In the last three months since the activation of my cochlear implant, I learnt something incredibly important.
Yep. What Johnny Depp said.
With new sounds, the world has become overwhelmingly crazy. It’s made me feel all kinds of emotions.
That said, my mental well-being has been affected at times. Thankfully, it’s manageable; however, I have to keep reminding myself to look after my mental well-being.
So, what have I been doing to look after myself?
CI-free days: Sundays are usually when I devote a whole day to being CI-free, so I have the whole day to reset, ready for a new week. There were few times when I wore my CI for a whole week, and it’s made me realise how important it is to have one CI-free day each week.
Acknowledging my own limits: When things become too much, I can choose to turn my CI off until I feel better. I don’t need to push myself beyond my own limits. For example, if I don’t want to wear my CI whilst watching a movie, I don’t have to.
Switching off: As soon I get home from work, I take my CI off so I can go into switch-off mode. There are times when I leave my CI on until it’s time to shower, or when I go to bed. If I’ve had an incredibly long yet tiring day, the CI goes off immediately the minute I walk through the front door.
Confiding in my friends: I have friends who are long-time CI users, and they have been incredibly supportive of my CI journey. They answer all questions I have. They give me amazing tips. They’re always there for me. It’s so important to have a solid support system consisting of people with CIs.
Maintaining my Deaf identity: This is paramount to my whole self, as I’ve grown up Deaf. Since getting my CI, my Deaf identity has become stronger. I appreciate myself more. I appreciate Auslan more. I appreciate the Deaf community more. I appreciate CI users more.
Being honest with your audiologist: This is so important because as an CI-user, I need to establish a strong rapport with my audiologist. That includes transparency and being honest with the audiologist. They will want to know how I’m doing, what I’ve learnt, the sounds I’ve recognised, and what issues I’ve been having. This is also paramount to their professional learning as audiologists; they want to be able to become the best audiologist their clients deserve. It’s not a one-way street with the audiologist — we learn from each other. I’ve had the opportunity to teach my audiologist about why it’s important to have an Auslan interpreter at every mapping appointment.
Realise your self-worth: The cochlear implant has been a controversial debate within the Deaf community for more than two decades. I’ve had people I know make comments implying their dislike of the cochlear implant, and I’ve had to remind myself that their beliefs do not have any influence whatsoever on my decision to get a cochlear implant. I’ve also had to remind myself that I’m still ME — especially that I have a cochlear implant.
As long I continue looking after myself, especially with a cochlear implant, I know I can do it because the rewards are definitely worth the hard work.