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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.

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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.