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Muriel's Blog

It is now some 15 months since I was diagnosed with Tinnitus.

For many of us we are trying to live our lives with Tinnitus and all the other problems we are suffering from which appear to be associated with Tinnitus, eg rapid weight loss, anxiety, a feeling of isolation, unable to sleep, etc. So my head was in a whirl trying to work out how on earth I could carry on living with this dreadful condition plus you are left in such fear wrongly surmising that you have other serious illnesses. After many visits to the surgery I failed to receive any reassurances, and at that time I was physically and mentally a wreck, having been told by the doctor that I had Tinnitus and there was no cure.

I was starting to go down the dark road of depression and despair when I was introduced to the Support Group and I attended my first Conference exactly one year ago to this date which was held at the Winding Wheel.

I can recall that when I walked through the doors of the Winding Wheel, having received a very warm welcome, my eyes were drawn to a banner which listed all the things that I have mentioned above. I can only say that the relief was amazing – I felt that I had arrived at a place where the condition was understood and even from that first Conference I took away advice and help to start the process of managing the condition. I began to realise that there is life after Tinnitus and took away such inspiration when I heard how others had turned their lives around.

I went on to attend Workshops both in Langley Mill and here in Chesterfield and where I learned not to monitor the condition. This was advice that was of huge benefit to me. Although it's understandable that people feel this is the right thing to do as whenever we arrive in hospital or at the doctors, the first thing they ask is – how does it affect you, how long has this been happening, etc. But it was at the Workshops that I learned that to do this is actually detrimental to us because you are feeding your internal thoughts and thus heightening the problem.

Since attending the Workshops I find that I can now measure the progress I have made eg I can tolerate the noise of the hoover, I can go into a quiet room although I still make sure there is a background sound, but I no longer burst into the room in a panic to switch on the radio. I can travel

What the Workshops also do is to bring together fellow sufferers and I have to say that I have been very grateful to some lovely people who have been more than happy to share their experiences since suffering Tinnitus. Some of the ways in which it affects your system are quite personal and I have been touched that some of those people, people who are present here today, and who have been happy to discuss them – all of which helps us to know that we are “normal”.

At this point I am reminded of a time when I worked for The Department for Work & Pensions where I was a union rep and on one occasion, without prior warning, I was asked to highlight to new members what the advantages were to joining the union. Several had said the most obvious ahead of me, so I added one or two more things and then said that I would like to turn this around and ask the question, where would we be without this? I think this applies to the Workshops. I can't even begin to imagine where I, or we, would be today without the help, advice and support that we receive from this really quite unique group.

I have taken away so much help and advice from all the Workshops and found them to be absolutely invaluable. They have truly turned my life around and continue to do so.