Feels Like Everything Is Falling Apart — How Can I Forgive Myself for Being So Stupid?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by SimonRK, Sep 1, 2017.

    1. SimonRK
      Procrastinating

      SimonRK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Problematic since 7/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud earbuds
      Hi everyone. I've been reading (mostly success stories) on this forum every day for the past month or so. I think I know what kind of answers to expect, but maybe it will have another effect knowing that it is directed at me personally.

      I'm currently 21 years old and was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and GAD about 6 years ago. I was put on Sertraline (an SSRI) and was able to live a very normal life. Around march this year, everything seemed to be going well - I had started second year of university with excellent results so far, so I decided now was the time to start tapering off the SSRI. I didn't want to be on it for the rest of my life. No problem there, a slow taper and I was drug free with no problems for the next four months.

      Then at the end of july something happened. The last few years, I have been using earbuds a lot, many hours a day. I liked the way they allowed me to isolated myself from the outside when I needed it, and I don't want to bother my family (I live at home) with the things I listen to. But the real problem, I believe, is that I used them when playing video games as well. (Apple's earbuds are quite loud when plugged into a PC, but I didn't think much of it - if the computer says I am at a low % volume, how bad can it be? I should have listened to my ears and I know I'm stupid for not doing so.) My family was on vacation for a week, so I stopped using earbuds. Only a few days went by before I noticed a high pitch ringing when sitting and reading a book in silence, and I immediately knew something was wrong. I've been able to hear a hum when going to sleep for as long as I remember, but it has never bothered me during the daytime and it never had such an annoying tone. I though it was a normal "sound of silence". Now, after becoming aware that something is wrong, I can hear it everywhere. And it is feels so loud now, like my mind has been repressing a lot of the sound for a long time, and it just got too loud to ignore.

      Looking back, there were signs that something was slowly getting worse. For example, I remember giving up on wearing earplugs when trying to sleep during my brother's house party last year because I though the ringing was too annoying. Why didn't I react then? I don't know, I guess I put it down to a long loud day. I also remember hearing something on many occacions when going into a silent room, but I didn't think anything of it. The fact that this has probably been getting worse for years is part of what makes my stupidity so hard to accept.

      I immediately went to the ENT. No hearing loss in the normal range. The first week was bad, but it has only gotten worse. I keep blaming myself for getting tinnitus in such a stupid way. I've only been to one quiet concert in my life and never a loud party. This happened because I got used to loud noise while on the computer. My psychiatrist's hypothesis is that this noise has always been there, and that I will handle it better when back on Sertraline. I probably will, but I know that the sound itself has gotten worse, and it will be hard for me to adjust. Maybe being on an antidepressant made me less careful, I don't know, but I can't just blame my medication. The first week was bad, but it has only gotten worse since. A month later I can't function at all. I can barely get myself to eat, and I only rest when I am asleep. I know that my phsycological conditions make it harder for me to cope, but I also keep blaming myself for what feels like ruining my life. I know that I can't adapt to this until I accept it and forgive myself, but I feel so bad whenever I think about myself subjecting my ears to loud noise for years.

      I know how stupid I've been. You don't need to tell me to stop using earbuds etc., I will never use headphones of any kind again and will never attend a loud event without protection. But right now it doesn't feel like I will ever be able to enjoy anything again. I am so scared that I can't adapt to this and that it will get worse (much worse considering my age), and I am so angry with myself it makes me nauseous. I know that I lack willpower and coping resources and generally have a weak personality, but that is why I need someone to tell me that I will get through this. I don't have much hope for the tinnitus itself improving since this is probably a lot of cumulative damage finally making itself heard. I have never felt this bad my entire life. Sorry for the long post, but I had a lot to get out and I thought I should be honest about my conditions even though the noise I hear is real enough. And yes, I am back on Sertraline, but it will probably take a little while to kick in. I hope I will be able to see things clearer then, but right now it doesn't feel that way.
       
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    2. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      It was a lot of cumulative damage over the years that got your T to the point where you were not really bothered by it. The last straw noise made your T so loud that you couldn't ignore it any longer. You are young and your body ought to be resilient. I think there is a very reasonable chance that your body will heal and get you to the point you were at before you began being bothered by your T. All you need is to be patient (ears take forever to heal) and to protect your ears. Your recovery might take 3-6-12-18-24 months, though. It won't happen overnight.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that even in the worst case scenario of your T not going away, the T you will end up with in the long run will most likely be different than the T you are hearing now. The pitch will be more bearable. You will also habituate.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    3. glynis
      Feminine

      glynis Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Welcome to Tinnitus Talk.
      I have just read your story and can see your full of blame regarding your tinnitus but please don't be.
      Tinnitus can be caused with a long list of reasons and a virus or ear infection or wax removal for some can be the cause.
      Finding what helps you cope better and helps you relax and sleep and keeps your mood from dropping and support around you and on here also with people whom understand what you are going through.
      Hope your med helps again when it's up to your theraputic dose.
      Love glynis
       
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    4. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      In case you haven't seen it before, check out the thread at the link below. I realize that your T is not due to a one-time acoustic trauma. However, I believe that thread will convince you that T gets better. In fact, the people in the studies on page 2 (post #37) are seniors who probably got T as a result of years of exposure to loud noises. Many of them got better AND their bodies are a lot less resilient compared to your body (due to their age), so I believe it is reasonable to hope that you will eventually get better.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/spontaneous-recovery-stats-over-70-recover-3-studies.21441/
       
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    5. Kolisar
      No Mood

      Kolisar Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      birth?
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hello @SimonRK, and welcome.

      I agree with @glynis in that I also see a lot of you blaming yourself in your post. You did not know that the your actions would lead to tinnitus. Also, you do not know for sure that they were the cause of your tinnitus. As Glynis said, there are many causes of tinnitus. You cannot, nor should you, blame yourself for causing something that you cannot prove you caused. And, even if you did cause it (which you probably did not) what good does blaming yourself do? You cannot undo what has been done, and spending time living the the past, recalling the "mistake" you may or may not have made, does nothing to help with the problem you are now facing.

      Hang in there; it will get better. And, if you have not yet, read the article the @Bill Bauer linked to above, it is great and should give you some hope.
       
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    6. Shera
      Bookworm

      Shera Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/9/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      head trama caused TMJ/neck problems
      When T gets worse it's so easy to fall into the trap of blaming yourself, for not seeing "the signs". Or making it worse. In your case it even sounds like it was so quiet and normal to you that there was no real way for you to differentiate it from silence. Or to ask questions.

      You need to forgive yourself. I think that is the hardest part of getting T. No one wants it. No one does things seeking to trigger it. There are so many things that attribute to it. Forgive yourself. Believe things can get better.

      I know my mom says she's had it to some degree her whole life. Noisy machinery on the farm, shooting, and accidents. It never bothered her until it got louder. She knows that she could blame herself for every action or not being worried about it before it got super bad. The thing is when she had T there wasn't even a name for it and no one cared when she mentioned it. She says she never once became angry with herself for "causing" it. Because she sure as heck never set out to do it.
       
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    7. ABakos
      Wishful

      ABakos Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ? neck injury/unknown
      @SimonRK Hi Simon, I agree with what the others have posted. You are young and have a very good chance of recovery. Protect your ears, try masking sounds that relax and sooth you, be kind to yourself. Antidepressants can do wonders in helping people cope…..give it time.
       
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    8. Kingdawson

      Kingdawson Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Has the tone/sound/pitch actually got worse or are you focusing in on it more?
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SimonRK
      Procrastinating

      SimonRK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Problematic since 7/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud earbuds
      Thank you for the reassuring words everyone. I try not to dwell on the past but I feel T reminds me of it all the time.

      @Kingdawson Since it started bothering me? The noise itself hasn't really changed in the last month I think, but my anxiety definitely makes me feel worse and more hopeless every day, which probably makes the T sound louder. It has definitely gotten objectively worse somewhere along the line though, since I've never noticed it during the day before and I don't think I've heard the new high pitch before either.
       
    10. Kingdawson

      Kingdawson Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      You are in the same predicament i was in and you will beat it. I also suffer greatly from health anxiety and believe me when i say it plays a massive part. Do you constantly find yourself trying to hear the sound? Blocking your ears constantly to see if you can hear that ring?

      Don't use masking techniques to stop hearing the noise as your anxiety will run and run. I instead started putting ear plugs on after a week of hearing that slight ring and eventually that sound faded into the background. Its there still(ever sooooo slightly) but after 30 seconds of ear plugs i can't hear it. Don't feel defeated my friend.
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SimonRK
      Procrastinating

      SimonRK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Problematic since 7/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud earbuds
      @Kingdawson I really hope you're right, since I have a bit of experience with health anxiety, and I know that it can create and amplify symptoms to an unbelieveable degree. The sound has just gotten so loud, I can hear it almost anywhere during the day, and I don't at all need to plug my ears and listen for it. Part of the reason is probably because my brain is more tuned into it know, but it is so hard to know when you suffer from anxiety. I have reason to believe it has gotten worse, since looking back I have been irresponsible, and my father also has T, which makes me think I may be a bit predisposed. It's about same level as mine I think, but he's a very laid back person and it has never bothered him. His probably came on slower than mine as well, some of it may be age related. But I also hope that once I get the anxiety under control it will not sound so foreign and scary anymore, and then maybe I will go back to only noticing it when it's quiet. Right now it's the first thing I hear when I wake up and I even dream about it/hear it in my dreams.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    12. Kingdawson

      Kingdawson Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I'm not telling you it will be ok only so you can think positive. I'm telling you it will be ok becasue it will be ok. Don't fear the sound....literally embrace it. Health anxiety is a muthafucka and literally makes you think the worst at all times. Even now i think i'm doing ok i still find myself thinking about it at random times...still trying to hear an unusual noise. Why am i wasting my time focusing in on it? Because anxiety literally makes your brain focus in on it. Try wearing ear plugs throughout the day and report back what you hear. I bet you will hear less of it as the day goes on.
       
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    13. MikeB1996

      MikeB1996 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert/rave
      Hey @SimonRK , I'm also 21, i literally took my ear buds everywhere with me too, but i got my T from a rave. dumb mistake.. just like you.. but you can't blame yourself, i didn't know T even existed until 2 weeks ago. And i believe ear buds probably made my T even worse... BUT 2 weeks go by and I'm handling it a ton better.. first 3 days i didn't sleep, i isolated myself in my room from everyone and everything.. i didn't want to do anything because of that noise ...Now when i hear it i just say "Yup.. it's there but it doesn't bother me" and go on with what I'm doing.. And when i forget about it and do something... I can't hear it... Obviously the first week i did this i said those words but i was still a bit afraid, but after a few days you really start forgetting about it :) This forum has many great people that have helped me a lot..I now live my life the exact same way but more cautious of loud sounds :)
       
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    14. Freeatlast

      Freeatlast Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound
      The part of becoming a man is to forgive your mistakes of the past.
       
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    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SimonRK
      Procrastinating

      SimonRK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Problematic since 7/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud earbuds
      @Kingdawson Earplugs just make it more noticeable unfortunately, and it's there when I take them off too. But I realize that it is very mild compared to most people on here, so that gives me hope that I might learn to ignore it most of the time.

      @MikeB1996 While I wouldn't wish tinnitus upon anyone, it is comforting knowing that there are other young people who can get on with their lives. I also experience moments when I don't notice it because I'm doing something else. I'm still kind of in the "isolation" phase after more than a month, mostly because I find it really hard to accept that this happened. And I'm still afraid the way you were the first week. But I must try to do more things that make me forget, and most importantly, accept it and move on, however scary and that might be.

      @Freeatlast Maybe you're right.
       

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