Woke Up with Earwax Blockage, Followed by Tinnitus Onset — Severe Insomnia, Suicidal

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by AmePerdue, Jun 10, 2021.

    1. AmePerdue

      AmePerdue Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 10, 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Likely ear infection
      Hi fellow sufferers.

      Life was okay a month ago, enjoying my last weeks of remote work at my parents' countryside home. I woke up almost completely deaf from the left ear. Impacted earwax. No big deal I thought, just go see an ENT and get it removed. Scheduled the appointment for 5 days later. In retrospect I wish I had the appropriate sense of urgency and fought to have the appointment on the same day. If I knew what kind of hell awaited me I would not have been so careless.

      So here I am. Tinnitus appeared on the 2nd day of the blockage. Got the cerumen removed. Tinnitus persists and will probably stay forever. Oscillates roughly equally between peaceful, manageable and unbearable. I was sent home, trying to cope more or less. First weeks were okay I guess because I still thought it would go away. For some reason, I had no problem sleeping so far. I read on the Internet that earwax-induced tinnitus usually goes away. It didn't. So I tried to cope facing the new reality, dreaming without tinnitus and waking up with it was horrible but other than that it was nothing more than a mild annoyance. Or so I told myself. I thought I was starting to habituate. I did not notice the signs of anxiety buildup.

      About two weeks ago I stayed late at night reading COVID-19 news, a pre-existing bad habit. Woke up tired, spent the day with screaming tinnitus (baseline is almost silent but spikes are unmaskable). Started anticipating not being able to sleep at night. Predictably, I spent that whole night turning in my bed. Miraculously slept for 2 hours. Even more incredibly, I managed to restore my sleep schedule for the next 10 days or so. I thought life was starting to get back to normal.

      So this Monday night I could not get over the tinnitus for some reason and had a completely sleepless night. Anxiety went through the roof and it spilled over the next day. And the next. Now I can't lie in bed without feeling these palpitations in my chest on top of the tinnitus. Slept just 6 hours in the last 72 hours. I've never felt so miserable in my life, right now I'm feeling like I'll never be able to sleep ever again. I'm afraid of laying in bed trying to sleep. Tinnitus is bad enough, but the uncontrolled anxiety itself is becoming worse. I don't know how I'm going to cope with this. I was prescribed Zopiclone and Oxazepam, so I'll see how it goes.

      TL;DR: had pre-existing severe anxiety and insomnia before tinnitus. Tinnitus appeared and made my anxiety go absolutely haywire. I could manage tinnitus during the day but trying to sleep is ironically a living nightmare from which I can't wake up.

      I've actually got to the point of searching which bridges in my area are high enough for me to jump. I know I fortunately don't have the courage to actually go through with it, but still...

      I've always been a nervous wreck in my life. Always needed complete silence to sleep. I wasn't exactly happy before tinnitus but the anxiety was manageable. Now I don't know how I'm gonna survive the next few days. I hope I'll have more positive things to say in 2 weeks.

      Being separated from my girlfriend for the last 1.5 years didn't help my case. But I'm glad at least she's not here to witness my current self.

      Sorry for the dramatic post. I guess I just need to vent about this "Why did I do to deserve this" phase.
       
    2. superworm

      superworm Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Motorcycle
      Hi AmePerdue,

      I'm new here too, just joined today so I'm afraid I don't have a lot of advice to give, but I know how anxious a wait it is for your first response on a thread.

      I've had a tiny bit of success so far in listening to frequencies which match my tinnitus exactly, it provides some temporary relief. I'm also really trying to ignore it - whenever I focus on it I have to very consciously force myself to think about something else.

      It is truly horrible I have to say, but you can't think about ending it. You have to have hope, and judging by this forum we aren't alone.

      I really hope it gets better for you.

      Cheers.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      You make it through today... then the next and so forth. Keep going. Maybe it doesn’t go away, or maybe it does. If it doesn’t, maybe you’ll get used to it where it doesn’t affect you at all. Who knows, just keep on going.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      AmePerdue

      AmePerdue Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 10, 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Likely ear infection
      I actually gave up on the idea of ignoring it, it's just impossible to ignore when it spikes anyway. I'm instead trying to come to terms with it and I think I'm starting to get some moderate success. Even the spikes don't bother me as much as a few weeks ago. I think I rather quickly habituated to daytime. Nighttime is the real nightmare for me because of my unhealthy sleeping habits and previous love of silence. People have advised me to play music and avoid silent rooms whenever I can but it's just not for me. My objective is to get back to normal life and I'll never consider living in fear of silence as "normal".

      At least I have a positive update.

      I got prescribed some Zopiclone to induce sleep and Oxazepam for anxiety. I wasn't expecting a miracle but it worked! The thing knocked me out instantly and I finally got a full night's sleep. I'm far from being out of the woods yet. I'm on a 2-week course on meds. I hope I can keep the anxiety and insomnia at bay during that time. I'm going back to the doctor in 7 days for a checkup, hopefully I can start reducing the meds and avoid rebound from withdrawal. At least I felt alive today and I was able to go to work as normal.

      Maybe I shouldn't "rationally" have thought about ending it, but in the mental state I was yesterday it seriously was the only thought keeping me from going insane. I already felt like slowly dying anyway. It was pure mental torture, even if self-inflicted.

      So far, sleeping is really all I'm concerned about. If I can get the insomnia issue "solved" I can enjoy my life almost as much as my pre-tinnitus life. That's assuming the tinnitus does not get worse over time. Fingers crossed...

      @superworm, I hope it gets better for you too. It sounds like you're in the struggling phase just like I am. It's true that we'll all have to get used to it one way or another. I wish I was mentally stronger so as to avoid this week's crisis. Is this your first week? At the end of my first couple weeks it was really awful how fresh life before tinnitus was in my memory. Only one month in and at least I'm starting to set the nostalgia aside. What really helps about it is knowing I'm not alone. My aunt happens to be a sufferer, which I didn't know before. Merely talking to her about it really helped to calm me down.

      @Wrfortiscue, unfortunately I lost hope of it going away. I know it's "officially" considered chronic after 3 months, but reading about it on the Internet, I have yet to find someone claiming their tinnitus went away after 4 weeks. But who knows, maybe those who actually heal never come back to post... Wishful thinking I know.

      I hope we'll all get through this.
       
    5. superworm

      superworm Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Motorcycle
      Hi, I'm glad you're feeling a bit better today, think we've got to take better days as a bit of a blessing at the moment. This is my first week, yes it's horrible. I feel a bit daft as I know people on here have been suffering for years or decades, but I guess a bit like most of us newbies, I'm just scared and needed some hope.

      I hope you continue to feel better. Did your aunt have any good advice to share?
       
    6. mohn

      mohn Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @AmePerdue, I'm almost in same boat, a little more advanced. Is your tinnitus unilateral? How was your ear wax removed? You could try Melatonin and see if that works.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      AmePerdue

      AmePerdue Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 10, 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Likely ear infection
      Well, the meds are helping right now and I slept well for the second night in a row, despite a bad spike. I fear the rebound but we'll see. I'll take good care to stay on the doctor's watch. I'm so glad to have access to competent docs where I live.

      @superworm, the advice she gave was not for the tinnitus itself, rather for the resulting anxiety and insomnia, which is the big problem for me. Talking to a close relative helped a lot too. I live alone since being separated from my girlfriend by COVID-19, and that does not help my mental health in times of crisis either.

      I unfortunately don't have any specific advice to give you but I'm confident you'll get though this eventually, as most people end up doing some way or another. As you just mentioned, people have been living for decades with tinnitus, sometimes with unbearably loud 24/7 tones and are still able to live their lives, even if setbacks are inevitable. Knowing this gives me hope that I'll make it through too.

      As I said, insomnia is what bothers me. I don't know the way tinnitus affects you personally, but I'm sure you'll be able to address that issue. It was surprising for me to read about people who've been suffering immensely for years from their tinnitus to the point of not being able to work but don't report any major problems sleeping. Shows how coping with tinnitus is a matter of personal relationship with the disease, for lack of better perspective. I would tell you to just hang in there, but I have yet to come to terms with it myself, so let's just see how we do in a few months...

      @mohn, yes, it's strictly unilateral. My left ear was so impacted with cerumen that almost no sound would go through and the tinnitus started after a couple days of deafness in that ear. I don't know exactly the removal method but I remember he talked about "sucking" ("aspirer" in French) them. I think that's what he did to the left ear, as I had used ear drops to soften the cerumen in the days prior to the removal. For the right ear (was impacted too but without hearing loss), I think it was manual removal because he mentioned how hard the cerumen was. (I had not used the drops on the right ear because there was no symptoms).
       
    8. Chris S.

      Chris S. Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      February 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud sound; Pfizer vaccine
      Glad to hear that you are improving. But - be very careful around medications & some supplements (esp. mushroom extracts, etc.). My tinnitus was mild for nearly a year before medications (Aspirin, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and a topical antibiotic ointment for a wound on my finger) increased badly my tinnitus levels. Sleep became an issue and a white noise machine was no longer enough to mask. Trying to isolate the tinnitus from my thoughts helped. When I wake up at night with a loud tinnitus, the ACRN tinnitus protocol developed by General Fuzz generally helps, as the sequence of high pitched beeps pushes away the tinnitus to the background (I usually leave the sequence on my phone, and put the phone close to my pillow).
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      AmePerdue

      AmePerdue Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 10, 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Likely ear infection
      Hi Chris,

      I'll try not to depend on the meds, unfortunately I'm not quite there yet. They keep me afloat but the sound itself is progressively getting louder. I'm worried but so far the meds kept me off having further panic / insomnia attacks. The doctors are advising me not to try and get off them too quickly. Can't believe it's been only 2 weeks on benzos, feels like it's been forever... I have to way to know whether the tinnitus increase has anything to do with the meds, I myself don't really believe it's linked. I got the vaccine (Pfizer) 2 weeks after the start of tinnitus too, so who knows. It's better than COVID-19 I guess. I've been taking less Magnesium so it could be that too.

      I can sort of feel like what habituation could look like. Compared to 2 weeks ago the beast is still as loud if not louder but I definitely care a little bit less... It still painful but I can feel my mind getting numb to it... Not nearly enough however, the next couple months are definitely gonna be rough if the trend continues. There are still times where I think I would rather die than live like this. Sleep is still a problem and I can't declare victory until I can sleep without meds. I don't think I'm the type to respond to "active" meditation methods. Having to alter my living habits, however unhealthy can they be, already sound like defeat so I guess surrender is gonna be the way I master this. I can feel that thing eventually becoming my "new silence", even though it's loud enough to be noticed most of the time now.

      White noise has never really worked for me. I bought a fan for this sole purpose but it just cannot mask the higher pitches. (I hear these half the time now, use to be about one third). It's like a symphony of hell, pure tone, hisses, buzzing, and I get the pulsating / whooshing too when laying in bed. I don't think it's severe yet but it's definitely not mild. I can increase it when moving my head backwards too so there may be a somatic component. I'm going back to the ENT tomorrow for the first time in 3 weeks so I'll tell him about this but I have little hope.

      Looking forward to my vacation next week, may be an opportunity to try and stabilize. I feel it would be easier if I did not have to work and support myself. My biggest fear is losing my job over this. I haven't met my girlfriend in almost 2 years because of COVID-19 and I don't want to have to announce her over the phone that I can't work anymore. It's one the reasons work still keeps me focused and distracted. At least I'm still functional enough to be productive I work, but I don't know yet how I can keep this on the long term. I hope the Shore device can eventually turn this nightmare around before I turn 40 (I'm 34).
       
    10. object16
      Magical

      object16 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      1988
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      overuse of hearing protection, plus noise
      I've had tinnitus for as long as since you were born. I was hospitalized with it in 1992. I totally understand. My impression is you're going to be ok.
       
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