“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them” – Albert Einstein
There were a few things that helped me with acceptance and I learned new ways to manage this. I thought it would be a good idea to share these with you whether you are experiencing the same yourself or perhaps you might find this useful if you are coming to terms with your own disability, mental health condition or long term illness.
Firstly, I started to write again. I kept a note of tricky hearing situations and noted possible solutions for the next time they happened as quite often they are reoccur. I’m quite visual so I often write things down to see it first to make sense of it first and then I can try figure out the solution or my next steps in going forward. Even with my clients at work, I draw out diagrams to explain how cholesterol happens or write down their typical day’s food intake to pick out the problematic foods. Others are able to reflect in their heads and act out solutions on the spot. I have come to realise in later years with my deafness, once I have figured the solution of a new hearing challenge I add it to my “Toolbox” and can then actively think on the spot what I need to do to prepare myself for the next time. It’s a really important coping mechanism for me personally because I apply it to lots of other situations at work and in my social life.
Someone once thought me about different coping mechanisms and why we choose to cope the way we do. Coping can be described as either active or avoidant. I learned that in the past I used “avoidant coping” such as isolating myself which is characterized by ignoring the issue and as a result it aids denial of the problem. Now I try to adapt to “instrumental coping” or more commonly known as problem-solving so I can tackle the issue to alleviate stress and find solutions for next time it happens. I’m still learning and have a long way to go but I’m enjoying the journey! Here is an interesting article on Psychology Today that I found useful while writing this blog by Paul Huljich:
Going back to my previous blog entry, I wrote about difficulties at work with the new hearing loss. So to show you how I put the above into practice, here are some of things that really helped; asking clients to write down words that I had missed and for promotion to community classes, I explain the service while my colleague carries out the questionnaire as this was the harder part for me to pick up. My team were very supportive and helped by taking notes at meetings or drop me an email if there was too much verbal information for me to hear and remember at the same time.
Socially, I learned to accept that in certain noisy backgrounds I shouldn’t have to force myself to stay and try to cope with just lip-reading while appearing “normal” at the same time, screaming in silence behind my frozen smile. When meeting friends for dinner it’s now on a one-to-one basis or 2 at most with a table in the back corner of the restaurant to block out some of the noise. I’m no expert but I’m learning to voice myself more when I need to and “say no” when I know certain acoustic environments will be too much for me. This path of assertiveness with my hearing loss is a relatively new one.. a little like learning to walk.. exhilarating at the start when first voicing myself to family and friends about how I really felt…but for now it’s baby steps! You will be able to read more about how this journey later on in my blog.
“Accept what is
Let go of what was and
have faith in what will be”
– Sonia Ricotti
Are you all ears? (Yes, I do love my puns!).. keep reading ahead for the next part on the assessment day and find out if I was eligible for a cochlear implant..