I used to dream of being able to participate in social events involving more than 2 or 3 persons without missing out on what others were saying. Now I don’t miss it that much, even though I do encounter situations where too many talk at the same time.
I have learned to deal with it, but it is always a big strain. The concentration has to be razor-sharp the whole time. When I first loose the concentration, I fall out of the context and the consequence is that it’s very hard to “get into” the topics again. Usually I have to ask what people talk about. (by interrupting a naturally flowing conversation, and that is not always fun for me to do)
This difficulty in the mass-social context has probably left me a bit more secluded than I would have been with normal hearing. I know that when I don’t feel super (charged), I dread such occasions. The stress build up even before I prepare to go out.
Being in the situation is frustrating. I’m working super-hard to get what people say, and most often I don’t get what the subject of discussions are. I tend to slip away and go to more quiet areas, hopefully where there are a couple of people I know.
The psychosocial impact of this? More isolation, even among peers. It’s easy to fall into habit of thinking strange thoughts about people whom I don’t know very well. These kind of thoughts used to prevent me from approaching nice, friendly and interesting people.
On the other hand, it can save me from a lot of bullshit too 🙂
It’s impossible for me to know, and thinking back and forth about that is futile. It’s just the way things are.
While I’m lost in bigger crowds, I’m skillful in the art of conversating with one or two people. Since my disability to hear is quite severe, I often focus on having meaningful conversations. Meaningless chit-chat kind of frustrates me, because I feel it drains me for energy which I need for the important communications.
One question that I guess people would want to know while reading this is; how much energy, and how long does the energy last?
Think of me as a battery: early in the morning I am most often fully charged and things go quite smoothly in terms of concentrating in everyday conversations. As the hours passes, this battery is drained depending on how much energy I use on concentration, wether it’s for communication or it is for something I do.
Stress has a huge impact on the battery. Too much bad stress drains the battery unneccesary.
The last years my battery has been drained faster and faster during the day because my hearing has declined. At first I didn’t notice it, and in the last year or so, it has become increasingly evident for me.
Following this increased awareness, another state of mind has appeared. I had to accept and acknowledge the fact that my life is not like I thought it was going to be (in terms of hearing and working career). There is an element of self-denial in there that I had to work out and overcome. This state of mind can be compared to a mild depression, which in turn also causes lower energy-capacity in my battery. My battery didn’t charge well at all, and if it charged, it went empty a lot faster than it usually did.
All human beings face crises somewhere along the path of life. My crisis came sneaking up on me and took me by surprise. I had a feeling, but I didn’t know how strong impact it would have on my cognitive skills. It was so bad I couldn’t to simple work-task on a computer screen. My brain just locked up somehow, and I burst into tears. I was very scared of what happened. It was a extremely strong feeling of helplessness. Terryfying.
The fatigue felt total for a long time. (many months)
Happily, this phenomenon is now slowly fading. I feel better. Mostly thanks to the actions I have taken to protect myself…. More on that later….