I know, I know... I said in my previous posts that I wouldn't be here for a couple of weeks, but I've been so excited about my progress in the last week that I felt compelled to come here and make a post. But.... It's getting better!!! It actually isn't entirely gone but it is so, so much better and I've actually had periods of silence. Brief lived periods, yes, but incredibly - periods of silence where I couldn't even hear ringing if I put my fingers in my ears. What's my tinnitus like? My tinnitus started late 2015 after an extremely stressful month. I was worried about a potential health condition, which had the symptoms of tinnitus - I make the mistake of listening and there it was! As soon as I noticed it, the volume seemed to treble. I could hear it very prominently in most places, except in the shower...it's not always a consistent sound, either. The sounds change and can sometime "pulsate". It would be nice if it were a constant sound! As a person prone to anxiety and panic, tinnitus has been a real issue for me from a mental health perspective. On the first day with it, I actually wound up in the emergency department of a local hospital, as I was so panicked and distressed that I felt like I wanted to jump off a bridge! Literally! One of the worst things has been that sometimes it is so loud, that I can barely mask it. The months since have not been easy and it has taken a real toll on my mental health. Sleeping in particular has been a real issue with whining in my ears constantly. Having said that, it hasn't been so bad in the last month as it was late last year- I would attribute that to some degree of habituation. Not total habituation or even half habituation, just some habituation. The origin of my tinnitus: It's all fairly self explanatory. I've got "normal" hearing range (for spoken words) but I had ear infections and glue ear as a kid, grommets....as a teenager I loved punk rock & heavy metal music. I used to go to a lot of gigs. I played in bands as a guitarist. Listened to headphones. I've probably given my hair cells a battering over the years....add to that, I've had chronic anxiety for years & years...add that altogether and you have yourself a perfect tinnitus candidate! What helped me? I watched all of Julian Cowan Hill's videos on YouTube. I'm not going to lie, I thought it sounded like a load of rubbish when I first watched it - he practices craniosacral therapy, which is well outside of the thing I would normally buy into, as it didn't seem particularly scientific...but...for some reason I kept watching his videos. I found his demeanour very soothing and he seemed quite knowledgeable. He's also a former tinnitus sufferer (for 16+ years), so it was nice to watch someone who knows what it's like! I decided I would buy his books - both of them available on Amazon as ebooks. I read both of them and they are full of practical advice. Much of the advice is based Julian's theory is that tinnitus is a symptom of the central nervous system being in "red alert". There could be any number of triggers for tinnitus - but the thing which keeps it going is a CNS which is in overdrive. This kind of made sense to me - I've read quite a lot of literature about the effect of trauma on the body. The body actually has its own memory and holds onto traumatic experience (which is basically any experience that the body and mind find overwhelming). Mental health professionals are starting to recognise that the body and the mind are incredibly interlinked and that to release trauma, it is necessary to work directly with the body. My therapist actually told me that one of the questions on the health insurance trauma survey (she is a trauma specialist) is whether people have tinnitus. So trauma and tinnitus are interlinked, too. Many of the characteristics Julian described applied to me - driven, perfectionist, upset stomach, etc. I thought I would give it a go - try and make my nervous system "settle" by working on myself, going to a body based therapist, going to a psychotherapist to try and resolve some of my issues and adopting a mind/body practice (e.g. Tai Chi and Yoga). I also read "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn and have started going mindfulness practice. I've been avoiding stressful and overstimulating material and have tried to stick with immersing myself in uplifting material. Julian talks in one of his videos about candida, sugar and tinnitus and how he did not fully resolve his tinnitus until he dealt with his issues to do with candida. I've read quite a lot about the gut recently and how it is sometimes referred to by scientists as being the "second brain", due to the large number of neurotransmitters produced in the gut and the large number of neurons located in and around the gut. I decided to do the "Clean Gut" program, by Alejandro Junger, which cuts out a number of potential inflammatory agents, e.g. dairy, soy, wheat, sugar, peanuts, alcohol, coffee etc. I've continued with this program and have separately noticed massive improvements in my mood, energy levels and particularly my irritable gut symptoms. They have all but disappeared. The outcome I've been very diligent about doing the above. I have been going to a psychotherapist for talk sessions, going to a massage therapist for body therapy, regularly practising yoga and mindfulness meditations most days. For a number of weeks, I didn't experience any improvement and in fact the tinnitus actually got worse- having said that, my emotional reaction of the tinnitus wasn't as bad, because I was feeling a lot more relaxed and well. -But the actual tinnitus itself was worse. I wondered if I was doing the right thing, but decided to persist anyway. That's why I decided to take a break from the forum - I thought maybe it was drawing my attention to my tinnitus a little too much. I have persisted with Julian's advice for nearly 2 months now. It is only this week that I have really noticed it starting to pipe down and back off. It's been this week that I've noticed those still rare, intermittent and brief periods of silence. But they are periods of silence nonetheless! Interestingly, it's only since I started to stop caring whether or not it went away and stopped obsessively focusing on my symptoms, that it's started to pipe down. I suppose it would be nice if it went away entirely, but at the moment, I'm sufficiently OK with things and calm that it wouldn't matter if it didn't go away. Having said that - I've made such good progress so far that I think it's a very real possibility. I get spikes quite often and they are annoying, but I don't panic about them, because that doesn't help and I know I can get through it. I never would have thought I'd be here that night I ended up in hospital wanting to jump off a bridge. One of the lessons for me and for other tinnitus people from this is that we shouldn't catastrophise about the future. Who knows how things will turn out? The vast majority of people, even people with very severe tinnitus and with chronic depression/anxiety, go on to get better. It just takes time. So don't make projections about the future based on present suffering. And if you are going to make projections about the future, tell yourself that it's going to get better, because the odds are very much stacked in your favour that it will! Whether that means habituation, a partial recovery or full recover - it will get better and life will go back to normal. Big hugs!!