Silence Has Always Been Loud — But Boy Howdy, Does My Anxiety Disorder Make It Worse

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by everesting, Oct 13, 2022.

    1. everesting

      everesting Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hey good folks of Tinnitus Talk!

      I’m Everett. I’m 24 years old and I live in the Midwestern United States.

      For as long as I can remember, silence has always been loud. I could not tell you if this was something I was born with, or a result of spending my earliest years in rock venues watching my dad perform with his band. Since I have really never known any different, I am entirely habituated to it. When I’m in a completely silent room, it gets on my nerves, but the general background drone of life and household machinations is enough to cover it. Otherwise my hearing is great — honestly too good for my own sake. I may have a penchant for eavesdropping... :cautious:

      Unfortunately, that’s not where my story ends. In late September, I had a nervous breakdown. I felt it coming on. I was paranoid, sleeping less, and I was waking up in the early hours in a total panic with my ears ringing. Then I got into a big blowout fight with my mom and I had complete meltdown (throwing things, screaming, pounding on the walls.) Thank god, my mom is a compassionate woman. She got me calmed down. We put a pin in it. And I took my dog for a walk.

      I remember feeling so fucking weird while I was out there. Everything was dream-like, but cold and frightening. My vision was tunneling and I felt like I couldn’t walk straight. I walked back home and tried to soothe myself with some silly youtube videos. That’s when the ringing broke out in my left ear. Now, I’ve had fleeting tinnitus in addition to my regular ambient noise for about equally as long. This is your stereotypical tinnitus sound. Like the folly they’d use in a movie or video game after someone got flashbanged. It would last anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute, and it always went away. I’m sure you know where this is going.

      The next two weeks were utter hell. I went into a total spiral. Couldn’t eat, sleep, was having multiple panic attacks through the day. Breaking down into hysterics. My mom and partner convinced me to go to Urgent Care. Urgent Care told me I had an infection in my left ear canal, prescribed me antibiotics and gave me some Hydroxyzine for the anxiety. They told me to follow up with my regular doctor if the ringing persisted since ear canal infections shouldn’t cause ringing. This helped my mental state none.

      Over the next two days, I became exhausted. I couldn’t even be upset anymore, but I still needed relief. I started looking into sound therapy and masking, and I came across a recommendation for a video by Art of Zen. I’m not quite sure how to describe the effect those videos have on me. When I’m listening, my tinnitus is imperceptible. If I take my headphones off and just sit there, my brain sputters for a second as it searches for the higher frequencies, then it comes back at a slightly lower volume. If I’m distracted or doing something when I take them off (watching TV/reading/cooking) it comes back waaaaaay quieter. Sometimes so quiet I have to plug my ears to hear it. I was so interested in why this worked and that got me onto the path of bimodal neuromodulation.

      I know Tinnitus Talk has some strong opinions about Neuromod, but reading about people’s positive experiences with the devices made me feel so much better. I thought “man, if this is what Tinnitus Talk thinks is a POS, then that Dr. Susan Shore (Michigan device) must really be worth her salt.” Once I was done voraciously consuming everything I could read about the Lenire device, I moved onto the Michigan device. And I think it sounds extremely promising for cases like mine. It filled me with so much hope. I am trying to stay reserved. I just can’t help but let excitement burst through at moments. Thinking of making a trip to Michigan with my dog and beau in tow...

      Anyways— what’s important is that this pulled me out of my panic spiral. And... my tinnitus went WAY down. I used sound therapy to help with the temporary spikes caused by my weed vape, but once those passed it was smooth sailing. I was constantly plugging my ears to see if it was still there or not. My mom and partner were like “Oh no, I’m so sorry, is it getting worse?” and I kept having to tell them “No! It’s so much better. And it’s like kinda freaking me out for some reason!”

      That was all the confirmation I needed. Anxiety go way down; tinnitus go way down. I figured after all of that tribulation, it was probably time for me to see my doctor about getting on a daily brain med. I saw my doctor a couple days ago and he put me on 150 mg Bupropion XL. I didn’t think about it in the moment, but I’m sure that gave some of you pause. There’s definitely a... um... history of negative experiences with that drug.

      So that basically brings to where I am now. Yesterday was pretty rough. Picking up my prescription sent me into a panic spiral and I had a terrible spike. Today I’m feeling much better, but it is a bit louder than usual. I feel a bit stuck on what to do next. I still haven’t taken any of the pills yet and I’m wondering if should give my therapist a call.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. 10Kcd

      10Kcd Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Hey @everesting - welcome to the forum, and sorry to hear about your downs. My humble opinion is that you're on the right track to be noticing the connection your anxiety has to your tinnitus.

      I can't speak much to medication other than to say that I've had a positive experience taking half the minimum dose (7.5mg in total) of Mirtazapine as a way of taking the edge off of my anxiety and depression around my tinnitus and sound sensitivity.

      If you've got a therapist you trust, I don't see any harm in calling. Keep the things that seem to work for you, and let go of the things that don't. I'm hoping things settle for you, both emotionally and acoustically :)
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. BrOKeN_1

      BrOKeN_1 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      High Frequency Hearing Loss
      It really is different for everyone. Antidepressants don't seem to affect my tinnitus.

      Fluoxetine has been a life saver for me when it comes to suppression of depression. It may be exactly what you need to get back to that nonchalant attitude. Just thinking out loud. Good luck.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      everesting

      everesting Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for your warm welcome! Also for sharing your experiences with medication.

      I reached out to my therapist, but I haven’t heard anything back yet. I guess we’ll see what she has to say when she does. I’m going to start “shopping” for a new primary since my family doctor told me flat out he couldn’t attend to a certain medical need of mine because he “didn’t know how.” That hasn’t sat well with me.

      Otherwise, I’m still keeping my upward trajectory. I went out today, experienced some noises that felt uncomfortable, and had no spike! Woohoo.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      everesting

      everesting Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you! It helps to know there are medications that help people.

      I’m still deciding whether to take that first pill or not. The way people talk about it makes me feel like I’ll be holding onto a firecracker that may or may not go off. Probably should be reason enough to not, but damnit, I’m kinda stubborn!
       
    6. 10Kcd

      10Kcd Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Woohoo indeed! Glad you're able to celebrate those little things @everesting.

      Wishing you healing...
       
    7. Uklawyer

      Uklawyer Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication - antidepressants
      Hi @everesting - I think that I would be careful with medication. You seem to be making progress, so I am wondering whether you need any (more) at this point or not.

      Does the Hydroxyzine not help with the anxiety?

      I would say have a think about how you are feeling in general at the moment. If you feel that you have made progress, despite moments where it has been a bit louder or intrusive, then give it a little more time and monitor progress. If you feel that things are getting worse and your anxiety is increasing, which, in turn, is making you focus more on the sound, and these feelings are becoming constant, then I would suggest medication that you are comfortable with - i.e. if you have already tried something without any effect on the volume of the tinnitus, then stick with it.

      I, personally, would not go near Bupropion following anecdotal reports, but that is my opinion. I think the key point is to consider things carefully, rather than to simply experiment with anti-anxiety medication.

      Take care.
       
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