Deafinitely seek help when needed

Yesterday evening I made a call to see about getting myself some mental health counseling.  For the past three years I have been experiencing episodes where I would become extremely stressed and anxious and end up uncontrollably shaking with a killer headache or where I feel like if I somehow die, everyone would be better off.

No, I don’t want to die because I want to see my kids grow up, and no I am not “strong” enough to hurt myself, but I have imagined freak accidents like passing away in my sleep due to eating some bad food for dinner or getting stung by some deadly unknown bug, or getting into a bizarre car accident or getting shot by some crazed racist (since I do live in the south where racism is very much alive.)

I have been battling with this on my own with the support of the many strong and fabulous women in my inner circle.  My mother, grandmother, sisters, cousins, mother-in-law, and friends.

I realized that I am always busy taking care of everyone else and I neglect taking care of myself.  In realizing this, I also realized that if I am not okay, I cannot do my best or be my best for my kids.  I used to believe that they needed to see their mother remain strong in tough situations so that one day when they get older they could follow suit, but I have since realized this was a fallacy.

I would much rather my kids see me getting help and helping myself; realizing I potentially have a problem and finding a way to “fix it” rather than see me in a light that portrays me as being perfect. I want them to know that I am not perfect.

Should either of my children grow up feeling even an ounce of what I’ve been feeling, I want them to feel courageous enough to admit to these feelings and therefore seek help, rather than deny them and let them fester.

The goal is to raise children who don’t need to recover from their childhood. The goal is to set an example for our children and be sure they are instilled with the proper tools that would enable them to live their best life.

I want my children to be confident and unafraid of asking for help.  So I needed to set that example.  I need to be confident and in being confident I needed to accept that it’s okay to ask for help–something I have never been good at.

So yesterday, I swallowed my “pride” and made that call.  The woman on the other end of the phone was clearly confused from the start of the conversation.  See, I use a sign language relay service called Sorenson to make all of my outgoing phone calls.  With this service I am able to make regular phone calls but the difference is I use sign language to communicate through an interpreter and the interpreter uses their voice on my behalf.  Confusing? Think of a conversation going on between an English-speaking person and a Spanish-speaking person with the help of an interpreter. Check this link for more information about Sorenson.

So anyway, I quickly realized this woman wasn’t sure what was going on despite the fact that my interpreter explained that the phone call was being made by a deaf person who uses sign language, so I re-explained that she was hearing someone else’s voice but that someone else was using my words. Things clicked for her momentarily.

She searched for mental health facilities that specifically catered to deaf people and her search only came up with one result.  I told her she didn’t have to look for a facility that specifically catered to deaf people, she could broaden her search to include “regular” facilities and I’ll just enlist a sign language interpreter from a sign language interpreting agency. This confused her. So I tried a different angle.

I said, “I can hear, I lost half of my hearing in both ears, and I can speak very clear, most people aren’t even aware that I am deaf until I tell them. I’ll mostly utilize an interpreter just to be sure I don’t miss any crucial information, but all in all my lip-reading skills are on point”

And boy, her light bulb went off! She said, “Oh! well, that makes a huge difference” I really didn’t see how but in the end she referred me to a different and better (per google reviews) mental health facility.  She offered to make an appointment for me to which I declined her offer, I wanted to do it myself. I needed to.

I only told this story to encourage all of you–disabled or not–to seek help whenever you feel like you need it.  Sweeping things under the rug can prove to be more damaging than helpful.  Wouldn’t you want to want to be able to say “I’m going to be okay, I will get through this”? Wouldn’t you want to feel better about yourself? Doesn’t the idea of waking up one day and actually looking forward to your day sound like a slice of heaven?

I bet it does.

In the meantime I do partake in some self-therapeutic methods because I am aware that it isn’t free to just knock on a psychologists/psychiatrist door and ask for help.  My advice is to find something you love doing and do it when you are feeling those feelings of anxiety or depression.  I know that it is sometimes hard to get up and go when you are feeling depressed, but try to think about a time you were doing something you loved and try to recapture that moment.

Below are some of the things I like doing:

  1. Writing short stories.  If I am feeling down, I found that It is easier for me to create characters who aren’t and this lifts my spirits; living in my happy characters’ world is like a little vacation from my reality.  On the other hand if someone in my life pisses me off, I can always write a story where they get hurt insert evil grin here.
  2. Listening to smooth Soul and R&B music.  I tend to listen to a lot of smooth R&B music, preferably songs sang by men.  I find their voices to be soothing especially Luther Vandross. His voice is literally like butter, it makes everything better.  But I also prefer male singers for another weird and unrelated reason as well. For some reason in society most men are conditioned not to show their feelings and to carry these tough personas so I find it refreshing when a man goes against the grain and openly expresses his feelings.
  3. Taking a hot bath with scented aroma therapy Epsom salt. I don’t know whether it’s the heat from the water that melts my anxiety and anger away, or if the aroma therapy thing is real (I’m still skeptical, don’t judge me), but I recently added this to my list of stress/anger relievers and it works wonders!
  4. Read a book. As I’ve mentioned earlier, walking in a characters shoes is an escape from my reality.  I like to read fiction books (my favorite author is Janet Evanovich) and as bad as it sounds, reading about someone else’s problems help me see that maybe my problems aren’t as “unsolvable” as I believe them to be.
  5. Talk to my loved ones.  Communication is definitely the key to everything. Anyone I’ve ever vented to would tell you when I am angry or frustrated I express my feelings in such a raw and otherwise “effed up” yet hilarious manner. And for that, I’ve come to appreciate my moments of frustration and anger because apparently that’s when my creativity shines through the most.

What are some ways you relieve stress or lift your spirits/ mood?

 

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It wasn’t me!

There is nothing worse than being forced by your best friend to go to the gym with her when you already had your mind set on pigging out on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s cinnabon ice cream while sobbing over the latest episode of This Is Us.  There is absolutely nothing worse than being in the middle of a very compromising yoga position and having this propeller-sounding gust of air blow through the silent room.

All eyes on me.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Right, deny, deny,deny and deny some more.

It wasn’t me! It was probably the Air conditioner that was grinding overhead; perhaps something got stuck, or maybe it was a shootout happening outside, or maybe it was the seventy-year-old woman next to me–which would probably explain the smell, right? P-U, lady.

“You should probably take a laxative when you get home to clean yourself out, dear, and forget drinking soda and all of that sugary stuff you kids eat and drink these days, drink water and only water, because gee, kid, even I don’t smell that bad, and I’m older than God”, the old lady said.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t her. But it still wasn’t me!

 

via Daily Prompt: Deny

Straight ahead

It’s not that she didn’t want to finish her novel, she was just having a difficult time staying focused.  There was always some paper clip nearby that looked so lonely and needed to be fidgeted with, or a questionable stain on the carpet by her foot that she wondered about? How did that get there? Was it a pee stain from the pet of the previous renter? She wondered what the previous renter was like, was it a he or a she? were they old? What did they like to do?

What was that odd smell that kept wafting through the window? She snickered at the thought that the smell came from her grumpy old downstairs neighbor, perhaps the woman dropped a load in her depends–not that the thought really deserved to be dignified with a laugh, but she was out of her mind with exhaustion! She couldn’t think of what to write next.

Shaking herself free of her presumed writers block she placed her hands on the keyboard, her pinkies on the ‘A’ and Semi-colon keys, ringer fingers on the ‘S’ and ‘L’ keys, middle fingers on the ‘D’ and ‘K’ keys, and forefingers on the ‘F’ and ‘J’ keys, she was seriously going to get it together, she was going blow this first chapter out of the water.  It was going to be the best first chapter ever written by anyone in the world! Mark Twain was going to be calling her for tips on how to write such a eye grabbing best selling novel.

Wait, who is Mark Twain? She didn’t know the first thing about the man saved for the deep quotes she’d come across on when she scrolled through facebook and the fact that she knew he was probably old or…deceased…which would make things awkward; to have a dead man come from the grave asking questions.

Which reminded her she forgot to reply to her best friend’s message last night before she fell asleep.

Hey, sorry for the late reply Hon! Ugh, all of this writing is keeping me busy! But to answer your question, no, I will not be available for drinks tomorrow night, I’m trying to make my November deadline, I’m going to publish my first novel even if it kills me! Ha! love you! Talk soon!

A whole month was more than enough time to knock out a novel, right?

In a robotic, zombie-like trance she opened a new tab and typed in “Google.Com” and promptly sat there staring at the screen.  What did she come here for?

She giggled which somehow turned in a full blown fit of laughter.  Her cackles bounced off the walls, she bent over in her seat smacking her leg.

You know how you think of something funny then laugh at the fact that you found that thing funny then laugh at the fact that you actually thought about the fact that you found that thing funny and so on and so forth?

It wasn’t until she found herself on the floor gasping for air that she realized she probably had a problem that could be medically treated.  Was she going crazy? Has she officially lost her marbles? Is this what animals in the zoo felt like; being locked in a cage all day? Was that why the monkey’s often threw their feces at onlookers? Those poor animals.

She liked monkeys they were her favorite animals of all time and she didn’t believe the theory that humans evolved from monkeys.

Getting up off of the floor she glanced at the clock above her desk.  In big rectangular numbers, her digital clock read 11:59, she’d literally been sitting at her desk since 7 O’clock and the only thing she’d gotten down was the title which now didn’t feel so fitting for the story she had in mind.

Googling “how to write a novel” in search for ways she could regain her focus and get down to business, she was hit with an article detailing the importance of writing an outline when writing a novel.

Oh, right.  She was supposed to work on that yesterday.  Easy peasy! One outline coming up!

Psych!  Writing an outline was easier suggested than done! She struggled with finding a fitting name for her main character, her premise was clear, but she couldn’t get past figuring out a name! And that title, it has to go, no one would ever pick this book up and deem it interesting enough to read.  However, they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover–or title in this case, right?

Growl.  

When did she get a dog?

Growl.

What the heck was that?

Growl.

Looking down she found the culprit, her belly needed to refilled, obviously two cups of coffee wasn’t good enough for Mr. Tummy.

She snickered, “Mr. Tummy” She could write a children’s book called The Adventures of Mr. Tummy…or to make it interesting she could call it The Misadventures of Mr. Tummy, she could make her story about a tummy ache and the inevitable trip to the toilet that follows. Kids like gross things like that.  She’ll have to get down to writing that book ASAP! It shouldn’t be hard, it shouldn’t even take long, she just needed to find an illustrator.  Where does one find an illustrator?

She sat back staring at the screen again until her stomach growled to attention.  Right, time to eat!

While she prepared her lunch she turned on her blue-tooth speaker, connected her phone and put on the Spice Girls Pandora Radio.  She jammed and cooked and Jammed and cooked. She jammed while she ate, she jammed while she cleaned up the kitchen.  N’Sync’s Bye, Bye, Bye came on just as she was done putting the last of the crumbs she swept into her hand from her table into the garbage.

Oh, it was on now.  She tried her best to remember the routine she and her friends came up with for this song when they were carefree pre-teens, once upon a time.  For the most part she just improvised while she huffed for breath, sweat draining down her face as if she’d ran two blocks to get away from an army of mutant sized Rats she remembered seeing when she was growing up in New York City.  She needed to get in shape and entertained the thought of getting a gym membership, but when she sat down at her computer getting ready to look up some good deals for gym memberships she felt nothing but exhaustion.  A nap was necessary.  She’ll get back to her writing later on.

You all know how the story goes, she ended up putting her writing off for one more day…again.

via Daily Prompt: Focused

DEAFinitely Deaf Facts (okay, only some) 

Dear People,

​Okay, listen y’all– and I’ll try my best to be as clear as possible– but I have to get something off my chest. (Sorry it’s kinda longish)
You will not and I emphasize will NOT go to hell for making “deaf jokes.” (There’s no special section down there for those who made deaf jokes. Trust me. I checked) If made tastefully they can actually be quite hilarious. Sure, it seems insensitive to make jokes about something someone cannot change but y’all out here making racial jokes daily and aside from Rachel DoWhatever, one cannot simply change their race. Now can they?
If you meet a deaf person like me who has completely come to terms with their deafness they might tell you that they actually enjoy a good deaf joke every now and then. Why? Because for a culture that is seemingly ignored it makes me feel like we’re being noticed and not only that but I like seeing and understanding different people’s perspectives on deaf people and deaf culture because if something is misunderstood it gives me a chance to slide up in there and teach and enlighten! And something most deaf folks can agree on is: we really wish hearing folks would start using all of their brains as much as they use their ears (see? I made a bad hearing joke, and nobody is crying, right?) 

Okay great, moving on.
No, not all deaf people are dumb just like not all hearing people are smart! Just like not all black folks are hoodrats, just like not all white folks are rich! Just like not all Asians are smart, just like not all Americans are dumb (dumb enough to vote for whats his name — but in our defense the majority of us actually didn’t vote for him, those higher up folks did)
No, me and the next deaf person cannot hear the same things. Some deaf folks can hear more than others. Some can speak on the regular phone, some can’t or prefer to instead use a Videophone (Google will tell you all about those. Just type in “Sorenson Video Phones”… There’s a rival company called Purple Communications but I’m #TeamSorenson!) 

Pop quiz! Let’s see if you can guess my phone preference! When hearing people say for me to call them or they’ll call me I’ll either say “okay, but don’t expect me to respond beyond ‘hello'” or I’ll just give them a blank stare then smile politely and say “I’ll text ya!” Or “if you call I won’t answer, I’m just letting you know now so you won’t be offended later” if you guessed, that I prefer not to use a regular phone, you are cor-rect!

Okay, back on topic!
No, not all deaf people know sign language. I, myself learned sign language in 6th grade which is considered late in the Deaf World and yes, I’ve gotten that “what the f***” look from other deaf people when once upon a time I had to tell them I didn’t know sign language. I also get the same “what the f***” look from hearing folks who communicated with me strictly verbally for months with no problem and suddenly saw me use sign language one day or saw my hearing aids and  that conversation usually starts like “wait…. You’re deaf?” To which I’ll say “yes” and then they’ll say something like “… but you speak so well…” which leads me to my next point and it’s a big one so get ready….Oh! But before we move on–no, I don’t hide my deafness, but if conversation flows without a problem, I won’t interrupt you and tell you I’m deaf. If you happen to cover your mouth or turn around while you’re speaking,THAT’S when I’ll tell you–if you didn’t already notice how my eyes zero in on your lips– because I rely on reading lips. So yeah, my next point….dun dun dunnnnn…
YES, some deaf people can speak just like you! (If you are a hearing person.) Remember what I said about me enjoying seeing and understanding other people’s perspectives on deaf folks? Yeah, THIS tells me that hearing folks expect us to all sound distorted (or I’ve heard some people liken it to sounding like a Whale or seal) so I’m able to tell you that that misconception is exactly that, a misconception. Oh the joy! 

How well you speak all depends on when you lost your hearing and/or how much you can hear. (You can pick up the book  “I can hear you whisper” by Lydia Denworth for a more in-depth explanation of how the ears and speech work. I, however, am typing this from my phone and my thumb burns so….) 
With all of that having been said, I hope you have at least a little more of a better understanding about us Beautiful Deaf People. I will detail more things once I get on a computer but for now I think this is good enough! 
So, come on,  talk to me! I want to hear  (read) some of y’alls best or wackest deaf jokes, come on peeps! Or if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to answer them! 

Love,

DEAFinitely Tay. 

Yet so far away…

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but sometimes that isn’t always the case.  Sometimes absence can drive a bigger wedge between two people especially if the reason behind said absence is in bad taste.

Both people are left with that distant feeling where suddenly all of their good memories are ancient history and all of their bad memories seem like the only memories worth remembering.

How do you get back what you once had? Is there even a way to get it back? Or should both parties just accept the fact that it’s over?

via Daily Prompt: Distant

Help me understand…

I am always hearing how women tend to create imaginary situations in their heads and then one thought leads to another and so on and so forth.  But I don’t actually see the problem with that!

The way I see it, the more imaginary scenerios and situations we can come up with, the more prepared we will be in life!

“Hmm…if so and so said this and that to me, this is how I will smoothly respond and still have all of my self esteem in tact” and  “If Michael B. Jordan comes up to me and tells me I have a booger smeared on my cheek, this is how I will smoothly play it off” sounds a whole hella’va lot better than having so and so say this and that to me and then me standing there stuck on stupid or having Michael B. Jordan come up to me and tell me I have a booger smeared on my cheek and then me dying of embarrassment right in his face!

What’s wrong with being prepared?!

I mean the saying goes “expect the best but prepare for the worst” doesn’t it? I think that’s why a lot of dudes out there, when faced with “tricky situations” they resort to saying “I don’t know.” Well, you would know if you thought about the possibility of this situation happening, before!

You: Max, why did you cheat on me?

Max: I don’t know

Well, I know! It’s because Max, first off, is an idiot who couldn’t appreciate what he had and secondly, he didn’t think of the possibility of getting caught! Granted he shouldn’t have done it and if he thought of the possibility of cheating and all of the consequences that comes with cheating he wouldn’t have done it, now would he?

My point is, imaginary situations that are created in our heads aren’t all that bad, so keep on creating them!

 

via Daily Prompt: Imaginary

His Eyes

As she entered the room after tucking the children in, she asked her husband how his day was as she usually did.  He threw her a nonchalant “it was good” and she immediately felt a sense of panic travel up her spine and wrap her body like a cloak. Her husband was usually very talkative so she immediately knew that something was wrong.

“What’s wrong, honey” she asked reaching out to touch his hand.

He snatched it out of her reach and with eyes so empty responded “nothing”

After pleading and begging him to come out with what was wrong he finally did and her world rocked, tilted, turned then shattered.

“I’m not happy anymore, for the longest I felt like this marriage was a mistake”

She searched his eyes and found absolutely no trace of the man she once knew and fell in love with. What had she done wrong? Who was this cold man before her? What was she going to do? She’d given him ten years of her life, sacrificed so much to keep him and their family afloat and this was what she deserved in return?

She fell to her knees gasping for air, feeling as if the wind was sucked out of her. “Baby, please tell me what I can do to fix this; to make you happy”

“There’s nothing you can do, I haven’t been happy for a while”

He said all of this with too much ease, as if her pain had no effect on him.

Suddenly a quote she’d heard in a movie some years ago materialized in her mind, “A man never abandons ship unless he knows he has a lifeboat waiting for him nearby”

“Is there someone else?” she asked weakly, knowing the truth before he confirmed it by looking off to his right.

She stood on her knees shaking violently, tears gushing out of her eyes, “what am I supposed to do now?”

 

via Daily Prompt: Trace