DCARA: Understanding Suicide

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Choosing to Overcome the Greatest Shame in Deaf Community: Suicide

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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.

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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.”

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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/

 

 

Ted Baran: A Calumny of His Duty

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I would like to bring this message that Ted Baran, so-called Chief for Department of Public Safety (DPS) at Gallaudet University is still keeping his job even with his bullying tactics, and it does not make sense why he’s still the Chief for “PUBLIC SAFETY”—time for Ted Baran to be replaced with someone who is more understanding. No white supremacist ties.

“We want to make it very clear that we do not tolerate any form of hatred nor oppression. We believe that hatred and oppression have no place in Washington DC, especially on the campus. We aim to establish a safe space for all students to learn and grow within the city and campus.” You know what Ted say? EXCELLENT MESSAGE! Practice what Ted preaches—-remember that forever. Unbelievable.

I was forced by Ted to stand up front of classroom explaining why I was in jail —details must be explained—every day. Not just classrooms, but everywhere I walk around Gallaudet, I must explain why and if I do not explain what I was told, I would face expulsion from Gallaudet for good. It was actually a hate crime. It was never a safe space for me as a student to learn and grow within the campus. I never experienced so harsh like this in my life. I was never given a due process that I wanted to challenge Ted Baran.

Even today, I still deal with the effects of trauma on a continual basis. I guess one of the worst consequences of being attacked, murdered, bullied, and thrown at, should I walk around the campus with a label on my forehead. Yet, “we do not tolerate any form of hatred nor oppression” is the biggest insult to my intelligence and my journey to be better person. When I accepted into graduate school, I cried of joy. I cried because I thought there was a hope that I would get better.

When Baran was sharing his experience why he became a police officer through Registry of Interpreters for Deaf (RID) interview knowing that Deaf kids need help—it was unbelievable. I wonder those Deaf kids would feel trusted around Baran.

I was 12 years old KID asking for help. I was the ONE who asked for HELP. I cried! I cried! I cried! Columbia River Mental Health did not report this. State of Washington failed to report this. I was RAPED when I was ten years old. It was Spring 1983.

How? My female babysitter ordered me to take my clothes off in bathroom. She touched my penis. She put a wood stick up my ass and rough up couple of times. She got away with it. I could not understand. Did I understand it was wrong thing to do? I was naïve. I was clueless. I was powerless. It was perfectly normal. No one wanted to hear my stories. If I share my stories, I’d get threats. Hearing privileges at best.

Today, I still cry. I suffer more. I hurt deeply more. There are times I feel like giving up. There are times I feel like worthless. My life is very complicated—people throwing at me to live in the past over and over. It makes a trip for suicide attempts.

I really thought Gallaudet University would be very committed to provide a learning environment that is both safe and rigorous, one that empowers students the most, treating with the utmost respect and create a safe environment where students feels more empowered to learn with opportunities to reach their full potential as informed and knowledgeable students. Also, isn’t Gallaudet University supposed to be about learning, teaching, and make new meaning in anyone’s intellectual life?

Would I have encountered the same amount of ridicule, exclusion, and abuse at Gallaudet? Probably. Would I still have some of my self-esteem and self-image issues? I do not know. I write this post just to relate my experiences that I am still ostracized today and tomorrow until my life expired at final breath. I work extremely hard to change my life around. I had turned my back on the past I no longer wished to be part of.

I just cannot understand why Baran still keeps his job. Privileges. What affirmative steps that Gallaudet University claims that they advocate for oppressed minorities within in the Deaf population. That hurts the most. The fact that the law exists in the first place is the real problem. Any law that gives people freedom to kill others even if they provoked a fight is a flawed one, with such a perverse history of hatred and discrimination.

That is why we need to talk about institutionalized hatred and the subtle ways that Deaf returnee’s experiences impact our thoughts, our society, and our institutions including Gallaudet University. Supposedly, if Ted Baran murders me in real life, the jury’s verdict would be consistent with the law and Baran because he is Chief for Department of Public Safety. Unfortunately, the law is disgusting. Ted Baran is probably laughing when he reads this post because he thinks he’s untouchable. This guy is full of hatred.

One more time.

“We want to make it very clear that we do not tolerate any form of hatred nor oppression. We believe that hatred and oppression have no place in Washington DC, especially on the campus. We aim to establish a safe space for all students to learn and grow within the city and campus.”

You know what Ted say? EXCELLENT MESSAGE!

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Treatment of Suicidal Deaf People

 

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There is an important discussion about the surge of suicide rates in America. This morning when I woke up and discovered the most recent news about chef Anthony Bourdain who committed suicide in France. It was tragic, indeed. Less than 24 hours ago, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued alerting news about suicide: 30% percent across the nation since 1999.

I am focusing on Deaf Community. CDC showed a nationwide map of states showing which the highest suicide rates. Idaho, one of the highest suicide states, most recently, a Deaf couple—‘murder and suicide’; Depression is invisible stigma. I had my battle with suicide tendencies in the past even as Gallaudet graduate student few years ago. Mental health at Gallaudet University is major problem.

In 1988, I was in eighth grade, I remember getting the news on a small school bus and was informed that Greg, a Deaf friend of mine who rode on the same school bus with me, committed suicide and that was a major flashback for me. Greg was a phenomenal artist. It was not supposed to be that way.

Two Deaf persons committed suicide within last four years in Gallaudet community. It is profound. Last March 2018, a Deaf student at Illinois School for the Deaf committed suicide. Few years ago, a Deaf student in California committed suicide. I could go on more.

Last year, I wrote a post, Suicide is a Big Problem in Deaf Community https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/ has reflected many things. Labeling is powerful. Hate is a bigger problem. The mental health does impact Deaf community. The problem is that it is not enough discussed. Before everyone continue to rush to judgment and do their due diligence on the society. Each and every one of you needs to understand that when suicide rates in Deaf community is invisible now and then; the society has absolutely no interest in the truth.

They are after one thing: lack of knowledge. Suicide is a tragedy act. Deaf community should be not shunned. How does they teach the society when Deaf community should earn an earned opportunity—earned by knowledge? At any rate, America used to be the land of chances and Deaf community rarely believes in second chances as from walks of life dealing with their struggles.

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There are plenty of Deaf people struggling for counseling. Deaf community is not enough discussed in mental health community.

How can the society allow Deaf community to resume their own lives? This is a terrible and faulty narrative about Deaf community. The notion that Deaf community does not feel the pain is simply not a factual. To be sure, there is a huge impact on them. Sometimes, depending on situations, the most brutal ones imaginable.

But mental health community, for example, counseling can make a great leap of difference, and for those Deaf people who seek support and help, in fact, overcome adversity and labeling. Further, how long is long enough for Deaf community to suffer suicide awareness? We must remember that Deaf community is the gatekeepers to all knowledge regarding struggles and suicide awareness.

Stigma reinforces Deaf community. There is a direct line between struggle and help—a human error that would lead to suicides and that is where the society is ignorant about Deaf community. To accept the reality would be to acknowledge that suicide is nothing but a powerful statement, used by hearing privileges to divide Deaf community. It is simply baffling that Deaf community struggle to seek support system. Moreover, the mental crisis seems to be no longer the community accountability.

The only challenge for the crisis is that Deaf community must continue and support mental awareness of any kind is well discussed about suicide awareness and human responsibility.

Please visit Deaf Counseling Center:

www.deafcounseling.com

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/05/23/why-mental-health-awareness-month-is-important-for-deaf-community/

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Encouraging Suicide at Gallaudet University

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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

My name is Jason “JT” Tozier. I am a survivor of “encouraging” towards suicide tendencies by Gallaudet University because of my status as Deaf returnee. I thank you for your honest leadership, and commit to human healing to continue and share awareness about suicide prevention.

I am even more heart-broken that Gallaudet University is hosting Out of the Darkness Campus Walk sponsored by Gallaudet University, Office of Student Affairs and Academic Support and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Thursday, April 5th, 2018.

I was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. I was forced to explain why I was jailed 21 years ago front of my graduate cohort and faculty members every time I enter into classroom setting up for suicidal tendencies. Silence hurts. If I do not explain why, then I would face harsh punishment. Possibly expelled from Gallaudet University.

This is not because of oppression and bullying or even lack of trust; instead, the meeting I was in 2014 was one of the most oppressive meetings in my life, such of them do not acknowledge that they were bystanders because they do not think they were. Therefore, it is not enough to ask an individual whether he was oppressed from oppressors.

Society can reinforce the oppressor’s self-blame in several ways. When shaming and humiliation is discovered on Gallaudet campus, the oppressed is often removed from the truth. People who experienced severe oppression often tell the truth from experience.

The bullying allows even by Gallaudet University who would argue that shaming, bullying, and humiliation has nothing to do with their behavior, I am merely the most convenient target; I became powerless. Which explanation is more comforting to Deaf returnee?

Gallaudet University choose to stay in silence is a reversal of roles and identities. Here’s my story: Don’t know if I have really conveyed how hard it has been for me all these years, how I really struggle in there through lots of depression, sometimes no sleep, I would struggle more, some days I’ve dealt with crossing between honest concern, and learning.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I hope you would hear my story. I have more to share. Just like this one, “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”—Sue Monk Kidd.

I actually died for ten minutes. I’m back from death and ready to share more stories. I guess my sensitivity has become stronger, deeper, and smarter. Gallaudet University was not honest about it. How can we prevent another suicide if Gallaudet University was not honest about it? Is there a Mask of Benevolence there?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Dwight Benedict: Stop the Practice of Discrimination, Shaming, and Cruel Punishment

Fear-Rejection Thoughts Is Not Love

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We do not need fear-rejecting thoughts in Deaf community. If bystanders cannot find anything to recognize bullying, then they have committed a crime. Suicide is a tragic response to bullying. The problem is that it is very rarely discussed in Deaf community.

I am writing about Deaf returning citizens. They could easily take their lives away. Would it be a criminal act if Deaf returning citizens take their own lives if they are severely bullied daily in same Deaf community they live and breathe in? Deaf community loves to bully and would make up rumors that make it look true. Can Deaf community accept the fact that the suicides are the evidence of BIGGER problems than being bullied?

The fear-rejecting about Deaf returning citizens is a huge problem. The bullies would cruelly exploit that social prejudice, and got away with it. There are three important factors that we all need to know and be aware about it.

Number One: Oppression

Number Two: Dehumanization

Number Three: Exploitation

Remember the book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire? He once wrote about dehumanization in 1981:

Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human….Th[e] struggle [for humanization] is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed.”

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Deaf returning citizens have been subject of the oppressed. When bullies are not punished, did they also harm themselves that they intend to do? If a bully crosses the line between hate speech, invasion of privacy, or harassment, is it OK for the bully to harass Deaf returning citizens daily? There are many ways to address bullying, harassment, hate speech, death threats, and stalking.

In Deaf community, it is an international problem. Can we have conversation about the importance of educating love instead of hate? The importance of civility and respect would be more effective tool for Deaf community to heal.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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