How to Free Yourself from the Tyranny of Tinnitus. My Journey!

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by meeruf, Dec 7, 2013.

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    1. meeruf
      Badass

      meeruf Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving
      Hey guys. :D

      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!! :LOL: 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! :D

      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... :p


      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. :LOL: 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! :D

      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?
       
      • Winner x 23
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    2. epin3m
      Badass

      epin3m Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      :thankyousign:

      Olé! Well said Thomas! It is amazing how much you have improved and hope to be at that point soon.

      Today I was running and I was thinking about a lot of the stuff you have typed here. T makes us suffer because we cannot control it. It is our thoughts and our focus in the past and future possible scenarios what hurt us , instead of living the present.
       
      • Like Like x 1
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    3. Eric
      Balanced

      Eric Member

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2012
      Good show Thomas, I am glad I could help in some way. I always told my wife: If I can influence if only one person in helping them to give up the comfort of suffering and to start accepting instead, the time I wrote will have been well spent. I am very glad that you got it. And once you learn it for tinnitus, you can apply it to everything in life.
       
      • Like Like x 3
    4. Amelia
      Daring

      Amelia Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      Wow. This is just what I needed to read this morning. I'm spiking and me focusing on it is making things 100 times harder.

      So I've taken a few screenshots of
      your post so I can refer back to them when I need too and I'm not going to read any more TT today - leave my reading today on a positive note!
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    5. christine kauhane
      Sunshine

      christine kauhane Member

      Location:
      honolulu hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      june 9th 2013
      positive story.. thanks for the share .
       
    6. AnneG
      Cheerful

      AnneG Member

      Location:
      Philippines
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/13
      Almost made me cry! And no not because you lied, you lying basically saved my ass too. :D hahaha. But your post touched me <3 And I really am happy for you thomas! You're so strong! I really wish you all the best and may this post help other feel better too :")

      xoxo
      Anne
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. Riikka

      Riikka Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2007
      I enjoyed reading your post, thank you! You have given me some new things to think about. I agree with you that " you only really suffer when you are mind wandering about it. You are thinking about concepts or ideas that either are in the future, or the past." That is so true, especially for me. I'm always worrying about many things. It's not easy to change one's habits though.
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    8. Stina
      Psychedelic

      Stina Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tartu
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      Hello Thomas! Thank you for the great post. That is probably one of the reasons why meditation could work for T. I also recently came across an article where it was said that meditation is a more efficient pain reducer than morphin. Something from which we could all learn smth..
       
    9. Danny
      Fine

      Danny Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Near Toronto Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Well I guess I wont have to share my trip down tinnitus road, I think many of us have taken the same road as you have, thanks for stealing my thunder...lol :whistle: Good on you Thomas all the best in your journey of life with tinnitus, a very inspirational story! (y)
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    10. Denny

      Denny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 2013
      • Like Like x 1
    11. Sybs
      Inspired

      Sybs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Hi @Amelia, feeling exactly the same as you today and this is just what I needed to read too.
       
    12. Sybs
      Inspired

      Sybs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Thanks Thomas - an amazing journey! Can I just ask though, how do you manage to accept the loud tinnitus at night? I am taking sleeping tablets at the moment and definitely don't want to get addicted. Once you've changed your mindset does it just follow that sleep returns to normal?
       
    13. Ishank
      Wishful

      Ishank Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/12/2013
      Smile:) and Tear in my eyes. :cry:. Awesome :thankyousign:
       
    14. meeruf
      Badass

      meeruf Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving
      Hello Sybs. My tinnitus tends to go down in volume when I go to sleep. Sometimes I use sleepingpills too.
       
    15. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      This is an awesome success story and it surely offers hopes and guidance for the newer suffers. They will learn from your example to not lose hope in their struggle with tinnitus. Well done and well written. Thank you for sharing.

      I went through similar tough struggles a few years back when I thought my life with tinnitus and hyperacusis plus subsequent, relentless anxiety/panic attacks was just too much to bear, and the big 'S' word to end it all was dangling around when my over-stressed & exhausted mind just could see any way out. I had to depend on anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and sleeping pills just to survive each long, dark, dark days. I thought I never could habituate from the horror show. But like you, nowadays I am back to normal living a full and enjoyable life now, free from drugs and won't give a dime about tinnitus, ringing high or low. Now I know habituation is possible. Never say never. It can be done. Acceptance, patience, flowing with life, give it time, and yes be an 'observer' of your mind and learning you are not your mind is a powerful concept I learn too to help me cope. Great story and many great points. Again thank you and congrats.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
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    16. Mahdi
      No Mood

      Mahdi Member

      Location:
      Tehran
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunshot
      How on earth is that possible to hear loud several different noises inside your damned head and suffer from hyperacusis at the same time and be happy and go with the flow of the hellish hustle and bustle of urban life and be able to push ahead in every aspect of life (education, job , marriage and socializing) like a normal being?
      even if i hadn't been cursed like this i wouldn't be able to compensate for my inherited poverty now. the missing point here is our overall peacefulness, serenity and satisfaction with the freaking life are so damn different. the effects of T on the poor as you maybe able to imagine is more detrimental than on those who can manage their financial aspect of life less painfully. over-generalization of conditions of tinnitus sufferers is the very approach that the so-called doctors take.
      so, if i were not in such a financial shit i'd be able to suffer with it and go with it without letting any beings know of it.
       
    17. meeruf
      Badass

      meeruf Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving
      Distraction from tinnitus: Some new tips from me guys.

      I have been playing some games lately that I have not been playing for years. Age Of Empires 2 HD, Kerbal Space Program, GTA 5 etc. When I'm playing Age Of Empires I get really really lost into the game. I forget about everything else. The last days I have been playing this game for some hours every day.

      I can honestly say that my tinnitus is less in volume, and when I'm playing I don't notice it at all. Try it. Find something that can really distract you. Something that can get you really lost into another place. Maybe I killed some tinnitus connections/neurons in my brain, who knows? I feel much better.
       
      • Like Like x 4
    18. Claire43013
      Breezy

      Claire43013 Member

      Location:
      NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ISSNHL
      Hi, I'm new on here but reading your story has helped and is giving me hope. I don't know if my tinnitus is permanent (I've had it for 3 weeks, plus hearing loss from a viral infection) but with the 24/7 sound it feels like it is!! Thank you for sharing.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    19. Simon 852

      Simon 852 Member

      Location:
      Hastings East Sussex England
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, performing rock gigs, sinus infections
      Great positive story Thomas. I used to meditate and follow various Eastern practices and beliefs, then life took over for 15-20 years, relationships, had kids, lengthy tours in band, slipped back into old unhealthy ways, then a few years ago along came tinnitus, gradually, creeping, now it's overbearing and relentless with hyperacusis on one side, near-deafness on other (this is where the T is most rampant), and occlusion (voice in head). I keep going back to my old beliefs about thoughts, focus, transcending ego etc, but my simple question remains; how to meditate efficiently when you're faced with this overwhelming racket, I don't know about others but I have a very 'physical' element to my tinnitus as well as the more ethereal (brain-produced?) tones. I can focus away with music, masking etc, but would like to actually achieve it without extraneous help, just by the meditation itself. But to reach that detachment in meditation I have to find a peaceful way through the racket, not easy. Make sense to anyone?
       
    20. john2012

      john2012 Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Hi Thomas thank you for writing this. You have a natural wisdom and beautiful desire to help fellow human beings. I am very desperate after 2 exhausting years. You mentioned your mother finding the frequency very unpleasant. Did you at first find your tinnitus painful. Before I am even fully conscious in the morning, my tinnitus is stirring me with a very sharp quality, fast repetitive high-frequency tones throughout the day, which make one's head and ears feel like they will bleed. Do you think it is possible for this sensation of hurtful quality to recede with the correct mental approach you prescribe?

      Right now it all feels bleak. I have tried to read but each page hurts, as does pretty much anything else, from driving (where the sparks fly faster in my brain), to simply talking with friends. Life has become desolate.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    21. Sherri786
      Dreaming

      Sherri786 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Hi Simon, after struggling for months to try meditate again after getting t. I now chant a mantra all the time, that seems to help calm the mind somewhat.
       
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