Learning as I go


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I have a tinnitus.

But of course, it is me so it isn’t as simple as that. Mine is bilateral, which is not all that uncommon. But what I hear on one ear is not the same as what I hear on the other. The tones are different and so are the volumes. Which effectively makes it two tinnitusses (tinniti?).

On top of that, their volume is quite loud. When I was being tested, the phonoaudiologist couldn’t quite believe how loud it was. She said she had never encountered a tinnitus that loud in her professional experience.

As it is quite common for tinnitus sufferers, it drove me nuts at the beginning. None of the treatments work, which is also common, so I was left with the prospect of living the rest of my life with it/them. Since I was about 21-22 at the time, that’s one heck of a long time.

Medical wisdom said that if the tinnitus didn’t lead me to commit suicide, I’d learn to live with it. A white noise creator near me around bed time (a somewhat noisy fan, music, ocean waves, crickets and the likes) would help me fall asleep.

I did not kill myself over it, and I did get used to it. To a certain extent.

Whenever people learn about it, they always say they are amazed I remain sane despite it. To them I say, some days I tolerate it better than others. Some days it sounds/feels incredibly loud, some other days it is masked by the daily life’s sounds. Some days I silently cry for my life to end so I don’t have to listen to it anymore and some days I don’t even consciously hear it. The same variations apply within any given day. I may feel desperate at 10 am but be totally fine by 1 pm. And then again overwhelmed by it by 7 pm. It is exhausting at times.

I have noticed that my coping ability for the emotional roller coaster mirrors the tinnitus one. And this does not apply only to the emotional lability that comes with mental illness. The same goes for depressive episodes and even PTSD.

I cannot in all honesty say I remember even a full day without any kind of mental illness related struggle. As in a day absolutely free of depressive or PTSD symptoms. It is possible I’ve had such days, I suppose.

For for the most part, however, it is a constant struggle.

I may wake up happy and full of hope for the day, feel utterly hopeless by mid-morning, then only mildly sad by noon; be launched into a chest-compressing, hair-raising, full flash-back episode, and then be able to pick up the pieces and put myself together by the evening when then I can enjoy a nice conversation with a friend.

Day, after day, after day.

Full blown depressive episodes where I am not able to find any happiness or a reason to smile for weeks or days at a time rarely, if ever, happen to me.

It is all about micro-episodes, in my experience.

I don’t know if this is good or bad. I don’t know what it means. But I can certainly tell you it is tiring as hell, just like dealing with my tinnitus is.

Most of the time I am left exhausted and numb by the end of the day.

But on the upside, it also means I am almost always guaranteed to have at least a couple of happy moments every day. I like that.

I haven’t decided if that is better or preferable to having extended periods of some sort of normalcy, a more or less stable emotional baseline combined with some other extended periods of being so far gone that no light gets in.

I don’t know. I guess both scenarios have their pros and cons.

But since I don’t seem to have a saying in it, I’ll take the happy moments and enjoy them as much as I can. Because just like with my tinnutus, since depression and PTSD have not so far led me to commit suicide, I am also learning to live with them.

And as I go, suck that elusive bone marrow of bloody life, you know?

© Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


4 thoughts on “Learning as I go

  1. Hello Canvas and Summer Solstice Girl

    Here I come with some paint! I was a little surprised to see the topic of tinnitus (i). I have suffered from it similarly to you; both ears. And it sounds like a roaring electric band saw at full bore. I would think mine is not so loud as yours, but still annoying, especially at night.

    Several months back, I believe it was the tale end of February, I began getting an overlay of constant music. The music was not anything I had heard in the recent days. In some ways it was a God-send as it flooded out other thinking, so in some ways I came to appreciate it. Hooray! Let’s hear it for gospel hymns. (Pun sort of not intended.) I had had a fall on the ice so wonder if that did not stir something up.

    Needless to say, due to other symptoms combined with the ongoing music, almost a month ago, I decided after a long stretch to take medication again. This was a massive thing for me to do. I sort of miss the music as it has faded over the last couple of weeks with the advancement of Abilify in my system. The funny thing, I sort of miss the music in some ways.

    Unfortunately, with the music turned off, the regular squeal has taken its forefront of presence. I get so tired of using other noises to mask its noise. The bird chirping high pitches, the nature sounds and all that can sound equally as distressing as hyperacusis comes into play. I also last year was diagnosed with CAPD.

    There are days when like the Fonz of Happy Days when in the episode that finds him trying to sleep in a hammock in the woods camping, that I too could snap my fingers silencing everything. And then proclaim, “AY!” Thumbs up. And then drift ever-so-peacefully to dreamland.


    • Hi Larabeee. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your experience with us. Myself and another Canvas blogger also have that continuous music playing in the background. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Sometimes it drives me nuts. And then sometimes when it stops for a bit – just like you- I miss it too because I prefer music over this insane ringing inside my head.

      A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted an article on my wall about a loud hum that can be heard all across the city where I currently live. She asked me how I was faring with it. I have lived here for a year and a half now and I wasn’t even aware it was happening. my tinnitus is so loud i haven’t ever heard the hum that is apparently driving Windsorites bananas.

      I never saw that Happy Days episode but I have often fantasize about having a day or even just a couple of hours of no tinnitus of any kind, on how nice that must be. I think I would enjoy it very much. But I wouldn’t want to silence nature’s noises. Those I enjoy 🙂

  2. I too have experience of tinnitus. Sometimes it’s right there and there’s no ignoring it, and at other times it’s almost non-existent. It is frustrating, and I find it’s worse when I’m tired or have a cold, or hayfever, or am sat in a fairly quiet place trying to be contemplative.

    I wish you many more happy moments in amongst the less pleasant ones.

    • yes! I find that it also gets worse when I have a cold or sinusitis. The prevalence of tinnitus is very high among the general population, unfortunately. You’d think it would get better after the arrival of antibiotics to prevent ear damage from repetitive ear infections in children. Dunno. On the other hand, listening to loud music on headphones is also linked to ear damage. Oh, well.

      And thank you! ❤

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