After my cochlear implant surgery was a success and I returned to the world of (more or less) normal hearing, I had a stunning revelation. In the months before my surgery, when my hearing loss had progressed to “profound,” I had been living with a serious disability. But even as I struggled daily with hearing aids that barely helped and as I suffered from growing social isolation in spite of my constantly evolving coping capabilities, I never considered myself to be living with a “disability.” Now I realize I was.
It got me thinking about how people tend to make the best of bad situations, and how denial of the consequences of a loss is one way of enabling you to cope with that loss. And even though I now realize I had a real disability, I still find it impossible to think of myself in any way as “unable.” Rather I feel my disability “enabled” me to learn to deal with all kinds of adversity in creative, enabling ways. [Read more…]