I Can Live with the Ring...It's the Panic that's the Killer.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Nich, Jun 20, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      Hey all. I'm really glad to have found this forum. I've been creeping around for a week and a lot of the info and stories have already been helpful. My story started a little over a week ago. I was sitting in bed, reading a book and my ears started ringing/hissing. It was really, really loud. To the point I could not concentrate so I put the book aside and tried to go to sleep. Throughout the night I got very nauseated and had some chill-like symptoms. I initially thought it was some stomach sickness but now I think it was likely a panic attack. Since then I've had a constant, fluctuating ringing/hissing in my ears. Luckily it is not anywhere as loud as initially but it is still pretty loud, intrusive and considering I work in a quiet office all day it is hard to not fixate on it and get panicky.

      My issue is with the panic that the new tinnitus is inducing. I have panic disorder. I have had it for the majority of my life. However, about a decade ago I went and got some help and was able to get it under control and have been without a panic attack since then and only require a few benzos per year. This new tinnitus has made the panic FLARE back. I had forgotten how absolutely miserable panic attacks were and that lifeless feeling they made you have. I'm starting to implement all the old strategies I was taught to overcome this flare but geez it's just exhausting.

      I'm hopeful my tinnitus may go away. I've had another episode similar to this that was MUCH less severe that resolved over a week or two but this time seems different. Regardless, like everyone else I'm doing it one day at a time right now. Strangely, it seems to be very mild or sometimes gone in the mornings and starts up mid-morning and then fluctuates throughout the day. I have had one day where it was very mild all day only to come back strong the next day. If my tinnitus doesn't go away I WILL learn to live a full, low-anxiety life with it. I have no doubt that's gonna be hella hard and take some sweet time but really, whats the alternative?

      I'm actually a physician (a kidney pathologist) and diagnose peoples kidney diseases all day. Although the very quiet nature of my work is a bit of a burden with the tinnitus it does offer me tons of perspective. I just finished diagnosing one patient with a disease that will kill her kidneys in a few months and reveals she has an underlying, uncurable cancer. While pain is pain, that sure does make me feel a little less sorry for myself.
       
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    2. Jeff M.
      Cowabunga

      Jeff M. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      La Jolla, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct. 2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      @Nich - Glad you have been "creeping" around TT for awhile already, and now posted!! As you may well already know, this forum is chock full of solid information, people's experiences and perspectives, and a whole lot of support!! Glad you joined us!

      I can empathize a bit with your panic issue. Before T I had never had any bouts with anxiety, depression, or panic attacks. A few weeks into my journey with T I was a mess. Mainly due to lack of sleep due to my very high pitch/volume T. I was at the audiologist office getting a hearing test (in that freakishly small booth they stuff you into), and about halfway thru the test, I flipped out!!:eek::confused::arghh: My heart started racing, I began to sweat profusely (even though it was freezing in there!), I just wigged out. I had never had a panic attack before so I didn't have a clue what was happening to me!!! I thought I was dying!! I literally ran out of the booth and out of the building. It took me like 30 minutes to calm down. Gnarly!!

      I pray our T subsides and you keep your anxiety/panic in check and under control!! It sounds like you have a good, healthy attitude, which is so important when living with T!! Keep it up!!(y) and stay connected!!:D

      I hope TT is a help to you in many ways!! Thanks again for joining us and sharing your story!!:)

      Best,

      Jeff

      :rockingbanana:
       
    3. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids

      Nich
      :welcomesignanimation: to the site; a lot of good folks here that truly understand. I, too, recall my first weeks/months with tinnitus; you hit the nail on the head 'that lifeless feeling'. I didn't think I was going to make it; but I can say that I'm more than fine now (T and all).

      It sounds like you have some experience to draw from (panic attacks); who would have ever thought those could be a blessing (even in disguise)? I didn't have any experience with panic; so I just freaked out -- maybe you could give me some pointers. The only thing I learned is that T puts your brain in 'fight/flight' mode for quite some time -- I wished I'd known that back then.

      Keep coming back to the site...

      Prayers!

      Mark
       
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    4. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      Thank you Mark and Jeff. I hope that I can learn to live well with this. Ironically, I'm leaving for a big Vaca next week and I sure wish it could've waited a couple weeks before randomly appearing! Any tips you might have for helping me make the most of a Vaca right after developing T would be greatly appreciated. I was so looking forward to getting everything ready to go and now it's honestly hard to get the energy to get it done. It's like battling to accept and ignore this high pitched scream in my head while working to reign in my anxiety is just freaking draining.

      As for panic attacks, they result from disordered thinking. So for example, when my T gets much louder randomly in the middle of the day I will initially get a panic response. But then if you pay attention, your internal monologue will immediately shift to thinking about all your greatest fears associated with your T. For me that is usually a fear about freaking out and not being able to do my job. Then I think about all the consequences of that and so on. The key is to stop that disordered thought process and to be aware of your internal monologue and keep it from being negative. That process is a part of cognitive behavioral therapy which is pretty effective for most people with panic disorder. I also stop all caffeine and switch all my media to positive things like comedy. It's harder to maintain negative thoughts when surrounded by happy stuff. It's a bit lame but hey it works. In my past usually 1-2 months is required to reset myself and get back to normal. Its a slow process. However the longer the panic goes uncontrolled the more entrenched the thought patterns become and the harder it is to change them. T is a little different as its the trigger but it's always there. So far I've noticed it's rapid changes in loudness or quality that trigger me.
       
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    5. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      Hi Nich!

      Have you tried CBT for your panic attacks? We have a brilliant Ph.D. psychologist--who is a CBT expert and also has tinnitus. He might be able to give you advice. His name is Dr. Hubbard, and he can be found in the Dr.'s Corner.

      Dr. Nagler is a noted physician and a TRT expert. He likewise has extensive experience treating tinnitus and also has it. And is also located in the Dr.'s Corner.

      Of course, there's also much knowledge to be gained among TT's members!:) We have many members who've fully habituated and will gladly offer advice.
       
    6. nogood
      Torn

      nogood Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ototoxicity/infection
      I had similar issues at first few weeks of on set of t..
      For anxiety issues...I was on low dose xanax for a month .25mg to .5mg a day..
      Then I used pureclam drops and stopped xanax, was scared of keep taking xanax cause of it additive nature..
      U can give pureclam a try.. it helps a bit..and its not additive. .
      When I had panic attacks I would go walking for few minutes to get some fresh air..
      Its two months plus now... I don't use any medications. .if I feel uneasy I jst go for a short walk or go drink something like tea or coco or just some hot water, slowly sip on it and divert the attention. ..
       
    7. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      @jazz I have not had formal CBT training. By the time I went to a psychiatrist they thought my strategies were working so they changed some of what I was doing but that was it. If my panic/anxiety doesn't respond to my normal strategies then I may have to try CBT.
      @nogood thanks for the tip. I'm currently doing 0.125 MG klonopin twice a day. It's such a low dose that that it doesn't keep the panic away but it helps take the edge off so I can usually keep the full blown panic attack from happening. I agree though. I don't want to take it for more than a month. I haven't heard of pure clam drops but I'll look into that. One of my biggest goals right now is to get to where I have an appetite again.
       
    8. nogood
      Torn

      nogood Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ototoxicity/infection
      Oops sorry nich small typo its purecalm..
       
    9. Ken219
      No Mood

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      Dizziness and increased tinnitus. Has any body had this experience? I awoke with dizziness and increased Tinnitus. The ENT gave me prednisone and anti-vert. It took approx 5 weeks for the dizziness to stop but my ringing is still high. We suspect it was a Virus. Any information(help) would be appreciated. Thanks.
       
    10. Ken219
      No Mood

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      One of my biggest goals right now is to get to where I have an appetite again.[/QUOTE]
      Dr Nick,
      I am currently in a relapse and yes the appetite is a concern. Try to eat healthy low salt and force yourself to eat. I know it is hard. You and I are on the same timetable.. There is no difference because I have T for 24 years. A relapse is a relapse. Lets get through this together.
       
    11. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids

      Nich
      It's great you are going on a vacation; that is a brilliant step in the right direction (don't let T stop you from doing anything you want to do -- ever!). Count that as a big win (T is not in charge of you).

      The best advice I can give to you about T is for you to constantly work at making T what I would consider an emotional 'non-topic'. In other words, you have little to no reaction to it; for instance, my T is about important to me as that stupid lump of grass out in the cracks of my driveway :LOL: . It may be annoying but it goes in the 'whatev' bucket; you get the idea. This calls for total acceptance (even acquiescence) to the fact that you have T (even if it is temporary). Not reacting emotionally takes away its fuel; it becomes malnourished due to neglect.

      Getting to the total acceptance point has more failures than successes (especially in the beginning) -- don't fret the failures, just start over. There may be days/nights where T just has its way with you (it took me to tears and 2 x nervous breakdowns at the beginning). Don't worry, that doesn't need to happen to you; had I known about this site and got the right advice early on I could have avoided all the drama. Good on you for coming to this site. Once again, don't fret the fail days, just pick up and work toward it becoming an emotional non-topic.

      Of course, that doesn't mean I don't talk about my T, or deny I have it, nor does it mean I don't think about it and even research it-- I just don't react to it anymore and my life is back to 'normal' :LOL:. I do whatever I want to do and am not emotionally or mentally compromised (by T).

      Draw on your experience with handling panic attacks, I'm positive there are great techniques that also help with T.

      Enjoy your vacation :cool:

      Prayers!!

      Mark :)
       
    12. gary
      Transparent

      gary Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Macomb, MI. USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who Knows
      Lets talk about the panic attacks for a minute. I too suffered from them for 10-15 years. Finally got rid of them for good, but I do know how bad they can be. If it is any consolation my T drives me to the brink at times, but I always manage to get through it. Having both panic attacks and T is tough, but remember the panic attacks, as you well know, will subside after you work it out in you're mind.

      The T will also loosen it's grip on you, as you think all this through. Remember neither of these conditions, no matter how bad they get are not life threatening.

      Glad you found this site, here you can pour your heart out, tell us when you are having a bad day, tell us what helps you etc.. just like the rest of us have done and still do..
       
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    13. Sjoerd

      Sjoerd Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09-2013
      Have you ever tried any Yoga or Chi-kung practice to battle anxiety? Regular practice has been linked to increased GABA levels in the brain:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17532734
       
    14. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      Thank you everyone for your responses. They are SO helpful. The good news is I had a really good weekend! I decided to see where my anxiety was at without my klonopin for the weekend (so if I had a panic attack I wouldn't be at work). Saturday morning I had a little anxiety and the T was difficult to get to the background but by that night I was able to make it a non-issue, just not give a **** about it and even though it was somewhat loud it didn't bother me. I didn't have any response to it. I actually felt like myself. Then Sunday it was very, very soft most of the day and when I was out and about I didn't even hear it. Again, I had a little anxiety that morning but once it cleared I had a great day and was myself again. I even ate a small brunch with friends and dinner out which was more than I had eaten most of the week before. Unfortunately, Sunday night it did disrupt my sleep some. I slept really light and woke up a lot (the dog yelping after something in his sleep didn't help) but I'm not too terribly tired this AM so I guess my sleep was better than I thought. It's still gonna be a battle, but having these two good days just helped me know I will be able to get back to 'normal' with this if I keep on working on it. I've told my family and friends this is happening and they are really supportive. Turns out my dad has really bad T as well from tympanic membrane damage and has dealt with it for 30+ years. I never even knew. He said he just accepted that it wasn't going away and he would just have to learn to live with it and did.

      So, I go to the doctor tomorrow. My primary goal is to rule out anything bad like a sinusitis or brain mass or such. I don't expect the etiology of this can be found and I don't want to live in doctor's offices for the next year in a futile search. Is there anything that I need to have done that people find helpful?
       
    15. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      @Mark McDill This is EXACTLY what I'm trying to do. It sure is harder to do than it seems though. When I hear my T and get fixated on it I just keep telling myself it's just a SOUND. And, the only thing that will affect my life is how I let myself respond to it. It's probably gonna take me a while to totally get there. But, even in one week progress has been made. I read some of the Drs. stories on here and I think I'm going to try to do some mindfulness meditation focusing on the sound like one of the Docs did. We are going to a tranquil resort on vaca where I will have plenty of time to do whatever I want and I think I'm going to take the opportunity to work on this.

      @gary Thank you for the perspective. I had thought I had gotten rid of my panic attacks as well. It has been over 7 years since I had one and I have only had to medicate 20 days or so in that 7 year time period. You are COMPLETELY right. Once I get it worked out in my head and stop reacting to it they will go away. When this came on I medicated myself immediately and it has kept me from going into any further panic attacks. Because I had the one it initiated what I call my 'panic cycle' and has caused a chronic anxiety which will just have to work its way out of my system. But, i'm very pleased I've had some good days. In the past I would usually have a month or so of suffering before I would had good days. I may get on an SSRI/SNRI when I get back from vaca to help me through this patch.

      @Sjoerd I have not tried either of those. I have wanted to do yoga before and they have it at my gym. I might give it a go...if I can make myself get up in time for the classes! :)
       
    16. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      @Ken219 I think we got this! And, my goal this week is to eat something solid everyday. I went and got some ensure to help my intake out. I lost 12lbs in 9 days. LOL I'm overweight so it will end up being a blessing. I still don't have an appetite but I'm not feeling sick at my stomach for a few days. That has helped my mood a LOT.
       
    17. Sjoerd

      Sjoerd Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09-2013
      @Nich Just make sure you practice an Internal form of yoga or Chi-kung. The physical movements are there to help your brain go quiet. It is very simple but not necessarily easy. It requires persistent and regular practice.
       
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    18. nogood
      Torn

      nogood Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ototoxicity/infection
      There are some simple breathing exercise in yoga to help u with panic attacks esp in morning times.

      1- very basic.. take deep breath slowly (breath into ur stomach) breath out even slowler. Ideally Breath out time 2 times the breath in time
      2-close one nostril breath in, then breath out using the other. After few reps alternate the nostril.
      3-breath in using ur nose breath out using ur mouth.
      4-breath in using the mouth breath out using nose.
      5-breath in using both mouth and nose and exhale in same manner.

      ( no. 2-5 follow breathing pattern in no. 1 I.e. , breath-out time is more than breath-in time.)

      Pratice the above each for at least 2 mins each.. so total 10 mins..

      You can do them first thing in morning without getting off from bed, lay down flat and Pratice. After finishing, relax for a minute and turn to right side and get up. Or you can do them sitting down any time of the day, but avoid practicing while driving or on full stomach.

      Because of my sinus issues I usually do these exercises while sitting in front of a steamer. Two times a day morning and night.
       
    19. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      Nich
      Yes, it is very difficult (indeed); but doable over time. To be perfectly pragmatic, I think after a year of fixating on T I finally became emotionally bored of the topic. I had learned all (most) if its ins and outs and experienced the worst it had to offer and finally moved into the 'no-reaction' zone. But it took me a long time. It sounds like you have a good jump-start on yours (awesome!).

      I, too, like the Dr.s' stories; very informative and downright inspirational. I like your other idea about mindfulness; it might be a good thing for me too.

      Mark
       
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