It seems counter-intuitive or wasteful to see your doctor even when you’re not sick, or at least not feeling sick, however there are routine checkups and physicals that medical staff perform to make sure you’re not sick with something that you aren’t feeling symptoms of.  You might not even know you have lung cancer until they do an X-Ray of your chest.

Seeing your doctor regularly helps prevent you getting bad off and will help improve your overall health because you’re seeing the doctor for checkups to make sure your blood pressure, cholesterol, etc are all under control and making sure you have other areas of your health all peachy.

Just because you feel fine, doesn’t mean you are.  It’s also perfectly fine to talk to your PCP about your mental health, if you’re depressed, suicidal, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, or letting them know you often forget things too easily, too easily distracted, etc.

Also tell your doctor about all medicines you’re taking, including all OTCs including yes even multivitamins, cold medicines, etc.  Also give your doctor the information about other professionals you see such as audiologists, ENT’s, surgeons, wound care, psychiatric, etc so they can get records from one another and help work together to make sure you have the best possible care and that they’re not giving you any medications that conflict negatively with one another.

And as I’ve mentioned before, keep a portfolio of everything.

kmicican / Pixabay (How you’re going to feel after 30 minutes of training your software)

Having a hearing disability or vision disability is tough enough on it’s own.  However, due to having residual hearing and being able to benefit from hearing aids (though not perfect) many people disbelieve the notion that I’m deaf and blind.

There’s the common misconception that all blind people see nothing and all deaf people hear absolutely nothing, just pure pitch blackness and pure silence.  However, that’s not really the case.  While it’s true some blind people see absolutely nothing and some deaf people live in complete silence, it’s not true for everyone.  Some blind can see and some deaf can hear.

I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not, hear me out here for a moment.  Being legally blind means you can’t see that top most letter on an eye chart at a specific distance from it.  This doesn’t mean you can’t see at all though.  For me that E looks like it could be an F or a B or even a D, it’s hard to tell, but I know it’s an E, it’s always an E.

Likewise with being deaf, it’s not just pure silence, though it can be.  Deaf people can have some hearing, much like with the deaf person that can still somewhat see.  Without my glasses I can’t see very well and legally blind, with my glasses my vision is close to 20/20.  Likewise with my hearing, without my hearing aids, I don’t hear women and children, nor little yappy dogs, birds singing, the sound of the microwave, running water, the toilet flushing, the sound of a toilet seat slamming, doorbells, door knocks, phones ringing, bells, etc.  However I do hear deep tones, bass and the vowels of most men’s voices.

Often people will think I’m not blind because I can still navigate about without my glasses without the need of a white cane.  People also think I’m not deaf because I notice when someone is speaking when I’m not looking at them or that I react to loud noises and bangs.

Just because I can hear a loud crash or a gunshot, doesn’t mean I’m not deaf.  Just because I can still see without my glasses, doesn’t mean I’m not blind.

It’s far too typical for a lot of people to think the deaf hear nothing and the blind see nothing.  Again, it is true for some deafs and some blind, but it’s not true for all of us.

johnhain / Pixabay

One of the biggest problems in the deaf community especially is the inability to get proper mental health care.  Especially for those who are reliant solely on signing rather than through oralism means of lip reading and speaking.  Often times they don’t know what to talk about, what to describe or how to describe what they’re feeling appropriately so that they can get the care that they need.

This is where an interpreter comes in extremely handy, however, the terp can’t give the patient advise nor help in communication ethically except with what the deaf person says, translating from that sign language into spoken language and vise versa.

Granted the deaf aren’t the only ones with mental health issues, hearing and hard of hearing alike also have their fair share of issues to deal with.  Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of dementia exponentially.  My ENT and Psychiatrist both believe my dementia is likely caused by my hearing loss having been left untreated for so long in my life.  The non-stop voice that tells me how worthless I am.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t post all the time, even on medication, it’s relentless.  Medication helps, but doesn’t make it go away.  It’s difficult to write, create videos and even enjoy video games when all I’m hearing is how nobody loves me and never will, desperately urging me to my suicide.

Now that I’ve been having some form of treatment for my hearing loss, the voice has calmed down some, and with medication it helps a lot, but it’s still there.

Hearing loss is a serious problem that nobody seems to really think is that big of a deal.  “Oh well he can’t hear too well, but it’s fine.” no it’s not really fine, he’s going to have some serious mental health issues.  With a lot of people who are hard of hearing and deaf committing suicide.

Hearing Loss not only comes with increased risk of dementia but also social alienation.  When you can’t hear too well and people have to raise their voices and repeat themselves multiple times, they get exceptionally tired of trying to communicate with you and thus end up not wanting to be around you anymore.  And so they don’t show up to talk anymore either.  This leads to depression and increased risk of suicide.

Mental health treatment is important.  If you’re feeling depressed, see or hear things that aren’t there, feeling angry all the time or easily upset, please see a shrink, there’s no shame in it.  These are all serious illnesses that need to be treated.  You can’t just snap out of it just like you can’t just snap out of a heart attack or snap out of having a stroke.  It needs professional treatment.

Try to get the help you need.  If you have hearing loss, do try to get yourself treatment for the hearing loss as well to help prevent risk of future issues involving your mental health.

Believe me.  You’re worth it.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Mental health is one of those things people don’t want to talk about.  Almost nobody wants to admit that they have a problem.  Hell some are even embarrassed or ashamed of the fact that they might need some help.  But mental health issues isn’t something you can just snap out of, it’s an illness just as serious as gangrene and needs to be treated seriously by the sufferer so help can be obtained.

There are a variety of mental health issues including but not limited to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, disassociation disorder, dementia and so on.

I personally suffer from some serious mental illnesses that I’m having treated.  And yes I’m clinically diagnosed.  Self diagnosis is far too tricky and does require appropriate professionals to properly diagnose you.  Treating your mental health issues can be costly, but luckily there are multitudes of clinics around that are either low cost based on a sliding scale which is based upon your income, or free.  You just need to look for clinics in your area for your needs and your income level and try your best at calling around or having a friend help you with the research into a place to seek help.

Online Help, any good?

You’ve likely heard of some of these services, especially recently via YouTube’s content creator controversy with a company called “BetterHelp”.  Which honestly most insurance providers will cover much of the cost of in clinic mental health and the free or reduced cost clinics that are around you’d save money by just seeing a regular therapist at a clinic.

Regardless, you need to have a level of trust in your therapist which you can’t personally do online.  Some clinics do have telehealth services in which you see a doctor or a therapist via a Skype call, however the vast majority of the services you get online are not that, they’re just text chats over IM.  That’s not exactly therapeutic.  You don’t have to take my word for it, you can instead take the word of a licenced therapist’s word at it instead.

My mental disorders

Ok so let’s get down and dirty with what my mental disorders are.  I suffer from bipolar disorder (depression, obviously) and dementia, as far as what I can tell I’m not exactly sure what “Psychosis (NOS)” actually entails other than “Not Otherwise Specified” but OK.

Part of my issue, my biggest issue, is dementia.  You know that question that doctors ask if you see or hear things that aren’t there?  I actually do hear things that aren’t there, and smell things from time to time too depending on my mental state.  If I’m stressed I’ll smell putrid garbage even if nobody else smells it.  The voice in my head is as clear as crystal despite the fact that I’m deaf (little obvious it’s not a real person when I can hear them without assistive listening devices).

The voice in my head is belittling and emotionally damaging.

  • Nobody ever loved you
  • You’re a burden on everyone
  • People will thank you for killing yourself
  • Dying would be doing everyone a favor
  • You’d make everyone’s lives so much easier if you just died
  • You’re better off dead
  • Nobody will ever care for you
  • You’re a pathetic waste

That’s what’s always in my head, day in and day out, from the moment I wake up until the moment I can finally fall asleep, that voice is there, constantly telling me how useless I am, how little I’m worth, how nobody cares for me nor loves me, telling me non-stop that I’m better off dead and to just end it all.

It’s a non-stop cycle, a constant battle.

It’s not glamorous, it’s not fun, it’s not a game, it’s not romantic and it’s definitely not something to claim to enjoy.  It’s hell dealing with.  And honestly seeing people on Tumblr call the problem “headmates” and act like it’s this glorious and fun thing that they wish upon everyone is frustrating to say the least.  It’s like they’re making fun of my mental disorder, treating it as some sort of game.  And while doing so, they’re making my mental disorder out as something that’s not that big of a deal.

Dementia is a huge deal, regardless if a voice is telling you to hurt others or to hurt yourself.  Eventually, dementia will wear the mind down causing the person to do it.  It’s not a game and it’s certainly as hell not fucking fun, cool nor hip to have.

Get Yourself Help

Get yourself help.  I have, and having help has prevented me from killing myself.  I just wish I could get the voices to stop.

If you’re at risk of suicide, please contact a suicide hotline.  Yes it’s a bit awkward but the people that man those lines have been in that position before, they too once were about to end their own life or have tried.  They know what you’re feeling and so it’s a sympathetic ear to talk to.  They really do care.

There are even TTY suicide hotlines for the deaf and HoH.  And if that doesn’t work for you, I beg you to please dial 911 and tell emergency services that you’re feeling suicidal who will get you the help you need.

You may be institutionalized for a week or two, but this is fine.  They’re just keeping a watch on you to help you stay alive while they try medicating you and giving you therapy to help you through that tough time.  Once you’re stable, they’ll discharge you with prescriptions to continue taking.  Plus, they have social workers at these mental health hospitals that’ll help you with looking for a mental health clinic that you can go to for continued therapy and medication and if you’re SMI like myself they’ll help you with finding a path to get on disability and get you the full benefits you’re entitled to as someone with a mental health disability. (SMI is Seriously Mentally Ill.)

It’s hard, even mentally, to get help initially, especially when you’re at your worst.  Because the thought of giving up control of yourself to someone else is terrifying.  I’m aware, been there before, done that.  You’ll be extremely tempted to try to weasel your way out, but try your best to avoid that temptation and go with the authority services and get the treatment you need.

Gadini / Pixabay

Cotton Swabs are no good

It’s very likely you’re one of those people who have q-tips (cotton swabs) in your bathroom and you use them to clean the ear wax out of your ears.  As you’re already well aware, because everyone and their dog tells you not to and it even says on the cotton swab packaging not to use them to clean your ears out.  However most people ignore this warning from even doctors and audiologists and the warning label on the package and clean wax from their ears with the swabs regardless.

The reason this is a bad idea is because, while it does remove some wax from your ears, it largely pushes the wax around and can easily compact the wax.  Additionally if the swabs aren’t 100% sterile due to exposure to air or other possible ways of contamination, you can easily put microbes in your ear causing ear infections on top of it making matters worse for you.

Clean Ears are important, but too clean is bad too

There are ways to clean your ears that are generally good for your ears, so long as you’re not making an active part of your life to clean out all the ear wax and never have wax in your ears ever.  Ear wax is slightly acidic and it’s that way for a reason.  The slight acidic nature of it assists in killing infections from bacteria and fungi that can infect your ear.  So it’s a good idea to have some wax in your ears all the same.

geralt / Pixabay

So with that, why would you want to clean your ears?  For those of us with listening devices such as hearing amplifiers or hearing aids, the hearing aid itself can get gunked up with wax and if it’s pushed into wax, the listening devices don’t work as well, or don’t work at all with assisting in your hearing needs.  Plus gunked up hearing aids require additional cleaning which you should already have the tools for and the proper education from your audiologist to take proper care of them.

How to clean your ears properly

Aside from going to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor or audiologist to get your ears cleaned properly by a professional, there are other ways to clean your ears at home and I highly recommend these safer methods, especially if you can’t afford to seek a professional to do the job for you, provided you take proper care while doing it as to not rupture your eardrums.  Everything below you can get at your local pharmacy be it Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS and even most mom and pop pharmacies.

Ear Wax Removal Kits

The kit here that I’m referring to contains a little bottle of solution and a suction bulb.  What you do with this kit is you lay on your side and drop some of the solution into your ear and wait a few minutes for it to soak into the wax itself.  Then you use the bulb by squeezing the air out of it, inserting the tip gently into your ear canal and then sucking up all the wax and solution.  Do not, however, try to suction directly on your eardrum.  The eardrum only has a few thing layers to itself and it can easily be ruptured.  Follow the instructions that come with this kit.

Ear Wax Removal Tools

These come in a small box than the previous ear wax removal tool set, but in general they’re similar to cotton swabs, just without the cotton.  Again be very careful with these so you’re not trying to scoop out your eardrum itself.  One end has a scoop which you scoop out wax with, the other end has a sort of abrasive bit with how it’s shaped and textured, this is for debriding the ear canal itself and not meant to be used against the eardrum.  Just like with the previous wax removal kit above, read the instructions, they work well for a lot of people.  These two methods aren’t going to super clean your ears of all wax, and that’s a good thing, you want to keep some wax in your ears.

Soak and Wash

My personal method that I use to clean my ears.  For this you’re just literally going to only need a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, a clean wash cloth and a shower.  Lay on your side and drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into the ear.  And yes it’s normal for it to tickle.  The peroxide is bubbling because it interacts with a protein enzyme and is actively bubbling out the larger bits of ear wax to make it able to break apart and drain out of your ear.  Just repeat this for the other ear.  You’ll sit with the peroxide in your ear for several minutes, turn and let drain into the wash cloth while the other ear is prepped and bubbled.  Once that other ear is done, turn again and let that ear drain for a few minutes as well.  Then off to the shower.  With a gentle stream of warm water, rinse your ears out.  Don’t worry about getting the extra water out of your ears by shaking your head or anything like that, it’ll drain accordingly in due time, your body will process it properly shortly.

Do ear candles work?

There are people who swear by ear candles and claim that laying on your side with the candle in your ear while it’s burning and then removing the candle that it draws the ear wax up out of your ear and into the candle.  The reality is, it doesn’t work.  In fact an audiologist even tested this out with a client of his that has regular ear wax buildup issues taking images of the ear wax in her ear before the first candle and after the second candle and zero change to the ear wax itself.  Only difference was that now there was soot from the candle in the ear canal.