Hey guys. I promised myself that I would not leave this forum in only misery. This is me keeping that promise. This text is going to be quite long. Read it when you have a lot of time. I decided to use some colors and smileys to make it more fun to read. Weee!! Okay, not that extreme. But at least to keep it a bit more tidy. By the way. This is my personal journey. The methods I used to become free from this hell worked for me. However, it might, or might not be optimal for you. I hope I at least can give you some relief. I want to thank some people first. I want to thank @Markku for making this forum. You are doing noble work as we speak. This forum literally saved my ass when tinnitus was new. I was so lost and lonely. The health care system here in Norway did a really bad job in guiding me. This forum was my first sneak peek out off hell. I also want to thank @Eric, @AnneG and @erik. You really helped me out in the beginning. And sorry AnneG, when I was talking with you, I kind of lied about how good I was doing. But you know.. Fake it until you make it! This time I'm completely sincere! ______________________________________________________________________ First, how did I get tinnitus? I have had tinnitus since 2010. But it was not until late summer 2013 it would become a major problem. I was out swimming with my brother. After a dive down to the bottom of the pool, it was done. I came up of that pool with what you can describe as a screaming tinnitus in one ear. I also lost some of my hearing in one ear permanent. I did not panic in the beginning. I went to the doctor, took it chill, got some steroids for the ear. The ENT said that it would heal in some days. I believed her. All my life everything always sorted out somehow. Well, not this time... (Spoiler, mark to see: It did, but it took some time) ______________________________________________________________________ ...two weeks later I was a total wreck with no hope. Tinnitus had not changed at all. I had lost most of my hope about getting better. Anxiety level was up high, making the tinnitus even worse. I though my life was over, I had suicidal thoughts, catastrophic thoughts. I was addicted to sleeping pills, and I needed anti-anxiety pills to make it thought a day at work. I had entered a vicious circle in which all joints boosted each other. Tinnitus boosted anxiety, anxiety boosted tinnitus, anxiety made me sleepless, lack of sleep made tinnitus worse and so on. I was in hell with no idea of how to get out. How could I ever get out of this? I kept asking the same questions over and over again. "Why?", "Why me?", "I was just out swimming with my brother, what have I done to deserve this?", "If this continue I can't go on. I have to end it". The sound was so alien, so ugly, so bad, so loud. My mind wandered a lot, and I had a lot of stupid fantasies. Like, I wish I had a time machine, so I could go back in time preventing myself from jumping out in that pool. Yeah, how stupid isn't that? I had fantasies about calling 911, saying that if they don't pick me up. I will find some high bridge and jump. I made the fantasies so real inside my head. I was desperate. I went to ENT after ENT. Maybe they had just forgot something? Maybe it was just a broken eardrum? Maybe there was an easy fix? Maybe the first ENT did something wrong? No, everyone said the same. It was sensorial. Nothing to do, and that I have to live with it. I just could not accept that. I was so fucking angry and despaired. I used all my day reading about tinnitus at the web. I was completely lost in this alien sound. I could not focus on anything else. I lost 6kg and probably looked like a zombie. I felt like a zombie at least! I had no sex drive, no appetite. Nothing. My highlight everyday was to take that sleeping-pill so I could disappear. I never had any anxiety issues pre-tinnitus. So, anxiety and anxiety-attacks was completely new to me also. I had no idea how to manage that. This situation was the hardest in my life ever to overcome. Now. Four months later. Tinnitus is still pretty loud. But pretty much everything else have changed! Most of the time I don't notice it, and even when I do, I don't care. Anxiety is long gone. I don't use any white pills anymore. I am free from the tyranny of tinnitus and I'm feeling stronger then ever. If tinnitus can't counter me. I'm pretty sure almost nothing can. The methods I used to overcome it pretty much applies to everything else in life. I can use what I learned to solve other problems. I also know that for every day that goes by now. The amounts of fucks I give about tinnitus will be just less and less. In retrospect. I can really forgive myself for the way I reacted. My mother could not even stand a high-pitch sound I played from my computer for one second. She reacted by being angry rest of the day. Talk about being intolerant. She could not even stand the masking noises I used at times. Which was innocent nature sounds of water and birds. I was pretty much alone in this fight. Talking to friends who don't had it was hopeless too. You could have a more fulfilling conversation with a stone. ______________________________________________________________________ Now to the good stuff! The true turning point for me was when I realized that I was using more energy to resist tinnitus then the tinnitus itself. I realized that every time I started to think about tinnitus, every time I started judging it. That was when I started to suffer. Tinnitus itself was not the problem. My reaction was. Off course, Tinnitus is what started it all. But that is something I can't control. Therefor I had to attack the next link in the chain. Before: Tinnitus -> Reaction/Resistance -> Thoughts and mind wandering -> Bad feelings -> Poor quality of life Now: Tinnitus -> No reaction/Acceptance -> Not a problem -> Life back to normal with tinnitus. My journey to freedom started when I made up a new person inside of me. A person "above" the old me. Who only dealt in logic. So, every time I started to mind wander. I would attack the irrational me with the "new me", who only dealt in logic. Example: Lets say my mind wandered something like this: "If this continue I can't stay sane. I'm going crazy. I'm going to end up as an crazy old man with no friends and family. I will end up lonely. [Visualizing myself as an old insane man]." Then, I would acknowledge to myself that I was just mind wandering. Then I would fight it back with logic: "No Thomas. You are not going to go insane. There is a lot of people who have this, and are doing just fine. You will have some hard time ahead. But you can do it. And yes, if you continue to mind wandering like this. You will probably go insane. Stop mind wandering. And everything will turn out just fine." Another example: Lets do a little twist. Lets say I did not mind wander with words, but in visualizations. I don't know about you, but I do that a lot. The visualization: [I see myself out in the dark, suffering, I want to call 911, I'm visualize that I'm in panic and don't know what to do. I see the ambulance picking me up. I see my self after I'm dead. Family and friends in pain. I see their faces.] Then, in the moment I realized I was mind wandering again. I would turn on the new logical me: "No Thomas. Don't go into this fantasy again. Don't you see? You are suffering when you are doing it. It is the mind wandering itself that maks you suffer. Stop it. If you stop it and just let the tinnitus ring. It is not a problem." It gets better!.. ... after doing this a lot. I guess this is stuff you realize when you are doing mindful meditation. One day I asked myself: "Who is the person who listen to my thoughts in the first place?". This was a huge mind blown. The thoughts can't listen to them self like a knife can't cut itself. I realized that I'm not my thoughts. I am the observer behind it all. I am the observer that observes my thoughts and feelings. The self! This was a huge relief. I was no longer inside my thoughts and feelings. I was outside them and watching them. I was just observing. Every time I realize this I start to laugh. It's like waking up from yourself. When you are in that state of mind I don't think its possible to suffer at all. Because you become above your thoughts and feelings. (Some people might get angry by the latest statement because the ego in them are so strong. They are so lost in their own ego and identity that their think they are it. So they are defending it by become angry and offended) The self (no-self) [The observer] -> The ego [thoughts and feelings, desire, revenge, suffering etc] -> Your senses [Eyes, hearing, touch etc] -> Outside world. "The self" don't give a shit about anything. It doesn't judge, it has no morality, it has no fear, no desire. It just observes. It just is. And that is what it has been doing since you was born. It has never changed. It is the only constant about you. It's the "pity little you", the ego, that is suffering and changing. The mind wandering ego. You see? Why do you think people love to jump out of planes, or to do other crazy stuff? It's because they become completely present in what they are doing. They don't think about tomorrow, or the past. They are just living, observing life completely in the present. All their focus is focused at the present. It's an amazing feeling. Sex, anyone? The point is. You don't need to jump out of a plane or have sex to become completely present. You can train yourself to become present through meditation. This is important when it comes to tinnitus. Because you only really suffer when you are mind wandering about it. Judging it with your ego. When you are mind wandering you are not in the present moment. You are thinking about concepts or ideas that either are in the future, or the past. Like: "Everything was much better pre-tinnitus", or "I will go crazy in the future if this continue". The logical person inside you will say stop that mind wandering, because it's not helping you and the mind wandering itself is what makes you suffer. ______________________________________________________________________ Acceptance So. Then there is acceptance. This is very important, but I know how fucking hard it is. But try to accept it for only 5 minutes first. You will fail. But, try again a little later! Five more minutes! Then try ten minutes. When you are ready for it, try five hours! Eventually you will make a day. Then two. You get the picture! I still fall out of it sometimes, I will admit that. But it gets easier and easier with time. Anxiety The anxiety part left me when I made that new person who only dealt in logic. I understand it that way that you only can have an anxiety attack when you are lost in thoughts, when you are mind wandering and are so lost you actually believe what you are thinking. When I made that new logical person who attacked the fearful irrational me. It kind of sorted itself out. Perspective and control Is that sound you have in your ears really that bad? Or is it just the idea that you can't control it that makes is much worse then it really is? Think about it. When I was in Thailand this summer. I was walking around in the streets of Bangkok. I walked across a construction area. I saw workers working with jack hammers, drills and hammers with no ear protection what so ever. They work 12 hours shift. Six days on, one day off. If they can handle that jack hammer 12 hours every day. Then I can handle tinnitus 24 hours a day. It's the idea that you can't control it that is the problem. If you give away the control, you got it. Sounds stupid. But think about it. I go to Thailand 1-2 times a year, every year. My family have a house out in rural Thailand. Since its warm all the year, the house have no windows. Just mosquito nets. At the evening when you go to sleep you can really hear the crickets out in the jungle. And they can be pretty loud. It is thousands of them. Despite that I have never heard of anyone getting annoyed by them. That is because we don't react to them in a negative way. Therefor its no problem. Suffering: In the beginning I think it is inevitable to not suffer a little. I think you can't get away from subjective severe tinnitus without suffering. It is when you are suffering you figure out stuff. It is when you are suffering you become a stronger and wiser person. On the positive side, it is not dangerous to suffer. It won't kill you. It can only make you stronger. Yeah, cliche, I know! ______________________________________________________________________ I read this funny quote/joke some days ago. I don't know where it comes from, I don't think Buddha ever said that, but it made me laugh: A man said to the Buddha, "I want Happiness." Buddha said, first remove "I", that's ego, then remove "want", that's desire. See, now you are left with only Happiness. Anyways. I took myself the freedom and made my own version: A man said to the Buddha, "I don't want Tinnitus." Buddha said, first remove "I", that's ego, then remove "don't want", that's desire. See, now you are left with only Tinnitus. I don't know if that makes any sense at all, but it makes me laugh even more... Life! Life turns out to be beautiful after all, despite tinnitus. Life is an amazing ride and I will not miss one second out of it. You just have to try and enjoy the good times and the bad times as best as you can. And trust that since the universe has been going strong for 13.7 billion years. It has to be worth it somehow. I will even try to enjoy my death. No one is allowed to cry that moment. I will celebrate my exit with champagne like a boss. It only happens once. Can't miss that! So here I am. Free from the tyranny of tinnitus. Four months ago I would never believed that. Life is fun again. I promise I will stick around. It has become a habit for me to type in the address in the URL bar now. Can't really stop. Habits are hard to break. I will stick around and help the newbies that I know will come one by one. Much love from me. I wish you all the best! Sincerely, Thomas. To @Markku : Is it possible to make this thread so I can edit it forever? In case I want to write more in it, and fix typos?