Last week we went to a wine tasting. On a school night!!
Not-too-surprisingly as more samples were tasted the venue became noisier and noisier. And my tinnitus decided it was going to join in too 😬
My initial, frustrated, reaction was something like: “oh for crying out loud, shut up and get back in your box!”. But then I remembered I had a choice about how I responded to my tinnitus getting louder.
1. I could sit there and stew over how inconvenient it was for my tinnitus to increase in volume, how unfair it is that I have it in the first place, and how outrageous it is that I can’t control when my tinnitus decides to shout,
2. I could cut the evening short, and either head home alone, or drag my husband with me, and miss out on a big part of a fun evening, or
3. I could acknowledge that my tinnitus was there and that I wasn’t thrilled about it, then accept it might be there for the rest of the evening, and that getting stressed or upset would probably just make it worse.
I chose the third option. I decided to let tinnitus stay if it wanted to. I accepted tinnitus was there, possibly for the duration of the evening, and maybe even longer. And, you know what? I soon forgot about it. By the end of the evening the loudness had subsided, and my tinnitus was back to normal.
Accepting our tinnitus, and allowing it to exist, takes courage. In fact, it takes many moments of courage one after the other. Each moment we have to decide whether to accept tinnitus is present or fight against it with every bone in our body.
It’s very tempting to continue fighting it. If we have had to fight for or against other unfairness’s in our life, then fighting becomes a habit. It becomes our default mode.
But wisdom encourages us to “choose our battles wisely”. And, in my experience, continuing to fight against an invisible enemy like tinnitus isn’t the wisest thing to do.
Instead I encourage everyone with tinnitus to build a toolkit of strategies that helps them manage their tinnitus. In fact, it’s exactly what we create at the end of my Bee Empowered course. Once we have that toolkit in place we can breathe a sigh of relief. We know that we have access to a collection of tinnitus tactics that work for us and that can help us create a great quality of life, even with tinnitus.
I also encourage everyone with tinnitus to keep up to date with developments in research and potential treatments by signing up to emails from trusted sources, such as the British Tinnitus Association and the American Tinnitus Association
And that’s it.
Then we can allow tinnitus to fade back into its appropriate place – as just one of the many things that makes up this busy, crazy, joyful, frustrating, breath-taking, awe-inspiring thing we call our life.
And we can embrace the joy of living.