except ruminate, is going to help.
       
    10. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
    11. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I've been trying hard to use your technique over the last week or two, but I just end up thinking an absolute constant stream of "I hear it and I am afraid, I hear it and I am frustrated, I hear it and I am sad, I hear it and I am afraid". Any suggestions?
       
    12. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Good, stick with it. Ya, I have a suggestion.
      Start to measure your responses. Just like we used to measure our T, by comparing it to T earlier in the day or the day before, etc..
      I remember in the first few days and weeks of doing this technique, my words were, "I hear it, but it's not as "?" as yesterday (Tuesday..whatever). So throw in that 'measurement' and see what happens. But please keep at it. This is real.
       
    13. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      People with anxiety and panic disorder can have recurring episodes of these attacks on and off. I used to suffer months and months filled with anxiety and have phobia non-stop and only meds could help relieve some symptoms. But after learning some techniques and concepts in CBT, such as avoiding cognitive distortions and countering them whenever those thoughts come, I can now get better much faster. It is too long to discus CBT here but you can research on that and please read up Dr. Nagler's Letter to a Tinnitus Sufferer as in here:
      http://www.ata.org/nagler-letter-to-tinnitus-sufferer

      I think your problem now is not about T, but you are in an anxiety and panic loop right now. The problem with GAD is that it sometimes tries to seize onto something and create such a phobia of it, and T is a convenient thing for that phobia to snatch on. If you don't have T, the GAD may find another thing to cause you phobic reaction. Your limbic nerve is causing you to treat the phobic object (in this case the T) as a threat and so it zooms on it which in turn causes you to fear your T more. You know this is a 'bloody' lie by the T bully to perpetuate the anxiety/phobia loop. The way to break this cycle is try to distract your brain with things you like to do. Acceptance is key to breaking the vicious cycle of anxiety. You may want to research on the Mindfulness technique which can allow the brain to open up and learn to accept discomfort, fear, anxiety and even pain. Google it or search youtube and try practice the techniques. Dr. Charlie also talks about his ART technique as well as EFT technique which are for anxiety relief. You can find out EFT on youtube. The objective of these is to interrupt the panicky nerve and rewire the neural network so that you are not as afraid.

      IWLM's invitation for you to read his success story is great. Also pay attention Silvine's contributions there to explain how the brain works and how doing some of the techniques can help rewire the neural network. Give the technique some time to work. Perseverance and patience plus acceptance will help you. Besides, you need to give it time for your panic nerve to get back to the normal parasympathetic nervous system. Try to relax as much as you can and do something interesting. Don't focus on your T. It is not the real problem. It is the anxiety. Deal with the anxiety first. Then perhaps you will feel much better.
       
    14. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Thank you very much, again. I think you nailed it for me.

      Before I had the T, I struggled for several years with a fixation on an unpleasant sensation from my throat ("globus sensation", which turned out to be "hyoid disorder"). Anyway, the feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, fixation and panic which I had about that problem, are the same feelings I'm dealing with now. So you are right, I am stuck in a loop, and as long as I'm in that loop, even if you could take my tinnitus away overnight I'd probably end up right back here.

      That doesn't mean that the tinnitus isn't an issue that I'd have to deal with even if you could take the panic away overnight, but, I do know that as little as 8 weeks ago I really believed I wasn't bothered by the T - which makes me think that just maybe the anxiety itself is the bigger problem. The elephant in the room, as it were.
       
    15. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      this is too weird not to post; take this as you will.

      In addition to the worse ringing and terrible anxiety, I was having some other problems (dry skin, itchiness, GI symptoms that are a little too gross to get in to) - and googling all that stuff led me (again) to people talking about "yeast" problems. I am skeptical on that because there's so much bad information and pseudoscience nonsense around "candida" on the internet... but I was desperate and curious, so for the past week and a half I've been taking:
      * apple cider vinegar 1tbsp 2x/day
      * "yeast cleanse" herbal capsules (amazon)
      * folic acid
      * sublingual B-12

      Not only has there been an obvious, night-and-day difference in my various skin/GI complaints... the ringing is quieter than it's been in months. I'm not just talking attention/distraction... I try not to think about volume because I think it's usually counterproductive, but, my minimum masking level right now is clearly much lower than 2 weeks ago. The sound is still there, I can hear it in a quiet room or if I look for it carefully, but it's "stable" in that I'm not getting the intermittent louder blasts of high frequency shifting which I'd been getting constantly for weeks.

      Correlation is not causation, and it's totally possible this is a cosmic coincidence... but it makes me say "hmm!", especially after finding at least a couple reports of people saying the same thing, right down to the ringing.
       
    16. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      like, when I say "better" -- I've slept without a fan for the last two nights. That hasn't happened in years.
       

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