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  • ericaanne

OCD Onset

Updated: May 27, 2022

In the summer of 2019, Nick developed tinnitus. He's been to countless music festivals and never really used proper ear protection. The development of tinnitus was unsurprising, to say the least. That didn't stop the tinnitus from being distressing, though.

He was distracted by a high-pitched ringing in his ears for weeks. Right after it started, we were traveling to Colorado and Oregon to decide where we would practice after graduation (we were in chiropractic school at the time). Nick struggled so much to enjoy our trip, that by the end of it, he hardly wanted to get out of bed. I was frustrated because I wanted to explore, but Nick just wanted to sleep all day to escape the ringing. I was dragging him to most places. It was during this time that I first started asking myself "where the hell did my husband go?" He was normally boisterous and energetic, and prior to the tinnitus, he was excited for this trip. This was not him at all.

He had been taking notes and doing research on tinnitus, trying to find something that would bring him relief. He eventually came across a book called "Rewiring Tinnitus" by Glenn Schweitzer. This book offered him the tools he needed to eventually habituate to the tinnitus. He started seeing results and my husband's personality started to return.

Until one day when we were driving down by the beach in Florida, as we normally did during study breaks. He looked over at me and said "it's crazy. I barely notice the ringing at all anymore". I said "I'm so glad" and quietly thought to myself about how relieved I was to start to get my husband back. This is where Nick would tell you that he then thought to himself "what are some other things that people also habituate to?" and he thought about blinking.

That was it.

It was like a light switch. He thought about blinking, had a panic attack, and then he couldn't stop thinking about his blinking. At a snap of the fingers, he developed somatic OCD.

"Babe, I can't stop thinking about my blinking and its freaking me out" he said to me on our way home.

I had never heard something like this before. My first reaction was "what the f*ck are you talking about". My next thought was "good lord. Here we go again".

We got home, he got out of the car, and then he proceeded to lay on the ground of our apartment complex parking lot. He was freaking out and kept saying he couldn't stop thinking about his blinking.

"Okay well let's go inside at least so we don't get hit by a car".

I had no idea what the hell was going on.

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Dec 29, 2021

Thank you for the book recommendation! My husband has suffered from Tinnitus for years! I’m enjoying reading about your journey. My sister is thinking of starting her own blog on her mental health journey and I have shared your blog with her for inspiration. 🙏🏻💕

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