My Success Story/Tips for Success

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by AndreaM, May 9, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Like many others, I feel like I owe it to all the newbies to share my tinnitus success story. I developed bilateral tinnitus in October of 2009, I was 27. I have no clue what caused it, but I have had a history of anxiety/panic attacks. I had no hearing loss. At that time, I initially freaked out. But eventually dealt with it and carried on. I was used to sleeping with a fan. So I masked it every night and just tried to never be in silence. I always protected my ears with custom ear plugs. Still do.

      Fast forward 7 years- about 5 months ago. I noticed a new noise in my right ear. For some reason I didn't find it a big deal, I basically ignored it, and it went away. Then a few months later, the noise came back. It kept getting worse, and louder. I freaked out. I went into full flight or flight mode, and this is where it all went to hell. It started reacting to noise- any and all noise. The more noise the louder and different the tinnitus became. I couldn't mask it anymore. I couldn't dry my hair. I couldn't even use the microwave without my tinnitus reacting or me panicking. Then the "head" noises started. I heard all these random new noises in my head. It was unbearable. I went to the ER, they gave me meds I didn't take. I couldn't sleep. I lost 7 lbs in 2 weeks (I only weigh 120lbs so that was a lot). My marriage was being affected. I couldn't eat. I could barely work. I thought my life was over.

      Then, it was Easter. I didn't have a choice- I had to function that day. I had to go to my in-laws and I had to make the hour drive later in the day to my parents. I was distracted that day- by food, people, etc. I thought about my tinnitus A LOT that day. But not as much as the previous day. I had fun, I ate, I laughed with my cousins. I thought, if I can get through this day I can get through the next. That's when things started to improve.

      Over the next couple months I would take one day at a time. Improving a little each day, thinking less about it each day, researching less about tinnitus each day. At first I would go 2 minutes without thinking about it, the next day 10 minutes, the next week 1 HR etc. As soon as I stopped stressing about it, as soon as I got out of fight or flight mode, it improved. The head noises stopped and it went back to just my "old" tinnitus and my "new" noise. Slowly it stopped being so reactive to noise. I didn't think about my tinnitus at all today. I didn't "check" it once. I used to plug my ears and check how loud it was at least every 2-5 minutes- no joke. Today I drank wine and laughed and listened to music in the car without worrying. Today I dried my hair without even thinking twice about it.

      Here's how I did it:

      1) I changed my mind set- I started thinking positively and using my own cognitive behavioral therapy. I told myself, there are people with far worse things. I'm not going blind, I'm not paralyzed,I told myself that this is an annoyance, not a life ending disease. When I started thinking negatively I made myself think of something positive.

      2) I download the apps "Sleep Well" and "End Anxiety." These seriously saved my life. They are hypnosis apps that help me sleep. I still use them every night. They are amazing!!! I didn't think I was even able to be hypnotized. They seriously put me right to sleep. Best $2.99 I've ever spent. I can't recommend them enough. Lack of sleep really messed me up and made me so much more stressed.

      3) I went to cranial sacral therapy. Now I know this isn't for everyone. And I don't think it's a cure-all by any means. BUT, I found a great therapist, and we really clicked. The first time I went was the first night I was able to sleep in my bed all night (I would start off in bed and then move to the couch to go watch tv or just get up because I couldn't sleep).

      4) I stopped masking. I wish I would have done this my first 7 years of tinnitus. I stopped fully masking my tinnitus at night. Now I just play my hypnosis app and then leave the music from the app running all night on a low volume. This has really made me feel comfortable with hearing my tinnitus. With my old tinnitus, if it wasn't fully masked I couldn't deal. I couldn't stand hearing it at all. I wasn't able to habituate because I never allowed myself to hear it.

      5) If I came to this site I only read success stories

      6)I forced myself back into a routine and to live normal life. Eating meals, working out, working regular hours, seeing friends, sleeping in my own bed. I drank coffee. I drank wine. This sense of normalcy decreased my stressed and helped distract me. My life didn't revolve around tinnitus anymore.

      My tinnitus has backed off since my life has gotten back to normal. But it's still there. It was louder than it is now, but it's still loud. If I listen for it I can hear it when I drive, when I'm watching tv, when I'm standing next to a river like I was earlier this week. I don't have little quiet,barely there, tinnitus. I have loud intrusive tinnitus. But guess what? I really don't care. I have no negative reaction to it. If you were to have told me I would be at this point 2 months ago I would have laughed in your face. I did it and you will too. It's amazing what our bodies can get used to. if you have any questions or need help, please ask. No one needs to go through the lows of what I went through. It's just not with it!! I don't think I will ever be one of those people that forget they have tinnitus. I worry too much about protecting my ears for that- always have my ear plugs etc. But if I can always deal with my tinnitus as well as I deal with it right now, that's okay with me!
       
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    2. JasonP

      JasonP Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2006
      Way to go!!! That is great. I need to get with the program. Unfortunately since I have depression issues before t I have to take Lamictal and now I am klonopin dependent :( took it too long and it is hard to get off.
       
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    3. Purple Parrot
      Bookworm

      Purple Parrot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015 - 3/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multiple: anxiety, childhood ear infections, loud music
      Cranial sacral therapy is awesome for tinnitus.

      I am glad things are going well x
       
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    4. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @AndreaM your story is so good and positive.........I need to do what u advised.....just got to stick with it.....day by day like u said.......I'm so sick of this T and H.....I do what u used to do every waking hour......I've had it a little over 3 mths now........I go to the gym everyday for 2 hrs......that also makes me feel better,....hope that's not affecting it? I m downloading both of those apps.......I'm also trying Lypoflavonoid my ENT told me to try it for 2 mths...if it doesn't work by then he said forget it.....I'm at 1 month now.....I'm going to keep reading your story.....wish me luck....think positive,,,,,,,thanks,,,,
       
    5. Dominic1955
      Depressed

      Dominic1955 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Waverly, Pennsylvania
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic hearing loss
      Any success stories with people with tinnitus and hearing loss?
       
    6. Honey_Bee
      Barefooter

      Honey_Bee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      This story kicked so much @$$! I loved it so much! Thank you for posting! I have had tinnitus a little over a year and everything you said is spot on! Much love! :)
       
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    7. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Barbara777 thanks!! The gym helped me so much. It's hard to think about your tinnitus when your working out hard and trying to just breathe and get through your workout. Don't focus on the lipoflav being a magic pill. Start focusing on changing your mind set, and if the pill helps a little, that's just an added bonus. Think of the sound as just another sound! It's not going to hurt you. Think of it as neutral. Your brain will start to hear it less and less. I promise.
       
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    8. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Honey_Bee thank you! I read your story and sounds like we are totally on the same page. You just gotta keep livin and move forward. I'm so jealous you went to stage coach!! Maybe next year :)
       
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    9. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @AndreaM do u wear headphones at the gym? I keep mine on low but not sure if I should even do that.....please tell me how u think it's just another sound when u hear it constantly,,.what do u do???..I haven't had a break from it since last Thursday
       
    10. Honey_Bee
      Barefooter

      Honey_Bee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      @AndreaM Amen sista! lol Oh man its so much fun! The music, the people watching, the ridiculous outfits lol Are you in the socal area?
       
    11. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Barb I don't use headphones at the gym. I think it is fine to use them at very low volume, I just choose not to.

      As far as thinking of the sound as neutral/background sound- you are in luck! Your brain already has the ability to do this, and you already do it all the time without even knowing it. You don't constantly hear that clock ticking, or the sound your car makes on the road, or your fridge running. Tinnitus is the same thing, it's just more scary at first because it's coming from you. You can't force yourself to make it a background noise, but you can help your brain start the process. The things I listed in my original post will help you start the process. The main thing is to know it will not hurt you. Start reminding yourself it's nothing to be scared of. That will start decreasing your fight or flight response. Keep yourself busy with things you enjoy. You'll notice yourself slowly start to "forget" about your tinnitus. Even if it's only for 10 seconds at a time. You have to start somewhere. It's a process. It doesn't happen over night. Also you need to stop looking at this board (except for success stories) if you haven't already. Force yourself!
       
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    12. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
    13. Honey_Bee
      Barefooter

      Honey_Bee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      @AndreaM ahhhh my sister is up there! Beautiful area :joyful:
       
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    14. andrewk

      andrewk Member

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you very much for contributing your story! It's good to be reminded that everyone can achieve success with T, no matter how loud it is, and that if mine ever becomes louder, I will adjust again.
       
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    15. Marie79

      Marie79 Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2/1/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      You are such an inspiration. I really am motivated by the fact that you said you suffered from panic and anxiety before. I am 14 weeks in and while I am better than in the first few weeks I am still a while from being where I want to be. I am so very happy for you and hope to be there soon!
       
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    16. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Marie79 happy to hear I can help you! I had the WORST anxiety. I'm talking like multiple panic attacks a day for no reason. For years! It was horrible! Honestly, after overcoming panic I have always thought I can do anything. It gave me modivation to get on with life after getting tinnitus.
       
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    17. valeri

      valeri Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2011
      @AndreaM
      Thanks for your tips and success story.
      I've got two questions if you don't mind me asking:
      1. I booked myself to start cranio sacral therapy, in two weeks, so wanted to ask about your experience. How many sessions you did or still doing and has it helped more with anxiety or tinnitus?

      2. Is this the app End anxiety? I download for free and you said you paid for it so not sure if it's the same?
       

      Attached Files:

    18. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @valeri youre welcome! I did a session every other week. I started a couple months ago. Honestly, I have no idea if it helped anxiety and/or tinnitus. But both improved!

      Yes, that's the app! The one you pay for has more options... You don't have to listen to the instructions every time, you can loop it to run all night etc.
       
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    19. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @AndreaM i bought both apps.....2.99 each....just listened to the end anxiety one ....fell asleep sometime during it....can't wait till tonite to try the sleep one....keep u posted....trying not to pay much attention to my T and H but it's hard when it seems to get quiet.......after the gym it seems to get a little quieter.....but then when I go to work in a lunch room with 7/8 th graders it comes back full force...even tho I wear headphones.... Did yours vary with being quiet?
       
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    20. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @barbb that's so awesome! I swear those apps are like magic sleep pills.

      Mine always seems to quiet down when I workout too. The loudness of mine varied GREATLY and still does. But because I'm not focused on it, even when it is loud I don't notice it as much. That's the thing about T, it's unpredictable and will probably continue to vary in intensity etc. Once you accept that, then you're on the right track! BUT, when your anxiety decreases and you're not focused on it I bet you will notice an overall softening of it. As long as you are protecting your ears when external noise is too loud, then even if things make it spike, know it will always settle down.
       
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    21. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Meant to say I wear ear plugs in the lunch room lol
      Also do u keep something on in the background when u r home alone?
      @AndreaM
       
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    22. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @barbb lol I was thinking you meant that :)
      I usually always have the tv on at home, but I did that before T, too. However, I just got home from The grocery store and spent what seemed like forever putting away groceries in my quiet house. Didn't hear my T once. This morning when I woke up my "loop" on my app had timed out, so the house was quiet. I stayed in bed for about 15 minutes, even dozed off once. So, yes I usually have some background noise. But no, I don't feel like I always have to consciously turn something on for the purposes of masking. If I were you I would have some sort of noise when you are home alone that is lower than your T. That way you get used to hearing it but you aren't in silence. That's what I did when I was still in the "freak out" stage. I think it really helped.
       
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    23. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      What do u mean the loop on your app @AndreaM ? Timed out?
       
    24. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @barbb i make the app loop so it does the hypnosis part two times and then it plays the music for 8 hours. I slept longer than eight hours so by the time I woke up it was off.
       
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    25. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Damn u sleep long @AndreaM ....lol....not sure if I can sleep with it on all night......ill try playing it a couple of times tonite :)
       
    26. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @barbb making up for all those nights I didn't sleep at all!! Haha. I also like to sleep with my windows open. It's just the right amount of noise.
       
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    27. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @AndreaM well the sleeping one put me asleep till about 2:00 am then I was up....tried it again but didn't work......will give it another shot.....my nights and mornings when I get up seem to be my loudest times? What about u?
       
    28. AndreaM

      AndreaM Member

      Location:
      Bay Area, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @barbb well that's a good start! I would often play them again through out the night when I would wake up and start worrying about T. It was so hard to sleep through the night at first. Now if I wake up in the middle of the night T doesn't usually even cross my mind. My T is 10 times worse at night, and not because it's quiet in the house. It changes at night and gets significantly louder and just different.
       
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    29. barbb

      barbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @AndreaM just curious......yesterday I went 7 hrs with T low....I could live with that level.....then shoots back up very loud again.....ever happen to u? Also does rainy weather have anything to do with it? Thanks
       
    30. melfreeman08
      Blah

      melfreeman08 Member

      Location:
      Orange County, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/26/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sinus Infection
      @AndreaM OMG, I love you! Are stories are so similar. I was such a checker! Straight up fingers in my ear through-out-the-day! I just posted my success story too. The key is training your response, it so works! I'm getting off work, to hop in my car, blast my music, head out to dinner and enjoy my wine. My life is great- even with T! xx

      I live in Orange County, are you close? :)
       
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