Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Are you listening?

I am having a bad day today feeling very sick and dizzy after attending the first session of 5 ways to wellbeing yesterday.  Then a hectic morning cleaning up after the cat, trying to get Emily to get ready and taking her to school and then having to go to shop to buy milk!!  Yep I am exhausted after that.  I will have to write this in bits, but of course no one will know as its all published together when finished, but I wanted to make a bit of a start whilst things are fresh in my mind otherwise I won't rest either because it will be still going round and round.  I do apologise in advance if any of this sounds confusing, my brain is not on top form, the ME term is brainfog , defined as

  • Poor short term memory
  • Difficulty learning new things
  • Poor mental stamina and concentration – there may be difficulty reading a book or following a film story or following a line of argument
  • Difficulty finding the right word
  • Thinking one word, but saying another
By Dr Myhill an ME specialist, this link also gives more details.

Anyway back on track.  I was nervous as ever about going to a group session I find it very difficult in groups and my ME and hearing loss make it very hard work to concentrate, hear and take it all in.  Our first session was about connecting with people and effective listening.  I know that I actually avoid people because I can't hear very well, which makes me look ignorant and like I don't care, which is far from the truth I do care and do want to listen, but find it so hard and don't want to look stupid by not hearing or miss hearing.  I can usually manage face to face in a quiet environment, but if there are other noises I really struggle.  I could hear the course leader ok, but when people started making comments or talking more than one at a time I missed a lot of what was going on, especially the jokes and banter.  We did quite a bit of work in pairs or threes and that was very hard as other people are talking all the time so its difficult to hear clearly the person I am listening to, made more of an issue as we were supposed to be demonstrating effective listening!!

Before talking about the listening, we talked in general about well being and what made us feel good.  This is where I struggle as the things that 'normal' people do are not always possible for me, like going for a walk, going shopping, going swimming, so I have to go with what is within my limitations, so this means that the effect on my well being is not as great as it feels like a compromise.  The basic definition used for well being was, feeling good and functioning well.  So for me achieving well being seems pretty impossible as I don't feel good and I don't function well.  so for me its reduced to feeling as good as possible and functioning within my limitations.

Are you still listening?  Its now several rests later!!  

I get very frustrated at people who don't listen and feel that not many people do actually listen, it makes me feel insignificant and that people don't care.  If Rob tells Emily off for not listening, I say she is just copying what everyone else does.  It feel like I am invisible a lot of the time.  Emily is only 7 and children are like that, but in adults I think it is bad manners.  I will often stop what I am saying as I know the person is not listening, don't think anyone has ever asked why I stopped.  So I just feel oh sorry am I boring you?  Rob thinks it is acceptable to sit and 'listen' whilst playing a game on his mobile phone and does not seem to realise the messages that gives to me and to Emily and is another example of do as I say, not as I do.

I find listening very difficult it takes a lot of effort to hear and concentrate with being hard of hearing and also with the ME.  I always get worried about going anywhere as I won't be able to hear or that I will miss things and look stupid or rude and I often sit on the sidelines which still makes me look stupid and rude.  If I am with Rob I can get him to explain things I have missed or let me know someone is talking to me, but its still hard.  The man who comes to do our garden refuses to speak to me because he realised I was deaf and insists that Rob rings him to sort things out.  I am deaf not stupid!

On the course we talked about listening and effective listening and it made some of us realise that we don't properly listen to our children.  I know that I am bad for it, If I am doing something I don't always stop what I am doing to fully listen, yet I expect her to.  Emily shouts from another room if she wants something and I get cross because she expects me to go to her and see what she wants, but I also shout from another room or upstairs, mainly to try and save a bit of energy, but it doesn't set a good example does it.  Or how many times do we ask them to be quiet as we are doing something we need to concentrate on, or are talking to someone else, but we will expect them to listen when we interrupt their TV programme or a conversation with a friend.  We all have a lot to learn I think.  I will certainly be trying to listen better and show that I am listening.

I do get upset with people who won't make allowances though, I can't use a telephone, but have email and text, so why do people insist on ringing or get upset if I email or text rather than ringing, I find it rather insulting, especially as the people in question do use emails and texts with other people, again it makes me feel insignificant and not heard.

It's time for school pick up now, I will try my best to listen to what has happened today.

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