Not Just Coping, But Living Fully

Discussion in 'Support' started by Relz, May 1, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. Relz

      Relz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I am new to this Tinnitus adventure, but already have had quite a ride that resulted in these experiential realizations that I wrote down for myself as a daily reminder. So these are just some thoughts of encouragement I wanted to share....

      If after seeing a doctor you realize that are in for a long haul with tinnitus, hear this: do NOT despair! I have a moderate tinnitus, and I can say from my own experience that once you get to know your new constant companion (the phantom sounds in your ears), you may discover that this ugly beast is actually a friendly prince in disguise. There are three compelling reasons for me to think this way and I hope that you will realize them too.

      1. The basic fact about human nature is that we are highly adaptable creatures. Research shows that even people who got permanently paralyzed neck-down go back to their baseline level of happiness after a period of adaptation. Yes, tinnitus can make a big impact on our lives, but if quadriplegics can regain their baseline level of well-being, it should not be too hard for people with ringing in their ears! In short, have faith in your inner resources! You are not alone in this: your body, your brain and subconscious are all working with you to adjust to the new condition. To give you an example of this naturally given coping device: as I am writing these sentences about tinnitus, I am not aware of my tinnitus at all! It is only when I stop and think about it that the sound pops back into my consciousness. Because of the natural selectivity of our attention, we get constant reprieves from our bothersome condition. Knowing that we are not completely trapped is that state can be seen as a kind of mercy. Also, if you examine the texture of your tinnitus sounds, you will probably notice that they come in waves as opposed to being truly constant. At least, it's my observation.

      2. In addition to natural neurochemical adaptive processes, there are helpful mental tricks/skills that we can learn. First, I tell myself that this level of noise in my life is not abnormal, but my new normal. I remind myself that there are about 50 million people in the US who have tinnitus, so this condition is in fact a new reality of modern life (for environmental factors, lifestyle, whatever reasons). I just accept the fact that this is my new daily experience and make myself at home with it. I relax with it. It is when we compare our new situation to how things used be or could have been is when we tend to panic and succumb to the feelings of doom. The more we obsess and agonize about tinnitus, the worse it tends to get. The second related trick is to do things that will help you with your anxiety in general, such as meditation, yoga, exercise, meaningful hobbies, good company, antidepressants. Here is a third trick. Famous Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh once wrote about “the bells of mindfulness”: whenever he hears the phone or bell tower ring, he is reminded to go back to the practice of attentiveness. If you are not into Buddhist meditation, you may choose to think of the sounds as a call to prayer or thanksgiving instead. My tinnitus is a persistent reminder in my head to be a better person and to appreciate all the good things in my life. In fact, I feel grateful to my condition for helping me to become more resilient, less petty, and more compassionate to others. I have a proud realization that I now belong to a group of people who embraced their suffering and are no longer afraid of it. Better yet, what may initially feel like suffering may turn into an overall positive experience. It’s a new joy I discovered – the joy of growth and strength I never knew I had. As a result, I am not just coping and getting by, but leading a fuller, more enjoyable life. I am not just humbled by my condition, but also uplifted and energized! I use my tinnitus as an alert mechanism to focus my attention on things that truly matter and bring me authentic joy. In other words, I see my condition as a gift. And, honestly, if someday my tinnitus suddenly stops, I will be quite disoriented. I will probably even miss my unlikely teacher and friend.

      3. However, this does not mean that we should stop looking for a cure. Hopefulness and energy that you may be able to gain from the above-mentioned realizations and practices should inspire you to take action. By trying different specialists and methods, you might be able to identify an underlying cause and work out a treatment plan that will objectively lessen the symptoms or even make your tinnitus go away completely. In the meantime, you can work on adapting to your new situation, discovering your new potential, and leading a quality life.

      With much respect and love to all my fellow Tinnitus Adventurers!
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    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      I love this post! @Relz, if TT had a "Team Ligitimate Hope," I'd want you to be the Chairman. Excellent!
    3. Beessie

      Beessie Member

      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress? + badluck? Clubbing? IDK!
      Very nice post!!
    4. awbw8

      awbw8 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:

      I am so glad you are doing so well Relz. I am impressed and agree with all of what you said on one level or another, it took me a lot longer than you to reach a lot of these thoughts, but they ring true now and I think others can reach this place two given the time they need.

      I also think of my T as a reminder to return to a centered, open, and grateful mindset - it is the ultimate, constant meditation. I think @linearb wrote elsewhere today about exhibiting a quality of friendliness and openness to all things and situations and I think that is at the heart of what you're saying - the body and mind can work together to find a better path.

      Thanks for posting something so lovely and positive, I'm very happy for you.
      • Like Like x 1
    5. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Agree with others above. Amazing post and positive/realistic attitude for someone with such a new T. I am curious about this phenomenon. It is something which I often have big ??? Isn't Relz's approach the way that the majority of T sufferers out there who don't freak out, don't need to go to support board, who just seem to carry on with life regardless of loud T or not? I have a family lady friend who has T so loud that she said she sometimes couldn't hear what people were saying to her, and she even joked that once she didn't even hear the siren of the fire truck which came to her apartment block due to a false alarm. Yet she didn't exhibit the 'fear' or phobic reaction we have towards T. She just said it is something she believes she would get used to it and move on with her life. Gosh! Does she have a different DNA or her mental stamina that much stronger? Her story is surely not alone. Over the years, I have heard many similar stories. If only we can unlock the puzzle why different people can react so differently to the same T stimulus and learn something from it to help out the suffering ones.

      Here are also some of the stories I have heard other members posted about these similar people:

      from Jade's success story:
      I asked anyone who I trusted at work (as industrial deafness & T is not something you want to promote in my industry) & I found 70% of the guys I asked had it & had had it for years! But they didn't let it ruin them or their social lives, It didn't bother them??! Even blokes younger then me! I was dumbfounded, I couldn't believe that these boys & men were not as effected as I was about this ringing in my ears, they still go to festivals, concerts, listen to crazy loud music but they just didn't have the "emotion" (panic, dread, fear) attached to it like I did.

      from Frosin success story:
      I have at least 150 co-workers and by some freak accident it turns out that 31 of those have tinnitus. At the start of 2014 I started to question all of those how they did cope with their condition and how long its been since they first got paid a visit from Mr. T. 29 of these people have «suffered» from tinnitus since the mid -to early 1990's. Only one other person and I are newbies in the T-club. Well, so how do these 29 people cope with their «suffering»?, you may ask. They don't cope because none of them «suffers» at all. One of the ladies who has it told me that some days it is so loud that she hardly can't hear anything at all. Does this make her miserable? No, it doesn't. Why does it no? Because she has no fear or anxiety attached to it at all. She also claims that all though it is insanely loud, she hardly ever «hears» it. (probably due to habituation)
    6. Sound Wave

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      "My tinnitus is a persistent reminder in my head to be a better person and to appreciate all the good things in my life. In fact, I feel grateful to my condition for helping me to become more resilient, less petty, and more compassionate to others."

      Winner! :)
    7. Martin69

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      Billie. I like your posts, as always.
      I met someone yesterday after a long time and we talked about many things.
      When I told him about my struggle with T, he said: "Oh yes, I also hear a sound in my head. But I just ignore it."
      And I know many people in the meantime with T.

      Nevertheless there is a difference about loudness. Yesterday and the day before, I had a mild day. Just one high-pitched tone and not very loud. I had many moments where I was busy and I was maybe aware of T 80% of the day.

      Today, 2-3 tones, all high-pitched and loud. It sounds like I am sitting in the middle of a power plant. The whole room seems filled with this alien sound. This is absolutely another category. Since we are told, it is all about reaction, I try not reacting. I was even running with these sounds, having a further spike every step I make. So I need going through those days with listening to cricket sounds. No chance listening to this the whole day.

      With my T from yesterday, I guess I would be no longer here on the forum as a sufferer.
      Nevertheless I am better than in the beginning. Anxiety is less, depression is less. But those days like today are really, really difficult. And I hope, tomorrow will be better.
      • Hug Hug x 3
    8. Kah Povi

      Kah Povi Member Benefactor

      New Mexico
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Genetics and loud music
      I started on this forum with (and sometimes fall back into) a hope that I could permanently reduce the sounds in my head. All my desperation has done for me is increase the anxiety. And anxiety is really what the suffering is all about. Now I'm trying to just treat the anxiety. This has given me some hope again. But there's such a huge emphasis both in my own thinking and in my culture's thinking, that any defect must be obliterated: to simply live with a defect is being a "loser," or someone who's wearing rose colored glasses and not seeing how bad things are in "reality."

      Buddhist practice is the crack in my conditioned ego through which some light gets in -- the reality is neither good nor bad; it just is. Tinnitus (and aging with all its interesting changes) is part of life, part of the reality of life that we can either get desperate about or flow with peacefully. Right now, I toggle between desperation and flowing.

      The new normal seems unacceptable to me much of the time and therefore, much of the time I am not happy. I intellectually get that acceptance is key; but I've got a lot of excuses as to why I "can't" do it: my tinnitus is worse than others'; my upbringing/conditioning didn't nurture my ability to cope; I've had a tough life, including a very sad tragedy...etc.

      My hope lies in letting reality sink in; this is possible:
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    9. icantstandthis

      icantstandthis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exercise? not sure
      Great post!! I hope to be like this one day. For the past 9 years I have had anxiety and panic attacks and now I am new to Tinnitus, it is very difficult for me to deal with the sound in my head that I cant escape. I dont want to take drugs for anxiety so I am looking for natural ways to cure my anxiety.
    10. Beessie

      Beessie Member

      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress? + badluck? Clubbing? IDK!
      Try Valerian extracts, worked great for me to relax a bit and their a semi-natural

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