My Tinnitus Story

My Tinnitus Story – From Hell To Hope

The Start

In the beginning it was a rather quiet sound. It is now almost 9 years ago, when it was still a rather quiet peeping. I didn´t fight it as much. Of course in stage 1 it is just a little annoyance, which can be dealt with a movie at night to fall asleep.

But let´s go back to how I got it.

I have always had ear infections and sinusitis. As far as I can remember I have had it since a little child regularily. It was my weakness.

It seemed to not only be an illness I got when I had a cold, but also when I didn´t feel well mentally. Stress was also a big trigger.

It was around Easter in 2009, I studied and had 3 different jobs . . . as you can imagine I was exhausted. And I got sinusitis, but this time a sound in my ear appeared. I talked to my doctor, but he said it would go away once my sinusitis went away.

And actually I remebered as a child I had once a super strong ear infection which also had caused a ringing in my ear, which disappeard as the infection healed.

So I wasn´t too concerned. It was annoying and difficult at night, but I didn´t take it as seriously.

Then my sinusitis healed, but the ear noise stayed. I was horrified. My doctor said, it could take a while. The ENT said, it might happen that it stayed – I should just not think about it.

I was of course not satisfied with this answer, but as he had said – it got easier over time and I just put on a TV show each night to sleep.

Over time  it got louder with every ear infection I had, accepting it became harder and harder and seemed most of the times impossible.

Then in 2011 I had just finished my bachelor thesis and my boyfried had broken up with me, I was super stressed from all the pressure I had put on myself about the thesis and of course I was heart broken. Also the upcomming change of starting my first real job – it was just all too much and I got sick.

I mean I got super sick! It was a severe ear and sinus infection. It lasted for ever to heal, plus the infection caused water to built up behind my eardrums. I needed cortisol IV´s and after four weeks it finally got better. But my tinnitus stayed super loud!

I ran from doctor to doctor but there was no anatomical cause, no organic failure…there was nothing that needed fixing in order to get rid of the peeping.

What haven´t I tried….at least that is what it felt like to me. Also my patience and follow through on started treatment plans was rather slim, depending on the first few results and on the attitude of the person treating me.

The Challange           

As probably many of you, I was told so many times that there isn´t really anything that can be done, I was so close to give up. To Surrender.

So. Many. Times.

I hit my head against the wall at night….and wanted to jump from of my bedroom window.

I couldn´t believe this was happening to me. That there was actually nothing that could be done or that there was nothing wrong with me.

At times I wished I would have a brain tumor, so that I would either die or that there was at least a cause for my suffering. And a cause would bring autmatically a solution.

But I had nothing.

Nobody seemd to know why it was there and why it didn´t go away.

But the challange is to move on and to keep living with that sound in your ear.

 

Just accept it

I didn´t want to give up, I went to so many different general practicioners and ENT´s and natural healers.

If there was another person telling me to JUST ACCEPT IT – then that treatment was done for me.

And there are not many people out there who take you seriously when you have an invisiblle illness like tinnitus.

I mean they are probably right, if there is no physical cause there are only two options.

Option 1: Find out what the psychological cause is and fight / treat it.

Option 2: Find a way how to live with it or how to relieve it.

Those two options never seemed like real options to me. I wanted to get rid of it and nothing else….but that never happend. No matter how much money I spent or how many treatments I tried.

It got to a point, that I had to quit my job and moved home to my parents house. There I took on a easier job, but couldn´t handle that either.

I felt like I was going crazy…..I was super depressed and had a constant headache. The headache was so bad that I couldn´t clearly think. I would prepare a meal and end up throwing the dish out and having the trash on my plate. Or I would find trash in the fridge. When I drove my car, I would suddenly hit the breaks because I thought the traffic sign was falling into the street. This never happened. The pain caused me to see things that weren´t there.

I was at my lowest point.

Didn´t know what to do.

All I did was cry in my bed and taking pain killers for that piercing headache. But nothing seemd to help. I took Diclofenac at a high rate, every day I took several pills.

In addition I couldn´t sleep. The ear ringing kept me awake, so I couldn´t even try to sleep to get rid of that unbearable pain.

Then I found that muscle relaxers helped a little bit. But my doctor didn´t want to give them to me anymore.

I remember one day after work I just felt like I couldn´t handle it anymore and I went to my doctors office. He wasn´t there as he was in the process of transitioning his practice to his son. His son got super mad at me, he wouldn´t give me any pills as I just showed up without an appointment.

That was the last time I went there. How could he get mad at me when I was at such a dark point during my life? Of course he could tell me, that next time I should get an appointment and what else I could do to get better instead of taking pills. But I certainly don´t think getting rude and mad is the way to go in that situation. He made me feel even worse. He made me feel like I´m crazy and none of my feelings and my suffering is real. That I was not really sick.

In the end I couldn´t take it anymore and quit my job. I flew to France and started the „Camino de Santiago“. I walked for 28 days, each day I walked about 25 to 30 kilometers. And guess what? I didn´t have a headache once! My tinnitus was there, but it was bearable.

There were not many things to worry about, no stress – it was just about where am I going to sleep? Where am I going to wash my clothes and where am I going to eat? That was it. And at night I was so tired…that sleeping wasn´t a problem.

I didn´t really find relief there but my headache was gone and that was such a blessing. It was a differnt life.

Comming back to Germany I started a new job and got interessted in alternative medicine. I spent most of my salery on it. As I was backt o a normal life and I started putting preassure on myself again…nights were difficult again.

And in general. It seemed like that every few months I had a sinus infection and with those is affected my tinnitus every time.

I couldn´t really hear the TV at a normal volume anymore, talking on the phone became difficult and going out was just not enjoyable anymore.

I couldn´t understand what people were saying and the loud music hurt my ears. I just smiled at people and nodded, because I got tired of asking again and again to repeat what they had said.

My whole life was affected by this ear rinnging and I felt totally restricted. I felt like I couldn´t life a normal life anymore.

Now as I wasn´t depressed anymore I wanted to do different things again, but it seemed impossible at times and it seemed like everything stressed me. That I say everything in a negative light.

And nothing brought relief.

I got tired of fighting, of hating everything, of being recentful and missing my old life.

New approach

So my new approach was to find out how to live with it, without too many restrictions.

I didn´t want to fight anymore, I wanted to accept – I wanted to be happy again and to enjoy life again.

That new approach is a little harder, it demands self-discipline and motivation – you have to work on yourself and do something constantly.

Much rather I wanted to take whatever pill and then be done with it…but that is not how tinnitus works or better said how it can be dealt with.

Of course there are things that won´t change so quickly, like experiencing the sound louder at night as there are almost no background noises. So I started watching a the same TV show night afte night. I can say every line from Gilmore Girls, but this helped me to sleep. So I didn´t have to look at the screen and was able to fall asleep. Now I don´t need that anymore. But for some years that really helped me. And I didn´t get all poudy about it, that I had to watch something to sleep. Accepting helped.

Accepting helped a lot. In General. I accepted that I had tinnitus and that I had to deal with it. I didn´t fight it anymore. Sure, I didn ´t love it, but I tried to accept the current situation.

And I accepted that my life was different than before.

I still went to many different treatments, but way differnt treatments. It was more about me, more about how my feelings and feelings I had stuffed down a long time ago.

As I got better and better with dealing with my situation. Also I tried to find my own way to feel good. The most important part for me soon was to feel good. When I feel good the ear ringing is bearable. It is annoying and it is there but it is not as bothersome.

So I had to find what makes me feel good. I had given up so many thing in the beginning.

I started with affirmations to feel better and to bring positivity back into my life. I tried different stress reliefing methods that worked for me and I stoped doing things that weren´t good for me.

Of course my life was different and I was different. Being ok with that was the first step.

Through that I started having hope again. Hope that I could feel ok, that I could stil heal and that I could have a normal life.

I am still trying many different things as my hope is to find something that finally will bring the great relief or just little things that will make my life still more enjoyable.

Also I sometimes feel like that my tinnitus lead me on a path I was supposed to be on. My whole life I seemd to be searching something, without kowing what. I always felt restless. I think I had to find myself. It sound cheesy, but through my ear ringing I started walking down this road of self-discovery and I think this is what I was supposed to do.

So maybe it had a purpose after all.

Maybe not.

But believing it has some kind of purpose helps me to live with it. So why not believe in it.

Most importantly every day I do something little to make my day a good day and to not get sucked in a vicious cycle of feeling sorry for myself.

And there are so many things you can do.

What makes you feel good?

 

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