My Perspective on 3 Years of Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Luke, Oct 27, 2016.

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    1. Luke

      Luke Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      I don't know how to perfectly describe my journey. It all feels so subjective but I wanted to share a story of improvement and hope. Ten days after trying out my friend's handgun without earmuffs my T started up and was unbearable. It was on my mind 24/7, and I was surprised that my friends didn't seem to notice any change in me because I was so distressed and focused on the T. I went from 8 hours to 3 hours of sleep a night and hardly ate for 2 weeks. Then I found melatonin and finally finally got my rest, which drastically improved my newfound depression.

      I tried so many different vitamins, gave Neuromonics a shot, changed my diet, successfully treated my TMJ (with a program called TruDenta) for the sake of combatting my T, and it all seemed worthless (but I'd be happy to elaborate on these if interested). But these "treatments" nonetheless gave me hope that I was doing all I could do to improve my new condition, hope I desperately needed even if it was all snake oil.

      I felt then, as I know now, that a good attitude about it all (aka hope) was important. But sure, it's hard to have a good attitude when you're sleep deprived and your T reminds you you're just a mortal and it's not all about you, and that at any moment maybe it could get louder and then what!?!?! ...but for me at least, if I know that I'm doing the best I can with what I've got (and that was trying Nueromonics for me as well as a variety of diets, etc.) then I don't feel so bad, or dreadful, I should say. I did feel bad, I felt like a part of me, and a part of my peace of mind, was certainly gone forever. I guess what really changed is that I've learned to embrace that I am indeed a mortal, subject to any number of trauma in my life. It really sucks at first to think about, and with T, my realization of my mortality used to make me loose my appetite. But now I see it as a more beautiful condition to existence, corny I know. But I do see a beauty in a good moment with friends in a way I don't think I used to appreciate. I feel absolute elation when I realize I haven't thought about my T for hours, not to mention my other issues in life that are not unique to me. And with time, I'd say after about 2 years, I realized that my T wasn't the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning. So not only was that alone a big deal, it means that I definitely got used to it even if it didn't change. And I'm not sure if it did actually get better in regards to volume.

      My T still spikes to the extent that that's all I can think about it for a few seconds. But everyone gets that kind of T, including me before my permanent T, it's just weirder when you already have it. I used to feel absolute dread it would stay like that, now it's just something I roll my eyes about and wait for a minute, sometimes several minutes, for it to go back to baseline. I guess the best part of having T for 3 years, and accidentally having more noise trauma (a car alarm went off right as I walked by, another accidental gun shot noise exposure when I was out target practicing for hunting season, realizing my car music is too loud, etc.), is that I've realized it's not going to randomly increase in volume with my day to day living. I really try to minimize my exposure to more loud noises, but that'll happen, that's living for ya. But for me, the secret to returning to my pre-T sense of normalcy came from taking it day by day, staying busy with anything else, and when I felt I might scream because of my T I would call up a loved one or a friend or two and just have a casual conversation, never letting on that I'm actually down in the dumps just to try to convince myself that I wasn't.

      So there's really nothing I could have told myself in my first couple months, my worst couple months, of T that would have truly comforted me. We are all different and maybe you have T from hearing loss, maybe it's from TMJ, who knows? It's nerve-wracking to investigate because if the answer to your problem is as simple as lipoflavinoids then how infuriating to have not found out about it earlier and to be able to get back to real life. Argh, right? But for me, and what I've learned from my journey and from the couple friends who I later found out also have T, there is hardly a cure for anyone, you're probably stuck with this, but it's not going to rule your life, we all get used to it. We all get used to it. It's so hard to believe that, but once I accepted that I can't do much else about it, I was able to change my focus and my energy to other problems, pursuits, and goals. Ironically, that's what seemed to help my T, or my perception of my T, improve. Know what I mean?

      Anyways, hopefully something here resonated with any of you with a similar story of distress and confusion, to basically let you know that even with my additional loud noise exposures, occasional bouts of stress and bad sleep, my T never got worse, and subjectively, at least, it did get better. Now I rarely think about my T first thing when I wake up in the morning, I've found a new routine in my new town and it feels like a new life. There are days when the T is right along with me the entire time, in a way that would have appalled me in the early days, but at this point in my T journey I calmly hold on and know that it's not going to get worse, and that it will find it's way back to the back of my head, out of my thoughts, soon enough.
       
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    2. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      Thanks for telling your story of your T. Takeaway is good people survive and move on with their life which isn't easy but we do it because life is worth living.
      I will share only a mild disappointment with your story. You didn't somehow weave in a romance with a supermodel who had an unknown challenge....or find a Ferrari for sale just out of town in a barn for $1000. Other than that ;) congrats and be well!!!
       
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    3. Lorac

      Lorac Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden profound hearing loss in left ear.
      @Luke ,
      My own journey with T has lasted 3 years too (since sudden hearing loss in 2013) and many of your thoughts do resonate with me. I had to accept that I am mortal and flawed. Why did I ever think that bad things like this happen to other people but would not happen to me?
      I do think about T before I even get out of bed in the mornings but I am pleased that it is so much quieter now than it was in 2013, 2014. Even during painful spikes, I go on the assumption that things will return to baseline. I sometimes wonder if it is harder for people to deal with intermittent T that actually goes away completely and comes back again. At least, I know the devil I am dealing with.
      Thank you for posting about your progress. I suspect that many people see improvement within three years but they just move on with life and stop posting about it.
       
    4. hartje5
      Wishful

      hartje5 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      4 december 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Verapamil, Flecainide, Apixaban, stress
      Thanks for sharing Luke. You're story gives me hope and that is all I need for now.
       
    5. Luke

      Luke Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      @Lorac I'm sure you're right, that most people see sufficient improvement after a few years but don't come back to TinnitusTalk to report it because they're ready to move on with their lives. I was almost one of those people, but I'll occasionally remember how much I needed this group during my first year with T. So I'm glad to share something similar to the posts I read that gave me hope back then, and I'm really glad to hear this could help @hartje5 .

      Ha thank you @stophiss! I have to be honest that my life is no more glamorous now than it was before I got T other than moving to Colorado, oh and that one time when I took my sister's place in the hunger games and became known as peace bringer to the Seven Kingdoms. ;)
       
    6. Jkph75

      Jkph75 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/27/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for sharing. I think recognizing my own mortality has been an issue for me too. I feel flawed and broken. Ironically, being born deaf in one ear never gave me this feeling but the t does. One question. Are you able to relax and watch TV? I can forget about it while doing things but it has been 8 months and I am never able to relax.
       
    7. Luke

      Luke Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Hi @Jkph75 watching TV doesn't bother me because the high-pitched electric sound that accompanies it sounds a lot like my T. So I look at the TV as the source of that "noise" and it's kind of a mask for me. Radio static is also comforting (my car passengers hardly ever agree haha). Oddly enough, wind or a fan on high speed are what seem to activate my awareness of my T the most.

      We all seem to have a slightly different experience with T. Accepting my T's quirks was what helped me find my sense of calm about it. But I definitely remember feeling broken too, mad at my own brain for not fixing itself. It's been long enough now that I pretty much see T as a part of me, rather than something taking away from who I am.

      Someone on tinnitus talk once used the analogy of a ticking clock, how it's so noticeable if you pay attention to it, but then there's hours where your brain stops registering the tick because you and your brain agree that it's not important. I don't know if that's exactly what's going on with you too when you don't notice the effect TV has on your T while you're busy with other things, but that's the real world example I really used to cling to as a goal to help me cope with my T.
       

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