The Quest for Expensive Silence: Or the Habituation Question

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Anthony13, May 28, 2015.

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    1. Anthony13
      Sleepy

      Anthony13 Member

      Location:
      West London, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello everyone, this will probably serve as my introduction, every post I am ever likely to make and my Swan Song! For those of you who don't mind a long post, please read on. I write below about what I think habituation is and about how I think what it is, and what it means to me. Hope some of you can identify with some of it and take something from it.I realise people have all different levels of tinnitus/perceived loudness of it/varying reactions to it and so forth. And so what I write here will probably not apply to some; probably the complete opposite. That said, I wish everyone here all the very best, and I hope you can all find comfort soon.


      Well most of you will probably think or say this to yourselves at one point. I have read so much about habituation, this Holy Grail for us tinnitus people. Why isn't it happening for me? Am I going to be one of the unlucky ones who doesn't habituate? Everyone else is coming on in leaps and bounds except typically yours truly. Holy grail? More like a poisoned chalice! Habituation is just a word, and when favourably stated can mean "I still hear my tinnitus, but I really don't give a shit about it anymore". That statement was always my aim. Simple as that.

      That is indeed a very common way to think about this, and it is the way forward I think. Tinnitus can take you to places mentally you never thought possible, just like those dreams you are not supposed to remember, or when you are in a secluded place and you catch someone in the distance out of the corner of your eye. You look again and they are not there, if they were ever really there at all? Then right at a certain point you will delve deep into your subconciousness, and remember something you wished you hadn't. But like all things, and tinnitus included, it will become a distant memory for a great deal of you. You'll cease looking for 'cures', you'll have no need for forums, and you will look back and think to yourself. " why did I continually beat myself up about a damned noise?

      Look at what you are experiencing now as just a phase in your life that you are going through. A trial of life if you will. When you emerge from the other side of this, you will deserve a self-congratulatory pat on the back, and you will be far more mentally resilient as a result. Normal day to day quibbles will be shrugged off easily without giving them a second thought. Tinnitus successfully managed, makes you a lot tougher I think. Maybe you are thinking the complete opposite, but you will come to realise the validity in this statement after a while.

      Ask yourself this:
      1: Is my reaction to tinnitus worse than the sound itself?
      2: Am I going to let a harmless biological noise which I have wrongly made my enemy, going to dictate to me?
      3: Why me?

      Strive to answer the above questions like so:

      1: Yes it is, but I can and will be able to change that by the way I think about it.I must try to remove any emotional significance to the noise, so it, in time becomes emotionally neutral.

      2: I may do at first, and at certain times, but ultimately NO !!! I am better than this. I will not always be its victim.

      3: Why not me? Shit happens,so time to act and take steps toward the mental healing process.It won't kill me, it dosen't hurt me. It's a sound. The more I deny it the more it will want me to listen to it. And most of the time I create the monster it is because of my misguided fear of it. We do it to ourselves. We find the positive way to react to it in the end, it was always there and we just had to find out about ourselves a little more.

      Contrary to what a lot of people think, tinnitus does get better. I obviously cannot speak for everyone, as there may be physical/medical reasons as to why this may not be so. But as long as you don't start standing by noisy industrial machinery and standing in front of the monitors at concerts with no ear plugs in etc... get the picture? I never used to think things would improve, but after a while I soon found out this to be quite the opposite. Some tinnitus forums I have read through in the past have had unbelievably negative posts on them. Too much in-depth reading of these can set people back quite a bit. People mostly just need a virtual hug, and some sympathy from their fellow kinfolk when their T is playing up. We are in this together; we'll get through it together.

      You can quite easily go away thinking you are stuck with this for life, NO YOU ARE NOT... Please pick and chose what you read if you are of a fragile disposition. Trouble is, like most things, you have to sometimes sift through the bad to reach the good...

      Some people indirectly make no attempt whatsoever to get better and make things easier for themselves. Living your life exactly the same as before you had tinnitus will not work. They then blame other people or criteria because of it. Take sleep for example: You lay down to go to sleep for the night, and twenty minutes later you are getting into a state because you are not asleep. "Oh it must be this wretched tinnitus then. I'll blame that". Then in creeps the anxiety, and perceived volume, compounding things even more and then getting worked up about it. Now maybe that person might not even be tired in the first place! That is how a negative seed is sown. Tinnitus, irrespective of perceived volume itself is not enough to keep you awake; it's your thoughts about it thus amplifying your reaction to it. Thoughts can be changed, which is part of habituation. So replace that thought with " well I can't be that tired, maybe I should read or listen to the radio for a bit, or get rid of some pent up sexual energy. You fill in the blanks!". So no need to always make it about the tinnitus. Awareness is the amplifier!



      I am not in any way decrying tinnitus, as it has my utmost respect. Because I know it can come and kick my wretched arse when I am not expecting it. I don't fear it anymore though, and when I stopped fearing it, things changed. All the periods of deep worry, anxiety, spike frequency and depressive episodes were all borne out of fear and the questions asked by myself continually. They always turned out to be baseless, during a time when the constant need for reassurance was high on the agenda.

      But when you to come to learn that tinnitus is not your enemy, you will set out in a more favourable direction.Your brain hasn't turned up the volume and made you perpetually aware of tinnitus because it doesn't like you. That I am sorry to say is an indirect and involuntary product of your own doing. I don't mean that to sound harsh. But only YOU make yourself feel the way you do about it. Which in turn stems from your personal interpretation of what tinnitus means to you, and how you deal with it. And with many of us, thinking that way is not any of our faults. A bad seed is possibly sown shortly after your initial visit to your GP/ENT, when they say those magic words"I'm sorry there's nothing we can do, you'll have to learn to live with it". Sound familiar? I remember walking away after hearing that, and I felt that my whole Universe had imploded.

      The strange thing is though, albeit not assimilated at the time, that it is 100% a never more truer statement. Once you learn to live with it, you pay it about as much attention to it as the toes on your feet.T does what it wants whether we like it or not. So why react so strongly? Yes it stinks I know, but the reaction and the accompanying worry are a waste of your resources. For instance:You have a bad day, you muddle through it feeling like absolute shit. Well what exactly is new? You have had bad days before, came through them, and went on to have good days. It's all part of the unpredictable Tinnitus behaviour patterns. Expect it, resist it and ignore it the best you can. Look upon a bad period of T as a storm, and all storms pass.

      To actually define habituation is not something I can do, as I cannot speak for others. As it can influence a wide array of outcomes, and mean different things to different people. But to me it means a peak and trough type journey, a weathering of storms and getting to know my strengths and weaknesses. Not fearing silence anymore.Being able to close my eyes and not be bothered about tinnitus because it is my friend now, and I like my friends. Not avoiding doing things I liked doing/eating because I thought it would make my tinnitus worse (as avoidance is also tinnitus related). And realising I am still the person I always was before tinnitus tried to break me. I'll emphasise the word 'tried'. As it tried and failed.

      Habituation is not supposed to be a race, as people can become quite disheartened if they haven't attained a certain mindset within a given amount of time, regarding their thoughts and management of their tinnitus. It is a journey, a very personal one in which we all travel independently. But once started we never ever give up and throw the towel in. We have to learn to ride out the storms sometimes, and through that know that there will be times we are surfing the waves when things are good.

      If you read on forums that people are doing well, and turning a corner with their T, be happy for them. Don't say to yourself " you lucky bastard" and feel a resentment toward them. They have had a tough time getting to that point. And take heart that you will be writing down your own success story in due course.

      Now how you navigate these T obstacles will define you ultimately, as you get mentally stronger. Try to build a picture or a visualisation of yourself in the not too distant future, of being surrounded by everyone and everything you love in your life. In a favourite place with a massive smile on your face, because you'll then know that everything is right with the World. Your path is laid out in front of you to reach that person, to get to that place with those people, because that person is not a stranger anymore, it's just someone who lost their way a little. That person is you. It's not unattainable by any means. Just when you think you are as far away as you can possibly be, you will have probably taken a step closer !Then all of a sudden, a euphoric switch clicks on in you, and you'll know you are on your way having just turned a corner!

      I tackle tinnitus and will continue to do so with a mixture of the physical and spiritual means. As people who know me say I am quite profound and analytical, and prone to dwell on things too much. But never underestimate the power of your spiritual side. As for me it became another arrow to a bow I never thought I had. That alone as helped me personally. And as I mentioned before, it is a journey, we are all different but as long as we get all there in the end, then that's all that really matters isn't it?

      Thanks for getting this far
      All the best............
       
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    2. Cymro41
      Gloomy

      Cymro41 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      What a positive and uplifting post. It's the anxiety caused by the T that is the problem. Take care use earplugs. I practiced with my acoustic band las night. Two guitars. Low bass and a violin. I think that made my T worse today. Didn't use plugs cos I thought it would be ok. So another setback.
       
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    3. bigal1000

      bigal1000 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      5-11-2015
      Great post sir, my brother and a sister in law both have tinnitus and I never knew it, they both are totally positive and have dealt with it for years, now I have it, I'm seeing a good ENT doctor and next week going for ultra sounds MRA MRI's doc thinks I might have pulsatile T, June 9th I'll do my follow up with him and go from there. In the last 2.5 weeks since it started I have had 4 days of total silence and great sleep then it comes back ?
       
    4. Robstarr

      Robstarr Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Subsequent to an ear irrigation procedure
      Excellent post. Very well written. Comprehensive and reassuring

      Appreciated
       
    5. Sailboardman
      Frustrated

      Sailboardman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/21/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sensorineural hearing loss right ear.
      This should be posted under "success stories". Good writing. Glad you're where you are Anthony13!
       
    6. Anthony13
      Sleepy

      Anthony13 Member

      Location:
      West London, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Glad some of you like it, and thanks for your comments.

      Hello Sailboardman, it's not quite a success story for me yet, as I have a way to go still. But for sure, definitely getting there, as will you too.
       
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    7. Craggy 65
      Amazed

      Craggy 65 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Croydon
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Trauma
      Amen to that great post
       
    8. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Excellent post Anthony and welcome. I think you said it perfectly! and I think you are successful in your own struggles with T--so don't sell yourself short or set that unattainable goal. I liken it to "happiness". People always say they strive for happiness and set this lofty goal for happiness which they can never attain or feel satisfied. So in the end they remain unhappy instead of realizing what they already possess in the now can make them happy if they allow it.

      You are taking it one day at a time and happy with what you have achieved thus far. That is success my friend! That is the way to do it! We all have T in some form or another but our journey to habituation all run down different paths. Thanks!
       
    9. Anthony13
      Sleepy

      Anthony13 Member

      Location:
      West London, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you Erik for your warm welcome to the forum, and nice comments. I can't believe my first post was so long. I only set out to write a few paragraphs, and ended up nearly writing a full volume equivalent of 'War and Peace'!

      Glad you liked it, and full praise to you and anyone else for getting to the end of it.
       
    10. Gio

      Gio Member

      Location:
      Vancouver Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Feb 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ? Music studio/back issues/stress?
      Excellent Anthony, great post.

      I'm about 4 months in and am just contemplating a strategy to allow myself an option to let go and let the T hang around and move on. This may be the only passage thru this phase to getting back on track with what's important. I was stunned to find how many millions of people have it and how many have found a way to carry on successfully, albeit mindful of the condition. Why not me?! I am no stranger to resiliency, resourcefulness, toughness, intelligence, I must be able to do this too, Fogetabotit!

      Thanks
       
    11. Anthony13
      Sleepy

      Anthony13 Member

      Location:
      West London, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Gio, it is indeed a passage through as you rightfully say. Concentrate on the things in your life that ARE important. Tinnitus is not. Don't give it your energy; don't give it your thoughts. You appear to have the right tools and positive mindset to come out the other side ok. You'll be fine, and you'll know when that time is.

      It is truly staggering how many people have it, but don't talk about it. We don't choose to wear the T-shirts. But we must choose to get better and move on.

      Accept your situation, relax...........let it go...........and live your life .
       

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