SAMPLE RECOVERY STATEMENTS
How you think in response to tinnitus can deepen your distress or point you toward recovery. It's helpful to write down a few sentences that summarize the results of careful thinking, note the relevant facts, remind you of your values, what you're fighting for, and any other grounding, inspirational ideas to bolster your commitment. I call these recovery statements. Here are some samples:
“OK, maybe this condition won’t go away, but over time, I will learn to live with it, adjust to it, screen it out. And I certainly hope it doesn’t get any worse, but I refuse to let my brain ‘what if’ me to death. I choose to live! And in the event that my condition does get worse, then I will be just as determined as I am now to accept, adjust and habituate.”
"If I continue to view tinnitus as the bane of my existence, it will never go away. I can't stop these sounds/ sensations, but I can change how I respond. I can allow the sounds to be present, even if I don't want them, and courageously move forward into my life. Tinnitus is not going to win! I can be reassured by the facts – the vast number of people who have gone on to accept and habituate to their own tinnitus – that over time, I will adjust and get my life back. So, here I go..."
"It may feel now that I will never be happy again, will never habituate and forget about tinnitus—to socialize, exercise, be with friends. Right now, I’m so focused on the tinnitus (mental filter) that it's darkening my entire world. But many others with tinnitus have assured me that, as most people do, I can eventually adapt to tinnitus. I need to step back and see the long game, be patient with my progress and expect setbacks along the way. But I can expect windows of peace to open, a little at a time, periods where I realize I've forgotten about tinnitus."
"The fact is: habituation is a natural process, I just have to get out of its way. There is a 98% chance that I will be feeling better within in the next few months. So right now I can practice keeping my thoughts grounded, encouraging and hopeful, relaxing my response to tinnitus, getting out of my head and back into my life, gradually exposing myself to reasonably safe levels of sound, and living my life again."
"I refuse to be bullied by tinnitus. It will take all the courage I can muster, but I choose to live. And that means getting back out into my world a little at a time. So I'm going to that party tonight, because my friends are an important part of my life and we need to reconnect. I know the noise level may be high, but the fact is it won't exceed levels of safe hearing. I will need to accept my fear, and spontaneous negative thoughts, and of course, this high-pitched tone (whooshing, crickets, etc) will be part of the experience, but I refuse to sit at home for another weekend."
"My mind keeps telling me that no one could accept this noise—it's not possible. If others could hear this, they would understand why my brain keeps telling me that I'll be miserable the rest of my life. But the fact is, the loudness and complexity of tinnitus do not predict the course of habituation. Even people with tinnitus louder than mine have come to ignore it and live healthy lives. I want to believe that I can, too. It will be hard, and take a lot of courage, but I will work to accept these tones, a little at a time, allow them entry into my world, and take them with me as I begin each day. Because even where there is pain, there can be meaning. It's important for me to commit to resuming life, for my (valued goals) career/spiritual practice/hobby/friends/family members. So take three deep breaths, trust the process, and here I go..."
“This hurts now, but I’ve been through it before and my experience got easier with time. I can have my silence back, with the tinnitus as background, I can listen through the tinnitus and hear the music. There are many musicians with loud tinnitus and hyperacusis who have resumed their activities with no problem. The vast majority of others with tinnitus have habituated and so will I. It’s a bumpy road to recovery, with setbacks along the way, but there a high chance that I will be feeling better within the next few months. I just need to accept this, stop trying to control it, step back and see the long game. It will help to be as active as possible, to use background sound when I need it, and stay patient, calm and positive. Here I go… “