Okay so many of you will be wondering why write about this particular subject and why now? I am currently taking a break from work as I have had the cochlear implant surgery in April 2021 so I am still recovering and learning how to use my new device, plus this pandemic has provided me with a lot of hurdles and hoops to jump through. Let’s start with the face masks as of right now I have been trained my whole life to lip read and that is how I adapted to the hearing world around me. Therefore masks kind of hinder that method, useless at the moment. I want to write about deafness in a hearing world and share my insight as a deaf person of the daily struggles we face, how the world has sometimes and most times not supported us as a community and also how we have coped with this world wide pandemic before us.
Speaking from first hand experience the last year and a bit has affected me emotionally, physically and mentally. I have struggled with anxiety, depression and social awkwardness. I have struggled with FEAR, Prejudice and lack of compassion from the outside world. I stopped going out, something as simple as a shop run turned into my worst nightmare which meant that I was isolating myself further and further from other people. I cried on so many nights just thinking about doing the most basic tasks possible outside of my home. this pandemic nearly destroyed me as a person, you see even with all the struggles of being deaf i have always been an outgoing, bubbly and sociable person and from one night to the next that me vanished. I have a great husband, 2 beautiful daughters, wonderful family and friends and they really did rally up to support me in the most difficult time of my life. I knew that when I looked into that mirror I was not the same person, I stopped smiling and I stopped laughing, I was more withdrawn than ever. Face masks make the sounds words make even harder to understand and with the hearing aids being useless to me way before this pandemic hit it was just not possible for me to communicate with people outside of home where mask wearing was not mandatory. I vividly remember using every home delivery service possible just to avoid having to speak or see another human. I did not want to explain for 100th time that I was sorry but I was deaf and needed to lip read, and be looked like I was this stupid person who didn’t know that there was a virus out there and they couldn’t lower their mask so I could lip read. that feeling of being stupid inadequate and being made to feel selfish because this was something I just couldn’t not do….. HEAR THEM.
I remember one specific day where me and 2 friends arranged to go to breakfast because it had been so long, off we went to my town’s centre and began the walk up, we browsed shops and all seemed fine. I got to this shop where I wanted to purchase something I believe was a hard drive or something for my husband. I asked the man at the shop some questions and when he replied with the mask on I proceeded to tell him that I was deaf and relied on lip reading, the man continued as if nothing, and so I proceeded to exit the shop and continue walking. By the time we had reached the end of our ‘main street’ I was badly hit with such overwhelming anxiety that I told my best friend that I needed to leave now, that it was time for me to go home and I remember being so emotional to the point of tears. On the way down we made another pit stop at a pharmacy and my experience was exactly the same as it had been at the shop.. Ignorance and unwillingness to adapt so I could make ONE simple purchase. These experiences with these shops and people further reinforced my resolve to avoid going out and to avoid speaking to people isolating me even more. I remember getting home and feeling relief that I was back in my comfort zone where I didn’t need to change or struggle and I just could be me again. I remember I cried so hard because I just thought I’m 30 years old and I can’t even cope with one day out, and something as simple as buying a necessity had turned into this hard task. These are things that people in the hearing world need to know, these struggles are real and cause damage, and it isn’t just this pandemic that I have experienced this treatment but throughout my whole life. I have been treated differently at work, I have been differently at school, I have been treated differently socially for many many years. I believe it is time for me to show my side of the story and maybe just maybe I can change something or someone and their views on meeting a person that’s deaf and how to handle being around them.
In April 2021 I had the cochlear implant surgery and so much has changed since then, so now is the time for me to write about this subject that is so so important to me. Now is the time for me to free myself of all the heartache I have experienced through the years. The prejudice I’ve experienced has shaped me to who I am today and the pandemic has also made me realise I am strong, stronger than I could ever know. I have fought tooth and nail, cried many tears of frustration and picked myself up countless times for what I want and for what I deserve, so my family and friends, my husband and children can have a better quality of life. I had been thinking about writing for a while and now that I feel stronger mentally and have time to do so I want to share my story!!!!
THIS IS THE NEW ME!!!