My ears are worse, I might be losing my mind, so here’s a video

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“For the past ten days I’ve been suffering through an ear infection. Both ears. Until just a few days ago they were both completely closed. For the most part, I’ve been deaf.
“The only things I’ve heard for the past ten days have been the sound of my pounding heart, and the kind of high-pitched brain feedback you might get after spending an evening standing beside the speakers at a particularly loud punk concert.
“At night, I’ve been waking up every thirty minutes in a panic, I’d have to run outside and take deep breaths of the cold air to calm down.
My blood pressure has been extremely high, 154/100 last Thursday and 152/98 this past Monday. During the day I’d lose my balance when I was walking, when I sat at the computer or watched TV I’d get nauseous.”

‘Spending two weeks listening to my heart beating left me nearly insane’, Me, Feb. 08, 2012.


I’ve had an ear infection for almost three weeks now. I’ve been mostly deaf in both ears, except for a loud, high pitched feedback-like sound, and the pounding beat of my heart. Last Wednesday I thought I was getting better. It’s possible I was. But on Saturday night everything went to shit.

I was at a seminar hosted by a local art gallery on the experiences of an elderly woman’s life with depression, and eventual diagnosis of ‘Bipolar Two’. Her talk was interesting mostly because the crowd of fifty-five people were women all over the age of 65, and most had lived their lives with untreated and undiagnosed depression.

When the speaker started her presentation I could hear her fairly clearly with my left ear. Two hours later, when her talk was over, I was sitting on the edge of my chair, and leaning so far forward I was almost kissing the neck of the woman in front of me. Any healing that had occurred in my ears over the previous days was gone.

That night, with my girlfriend and our two-year old son staying with me in my apartment, I woke up just after 2am feeling like I was hyperventilating and claustrophobic. I rushed outside onto the deck of my second storey apartment, and stood there for five minutes, in my boxers, breathing in the cold air and trying to calm down.

Roughly an hour later I woke up convinced I was having a heart attack. There was a heavy pressure on my chest, I could barely breathe, my left arm was numb and there was a sharp tingling in my shoulder area.

I frantically woke my girlfriend who, panicking, followed me into the living room asking what was wrong. She held me for a few minutes as I tried to catch my breath. Just holding me, rubbing my neck and face, seemed to make things better.

I managed, over the rest of the night, to catch sleep in twenty-minute intervals.

My mother agreed to take me to the ER on Sunday morning. The first thing the triage nurse does is take your blood pressure. Mine was 176/110, which is up from 156/100 last week, both of which are miles above the mostly normal I was at just before Christmas.

The ER doctor, my fourth in 2.5 weeks, told me the infection was now as bad in my left ear as it had been, and still was, in my right.

On January 28th, I was prescribed 500mgs of Teva-Amoxicillin, three times a day. But apparently, as an antibiotic, that shit’s about as effective as milk.

On February 1st, and again on the 9th, I was prescribed Ratio-Amoxicillin & Clavulanic Acid at 500mgs and 125mgs, three times a day, and Rhinocort Aqua spray at 64mcg once a day in each nostril. This is the stuff I got a little better on, then a lot worse on.

This past Sunday, February 12th, the ER doctor told me to increase the spray to twice a day, and put me on 500mg of Ratio-Cefuroxime, twice a day — the pharmacy was out of his first choice, which I can’t remember the name of.

The pharmacist told me things should start to clear up in two days. She was really cute, and overly optimistic. I’ve taken four doses of the new antibiotic and, as far as I can tell, nothing has changed from Sunday morning.

I did manage to get two hours of continuous sleep last night (Sunday), but I think that was entirely based on the pharmacists optimism. Or that she really seemed to be flirting with me. I spent most of today (Monday) in bed or sitting on the couch watching TV with the sound turned up to 100.

My girlfriend came over during “Young & The Restless”. She pounded on my door for a good five minutes before walking in, I heard nothing… but that could have been the TV’s fault.

I can hear people when they’re practically yelling at me. It’s like being in a crowded bar. Which I thought was the perfect analogy.

But then, late tonight, I saw an image of a man falling into a pool and a POV shot of him looking back up through the water at the people on the platform, and I realized what I’ve been feeling, especially at night, is a lot like drowning.

I see my family doctor, finally, on Wednesday morning. Something good better happen soon because, fuck, I can only drown for so long.


The videos are the first and second episodes of the first season of “The Maxx”, my favourite animated series ever, and based on the comic book “The Maxx”, published by Image Comics from 1993 until 1998. If you live in the United States, you can watch full episodes at If you live elsewhere, MTV hates you and wishes you would just fucking die already.

[Two] YouTube Alert(s). If you can’t see them, click here.





About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Depression, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Mental Health. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to My ears are worse, I might be losing my mind, so here’s a video

  1. bromac says:

    Oh Gabriel!! I hope you get some relief very soon. I can’t how difficult the sensory deprivation must be. Hoping tomorrow’s appt helps. And so so so so so Congrats on the new baby!!!

    Did I tell you I finally had another one? I didn’t want to comment with this statement on your last post b/c I wasn’t trying to steal your thunder. But….after 4 miscarriages and giving up on having a second and then unexpectedly finding myself pregnant, a dr finally decided to do some tests. Turns out I have two blood disorders caused by genetic mutations which caused clots in the placenta(s). A daily shot of blood thinner and I was able to carry to term. Sorry, I babbled.

    I hope your ears clear up soon. I’ve never even heard of such a terrible ear infection!

    • Gabriel... says:

      That’s fantastic news, bromac. Just absolutely fantastic. I know how hard you had been trying, and how much you wanted this. Congratulations… now, details.

      At this point, with regards to my ears, I’m not sure what’s going on. It started three weeks ago with an infection in my throat that came with a cough. For two days I was alternating between chills and fever. Then the infection moved into my ears. At least I thought it did. But I’m not so sure it was that simple.

      The ER doctor who looked at me most recently told me my ear canals are red and swollen, so definitely infected. But I don’t have any of the normal symptoms, and haven’t had any for over two weeks: no itching, no (more) fever, no earache or ear pain.

      The only symptoms I continue to have are hearing loss, feeling of blockage in the ears, some minor dizziness, and the buzzing / electric sound in my head.

      …again, congratulations bromac.

  2. markps2 says:

    I remember “the Maxx”, I am a fan as well. Thanks for the blast from the past. I rewatched the episodes you posted and enjoyed them.
    I wish you a speedy return to health.

    • Gabriel... says:

      Hi Mark… I actually thought of you when I found out someone had uploaded the first season of The Maxx to YouTube. I was going to send you the links later on tonight. If you click through to the YouTube account you’ll find more of The Maxx, plus The Head, Aeon Flux and Samurai Jack.

      I hope you get better soon as well… next year I’m definitely getting the flu shot.

    • markps2 says:

      I just remember what I did when I had a similar problem cold-flu. I slept on my couch, with the couch close to the window, and the window was open a crack for a constant flow of cold air. I could not breath and sleep without the air being noticeably cold.

  3. Heather J says:

    I really hope you feel better soon.. here in the states, people are getting the (what I’ve been calling the “Itis”) for 2-3 months at a time and antibiotics aren’t doing a lick of good.. 😦 Now My daughter has it, and since it’s in the house, I’ve gotten the dreaded ringing in the ears and a stuffed up/runny nose. so, all this was to say is that.. try and get rest. LOST of water to thin out the mucus.. and sudafed (the over the counter stuff over here) seems to help dry it out.. loss of hearing is awful.. here’s hoping you feel better.

  4. zoom says:

    I keep hearing about people getting illnesses this winter that don’t clear up on their own and don’t clear up with the first antibiotic that’s prescribed. I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time – you really don’t need it. I hope you feel better soon. Are you able to take care of yourself (ie eating okay and taking meds and so on) while you’re ill?

    • Gabriel... says:

      Did you read the CDC report about gonorrhea? It’s becoming immune to the most powerful antibiotics, so they’re expecting the disease to be put on the “untreatable” list in a few years.

      “The threat of untreatable gonorrhea is emerging rapidly…” — Chicago Tribune

      I’m not sure exactly what happened, but about an hour ago I blew my nose and my left ear popped and I could hear… but then I almost immediately yawned and I lost most of my hearing again. So there’s hope.

      I have no difficulties beyond the hearing loss — I did almost get hit by a car this morning because I couldn’t hear it behind me. The infection itself, the redness and swelling, has cleared up entirely as of Wednesday. So the only thing left is the fluid, or whatever, that’s blocking my eardrums.

      Other than that it’s mostly at night, when I’m in bed, or when it’s quiet and all I can “hear” are my heart beating and the weird electronic noise. I get claustrophobic, which leads to the beginnings of hyperventilating, which is when I have to get outside so I can breathe.

      I was having problems with the panic attacks and high blood pressure earlier… basically until a few days ago. That made it difficult for me to eat properly — I missed breakfast eight days in a row. But as of last night I’m on medications for hypertension.

      I asked my family doctor for a referral to an ear-nose-throat specialist, but he wants to wait another couple of weeks before recommending surgery.

      …thanks for coming over Zoom.

  5. Lozz says:

    Hi, just thought I’d drop you a line and say I hope you start feeling better soon. Being sick like that is never fun. Have you tried laying the the couch or bed on one side and putting a heat pack under your head for 10 – 20 minutes each side, or until it goes cold? It does hurt for a little while at the start because it’s heat, but after a couple of minutes it should settle down.

    If you don’t have a hot sensation in yours ears with the infections this should bring even a little relief. But if the infection does feel hot, try ice packs wrapped once in a dish towel. Because I’m betting there may be some unwanted fluid in your ears (there always is with ear infections). And laying on each side for a little while, with either hot or cold packs should help start to move any fluid, or at least take some of the swelling out of your ear canals.

    Hope this helps.

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