Choosing to Overcome the Greatest Shame in Deaf Community: Suicide

hartleyh.jpg

There were couple of older blog posts I wrote about challenges of suicide in Deaf community. It’s really powerful. I’ve experienced a Deaf friend by the name of Greg from the school bus we rode together committed suicide when I was in 8th grade, and one of my hearing professors who committed suicide which hit me hard. She was only 39 years old. My first Sociology class was Sociology of Health and Medicine under Professor Heather Hartley.

I never forget the day when I showed up into classroom with injured right arm from kick-ass bicycle accident where I crashed my right shoulder so hard on the road and I was wearing an arm sling that time. I couldn’t write. Too much pain. That day was final exam. Yet, I still showed up with bicycle again.

She had a better idea and asked me to meet her in her office, and took the final exam by typing down the answers on her computer to take final exam and save it and send it to her. That was a brilliant idea. She was a good professor. Also, I remember the day when the news broke where I showed up for a Sociology course, Criminology and my professor was looking really down, it was not the professor I know. It became quiet in the classroom. It hit the hardest. They were good friends. The same professor in that quiet classroom later discussed about “Suicide: A Study in Sociology” book by Émile Durkheim.

s-l640.jpg

When I had a fatal heart attack last November 2016, I continue to question my death experience and how I defied death. Living in real world at this current hour has been much harder than I ever face with, and it finds a lot of strength and growing pain to deal with, and one of the most challenging part, was the haters who went after me after I woke up from death. It is much worse than death. Living with labels. Especially most damaging labels. It leads a major culprit.

On the face of it, gaining access to find help, support, and strength how to overcome adversity, it was also cynical, is the most difficult thing. The last 32 years of my life has been rough enough that is way too much to deal with everyday, and when I got a gift certificate for my birthday from my mother last December 2018, I stopped by Barnes and Noble bookstore to buy a book to read: Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem by Joseph Burgo, Ph.D.

Joseph Burgo writes: “Self-esteem can’t thrive in the soil of nonstop praise and encouragement. Instead it depends upon setting and meeting goals, living up to the expectations we hold for ourselves, and sharing our joy in achievement with the people who matter most to us. Listening to and learning from encounters with shame will go further than affirmations and positive self-talk in helping to build authentic self-esteem.”

One of my many and beloved Sociology classes, I learned a great deal about Erving Goffman, a high-thinking sociologist who coined “stigma” where he described, “Society establishes the mean of categorizing persons and the complement of attributes felt to be ordinary and natural for members of each of these categories.”

How do you cope with the society when it establishes the mean-spirited of battling with tendencies to go toward suicides?

I am not writing this for myself only, but it applies to Deaf returnees living in Deaf community lacks for accessibility and big help, over the past couple of decades have shaken Deaf America and made them the most invisible minority group and their own identity and forgotten stories. When it comes to Deaf returnees who comes back into the society to change their life around, and blowing the whistle to test the strength, and the story is very much related to my experience.

When Calvin Young, a Deaf vlogger made a vlog: “Life is like a Jenga” is a great example of how to overcome adversity. Dealing with Jenga through shadows, and try to think positive as much as possible, and try to be in my shoes if you can handle Jenga. Beyond the shadows of Jenga, there are real consequences for living with the label. I learned of the news that there are four times more likely to commit suicide for young children as much as ten years old, with hard life lessons.

There are plenty of people who got away with miserable actions, but did not own up to their actions. Again, I am far from perfect and I make human mistakes, too. Will you be willing to learn the culture of Deaf returnees?

As the author of Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem wrote from the book: “You’re a fucking loser. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Nobody likes you. You might as well die. You’re stupid. Why bother doing anything? You know you’ll fail. It goes on and on like that for hours, repeating the same things. Relentless, like I’m always being watched and judged. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Over and over.”

51nXFKf3QQL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I know the feeling. I won’t let it control me to set up for self-hatred so profound it sometimes left me dealing with the label. Will you accept me to be part of Deaf community? I’ve told many times that I should not doing anything and set me up for failure, and judged without knowing my life stories.

Bullying: Deaf vs. Deaf is the hardest thing to deal with. I am no better either. In this time of crisis, it is Deaf leaders and Deaf community itself who hold out, by our very nature, the deepest vision of healing and peace that is possible for Deaf people including Deaf returnees. It begins in our hearts, in that place that is never separate from the living heart of ours. Am I allowed to earn empowerment that is something that begins within ourselves that finds a big mirror to reflect who we are between healing and growing pain?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message

Additional blog posts to read about suicide:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/06/09/treatment-of-suicidal-deaf-people/

 

 

Advertisements

Baby Step to Reveal My Life

unnamed.jpg

1984. Lewisville Park. My dad and my brother in the background. (I never liked Nike!)

I would walk through the same paths in rural area where I grew up living in country on 400 acres, being lonely where my life was destroyed there, my father asked me why I would stand hopeless in the middle of the family’s property one day when I was visiting there about seven years ago, the search for the remain of my fatal happiness, I could not explain to my father why I walked into the familiar flashes of my own negligence.

Even in sphere of Deafhood, there are plenty of rumormongers who are hypocrites themselves. There is a major theme that needs to be embedded in literature today. The acceptance of Deaf returned citizens, the nature and persistence of Deaf returned citizens, and the character of Deaf returned citizens as they shape their intellectual life.

Before I begin to make a statement, it is important that I would like to set the bar. There were countless times during my status as a Deaf returned citizen; I learned how to use my own strength to overcome the adversity for a successful reintegration. I make this clear to admit that I make no excuses for my actions and offer any apologies for the choices I had made—at someone else’s will because my adolescent experience was set in motion the development of losing my human dignity.

Where are the welfare, safety, and protection of the Deaf returned citizens when they were once children survivors of abuses that the society failed to report them? I was a survivor of sex abuse when I was 10 years old that I will reveal soon. The reality is, though the details of my life are largely ignored in larger context, no amount of help has surfaced to help me move on through the damage that I had done to my reputation.

The Pandora’s box I plan to reveal soon and that was the hardest thing to write. I am tired of being targeted anymore for the stigma to be solved through the thick wheel of fortune. Criminal justice system is broken. They choose to withhold my stories and harm me in most ridicule way. I read Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote that caught my attention,

Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”

That is my goal to disclose my life struggles to let the readers know that the self-discipline is necessary.

I remember a field trip when my teacher would take me and three other kids from my “hearing impaired” class to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) then when it was over for the day, my teacher took us to her house for a bit when she needed to do a quick errand before taking us back to school. There was a large craved wood display of a large breast hanging on the wall in her living room and I asked my teacher, “Who was that?” and she emphasized it was hers and that was when I was nine years old. That was in 1983. Was it unintentional or intentional wrongdoing even if it is as form of art on the wall? Did I deserve to see this?

After all, who would willingly do that as a teacher that would diminish my confusion what sexuality consists of? Then I started to struggle my balance to maintain good grades in school when she is there. Two years later when I first got TTY for the first time, I remember couple of TTY messages exchanged with my teacher and told her what she did was wrong; she quickly denied and made sure that I was some troublemaker. I struggled with my own interpreters when my teacher was the boss of my interpreters.

unnamed-1.jpg

Celebrating my 12th year of my life. 

Typically, Deaf children are considered troublemakers with the opportunity given threatens by their sound-oriented teachers whatever affliction Deaf children suffer from manifested it. You know, the teacher or school itself was supposed to seek each parent’s permission along with signing the form of agreement to have the teacher take us out of “educational” settings heading for her residence. The form was never materialized.

They forgot to teach Deaf children the most important evidence of all: Logic and reason. I was never taught that way with extremely lack of communication in my family that it was a wrong reason to do it and that became logic of my stupidity a bit later in my life. What I do not need right now in my life filled with hatred, fear, and angry from the numbskulls that fuels the desire to demonize my life hardships.

This is one of baby steps for me to reveal my life stories. As the quote would wrap up for the thought of the day:

49453_original.jpg

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

The Labeling and The Unintended Consequences

hate-speech-701x527.jpg

Who cares if I have ADHD? Who cares if I have Asperger’s? Who cares if I have ADD? Who cares if I am a returned citizen? I deal with harshest labels you can imagine. Try to label with care. The main theme of the blog I will be presenting are hate speech, character assassination, and stigma. The consequences of those words will be discussed as well as possible strategies and solutions. Lastly, we all call for a change and make a difference.

I experienced hate speech recently.”Should someone with Asperger’s Syndrome should be allowed to make a representation in the society?” “Wait, he is a returned citizen. He should not be alive. He should be dead by now!” Labeling is dangerous and it can be deadly, too.

In Psychology, certain new diagnoses seem to become the label “Asperger’s” trendier. In the 1980s, suddenly a huge percentage of people labeled ADHD. In the 1990s, a huge group suddenly fit the expanded definition for bipolar. Now I am notching that people are stretching the definitions for Asperger’s in such a way that it could apply to almost anyone.

Who cares if I have Asperger’s? So what! Quite frankly, it is not their business anyway. It does not matter. I do not live by labels. The main symptom with Asperger’s is that people has trouble relating to other people and interacting socially. They also need a more rigid structure in their lives to feel comfortable. What if I have ADHD? So what!

I can interact successfully with almost anyone. I am confident and I can express myself clearly to my peers. As for structure, I find myself to be flexible. I do not seem dependent on a rigid routine. I “roll with the punches” as they say, and are confident in facing new challenges. I can be insensitive to other occasionally, but I am also passionate about my opinions and have trouble seeing other people’s perspectives BECAUSE I am so passionate.

Granted, there are plenty of days of bombastic and harsh attacks in the airwaves and throw hate speech to label my soul is not cool. Sure, every day I face adversity, stigma and harsh labels, stigma is not adversity-free. So, there has been a time in my life that I try to remember having a day that is actually a label-free.

Although, in SPITE of adversity, there will always be things to be thankful for, and to feel positive about. I mean, how much better is your life with people you are thankful for? My love of reading and absorption of knowledge and the knowledge that there are people who feel their lives are better for having met me. I battle with hate speech and hateful labels all the time.

unnamed-1.jpg

One of my favourite busts.

It does take time to forgive, but I do not forget what happened. They might not realize that they spew hate speech. To be sure, we all could be escaped from our collective journey without being bashed, and no one of us gets to be labeled. That’s less or more character assassination.

I am getting sick of being labeled and bullied by some Deaf leaders, too. I’ve been TRYING to change for better everyday! Yet, people repeat my old past, repeat, repeat, repeat. People could not even look into my eyes and understand that my soul has been stained by the blood of harshest oppressors and haters. Feel my pain. Can you?

I read a quote today from a book, Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” it was said by Benjamin Franklin who founded America’s first library. 

I grow tired of closed-minded people like those people. I grow tired of labels that use to marginalize and stigmatize who I am. Are we getting tired of stigmatization? Sure, I struggle for increased connection to defeat the oppression through labels. There are stages of traumatization that exists in the society.

Hate speech socially. Harm to someone’s group acceptance through labels, excluding someone from the event, ostracizing notes, and the list goes on. I’ve been excluded from higher learning and social networking. A friend of mine said to me the other day, “You know, you’re a good person. What they did to you is injustice. You are my friend.”

The hardest part was from my father whom we had a conversation through video relay service couple of days ago, he said to me, “Son, I am amazed how much strength you possess. You’re the strongest person I ever know. It’s you, my son.”

Anger is not the answer.

Additional link:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2016/08/29/people-of-the-eye-second-chance/

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.