Going Back and Forth Between Hope and Despair

Discussion in 'Dr. Stephen Nagler (MD)' started by Silvio Sabo, Mar 31, 2015.

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    1. Silvio Sabo

      Silvio Sabo Member Benefactor

      Gothenburg, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise - I think
      Hi Dr. Nagler.

      I have been a passive member of this forum for a few months, just reading around and checking up on new findings and so on. My history with tinnitus started almost precisly nine years ago. I have no clear event that I can relate to the onset of my tinnitus, no sound trauma that I can remember and directly link to it.

      I was 22 years old at the time and well, as stupid as it sounds, I had of course had the odd night out at a night club and at a few occasions it had happened that I heard a buzzing in my ears when I got back home. It made me terrified but it was always gone in the morning when I woke up. I don't know how many times this had happened but I would guess maybe about 10 times in total over the course of 3-4 years.

      The onset of my tinnitus was on May 10th 2006. I know the date becouse I recently saw my records from the ENT I went to shortly after. They did a hearing test but only up to 8000 khz (to my knowledge, they don't do it above that anywhere in Sweden, which is where I live) and my hearing in those frequencies was fine. I had another hearing test done just a few weeks ago with the exact same results. So I have no trouble hearing. I have no perception of loosing any hearing. I hear just as fine now as 15 years ago.

      Now it may sound like I was a party animal but I really wasn't. The last 1-2 years prior the onset of my tinnitus I had been to a night club maybe 5-6 times. And a few of those times I wore earplugs.

      The onset was while I was sitting at home at the computer, I had just purchased a brand new laptop (my first one, I had allways had stationary computers). I was playing around with it and it got quite late, almost morning, and when I went to bed I noticed the same type of buzz in my ears as those few times earlier. Only this time it didn't go away! It has been there since. :cry:

      The first year was awful. I got depressed, I was constantly thinking about it and to be honest I don't even want to remember much of the first 2-3 years. I wore earplugs ALL THE TIME. I was petrified that it would get worse. I stoped going out, I was living alone and most of the time I spent thinking about how stupid I had been for not protecting my ears. My father also has tinnitus since working in the industry with heavy machinery so I knew about it and that it was something awful. But he had worked for years, everyday in a noisy environment before developing tinnitus. Surly a few hours at a night club every now and then wouldn't be as bad? Well, silly me! :banghead: (if now that is the reason, I'm not sure)

      If we fast forward to about 2009 I had started to habituate. I had stoped wearing earplugs all the time. The turnaround came when I lost one of my casted earplugs. I sortof told my self "You can't do this any more. To hell with it!" and that was my braking point.

      Now to my question. I had barly noticed my tinnitus for years. I knew it was there like an old friend and I almost didn't think of myself even having it at times. It could go months inbetween me even thinking about it. I had almost forgotten about having it until someone brougt it up and then I would just " oh yeah right, I have that" then I would listen for it and yeah, there it was but then I just simply put it away again after a few seconds and that was that. I was happy as hell. Got a new job, finished my education, got a new girlfriend, moved in with her, having fun with friends, coaching a soccer team.... I was active and had the time of my life!

      But sometime in January this year, after sitting at my brand new computer that I had brought (yeah what are the odds!) my old friend tinnitus made him self aware again. I have not been ok since.

      I am constantly thinking about it. A good day comes around from time to time when I am hopeful or don't think about it much, but then sometimes I just break down and cry. I cry alot these days. I got so depressed I started thinking of putting myself out my missery. The only thing that really keeps me going is my girlfriend. I can't do that to her. And the thought of hearing silence someday. "What if the breakthrough is just a few years away? If I can just hold on a little while longer." That is what's going through my head and gets me by.

      At the same time as my tinnitus 2.0 came I noticed that I had some pain in my neck from sitting in the couch infront of my laptop. So I adressed that issue thinking it had something to do with it. I started working out, I had been to a massage therapist, chiropractor and so on and my neck is much better. I was in great shape once but now I have gained about 30 lbs or so so I have that to adress as well.

      What else can I do? I just want to go back to how it was just a few months ago. I'm trying to remember how my tinnitus was back then. But I just can't remember. I don't trust my own memories. Maybe it hasn't changed at all? I don't know becouse I can't remember what it sounded like (Is that weird?) But How could I? This is awful! Was I on drugs for years, high out of my mind and didn't notice this horrible sound that is tearing a hole in my soul and that I can't mask out whith almost anything?

      Is it common to have these kind of relapses?

      I'm now on anti-axiety meds (Mirtazapin) I live in Sweden so I don't know if the doctors in US prescribe the same drugs. They're kind of rigid with prescription meds around here. You have to be near death to get a painkiller. So my hope of getting fancy stuff prescribed is pretty slim. But I will try anyway.

      I have an appointment with an ENT on April 15th. But my experience with ENTs isn't that great. If I would ever meet the first one from 2006, I would probably beat the crap out of that guy. He just told me to learn to live with it and if I wanted to know more I could look it up on the Internet.

      Anyway, sorry for the long post. But I'm just so scared that it will get worse. I just had new earplugs casted for my ears so I'm back to that. And that's the other scary part: I don't want to go through those first years all over again. Please, is there something I can do?
    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member Clinician Benefactor

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      I have read through your post a number of times, and the answer to your question is YES. There is absolutely something you can do.

      You do have tinnitus. But the reason you are seeking help is not because you have tinnitus. You are seeking help because you have tinnitus and it makes you feel bad. If you could somehow stop your tinnitus from making you feel bad ... then you would still have tinnitus, but you really wouldn't have a problem, right?

      So the most obvious way to stop your tinnitus from making you feel bad would be to either eliminate your tinnitus or somehow lastingly decrease its intensity. But from reading your post, I suspect you have already discovered that that is not going to happen. Fortunately, there is a second way that you can stop your tinnitus from making you feel bad. And that would be to eliminate or somehow lastingly decrease your reaction to your tinnitus. Why would decreasing your reaction to your tinnitus stop you from feeling so bad? Because feeling bad is a reaction! Indeed many people have very loud tinnitus but don't feel bad at all ... because they do not react to their tinnitus the way you react to your tinnitus!

      The problem is that you cannot simply make yourself not react to your tinnitus. It is not a matter of strength or a matter of character. Rather, it is a matter of strategy,

      The really good news, Silvio, is that you live in Sweden, where one of the world's foremost experts in strategies for mitigating one's reaction tinnitus has his clinic.

      Getting back to your question, then, you want to know if there is something you can do. And what you can do is contact the office of Dr. Gerhard Andersson, who is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Linköping University, and make an appointment to see him!

      All the best -

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
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