Dear Janusz , Alicia, Kathy and Friends at the Metro Hearing and Tinnitus Treatment Clinic

A year ago today I had no idea what my life would look like one year later. A year ago today I was lost and confused, sad and mad and I felt alone as no one could understand what it was that I was “going through”.

I had almost lost my sense of hope and faith that I could ever be helped as the medical community had no answers for me but rather pills that can “ease my nerves”.

A year ago I had to come to terms with the fact that I may never be the “same girl” I was before. A year ago today I learned what it felt like to lose simple things such as the ability to be around people and their voices, to go shopping with a grocery cart, to hear my mother in law’s laughter without covering my ears, to play with my sister in laws dogs whose bark became unbearable”

The angels at the Metro Hearing and Tinnitus Treatment Clinic saved my life on Thursday July 14, 2016. That day when it appeared all hope had faded my husband Dave found the clinic number and told me to call the emergency line. I did and at 10:30 am a beautiful voice (Kathy) called me and told me they have room for me that day which surprisingly they are usually booked. This in fact was a miracle for me!

After 4 ½ hours of testing with the therapists, I was diagnosed with my disorder of Misophonia, Hyperacusis and Tinnitus. That day my worst fears were realized. I was in trouble. The symptoms that I had been googling at home and hoping that what I read was not “me” was realized that day IT WAS ME!

I had no clue what this diagnosis was about. I thought there could be a “magic pill” to get me better but there was none.
Janusz Tobola saved my life that day just by the words he used when he told me “WE CAN HELP YOU HERE”. I had instant tears, I had no idea HOW he could but I knew it when I looked in his eyes that HE COULD HELP ME. He told me he will even write it on paper so I know that his word is true.

As I learned more of this disorder and my therapy began I was still “lost” but there seemed to be more light at the end of the tunnel whereas before it seemed like a deep dark black hole I was entering.

A year ago today my therapist told me that one year from now I will not recognize the person I will become and I will be very pleased with my progress as long I keep doing all the things the clinic tells me to do.

In one year my healing and therapy has been as such: I have been through cognitive therapy, I have hearing devices in my ears, I have to go to movie theatres to introduce myself to loud sounds, I have to meditate to calm the thoughts that race through my mind . I have to be very AWARE at all times of the thoughts that enter my mind. I have learned that I must realize that the negative parts of me are my ego and I do not have to listen to that part.

All that has helped me tremendously but what has been key for me is in fact ME. I have learned to let go of behavior that no longer serves me. I have learned to say “no” when I really don’t want to do something.

I have learned to love myself and to be comfortable in my own skin. I have learned that as much as I always thought I was a positive, happy person I had much work to do as my negative way of thinking had taken over. I was able to be positive for others but it was a very hard task for me to be loving with me. To the average person these types of therapies would seem mundane but to me it has been the KEY to my success internally.

I have always been “around” someone especially my twin sister so when I was off for 4 months I really had no one around me during the day but myself. I had to learn to be ok to be with “me”. Seems silly doesn’t it? How can a person not be comfortable being around themselves – well I wasn’t and this new way of life was very new to me.

Slowly and surely with the help of the clinic, I exposed myself once again to environmental sounds. I became more comfortable with being alone and being silent. I took myself grocery shopping or to Walmart to expose myself to life that I was starting to hide from. I learned the beauty of silence and of acceptance for “what is”. I learned that I had not been very kind to myself all these years and was so harsh and judgmental and at times resentful for who I was.

I wanted to be different and to be strong and didn’t know “how” to be. I had to teach myself that I am worthy, good enough, smart enough and happy enough to change the habitual patterns that I had created and that got me into this trouble. I remind myself often that although this has been devastating for me it could have been a lot worse and I am grateful that I am on the way to being healed. Best part right now is that I learned that a person CAN retrain themselves, their patterns, their habits to only good things. To be good, kind and happy is not a joke, it’s not meant for people who “have it all” it’s meant for all of each day. I have been given the gift of life as has every person on this planet. I needed to go through what I have gone through to realize the beauty of my life JUST THE WAY IT IS. I don’t need to strive to become someone I am not I just need to open my eyes to what is in the moment and that is ME. I have learned that as much as a person thinks certain things are impossible I learned that EVERYTHING is possible with faith.

I have learned that no matter what egos resent my happiness or my happy disposition to ignore them and only send them love as they too must have fallen off their path. It’s ok to be happy, it’s ok to think only happy thoughts, its ok to be optimistic for what is to come. It’s ok to love myself the way I am. It’s ok to say no, it’s ok to laugh, its ok to let others live their journey without me having to control every outcome. Its ok if not everyone accepts who I am. It’s ok to forgive myself. It’s ok to just BE me!

Life is meant for joy, for smiling for laughing for feeling blissful for no reason – these are all valid reasons. The problem is that like many others I lost my direction and got swallowed into a way of thinking that did not serve me and that spiraled out of control for many years and along with my sensitivities I took it too far. I felt like I lost control when really all I had to ever do was refocus and think for myself and remember that my happiness is all that counts. My body now warns me when I am off track a silent blessing if you will.
A year ago today was the biggest eye opener of my life and Janusz was right when he said “you will not recognize the person you are today”. I look back and reflect a year later and the help the clinic had offered me and how they came through. THEY gave me my hope back and THEY helped instill in me a love for myself that I had long forgotten.

I am on the mend every day. I still have challenges but now I look at those challenges in a positive way. My sounds sensitivities are manageable, the ringing in my ears is fading and I am fully participating in my life and not “hiding” any more. I am reminded every day how lucky I am to participate in LIFE and am forever grateful for my angels at the Metro Hearing and Tinnitus Treatment Clinic for helping me when no one else did, for believing in me before I even did and for showing me techniques and methods to help with my healing.

With trust and faith EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Hmmm who was that girl a year ago today????
God Bless you all and my you continue with your gifts of healing

Michelle Castro

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