Deaf Mental Health On Social Media.

If you want to learn sign language or needed an interpreter for an appointment, would you settle for someone who knows only the basics and perhaps a little more? You would not because you would want a qualified sign language tutor or a registered interpreter – right? So that you could be fully confident of what you were being taught / told.

Then why are people (especially the deaf) sharing very personal videos about their mental health issues and sharing them to a secret group, run by an admin team and members that are NOT qualified to relatively advise?

I from personal experience appreciate that friendly support can be therapeutic and is better than nothing but it’s potentially dangerous in such a social media group. Thank you, but no thank you. I’ll stick to sites provided by qualified counsellors.

Please view a previous post of mine which also relates to mental health therapy, the deaf way. 

Vent given. ☺️

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Yes, You.

This is in response to a select few friends who picked up on the BBC article “Using Facebook made my anxiety worse” with Paul Allen, written by Zara Morgan.

Source.

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I saw very early on how certain people would only show us, what they wanted us to see. How people used and still use, social media as a tool, to manipulate and engineer illusions. Negativity I could sometimes let pass but not when it gave cause for concern and having been able to be there for others gave me reason to remain. I know how and what some of you are experiencing… for I do see YOU. 💖

YOU have been the only reason why, I am still on social media. Sure, I have my own frustrations and my own ghosts to deal with but they’re mine and not anyone else’s to bear. I find myself having to sit on my hands sometimes, bite my lips whenever I witness one of the many forms of injustice… Sometimes I just cannot resist! 😝 I dislike being a bystander to it, for fear of inviting it. Some people find me intimidating but that’s their problem. Some people choose to ignore me, that’s once again their problem. Some people choose to be angry… let them waste their time being so. They and my ghosts should not, and do not, dictate me or my precious time. Don’t let them dictate yours.

I choose to focus on my kids because who knows where we will be, this time tomorrow. It is only those who have knocked on deaths door who understands where I truly come from, only those who have personally experienced the quagmires of depression who can relate. Why I am, who I am.

Everyone is different and are at different stages in their lives. How you choose to proceed or react, is up to YOU entirely. Let nothing negative influence or manipulate YOU.

If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. God willing.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

I’d Walk Alone.

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Today has been another one of those strange days, full of reflection and acceptance whilst walking amongst strangers.

Remembering the importance of self value, care and love.
The happiness from within (and not for a reason, simply because that reason can be taken away.)
How our past experiences continuously teaches us to introspect, learn from, in order to improve and grow.

Concluding once more, anyone that’s proud and honoured to be my friend, willing to walk besides me, will find a friend in me.

Otherwise, I’m quite content to walk alone.

💜

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

It’s Okay…

It’s okay…

I found out on Friday night a friend had passed away just before the summer. I was so afraid to hear more in case it confirmed my fears. It was sadly confirmed and I have had loads of wobbly moments since.

What if I could have made a difference had I not put in so much distance? Questions like that haunted me.

But now, I’m ok because best friends always say, “It’s ok, to be sad. It’s ok, to have these wobbly moments. It’s ok, to ask questions. It’s ok, to be honest. It’s ok, to say no. It’s ok, I’m always here for you.”

Don’t bottle things up and just talk. That’s always been my downfall in case I affected the other person’s mood or feelings.

A best friend doesn’t and wouldn’t mind, simply because we matter to them.

🤟🏼

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Dearest Sara,

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Dearest Sara,

Having not put pen to paper for quite some time, I thought I would dedicate this perfect moment to your good self.

The way you fare in life after knocking on death’s door, will be the greatest test to overcome. Simply because, better times await you.

At first, you will not understand why you survived and feel guilty for having done so. As a result, you will appreciate and cherish life, integrity, nature’s designs but most of all, each and every waking moment even more so. At times this may hurt, all because you cannot explain or stress just how precarious life or short, time, is.

Such an experience will benefit you with more wisdom, to see through people, to expand on thinking outside the box and enable you to predict consequences. To recognise better, the evil that’s out there and the many forms it takes.

People will try their best to exploit your kindness for their own gains but you will stand tall courageously and prevail. With their disdain, they will try with all their might to turn others against you. This too, will be in vain.

Whilst life does not come with any instructions, all one can do is listen to our hearts and subsequently understand, what our elders before us, wished. Since history, tends to rhyme.

There will be times when you will feel anxious, such as your precious angels embarking on a life all of their own, anticipating the familiar faces of evil they too, will inevitably encounter. Or quite simply, due to the fact that you survived not once, not twice but three times, that something is bound to happen to you because you, technically, should not be here. Yet, you are meant to be and you will come to understand why.

There will be times when you feel such anger at ghosts of past, who chose to inflict pain and heartache upon you. Alternatively, pure frustration at people’s triviality alone. You will learn, to let it go.

There will be times when you bring sincere meaning to others with just a smile from the bottom of your heart, the kindest word or two and/or gesture – you may not always know it but this will truly make their day. You will come to realise just how vital this can be to someone else, for it’ll save you also.

Grit your teeth, sit on your hands (not too often!), remain the extremely patient, honest and considerate person you are. One who is not afraid to kick ass, either.

Take it one step, one moment, one day at a time.

Not everything is or will be as it seems. You cannot stop the (sound) waves but you can learn to surf so keep on going with the flow, for it suits you so.

Be kind to yourself yet always bear it in mind, that it is okay to say no, that it is okay to be a little bit selfish. To have some “me time”.

Trust in fate since everything and everyone that happens, is predestined. In time, the answers to your many why’s will figure, in all senses.

Don’t be discouraged, don’t be unhappy and don’t be afraid to stay true to yourself, keep the faith in who you are, why you are who you are – you will be more than fine. For you are EXCEPTIONAL, more than you will ever come to realise. You may not always feel it but people do LOVE you, your feistiness even. Those around you consider themselves honoured, lucky today to still, be graced with the pleasure of YOUR company.

With the warmest of love and best wishes, on your birthday.

Your future self,

Sara xx

Ps Never underestimate the power of a written letter. 😉

Are You Ok?

“Am I ok??”

I need to stop caring about what others may think, may feel and speak my mind but then again speaking my mind and being honest is exactly what people fear and can’t handle.
It is not only what they may think but also what they could use against me. I know I shouldn’t give a toss and I need to practise that. People sometimes throw things back into my face, especially when I no longer permit them to exploit my kindness and I do notice / wise up more than I should.
I’ve been through a lot which contributes to my frustrations and anxieties yet just by saying that, people tend to think I’m making myself out to be a victim or seeking attention but they haven’t walked a mile in my shoes or survived knocking on deaths door. If they want to pass judgement on me, some friend they are?! They’ll reject me anyway simply because they are not equipped to accept me as I am or love me unconditionally.
I’ve had enough
Of people, making me feel the way I do.
Of memories, haunting me.
Such a conflicting place to be

This is why I am so grateful for so much in my life and know who not to be, who is genuine, can cherish each and every little thing.

Rant over ☺️ xxx

“Yes, I’m fine thanks.” 🤣

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~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

A Drop Of Kindness.

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My 11 year old daughter stopped me early this afternoon whilst shopping and asked me if she could give HER change to this elderly homeless man who looked quite sad, I explained that it was hers to give – I even gave her a bit more loose change. She smiled and ran up to him, handing over her change. She ran back to me, glowing and looking satisfied. I then looked to him in the distance and put up my hand to acknowledge him, also with a smile.

Walking home, she spoke of how powerful a smile can be. How he tranformed, smiling back at her and gratefully thanked her about ten times! Bless her cottons… I explained to her that she most probably made his day. She understood then, just how much my favourite saying means to me…

“Keep on smiling, for it is free and does wonders.”

It suits too. 😊

A drop of kindness goes a very long way but best of all, it does not hurt.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Therapy, The Deaf Way.

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By SignHealth.

Over the past few weeks I have seen a campaign by SignHealth and their supporters from within the deaf community, steadily grow.

I wanted to share with you, my personal experience.

At one point last year, a deaf friend was concerned enough to put me into contact with someone offering their professional help except, how could I talk to them when their sibling was one of the bullies? The deaf world was much too small, typical and predictable for my liking. I felt extremely claustrophobic.

Eventually, my GP referred me for counselling to help lift me out of my depression and certain trains of thought. Members of the deaf community had brought all of my life altering experiences on so it was only natural for me to want to stick with a local counsellor, who was hearing and had very little (if no) experience with deaf clients.

My counsellor began the first of our many intensive sessions, asking if an interpreter should be present to help us communicate with ease. This was enough reason to make me clam up. I refused their offer politely and asked if we could continue without one, as I was confident it would work.

I did not at the time trust anyone that had any connections to the deaf community; enough to be anywhere near me. Not even an interpreter bound by confidence because they too, I could not trust.

In time, my counsellor’s deaf awareness grew with each session and once they took me by surprise by saying, “I am glad we didn’t use an interpreter because you would not have told me everything. You would have been extremely cautious. I did not think our sessions would work without one and you proved me wrong. You have taught me that not every deaf person needs an interpreter present and not every deaf person relies solely on sign language.”

Their acknowledgement and increased deaf awareness made my heart smile. I suddenly felt freer than I had ever been and that feeling of being finally understood, not just me but the deaf community too, how diverse it actually is and how our needs and abilities differ, was priceless. This was therapy, albeit my way.

Each to their own for reasons that should be known to themselves, only.

It is vital that we fight to retain our choice to be counselled however we wish, be it the deaf way or the hearing way in order to be at our most comfortable, for our therapy to succeed. And for that, we should be grateful such a service like SignHealth exists because they do work, for those who choose them. For those who need them. For those who solely rely on sign language, for they do exist.

No one deserves to be ignored.

I wish SignHealth all the best with their latest campaign, to continue providing “a national psychological therapy service where all the therapists are fluent in British Sign Language (BSL)”.

#TherapyTheDeafWay

Finally yet just as importantly, I would like to applaud SignHealth for adding captions to their videos, making it more inclusive and accessible to all. Thank you, for doing so. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

That Helpless Feeling…

Times like tonight I wished I could hear so much better (am experiencing temporary further loss in one ear) and communicate clearer.

There was this elderly (African) woman sitting on the steps of the train station, bawling her eyes out – clearly experiencing a lot of despair. I sympathised with her straight away albeit from a very short distant – I wanted to so much ask her if she was okay and if she had someone / somewhere to go to.

However, I knew I would not be able to understand her and I did not want to cause her any more stress. On the other hand, my daughter too so I proceeded to take my daughter to the athletics club and if the lady was still there when I returned, I would then assess the situation again.

Alas, she was not there…

I can only hope she is okay and sincerely apologise for not being able to do more. For I know just how much a helping hand can seem like the light at the end of the tunnel.

helpless

My intentions were there…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Where Would It All End?

An extremely thorny subject for me to discuss however, I want to try to help warn girls out there against those who may try to use such tactics,that are basically, forms of sexual exploitation.

What I find most disturbing is that this form of sexual exploitation can occur at any age but perhaps the younger they are, the more vulnerable. However, adults are victims too, without realising it.

How many times has a person be it a friend or online asked you for a photo of yourself? This is otherwise known as ‘Sexting’. They will send you a photo of themselves, and pester you for a photo of yourself. You refuse to send one yet the pressure increases in their coercion tactics because they have sent you several and declare it is only fair you send them one in return. One fully clothed innocent photo will only give way to the next, and the next, and the next… They see their chance in this test of theirs and seize that path in exploiting you further. Where would it all end?

They ask to meet up with you, make you their best friend, their rock. Tell you they like you and make the first move, engineering a sense of love and happiness. Despite your being so guarded due to past experiences and fears of being hurt yet again– they realise this and reassure you they are not like that, tricking you into bringing down your defensive walls. They eventually enter your heart with their charms and constant attention. The intimacy is gradually geared up, making you believe it is all consensual. Any doubts are swayed by illusions and their desire to control and dominate you. They may expect favours or sex in return, without you having any immediate recognition. Except, once they are satisfied and no longer have any need for you, their true colours are shown.

Where would it all end? I ask once more. In heartbreak, of course but the worst kind ever. Weighed down even more so by the losses of confidence, appetites, faith, trust and heightened fear of people – especially those in authority. Depression, withdrawal and mood swings. Disliking shows of affection or invasions of personal space such as being hugged or touched once more, simply because they cannot handle it – it becomes too much. Loss of sleep and/or nightmares. Increasing levels of frustrations and resistance – people are kept at a distance and a degree of aggressiveness is displayed when any personal connections are attempted in order to push them further away. One may even turn to drugs, or more having had potentially their souls destroyed by being built up to mean something so special only to be trampled upon.

These are some of the warning signs associated with not just sexual exploitation and grooming but unfortunately the broader spectrum of exploitation in abuse or neglect also.

Be strong, do not be afraid to speak up or report people for their actions and the consequences of which they are responsible for. My only regret is that I let far too much time pass before I found the confidence and courage to be honest, with myself and others. I most certainly am not willing to lie or cover for any one else.

Please, keep your wits about you and guard your virtues 🙂

Time is the best medicine.
Time is the best healer.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)