Getting Personal: Stress and Work and Me

admin Cochlear Implant, Deaf And Deaf Culture, Getting Personal, Tourette Syndrome 4 Comments

It’s the New Year and I want to talk a little about overcoming stress and anxiety in the workplace, while working with Hearing people…..


Faith that things will get better is what keeps me pushing to do better and keep living life, but sometimes I have to hit “Pause” and step back.

Challenges are a part of life, but in dealing with mine, I seem to hit a wall and slow down at least twice a year. Burnout with trying to seem normal to everyone else, and all the while you’re struggling to make sense of all the sound around you, keeping your feelings in check and keeping calm. It isn’t easy trying to keep yourself balanced while around others. Ego is a real thing and it can make simple things harder than they have to be. I’m not perfect, but I also know I’m not alone in this. And no other place is this more evident than a place of employment.

Aside from reigning in my Tourette, I have to also pay attention to every word people say or try so hard to understand them that I seem too attentive to them. This is a problem at my job, where everyone is speaking fast and walking away from me thinking they’re finished when I am barely finished deciphering the last few words they spoke to me. Either I track them down to clarify or I let it go. But that’s also in most non-work cases as well. Usually it isn’t something my supervisor said but a fellow co-worker. I must get clarification with my super.

And then to bring in stress with not only getting to work but also during work and trying to do a commendable job. But when I make a mistake, either in my tasks or tripping or fumbling something I’m carrying, I get self-conscious. I berate myself for the mistake and double down on doing better and not failing at my job. This used to cause me to tic badly at most of my jobs throughout the years, but I’ve recently learned to just let it go and learn from the mistakes. To laugh off the flubs and trips and drops, which, thankfully, nothing is fragile.

At my current job, my co-workers are very understanding and my supervisor is the best I’ve ever had. They’ve all been very patient with me and I haven’t been yelled at for not understanding what’s being said. That cuts down on any stress and also cuts down on stressors affecting my TS. Even if I had a lot of stress, I know how to manage it better now, especially at work.

It won’t ever be easy to appear normal at work, but normal is overrated. I’d rather be respected and, so far, that’s been the mantra I’ve put into practice.

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