Posts Tagged ‘depression’

New me. New picture.

Some of you, all of you, or maybe just a few of you might have visited my “About Me” page at some point or another during the last [almost] two years of my blogging. If you did, you’d have formerly seen a picture I’d always figured kinda summed me up.

This one.
CIMG5934

When I took the picture, it was long before I had my cochlear implant surgery, and back when I struggled as a deaf person. Being born hearing but late deafened, my first year here as a blogger was my most difficult one. My children were still toddlers, my marriage was bumpy, and while I really wanted to be happy, it was just so very hard to be. I never quite looked life in the eye.

But now? Almost seven months post-activation of my cochlear implant, I know I’m a completely different person.

This is me.

eMcGMini_Shook_117b

I normally hate pictures of me. I’m just not one of those people who is comfortable with being photographed, but I got this picture in the mail this week from the photographer we used a few weeks back for family pics. And I love it. I’m such a visual person, and it’s here in this picture that I can see for myself just how much I really am different. It’s one thing to feel it, but for me it’s something completely different to see it.

Thank you McGowan Images for this tangible product of my life now.

I gotta go find a kleenex now!

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Half-year Anniversary

happy 6 months

Today marks my six month hearing anniversary with my cochlear implant.

When couples tell me they’ve hit the 6 month mark, whether married or dating, I roll my eyes and think puh-leeze! Six months is really not that long. And I seriously thought about saying nothing at all about it. I mean, it’s natural that I want to hit my one year hearing anniversary with a big bang, but six months? Well, I had to think about it a little, which is probably why I waited until the late evening to even post.

But I really had to.

I asked myself  a few questions today.

What have I done that I couldn’t do before February 17th?

I talked to three people on the phone today. One of those people wasn’t related, nor have I ever met that person. I’ve seen four movies at the movie theater in the past 6 months, none with captions. I’ve come to count four women, all unrelated to me, as friends now. Not just any kind of friend, but closer than that. I can’t yet say that we’re really really close, since I feel like I’ve only known them for 6 months (even though I did talk to them before that), but I know we’ll grow closer still in the 6 months before my one year mark. If it’s even possible, I’ve grown closer to my mom, my dad, and my sister. Other than my husband, they’ve been my rock of support over the last many years.

The biggest things? I’ve become a better, more understanding wife. I’m a better mother. I’ve developed a more patient attitude to both my husband and my children. I have a closer relationship with my children, and carry on many conversations throughout the day. I answer many more questions from my kids, but I also teach them more about life as a whole.

I’m much more confident. I’m more outgoing. I laugh more often. I have a more positive outlook on my life. I enjoy life much more now. The depression I constantly fought while deaf has rapidly decreased, something I’m confident I won’t battle by the time I hit my one year mark.

It’s been a great 6 months.

And I’m anticipating the next.

A [not so] newsworthy update and other random thoughts

Today has been rocky, but I seem to be gliding smoother now. And that’s a good thing.

Last week my caseworker sent my file and CT scans to DARS’ medical examiner to approve my second surgery for my Cochlear implant, and we haven’t heard from her this week yet. I hate to harass someone to do something, and I know that my case has to be sent to several people to be looked at, so I’ve given her a little space to get things done.

What we did figure out is that my surgery has gone from my caseworker to her boss for approval. Then my caseworker sent it to the medical examiner who will (but hasn’t yet to our knowledge) approve it and sent it to the main office in Austin for another approval. The Austin office must approve it and send funding to an office in Arlington (a suburb of Dallas), and the Arlington office will call my ENT’s office to schedule the surgery. Is anyone confused yet?

So it’s a long process, and it’s the exact process that took a solid year to happen the first time around. The first time it took so long simply because my former caseworker forgot that her clients really did live and breathe, but my current caseworker is hopefully getting things done. My husband called her today and left a message a few hours ago, but we haven’t heard back from her yet. At this point we will hound her voicemail until she responds. She’s had plenty time. So there’s a little DARS education for ya.

Today has been rough because I figured that I’d have my surgery at least scheduled by now. At the very least, I thought that I’d have heard about the Austin office now having the file. But nada. Nothing.

In an effort to ward off any oncoming self pity, my kiddos and I just spent the last few hours making cutout sugar cookies, icing them with the not-so-great frosting from a can, and covering them in every sprinkle color imaginable, all the while having a magnificent time. There’s just nothing that lifts my mood like spending time with my little ones, and the great thing is that it doesn’t even have to include me hearing them. They’re just super fun.

By the end of the week I expect to have my surgery scheduled, although yes, I do realize I said that last week. This week will be met with a little more persistence on that subject however.

November with a slice of pie

Does anyone else feel like this year has just flown? I have to pinch myself to believe that it’s already November and that, no, I’m not dreaming about it. The holidays are seriously upon us.

I had so many expectations for this holiday season, and lately I’ve had to force my mind and body to do the motions of preparations because my heart is barely in it. I remind myself that by bemoaning the fact that I won’t hear through Thanksgiving, I will bring a dark cloud on every other person’s otherwise joyous occasion. Holidays are meant to be enjoyed with family, full of reminiscing about times of old, forgetting grudges and unforgiven pasts, to enjoy a meal prepared with nothing short of hard work and a whole lot of love.

I tell myself that, but it’s still hard. As much as I center my thoughts where I need them to be, the reality is that in a few unguarded moments, I have to shake my head, shed just one tear, or take a deep cleansing breath to wash my mind of what I know I’m missing. Even as I sit here, I refuse to cry about it. It doesn’t matter that these moments come once a year. What matters is all the years I still have left to enjoy all of this, even if I miss it this time around. More than that? It’s not about me at all. It’s about giving myself to my family so that my children and husband remember a good year, happy memories, and not a weepy depressed mommy or wife. I want that for them much more than I want to feel sorry for myself.

This week has been testing my patience, and as we enter the weekend and my surgery remains unscheduled, I kick myself into high gear and fill my day with things that lift my mood.

One thing I love to do is bake. It’s something my grandmother and my mom must have passed in their genes to me, I’m certain. Being November, I decided today that I wanted something to help me remember how much I enjoy Thanksgiving, hearing or no. In my home, at this very moment, is a smell that’s unmistakably sweet and full of spice, all at the same time. If you walked in my door, I doubt you’d see the opened can of pumpkin on my counter before you recognized the age old scent of a freshly baking pumpkin pie. There’s just nothing like it.

The thing I like most about baking? Most would think it’s the first bite into whatever is created in my oven, but somehow I don’t think so. I enjoy it more because of the flavorful aroma that perfumes my home long after the baking is over. It’s warm, many times sweet, and always full of love.

As I sit here writing, I take a deep breath to discover the very familiar scent of a dozen Thanksgivings past, and I remind myself that whether I hear or not, I will choose to enjoy this year. After all, once this year is past, I can never repeat it. I will lift my eyes from the troubles around me, and focus on the joy garnered from my very boisterous young children and a husband I so greatly admire.

Didn’t catch that

I’m not outgoing. At all.

Before I lost my hearing, I wasn’t exactly outgoing, but I could strike up a conversation with someone and didn’t exactly fear conversation as I do now. It’s not that I fear people, or fear of not knowing what to say, but it’s that I fear I won’t understand a word that the person is saying. And it’s usually justified because I can rarely understand what someone says to me the first three times if I’ve never met them or don’t know them really really well.

I don’t even know if fear is the right word. I just hate looking like an idiot, simply because I’m not one. It just appears that way on occasion. Sorta. For instance, a few months ago I had some Jehovah Witness people knock on my door. I think that’s the right names for them, but you know what I mean. White shirts, black slacks and ties, people who talk your ear off trying to convert you to their religion, going through all avenues including arguing with you about what you believe. Those people.

They knocked on my door a while back and my three year old son opened the door before I could tell him not to. As soon as I got to the door, a guy who looked about twenty-ish (white shirt, black tie) launched into a spill about the religion. I have no clue what on earth he was saying, but it seemed like I waited an insanely long time before he took a breath so I could interrupt. I kindly told him I was deaf and that I wasn’t going to be able to understand what he was saying.

Now most of the time people will nod, leave their printed information for me to read, and head to the next house. But this guy launched into the spill again, meaning I had to wait another nine years for him to take another breath. When I interrupted this time, I was a little more earnest in saying that I couldn’t understand anything he said because I couldn’t hear. At all.

And at this point he keeps going. Unbelievable!

I’m a little annoyed by now, since I’ve been standing at my door for about five minutes and am wondering what kind of havoc my kids have imposed upon my house in the time I’ve been here with this guy not understanding what he’s saying. So after he launched into action the third time, I completely interrupt what he saying (while he’s saying it) and say that I really can’t understand him and I’m sorry but I can’t stand here and need to check on my kids. Door in the face. Sorry dude, but you asked.

In the brief moment before I shut the door, I could see the change in him and his other friends as their faces became kind and polite to this girl is crazy weird. I know, I know, it wasn’t my fault that the guy couldn’t take a hint, but you’d really be surprised at how many people that I come across who just simply do not understand what “I can’t hear” means.

Chick-fil-a. I’m standing in line to get food while my mom is about 20 feet away at a table with my two kids. I order two of their kids meals and then I’m trying to order two of their chicken sandwich meals. The woman, probably late twenties, early thirties, asks me something about the chicken sandwich. I kindly asked her to repeat her question, telling her I don’t hear. She repeats it and I still don’t get it. I ask her to repeat it once more, apologizing, and I still can’t understand. I know that it can’t be too important, so I just tell her it doesn’t matter, I just want those regular sandwiches with the fries and specify the type of drink. But she just asks me the question again. I’m sorry I say, I just can’t get it, but she asks the question again.

Now you must realize at this point that it is lunchtime, so I have a few people behind me, waiting their turn. When she wouldn’t stop asking the question, I turn around and try to make eye-contact with my mom, and I see all those people behind me giving me a dirty stare. Ok, dirty might be a little exaggeration. But I can tell by their faces that I’m taking way to long to order and they aren’t particularly happy about it.

So after the fourth or fifth time that she asks me, I turn quick to try and get my mom’s attention, but she’s focused on the kids. The lady taking my order has garnered the attention of the manager on duty, and he tries asking me the question. I tell him that I simply can’t hear and they both stand there not really knowing what to do. I’m about to break down in tears at this point, so I turn around and loudly call my mom’s name (lots of people, so this place is noisy). The two or three tables of people near her are also staring at me at this point, along with all the people in line behind me. Arg!!

My mom is a lifesaver. I love her dearly. And I’m pretty sure she could tell that my emotions were hanging on a very thin thread when she walked up. She completely took charge of the situation, answering the questions that the manager was now asking and the lady punched them all in. One question. Original or spicy.

What I hate most is that these things happen on a day to day basis. It’s easy most of the time to chalk it up to people just not knowing how to deal with someone who is deaf. I should have asked the lady to write it down, but all I could even think after the moment was why didn’t she just give me original?

When it happens so often, there are times when I can just can’t hang on emotionally. Last night I was at a meeting and the speaker asked a question and passed the microphone to the first person to answer. After the person answered, she passed the microphone to the next person, and on down the line as everyone answered. I was next to last, but I had no clue what was being said or even what the question was, so I just passed the microphone to the person after me. Of course everyone was looking directly at me when it was my turn and I made some sort of dumb comment out of sheer embarrassment like sorry, I don’t understand what everyone is discussing.

The meeting goes on, and I slip out after everyone’s attention is focused on the speaker. This stuff happens every day, but sometimes my emotions just snap. I’m not really sad or majorly depressed, but the tears start and I can’t seem to stop them. All I can do is sit in a quiet place, take deep breaths, and wait until my emotions become manageable again.

But the thing is that it’s never really anyone’s fault. The Jehovah Witness dude wasn’t being mean or rude when I couldn’t understand him, but he just didn’t understand what I was saying. The chick-fil-a girl wasn’t mad that I couldn’t understand her, but she did talk a little louder or slower every time, trying to get me to understand, but it was just too hard for me. And even the speaker from last night’s meeting wasn’t at fault. Nor is it my own fault. What I know is that it’s just the reality of living with what I live with. I’m stuck in this rut where I can’t understand sign language, yet I have to work so hard to understand people speaking.

So the point of all of this? Well, it’s just a bunch of rambling of my everyday frustrations. But maybe you leave understanding a little more of the stuff I go through on a day to day basis. No pity party here, I know that there are so many out there who deal with so much, and I’m just one of many. But I keep my head above the water knowing how truly blessed I am with life. My husband, kiddos, and my life-saving mom are just a few of the people I’m so incredibly thankful for.

A little blue

I’m having one of those days today. I wish I could describe it. I’m tired, my mind is just emotionally drained, and everything feels wrong. It’s not a major depression day where I feel like my whole world has fallen into pieces, but I just feel… so… blue…

Yesterday I took the kiddos to the park. It was a beautiful day and I know how the kiddos enjoy getting out of the house and using up all their endless energy. There were lots of other mothers and their kids there, and while I was so happy that my kiddos had others to play with, it’s so difficult for me to see other mothers. Three’s and fours’s, groups of women sitting and chatting, doing all those things I so want to do. If only.

You know those days where your coming down with a cold or virus and just as it begins, your depleted of all energy and you just want to lay down and take a good long nap. Be lazy. Do nothing but crash in front of the tv and feel sorry for yourself. That’s kinda what it’s like for me on these blue days. And they habitually seem to follow days where I’m standing behind an imaginary glass wall, just wishing I was a part of those groups of laughter. Conversation.

Today is hard for me because on days where I feel it coming, I usually take the kids to the park or to the mall. Sometimes we even go ride a little outdoor train near us. Just anything that involves activity, sunshine, and adds brightness to my day and theirs.

I’ve got a lot to do today with cake weekend looming. Think 4×6 boxes, wrapped in glittery black scrapbook paper with a bright pink logo, boxes filled with chocolate cupcakes topped with pale pink icing and edible sugar flakes. It really lifts my mood just thinking about how cute these things are going to be when I finish, but it’s difficult for me to force myself to actually work when I’m in such a blue mood.

But if there is anything that I’ve learned these past few years, it’s that I have to be incredibly proactive and almost aggressive in pulling myself out of these moods. If I let myself sit around and entertain the blue, I get pulled into an even deeper depression, making it that much harder to climb out of.

One day maybe I’ll find a book or write a list of things to do to change my mood. Until then, I’ll take a brake from baking and go soak up some sunshine with my kiddos.