I came across an audition notice today for “Clue: The Musical” and for a fleeting moment thought I should audition. Every time I hear about this show, my heart drops a little bit and I feel the sadness of my loss all over again. For many people who are hard-of-hearing, the words “hearing loss” are not used. For me, it is very much a part of me – it was a very big loss in my life that caused depression and PTSD. I don’t believe I would be close to where I am today if I hadn’t fully embraced, grieved, and dealt with that loss. So yes, I am perfectly okay with identifying as a person with hearing loss.
About a year ago, I wrote about going up to Chicago for a Debbie Gibson concert and all of the social anxiety that surrounded me due to my hearing loss, how I almost didn’t get in the car because of it. Today I have a new story so far removed from that I find myself wondering if I’m even the same person I was even just a year ago. Since this is actually a blog about my hearing and not my rock star life, I’ll really try to keep it related to that… maybe.
It’s very easy to get comfortable in a rhythm, where you feel like you fit. Whether or not you like that rhythm doesn’t matter, it’s easy. You’re in sync with your life and in rhyme with the people around you. When you face an ongoing challenge, such as hearing loss or chronic illness, it’s common to lose that. You have to constantly find new ways to function and find your old rhythm and rhyme or challenge yourself to find new ones. I try to always choose to work towards new ones, so this last month I’ve purposely pushed myself into some challenging hearing situations – new accents and a new language.
I never knew true anxiety until the moment I lost my hearing. It came in waves, the first couple of times. 5-10 minutes of deafness and vertigo. Then the hearing loss kept lasting longer, until once it just never came back. Those first moments, the first few weeks after, my world had ended. I had no idea how to function or survive. Without a support network, I wouldn’t have.