Looking after your mental healthPublished Date: 04 Jan 2024
Mental health is a big thing for me. One in two D/deaf people have mental health issues which is why I feel like we need to speak up more about it and help each other.
I am diagnosed with anxiety, depression and OCD. A lot of it stems back to my deafness and my feelings about it.
I used to wake up and wish I wasn’t deaf. I felt that I couldn’t do what hearing people could, that I stood out from everyone. If I was in a group of people, I would panic that I couldn’t understand what people were saying, whether they would repeat things for me and make sure I was included.
I use so much brain power listening. The more I concentrate on whether I heard something or not, the more likely I am to miss what was actually said. I would get anxious asking people to repeat things because I worried they'd get tired of having to repeat themselves, so I would just nod and smile even if I didn’t hear them.
I would think people were talking about me, hating on me, that they didn’t really like me, and it really made me go down a hard path mentally.
Going out in public was a big thing for me as lots of noise and people was a huge fear of mine. I didn’t want people seeing my cochlear implants. I knew I’d struggle hearing people due to all the background noise, so I would try to avoid going out for meals or going to big loud spaces. I had a habit of constantly looking for exits so I'd know where to go in case I needed to leave.
It took a while for me to come to terms with my deafness and understand that I cannot change who I am and to instead embrace it.
Everyone’s journey is different, and please don’t worry if online people look so happy and calm as behind their phone, they may be unhappy and struggling. Reach out to each other and support each other.
Here are some of my tips for looking after your mental health:
- speak to someone you trust
- reach out to the D/deaf community – they can help relate in scenarios
- take your own pace – it’s not a race
- don’t compare yourselves to others
- do what makes you happy, for example seeing friends, watching tv, baking, sports
- reach out to mental health charities.