From Darkness to Light, How I Recovered from Tinnitus & Hyperacusis

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by billie48, Jan 17, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      I am one of those who strongly believe that being positive will help us habituate to tinnitus faster. A few years back I was in total darkness of immense sufferings from severe tinnitus & hyperacusis. I have ultra high pitch and loud tinnitus (T) which was soon followed by piercingly hurtful hyperacusis (H). My T sounds like dog whistle, screaming & resonating in my whole head. It packs with so much condensed energy like a laser beam in a night sky, like a dentist drill with 10 times the pitch. It is absolutely an unbearable and alien sound. I could even hear it above the jet noise in my last few flights, and above the sounds of the raging, roaring rapids in the wild salmon river I fish. How bad was my T to a normal person? Well, once at better time, my family asked how bad and high pitch it is. So I played a sound clip matching my T sounds to them. Instantly, everyone screamed, covered their ears, and ran away as fast as they could. So while I don't know if my T is of the worst kind, I know it is not what a normal person can bear.

      The hyperacusis turned all normal sounds glassy and piercingly hurtful, as if someone scratching glass with metal, like the ears being drilled. I couldn't stand the sounds or noises of TV, parties, restaurants, movies, driving, social conversations etc. Even the soft voice of my wife speaking too close was hurtful. Every normal sound seemed too loud to bear. What a misery! I had to wear earplugs to stop the hurtful sensation. But the earplugs blocked off all outside masking sounds, making the T scream so unbearably dominant. I tried to choose the lesser of the two evils, but there is no lesser choice among them. If I did things to please T, H would kill me and vice versa for H. I had no escape from them. I was facing two tortuous, alien monsters which dislike each other.

      These two alien beasts of T & H literally overwhelmed my senses and my nerves were stretched to the breaking point. It was hard to control my emotions and I was teary easily during those dark, highly stressful days. Worst, prior to T & H, I had also suffered decades of anxiety and panic disorders and severe PTSD symptoms after suffering the trauma of witnessing the tragic accidental death of my young 5 years old son who died in my arm. My nerves were already weakened and unstable prior to T & H. So these two alien beasts just opened the flood gate of hell of relentless anxiety and panic attacks on auto mode daily from the moment I woke up by the screaming T.

      These anxiety (A) & panic (P) attacks were very alarming and hurtful sensations to the body, with heart attack alike symptoms of chest pain, tightness of chest, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sore muscles and pains, headaches of all kinds, sharp pain like migraine, tingling pain like being pinned all over the skull, and numb pain with the brain like being enveloped in a fog not able to think clearly. There were nightmares, profuse sweating, strong adrenaline rush, fears & phobia about things & about the future, feeling disoriented, dizzy, lost and helpless. There were emotional and nerve overloads with uncontrollable moments of tearing due to too much stress. These severely hurtful symptoms coming on auto mode daily made it very hard to live with my already horrible sufferings from T & H. I was literally overwhelmed physically and mentally.

      During the darkest period, day and night, T, H, A, and P all conspired to attack me with great sufferings, both mind and body, causing great despair and inevitable depression and sleeplessness.
      Each day was a long, dark day of sufferings from these torturous masters of my life. Like many new sufferers, I was obsessed with T and was constantly monitoring it. I was scared and desperate. I had to depend on meds like Ativan, Prozac and sleeping pills just to survive each day. I cut off all social contacts, withdrew from things I used to enjoy doing and hid in a quiet room whenever I could. Life was bleak, lonely, desperate & hopeless. I was staring into the abyss of a life ahead filled with tremendous sufferings and loneliness. For how long? The thought just sent chill through my spine and gave me despair. Very often the big 'S' word was dangling in front of this tired and stressed out mind as it saw no way out. I thought me and my good life would end soon. Things just couldn't be any worse. How can one live with something so unlivable? For life? Gosh!!! I thought I would never recover and be happy again.

      But that was then. Miracle does happen. Never say never. Today, by the grace of God, I am back to normal, living a full, happy, productive and enjoyable life, free from the darkness and tyranny of tinnitus and hyperacusis. I also don't need drug any more for my T & H. My hyercausis has long faded within the year it started, when I slowly and reluctantly took off the ear plugs for normal sounds, as advised by kind forum members. Tinnitus still rings but my brain has gotten used to and hardened to the ringing. It doesn't bother me or scared me like before. As I am typing on the subject of tinnitus, it is brought forth to consciousness. I can hear it screaming with its ultra high pitched shrill. The same dog whistle sound used to overwhelm me and my nerves. No longer! I have lost the fear for it and don't give a dime. It is now just a paper tiger. I am free from this T tyranny.

      Today I can truly feel and breathe & see the beauty around me - fresh air, blue sky, green trees, lovely flowers, sweet faces of family and friends, lovely children and all that beauty of nature the Almighty has bestowed so generously for us mortals to enjoy. I can go dancing, singing, gardening, fishing, playing guitar, travelling, hiking, camping, eating out, watching cinema movies, even volunteering for church and charitable functions such as collecting foods for the local food bank, etc. etc. I don't let this tinnitus bully take any fun and meaning away from my life. My new motto is "Finding Joy Amid the Pain", as advocated by the late Darlene Cohen, yes, living life abundantly to compensate for tinnitus and its suffering (if any). When one can do that, tinnitus will be like a paper tiger. It can still rings loud, but it has lost its power to scare you and rob you of your life. More often T just got faded out by the brain from consciousness when it no longer perceives T as a threat. It sounds amazing but it is possible even for loud T. You may say how is it possible? Well, remember those flights you took when you were deep into watching a movie, did you hear the all encompassing loud jet noise around you? That is that simple. The brain can fade out even loud noise when it is not considered a threat. Many who have habituated have experienced the same.

      So never say never. The good life can be back. Give it time. T may just disappear or fade. Even if it doesn't, good life is still possible. Try to follow some great insights from others. Copy success. From the wisdom of others, and copying them in my life, I got better. One war veteran said, when replying my inquiry on how to live with T long-term, "I am a soldier and I fight for a living. But when it comes to tinnitus, I have learned to accommodate it instead of fighting it". That is one great advice of wisdom from a professional solider that I will never forget. I have learned to accept and flow with life's ups and downs, even my loud tinnitus, by willing to coexist peacefully with T without all the emotional and negative reactions. This in turn allows the brain to habituate to T. It can be done. Believe it and have a bright hope for your future. If an anxiety and panic prone person like me can do it, have faith that you can too. I encourage you to read the Positivity thread on the Support forum to fill yourself with the positive energy to move on and to live a great life even after T.

      Here are some of the important points or strategies which have helped me in my tinnitus & hyperacusis journey. I hope you can benefit from trying them out:

      1) Being positive, the AAA approach - Being positive helps me reduce my anxiety level. A big part of tinnitus suffering is mental. So being positive has helped me speed up my recovery. Just to think of it, if life has to be lived one way or another, negatively or positively, why not choose to live it positively? It can only help the problem and not make it worse. Positivity can actually alter the brain processes to benefit our health. What really happens is that the T stimulus will be processed by the prefrontal cortex of the brain instead of the amygdala which tends to make you function in fight or flight mode and everything looks much worse. The prefrontal cortex has the function to extinct or reduce our fear response to make things easier to handle. So I choose positivity over negativity. I try to bring positivity to the NOW, the very moment in front of me which I can have some control to make it the best moment. Do this as a habit and your life will positively change. Life is much easier and more enjoyable with positivity even after T. Besides, positivity will help to bring down your stress level and anxiety which are bad for T. So The more positive, calm and relax you are, the less intrusive your T will become.

      A part of positivity is to adopt the AAA approach - Accept, Adjust and Adapt. I learn from the war veteran of the need to accommodate T instead of confronting or fighting it with extremely negative emotions. To accommodate is to accept, to make adjustment for the new reality, and to adapt to the new normal of living with T. This is a mental state of flowing with life's ups and downs. To accept doesn't mean you like T. It just means you accept the reality of T in your life. at least for a time. Then you make the adjustments without painful resistance. This may mean you need to protect your ears and avoid loud places, or that you need to mask T quite often initially, etc. You try to adapt to this new normal without negative & emotional resistance. It may not be easy to do so at first. But as time goes on, it will get easier. You will have much less emotional struggles and stress. These are bad for T. Why help the T bully by supplying the fuel, the stress and the anxiety, it needs to perpetuate its tyranny over us? Try the AAA approach for a change. It can only help and not hurt.

      1a) Give it time - another very important thing is to give it time. The body needs time to absorb in the alien T ringing sensation. It is still trying to figure out if T is a threat and failing to shake T, the brain reacts in shock and fear. You are in 'fight or flight' mode and the nerve is under the limbic system which tends to make you react more nervously. After enough time to adjust to the new sensation, the nerve will return to the normal parasympathetic system and you will be able to control your reactions better. If you read the success stories, you can see that TIME is a very important element and the most common element of recovery. No one is super human and can recover overnight. So remember to give TIME and your body enough time. Be patient.

      2) Reading success stories - They are so important to my initial days. I read many of them from various forums and learned their insights. Knowing that people can actually survive severe tinnitus and hyperacusis has given me tons of hope and confidence that I can get there by following their strategies. Thanks Heaven there are those kind and caring souls who care enough to help out the newer sufferers by sharing what they have learned. Together, they offer us their collective wisdom and insight how to battle T and come out a winner. I learn to emulate success by copying success from these folks. There is nothing better to learn from those who had done the battle and who understand your struggle intimately and understandably, because they were where you are.

      3) Beware of distorted thinking - You may be bombarded by really distorted thoughts at the initial phase of T suffering. A new T sufferer can be so traumatized by T that the limbic nervous system takes over and you function in 'fight or flight mode'. As such every bad or alien sensation is magnified and you begin to have many scary thoughts. You zoom in on T at the slightest irritation and you monitor it non-stop, fearing and worrying about what horrible things can await you. I realized back then that I tended to have catastrophic thinking about the future. I researched on it and realize that these are cognitive distortions in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). So I bought an inexpensive paper back book 'Feeling Good' by Dr. Burns and studied it well. Another great CBT oriented book specifically for tinnitus is called 'Tinnitus: A Self-Management Guide for the Ringing in Your Ears" by Henry & Wilson. It should be available from amazon.com.

      3a) You are not Your Mind - this is a most powerful concept of positivity to combat distorted thoughts of the mind, a concept now promoted by many people and web sites, including Eckart Tolle who wrote 'The Power of Now'. Just google 'you are not your mind' and you will see so many writings from individuals and institutions, even psychology sites and youtube videos. Yes, detach yourself from the egoistic, scared, sad and depressed mind. That is not you. Free yourself from it. The real you is like a child, like a life force full of joy and life. There is a real peaceful and joyful you inside, Tolle called it your Being (a spiritual person may call it your real, precious soul inside of you), whereas the mind has been conditioned and corrupted by bad life's events. You are not your mind. Be a Watcher of the Mind. Do not follow its chaotic distorted thoughts. You can see how meeruf using this concept to help his battle with T here. He is now enjoying life travelling often.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/thread...from-the-tyranny-of-tinnitus-my-journey.2717/

      By being able to counter the distorted thoughts with more positive and realistic ones, and by being able to step out of the box of my 'freaky T scared mind', I have reduced my anxiety level and mental sufferings tremendously. When anxiety level and stress level are down, T will be robbed of its fuel to haunt us. So don't help T by providing more negative emotions. Positivity is and should be your new motto.

      4) Masking & medications - when T is new & alien, it can create a lot of mental stress, such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression and sleeplessness. These can create havoc on your health and aggravate your suffering. One simple approach without using drugs is masking your tinnitus. Get masking going as soon as possible. You can cut back on masking later when you are more emotionally stable. For my high pitch T, I download high frequency nature sounds such as waves, heavy rain, waterfall, even faucet & shower sounds. There are many free sound generators or APPs out there. You can use a sound machine or pillow for bed time masking. Also consider these:
      TT's own audio player: https://www.tinnitustalk.com/audioplayer/
      or download free ‘aire freshener’: http://www.peterhirschberg.com/mysoftware.html
      or make your own rain sound: http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/rainNoiseGenerator.php

      When T is new and if you are really struggling emotionally and depression sets in and you can't cope with the sufferings by will power alone, please do consult with your doctors on using medications to help smooth out the sharp edges of emotions like what I had to do. You can always phase them out later but make sure you do so with the supervision and advise of your doctor(s).

      5) Getting back to living - It may be hard to do at first. The tired and stressed body didn't want to do anything except to stay in bed or to glue to the computer for T information. I had to dare my T & H to pull myself out to do the things I used to enjoy, even with ear plugs sometimes. I would not let the T bully intimidate me and control my life. I fought to have my freedom back. Given time, it gets better and easier. At least I was winning the psychological battle. Remember to get back to living for yourself, for your love ones, and NOT for trying to reduce your tinnitus. Doing so will cause you to often get anxious why getting back to living hasn't helped and then you give up trying to live again. SEPARATE the two. Of course, given time, your tinnitus will lose its intensity as a consequence of the distractions of life's many activities and you losing fear for it because you now have you life back. It will happen gradually. Be patient. Give TIME and your body enough time.

      6) Minimizing tinnitus - I learn not to dwell on tinnitus and give it more fire and fuel to perpetuate its tyranny on me. I minimize it by realizing that many people in the world have to work or live in very loud environment, like the drill workers, miners, flight attendants, etc. etc. If people can endure these loud noises for life for wages, perhaps even happy to have a job like that to feed the family, I can tolerate and accept my loud ringing just to get my life back. At least I don't have to work 1000+ ft underground drilling & risking mine collapse or gas poisoning. It is not a perfect analogy but I could ill afford a perfect analogy. It is either acceptance or misery for life. I chose the former. I also minimize tinnitus by comparing it to blindness and being handicapped. I played blind and handicapped often to help me put tinnitus in its right perspective in my life. I minimize T by gradually switching to more positive thinking about T and my life, that it is not a catastrophe nor the end game. It is livable and many people prove that. Heck, even famous celebrities like David Letterman, William Shatner (Star Trek Capt. Kirk), Streisand, Ronald Reigan, Townsend etc. etc., they have T and life goes on. Google celebrities with tinnitus and you will see a long list of them.

      7) Maximizing my life force - by living life abundantly, by finding joy amid the pain. The brain was tired and it is dying for some new excitement to stimulate it. I realize I need to practise 'finding joy amid the pain' as advocated by the late Darlene Cohen. I decided to accept the pain, understand it and accept it. Then I focus on the joy of living. Enjoying what I used to do & taking on some new hobbies have kept life fun again. These new hobbies involves time away from tinnitus and they gave me the breaks I need from tinnitus. You can also try volunteer service for the good of others like collecting foods for food bank or teaching others how to fish as I did. These events give you breaks from T. The more breaks, the longer the breaks, the more confident that you will be just fine over time. Remember to fill your life with enough life force, enough positivity that it will just bury T to make it less and less an issue.

      8) Be nice to ourselves and loved ones - T can draw the worst emotions out of us. Beware of this T bully. It can destroy relationship. After having T and dealing with strong negative emotions daily, I realize T was beginning to not just ruin me, but the great relationship with my love ones. I humanize T as my worst bully out there trying to charge my family to harm them (by knocking me down first). So I said no way to the T bully. I would stand up on my feet and fought this bully. If it made me live like hell, I want to make sure my family live like heaven in return. I decided to be extra nice to them. I even massaged my wife daily while my ipod was masking T. I hugged and kissed so everyone knew I love & care for them. They sensed my effort & returned the same. The result was great love and harmony, a ray of light for me amid the darkness of T & H. It gave me hope then that my life wasn't utterly wasted and worthless, as well as the confidence & strength to soldier on with life despite immense T sufferings. At the worst period of relentless sufferings, I just considered I donated my body as if it were composted, and dead to the unpleasant sensations by ignoring them, just so that I could still be around to nourish my love ones especially the young ones (just like how in nature mother plants compost themselves to give nourishment to their seeding plants). Perhaps they can learn from my perseverance during tough struggles and hopefully they can emulate that later in their life to help them through their struggles.

      9) Following Guiding Lights - with my nerve being weakened by prior condition of anxiety & panic disorder, I found it necessary to borrow strength from some others and their fine examples, how they can overcome tough, even unmaskable T and be able to live a normal, even happy life.

      Then there is the incredible story of the young Zoe Cartwright who became totally deaf at young 15. It was bad enough to face sudden deafness, but on top of that she developed loud unmaskable T which according to her can be #!%^&* loud. Yet she made the wise choice to accept the reality of her unmaskable T, and decided to live her life and pursue her goals. Against all odds, she made it to university where she made a tinnitus film to tell us her story. I have posted her story and her film link on the Positivity Thread of the Support Forum. Please read her story and watch her film at page 14 (post# 420) & page 15 (post# 423) and hopefully you will come away realizing what an amazing story of courage and positivity this young pretty lady shows us. Despite facing her loud unmaskable T, she said she loves her life and enjoys it. T is just a slice of her life which she accepts. Amazing positivity and stamina for a young lady. Sometimes, guiding light like her can help lift us up to want to soldier on with our own T journey.
      Here is post# 420 of the Positivity Thread on Zoe : The Positivity Thread
      Here is post # 423 : The Positivity Thread

      And then there is the inspiring story of the young & beautiful jazz singer Melody Gardot, with severe T & H, and worse was hit by a SUV at young 19 causing massive damage to her body, being hospitalized for a year suffering from incredible pain & immobility. Yet she didn't cave in to these incredible sufferings. She turns to positivity and music, accepting her disability and all, and excels in guitar, piano and what a singer she has become. Here is her story of triumph over her tough struggle and a youtube clip of her performance on David Letterman's show (who has 2-tone T himself, LOL):
      http://jazztimes.com/articles/24598-melody-gardot-s-melodic-therapy

      Melody Gardot: Who Will Comfort Me? on David...


      Tinnitus is so common that even household names & celebrities have them. Google 'celebrities with tinnitus' and the list is long. Here are two guys I often watched back then, David Letterman the famous comedian and William Shatner the Star Trek captain. They show me that even after initial suffering (Shatner said he was suicidal at one time), people do get back to living a normal life.
      David Letterman with William Shatner - March,...


      The inspiring guiding lights don't stop with these ladies or celebrities. There are many of them here posting their success stories and you can get just as inspired by them, such as Karen, LadyDi, Kathi, AnneG, Jade, etc., etc. Through these people and their stories, I find my guiding lights and I decide to focus on positivity and acceptance, and move on to focus on life's many beauties and blessings besides T. I now live an absolutely enjoyable life. Good life can be back. Believe it. Give it time and take good care of yourself. Have faith for a bright future. You can beat this T bully. God bless you all.

      ******************
      A simple mental exercise of positivity that I often do which may help you:

      - while waking up (even with T blasting like I often have), spend a few minutes before getting up to flash through some of the positive & beautiful or fun things in your life. If you have loved ones dear or great friends, flash through their smiling faces and the tender moments with them. Chant out loud to yourself 'I am blessed even though I am having this T challenge. It is harmless and I believe I will get better over time especially if I stay positive, calm and hopeful'.

      - while having self-pity & feeling depressed about T, I often played blind or handicapped (only when safe to do so) for a few minutes. This is not comparing T to other tough challenges, but to help put it in the right perspective in my life. I learn to appreciate the visible world and my mobility a lot more. Suggest to the brain again, "I am blessed to be able to do many things other people can't. I am confident my T and/or my reaction to it may get better over time with a positive attitude and willing to accept the new normal of life with T".

      - I use mental imagery of drillers, miners and flight attendants and their loud jobs a lot when my T spike, especially waking up to this loud scream. I often watch videos of those loud job with real life volume of the loud machines (see bottom of page for some samples of people working w/o protection). I used ear plugs initially to protect from the H, but this gave me a vivid picture of how loud these people have to deal with day in and day out. T is usually drowned out by these loud machines. Then when T spikes, I often have a vivid mental imagery of myself handling the loud machines and suggest to myself, "OK, I will treat myself like one of those people with loud jobs on long shifts and T is nothing in loudness compared to these. I will take T on without negative reactions like these folks taking on their loud machines. They accept these noises for wages, I will try to learn accepting my T noise or the reality of living with T for having my life back and having my emotional sanity intact. At least I am not 1000+ ft underground or facing possible dangers like them". This exercise has helped me to shift from feeling miserable and anxious about the spikes and then the brain is spared from dealing with all the negative emotions and sufferings. This can then help the brain to accept the reality of T and habituate to it easier and eventually.

      - try mindfulness meditation to bring T as the object of awareness. It will be tough at first, as Dr. Hubbard wrote about this in his success story, but it will get better in due time. This 'exposure' exercise can help the brain to not freak out so much to the T sound. I often visualize and humanize T as a hated bully trying to pin me down to make me kneel, bow and beg for its mercy. I said "Screw it bully. I don't fear you and won't bow & kneel to you begging for mercy. This is all you can do to me with this sound, and I am facing it dead on and winning. I will harden to this sound in due time and time is on my side". Honestly, when we take this accepting but defiant stance and when it is achieved, then the brain can learn to habituate to this ringing sound which it doesn't fear nor care after a while. Remember, TIME is on your side.

      - try the powerful mental imagery of 'You Are Not Your Mind' as talked about in point 3a) above. Imagine you are detached from the corrupted, scared, anxious and depressed mind, and be a witness or watcher of that mind and its distorted thoughts. Don't react or identify with the mind nor react to it, as if you are a separate entity. Even if you are anxious and scared, try to say 'Hey, I am not my mind, and I don't have to listen nor react to its wild, distorted thoughts. I am a watcher of it and I can see how weak and distorted that mind is'. This is a powerful mental imagery which can help you step out of the misery of the distorted mind and all its negativity. Believe me, I used this technique heavily during the darkest time when the mind was in a mess and I could still maintain my sanity, lol.

      - Watching the distressed and chaotic mind can be achieved by powerful technique of focussing on the NOW. I used this technique quite often during the tough struggle because often distorted thoughts drifted through the mind to cause so much anxiety. The chaotic thoughts are usually about the future or the past, never much about the present. It is the fear of the uncertain future and the horrible past experiences that drives the insanity while we forget living the NOW, the very moment in front of us. I would say to myself, "The future is not reality and the past is history. The NOW, the very moment in front of me is the only time I can do and act to make a positive difference to my life", and then I would focus on the present moment and would try to make it a positive moment. By doing this constantly, you gradually change your life for the better and you become a more positive person. By doing this, you also have a good chance to bring about a positive future and to heal the wounds and bad experiences of the past.

      - try to live my life abundantly and enjoyably by finding 'joy admit the pain'. When you go back to living, talk to the brain like "Tell T to take a ticket and wait in line. I am busy and having fun. I can live my life abundantly, enjoyably, and positively regardless of T high or low. I love my life. T is just a slice of my life (as Zoe Cartwright with total deafness and therefore unmaskable T puts it). I am going to enjoy my life and the heck with T".

      - Repeat these positive self-affirmations and mental exercises often until the brain slowly if surely buy into the constant self suggestions. Repeat this process until you get better. Don't give up. You will get better. Just believe it. God bless your recovery.

      - Videos for using an imperfect analogy and mental imagery. If you don't object to this imperfect analogy, watch these samples of loud jobs of people (including the airline crew in those loud jets in the jet videos) without ear protection and NOT freaking out. Turn the volume up to real life loudness if you can bear it and then watch your T drown out by these machines. Whether we realize it or not, T has become a PHOBIA and like other phobia, the irrational fear for T needs to be DEPROGRAMMED. So I used these videos to help myself to stay calm during huge spikes. Try suggest to yourself that if people can work like this and face these noises day in and day out, perhaps even happy to have a job to feed the family, then why we need to freak out with T which can be completely or partially masked unlike these workers without ear protection? At my worst spikes, I just have a mental imagery of myself being the one working like them, and NOT freaking out to T. It works for me. I hope it works for you. This perhaps can start your REVOLT against T's supremacy over your life and your emotional stability with its much weaker sound than these machines and can be masked to varying degree:

      Sri Lanka,ශ්‍රී...


      Mine Development Crew - Underground Drilling


      Jet Engine Sound Compilation - Take-off -...



      ***********************

      (ps. if you have questions or comment requiring response from me, please tag me with @billie48 so I can be alerted about that and respond faster. Thanks.)
       
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    2. Smoogle
      Wishful

      Smoogle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      Thanks for posting this Billie.

      I hope we can all recover to the extent you have. Thank you for coming back to help the rest of us!
       
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    3. Jeff M.
      Cowabunga

      Jeff M. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      La Jolla, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct. 2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      Absolutely awesome post Billie!!! Thanks for sharing your journey and a ton of great advice!! I hope everyone on TT reads this poignant post!!
       
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    4. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Wonderful post. Much wisdom and hard-earned wisdom here. Thank you and blessings for sharing with us.
       
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    5. shan
      Lurking

      shan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      God knows
      A very encouraging post! I totally identify with your point about acceptance. It helped me a lot in making peace with whatever that was and is still happening. I learnt that whatever I resist, persist so I would tell my ringing that I accept you as part of me because you are part of my experience. I read materials pertaining to Acceptance Commitment Therapy. It is not all jolly and dandy everyday. I made adjustments to my life and gave up some things I used to take for granted but at least it gives me hope that there is life beyond my internal orchestra.
       
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    6. Denny

      Denny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 2013
      Great Post Billie!!!!!!!! I want to thank you, it is truly generous of you to give your time in helping others. I am sure your post has helped many people.
       
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    7. Tenna
      Anime

      Tenna Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      We all..+ I really needed this - bookmarking and sending endless rainbows towards your post!
      It might sound overwhelming the way I can say things but.. I am moved
       
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    8. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thank you Shan and all you guys & gals on the good words. I am glad and yet humbled that my posts have helped some people. I have received much kind help during my early days from selfless noble souls who were reaching out to me, a total stranger, to help lift me up from the total ruin of tinnitus sufferings. I am giving back the kindness I richly received back then. I own no personal credit for the information I posted (except perhaps my own experiences), for I learn most of these from these great forum members who had paved the way before us. There are many heroes and heroines on tinnitus support boards, many of whom suffered T in silence even before the arrival of global village, the age of Internet & global connection. They could talk to nobody who could understand them. There were no Internet support forums. They had to suffer alone and eventually found their ways and now generously helping strangers like you and me from all over the world with their treasured experiences. My salute to them and to those kind admins and moderators who keep these support boards going for the benefits of all sufferers.
       
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    9. Miss lavender

      Miss lavender Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/01/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      I don't know you Billie, but I like you. Congratulations on helping others. It must feel wonderful, just like you make all of us feel just as wonderful. If you keep going the way you are going, your light at the end of the tunnel is so very close. I hope that one day I get to that point. Thank you again.

      Miss lavender.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    10. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thank you so much for the kind words, Miss lavender. I sure hope we all get there into the light. T is beatable and livable. There is beauty all around in life besides T to enjoy. Cheers.
       
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    11. Simon 852

      Simon 852 Member

      Location:
      Hastings East Sussex England
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, performing rock gigs, sinus infections
      Hi Billie - thanks for the positive message. But can you explain a bit more about how you have dealt with the hyperacusis? Didn't quite get what you meant re: ear plugs. I'm trying out various plugs but all sorts of sounds make me jump out of my skin, including quiet sounds in a quiet room. Thanks.
       
    12. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thanks Simon for the kind words. I am not an expert on hyperacusis. Perhaps other members can talk about H in more technical way. I can only relay how I dealt with H. It was a horrible condition. It made all normal sounds piercingly hurtful. It turned all normal sounds into glassy in quality, and even normal sounds seemed like somebody scratching glass with metal. I couldn't take most environmental noise, those from TV, social conversation, washing dishes, driving & road noises, even the soft voice of my wife spoken close to me hurt. I had to withdraw from social contacts. No movies, no eat outs, no parties, no music. To protect from the piercingly hurtful sensation from sounds, I had to wear ear plugs all the time. At least that was my intent. But the ear plugs blocked off all outside sounds, making the loud, ultra high pitch tinnitus unbearably dominant. I had to choose the lesser of the two evils, but there was no lesser evil. They were both horrible sensations to the body. So it was a tough, tough time of hard dilemma, to block (with ear plugs) or not to block. LOL It seems funny to talk about it now, but it surely was no laughing matter back then. Hyperacusis is horrible sensation, but it makes life worse as it limits how you live your life. Life can be really lonely if you succumb to this devil of an ailment.

      I bought $200 worth of ear plugs of all kinds for different occasions, even ear muff to make sure no sounds got through. But forum members advised me not to over protect my ears from normal ambient sounds of the environment. Doing so would develop sound sensitivity. So I listened but was only able to remove the ear plugs slowly, one day at a time, one event at a time. Patience to live with H to give the body time to get over it is very important. Over time, H just slowly faded. I have read many members report the same thing about their H. It seems that for many, H just fades over time, some even within a few months. Mine lasted about 6 months. Thanks goodness.
       
      • Like Like x 5
    13. Very nice story Billie, i use to read your posts when feeling down. I can relate very much to you because i am a keen fisherman myself

      I am just 5 weeks into this mess and all is new and strange.

      Vancouver must be one of the best places to live in if you like outdoor life and fishing. I have read a lot of Vancouvers steelhead fishing in swedish magazines. I hope i will be able to get there once in my life. I love brown troutfishing in the swedish mountains, but for now i am a little bit affraid of the silence i will face when going to my cabin.
      I live in Stockholm but it don´t offer what Vancouver does but we have a decent sea troutfishing out in the archipelago. Also i love to fish for Perches with a popper on a silent evening.
       
    14. Linda Marie

      Linda Marie Member

      Location:
      San Bruno, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/10/2013
      Billie, your posting was an eye opener for me. My T is high pitched and most days have to listen to music to cover the sound and even then my pitch climbs to the top. I've been so negative with my T and find it difficult at times. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts down for us and letting us know that coming from the darkness to the light can be achieved. You are a very special person and want you to know how much your post meant to me. My new journey to healing begins today.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    15. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thanks for the kind words Nick & Linda. I am just trying to help with the things I have learned from caring members who have helped me when I was a newbie. I just add a little of my own positive touch to this T journey of mine. I am sorry to reply a bit late as the Success Story section is a bit off from the Support Forum which I spent more time. But you both are on the right track and slowly turning around. That is all we can ask from ourselves. Progress will happen but will not be overnight. It is important to give the body & the mind time to absorb in the new T sensation, and to pursue a proven successful strategy. I personally like positive psychology and realistic thinking. CBT and its discussion of cognitive distortions has been very helpful. But again, things take time to improve. So remember to give TIME enough time.

      Nick, nice to hear from another fisherman. Yes, steelhead fishing is my favourite game fish to pursue, even better than salmon, as it requires the fisherman to analyse & read water and adapt to the river condition any day you go fishing. It is a proactive way to fish instead of sitting in one spot all day looking at the float/bobbler. Someday, if you are in town in March/April, it is best time steelheading and you can look me up and I will try put you into a mighty steelhead.

      Linda, thank you so much. Your words motivate me knowing our effort in sharing experience and strategy on living with T has been helpful for others to reduce their level of suffering from T. I went through 'hell' with T & H. If my little effort of sharing my experience can just help one person to have less suffering and more hope, it will be all worth it. Please keep on trying and never give up. There are many excellent T veterans on this board, such as Dr. Nagler, here2help, Karen, SteveH & the site admin folks. They can provide most of the answers to your T questions. We are all here to help you whenever you need. Count on it. PM (conversation) me if you ever need to chat personally. God bless you recovery.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    16. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      The original post was reformatted for better reading and additional contents are added.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    17. Ervan
      Blah

      Ervan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2014
      Thank you billie..
       
    18. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      You are most welcome, Ervan.
       
    19. christophe

      christophe Member

      Location:
      ANTONY FRANCE
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      trauma acoustique progressif
      I just read your message is hopeful. thank you

      after how long your condition has improved?

      I have been fighting for 2 years without too many results

      greetings

      excuse me for the translation I used google
       
    20. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Hi Christophe, I struggled a lot in the first 8 months or so. After a year, I began to have some fun by reliving my life though there were many, many setbacks. I needed to use meds to help me for a long time. By end of year 2, I was more stable. By the 3rd anniversary of my T life, I wrote a success story post on Yuku forum. I also wrote it on this forum. Please check out the Success Story Forum.

      Sorry to hear that you are struggling. Please hang in there. Get a good treatment (such as TRT, CBT etc) and a good positive approach. It will get better. There are also some upcoming treatments such as Autifony and AM-101 which look positive. So keep up the hope. Try not to compare your progress of habituation to others. Each person is different. There is difference in the type of T, in the circumstances of life, in character & temperament, in upbringing, in health condition & stress level etc. etc. So as long as you stick to a good approach and keep positive and patient, you will get better in time. God bless your recovery.
       
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    21. fatz1126

      fatz1126 Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2014
      Thanks for this posts Billie. Very positive, very encouraging. I will keep rereading your posts to keep me reminded that life after t is still beautiful! Thank you! :huganimation:
       
    22. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thank you fatz. Yes, there is definitely a good life after T. Don't give up and be patient with time. Take good care of yoursellf.
       
    23. iAzra
      Dreaming

      iAzra Member

      Location:
      Croatia
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma, Stress, Nose hit
      If you have time, can you please write more about how did you got rid of ear plugs? What was your first steps etc. It seems impossible for me being able not to wear them in a car or in a mall.. or anywhere :) Also, I'm in fear that some excedent noise will cause further damage and increase T so I don't want to risk. Specially since almost every time I go out something loud hepens as sirens, alarms at store exits, children screaming etc. so I get comfort from wearing earplugs..
       
      • Like Like x 1
    24. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Hi iAzra,

      I don't recall exactly if I have done anything special about my hyperacusis. When the hyperacusis first hit, all normal sounds became glassy in quality and the piercing sensation was hurtful so I wore ear plugs all the time. But forum members advised me not to over protect for normal noises to avoid developing sound sensitivity or misophonia. So I reluctantly and slowly took off the ear plugs and just braved the sensation. I put on the plugs only for loud sounds (such as cinemas or party loud speakers). Slowly my ears got less sensitive and in less than a year my hyperacusis just faded. I have read many people who develop H after T report similar experience with that type of H. Perhaps you should post your condition in the Hyperacusis Forum on this board so others can comment on your condition. I am a layman on the medical causes of H. So I won't be a good source of information for H. You may need to consult ENTs on your condition. Make sure you don't have misophonia, a disorder about sound. If you decide to take off the ear plugs, make sure you do it slowly so it won't be too hurtful for you. Do it slowly so your body can adjust to the new condition. Tale care and God bless.

      Billie
       
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    25. alifalijohn

      alifalijohn Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/14
      Billie, you're such positive person! Great encouragement!!.GOD BLESS YOU!
       
    26. Michael2013
      Happy

      Michael2013 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2013
      I just saw this thread. I agree with others, thank you, Billie! You were one of the first people to respond to me (in a different forum) and it meant more than you know. I'm glad to see you're still here encouraging people, you're really good at it.

      -Mike
       
    27. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thank you for your kind words alifalijohn and Michael. I am just one of the many folks who are doing better now after going through hell with T (& H in my case), and who are thankful for the help we have got from some kind T veterans before us. The dreaded horror show of T and the immense sufferings I went through is something which I hope others don't have to go through. It is all worth it if our efforts can help the newer sufferers in some way to reduce their suffering and to give them hope for the future. God bless you all in your recovery.
       
      • Like Like x 4
    28. Rachel Murray
      Amazed

      Rachel Murray Member

      Location:
      Amsterdam, NL
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2014
      Thank you very much - I will come back a lot of times to read your words and be strong!
       
      • Like Like x 2
    29. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thank you Rachel. Yes, success stories were my life line during my darkest days. I remember reading and re-reading them often to help lift my spirit from deep depression. You are most welcome to read my story but also others' stories. Together, these stories offer a collective wisdom in how to get better. Take good care of yourself and be well.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    30. Della
      Creative

      Della Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Austin, Texas USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Thank you SO MUCH, @billie48, for your beautiful post and for introducing me to Zoe Cartwright and Melody Gardot! WOW. What inspiring discoveries ...
       

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