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2012, live or die
This has been one hell of a year already, and it is only the end of March.

In mid January my hearing changed. Following a pattern that has been ongoing since (at least) the last two years of college, it got worse over the winter, but the difference this time is that it got worse than it's ever been before. I went to the audiologist to make sure my ears weren't blocked or that my new hearing aids weren't broken and neither of these were the case. An audiological test revealed that I had actually gone deaf in that ear, with 0% speech recognition.

I decided this was the time then, to pursue my last resort options, starting with the one that isn't completely science fiction or fantasy; the cochlear implant.

I determined that if the Implants didn't work for me or if I wasn't satisfied with the quality of sound they gave me then I wasn't interested in continuing to live my life. Shortly after I made this determination, I discovered a book written on spiritual healing by a pastor who had discovered why today's church was unable to heal the masses. Finding truth and scriptural accuracy in this book, I took it as a sign that God could heal me and I made a pact with Him that I would do everything within my power to sanctify myself so that He would. My hearing loss does not fit in any of the book's descriptions of spiritually rooted diseases, but I believe that if I am sincere about myself it can be fixed by a creative miracle, assuming I'm worthy. I don't know if I am.

I did a complete 180 in some areas of my life. I cut back on interaction with some of my friends, I got rid of things I had previously been collecting, I found I had lost some of the respect I had for hard metal music...I debated leaving the furry fandom and quitting roleplaying entirely and even abstaining from video games to try some other hobby. I don't know what God wants from me in this area or if it counts toward the area of scripture that tells you to guard your thoughts. I suspect this may be what is preventing God from meeting me in my time of crisis.

While trying to change my life I developed symptoms similar to those of a panic attack while at work, and came to realize that I was accusing myself before God, something that the book warns not to do. So I got rid of the self guilt and accusation that had been ruling my life and developed a newfound sense of confidence. Also some of my hearing returned!

Today I went in for an appointment to have an evaluation for the cochlear implants. After a very thorough and intensive audiological test, the results came back to show that my formerly deaf ear had returned to hearing that was -better- than what I had in my other ear...but was still poor enough to make me a candidate for the Implants. The doctors now want to put the implant in my poorer ear, the one that ironically, was not the one to suddenly decline to 0%. The doctors also advanced the time scale (ironically, at my request. I was trying to have the implant in and activated before Bronycon, but that was back when I was still essentially deaf in that one ear) so now I'm not sure if I'll be giving God an adequate chance to heal me before turning to man for help ( something the book also warns against).

I'm so conflicted and confused. Both my mortal life and my spiritual life seem to hang in the balance. I don't think I could be satisfied living into my old age without music. I'm only 30, and I need to talk to people. I've already gotten over the idea that cochlear implants will be seen as disfiguring features to some prospective mates; another area of my life in which I was being ruled by negative self-evaluation. I don't need anyone in my life to feel happy as long as I have all the great friends I've made online, who will stick by me even if I go completely deaf.

But then I think about the implications, what my life would be like if something were to go wrong, and I hesitate. I don't think I'd be able to tolerate it for the rest of my life, and I'd rather guzzle pills and end it quickly than possibly get to a point where I psychologically snap and take my frustrations out on others.

So that's where I stand, and I don't know what to do! To complicate matters, recent deaths in the furry fandom have lead me to renew efforts to find a significant other, and to my surprise I'm actually getting bites this time! But even though I shouldn't be, I'm kind of afraid to tell them about my problems, since they're kind of deal breakers between "Let's find out more about you" and "Let's just be friends."

I'm...I'm going crazy, aren't I? So this is what going mad feels like...

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I don't think you're going crazy. You're just starting a new part of your life! Of course that's gonna be tough. :p

As for the girl issue - you've been pretty up front about your problems with me (I think lol) and I've been pretty okay with them. I'd say just be honest but at the same time, don't overload them with too much information unless they specifically ask.

Yeah, I plan on continuing to be up front about it. It's good to be frank about these things, though some part of me still wants to hide it. It's probably one of those foolish insecurities, though it seems legit. Most people don't go out of their way to comfort the obviously disabled, and while having hearing aids are ubiqtuous enough for me to slide with, implants that plug into my head could be seen differently.

I'll hide it behind a hat and some Bro shades. Look cool doing it. Maybe even get the hair right.

I think you'd look cool regardless ;p Tho if you do a bro cosplay I WANT PICS <3

And meh, if anybody's foolish enough to jeopardize a growing friendship/relationship over your disabilities, they are really, really shallow and undeserving of your time and effort. :/ You're a really cool guy and you're looking for a lifetime relationship, so if a girl or two decides not to do anything with you because of your disabilities/implants, THAT IS A GOOD THING lol. They are not lifetime material XD

Well, crazy was one of the words that came to mind, desperate another. Personaly I would say that god had about as to do with the recovery of your ear as I did. Which is to say nothing. Maybe you should consider that just the fact that you didn't listen to loud music anymore helped.

Oh man, Gumba. I remember you. So good to see an old, familiar digital combat card representing your quasi-fictional face!

I don't know. Things are coming at me a little too fast right now. I have discovered things about myself that I never knew before, and I feel better about my knowledge of the religion I've adopted, and subsequently I feel better about myself.

I'm a man in crisis right now, but in spite of all that, I'm finally starting to let go of many of my childhood insecurities. I have more self-confidence. I have willed much of the fear that I had before out of my life.

The only thing I'm really scared of right now is what to do surrounding cochlear implants. I've been told they will improve my hearing, but they're only supposed to work within the ranges of human speech. Meaning that things like music, especially complex arrangements, may fall by the wayside. People have different experiences with it. I've been told that it would sound different than usual to me, but I'm not sure I ever knew what "normal" is for any but a select few songs.

I also don't know about letting them put it in the "lesser" ear. That's not the one that tanked. If I'm going to be heavily reliant on binaural hearing to understand music or speech, I don't want my last remaining "natural" ear to be prone to landslide plummets every winter. Though granted I was thinking of just getting one for both sides of my head, but we wanted to do the one first and see how that works. If everything goes well, it'll probably take me four years before my life returns to some semblance of normal, once this is all set in motion. It's still reversible, should I decide to not go through with it. I'd just take a 116 dollar loss.

When my father was beginning to go deaf, he got himself a Lyric disposable hearing aid that goes down in his ear canal. I don't know if this would be beneficial to you or not. I'm not terribly versed in hearing aid schematics.

Never forget that God created science and the scientists who invent cochlear implants. So don't treat it as a lesser choice over faith healing.

A friend of mine had an implant 20 years ago and has never regretted it. The system now is so much more advance over his old model from the early 90s.

I know. I'm just uncertain if now is the right time for this.

Could you maybe put me in touch with your friend? That might help me a lot, hearing from someone who's done it already.

On the one hand, faith is something that you're supposed to turn to when things get tough. On the other hand, religious fanaticism can be a troubling sign.

Sometimes cutting people and activities out of one's life is a good thing -- they may be bad influences, worsening depressive tendencies, etc. Other times it means pushing away the very people who are there to help and severing your emotional support network. Given that you've indicated you believe that God wishes you to remove people and things that you've enjoyed, it sounds more like the latter than the former.

I'm totally with dewhitton up there. God created the laws of nature and inspired scientists. The hand of God acts through people who help others and improve the world.

On the whole, you've said some very worrying things. I would urge you to talk to a doctor about the thoughts you've expressed here. Barring that, at least talk to a priest or minister. You're dealing with some rough stuff, and it sounds like you're going at it more or less alone. People aren't built to be solitary like that, especially in times of stress. Seek connections with people.

Connections are what I need right now. Maybe I should tell the doctor that I'm not willing to go through with this until after I've spoken with someone who's using cochlear implants, and possibly the ministry team behind the book I mentioned.

It's hard to connect with people when you can't understand the spoken word, which is what implants will help with. But I'm afraid of what I may have to give up in exchange for that. Historically people haven't wanted to interact with me in person; that's why I go online. Music on the other hand, is something that has calmed and guided me in the past, and even gave me some sense of purpose, and if I lose that I'm afraid I won't have anything to replace it with.

It is something I can deal with for X amount of time. But in the long term, over years and years, I am unsure whether or not I will reach a point where I couldn't deal with it any more.

I am happy with my life right now. I don't want to do something that would jeopardize that. Cochlear Implants are supposed to make my life better, but I just...don't know...

Although I've never had to deal with deafness like you, I know what it's like to be in a position where you're staring yourself in the mirror and wondering why God isn't listening to you.
At one point in my life, I was unemployed for several weeks. I kept worrying that I had done something wrong, something that made God withhold His blessings. So I went through this obsessive compulsive phase where I'd try to purge everything from my life that could possibly be construed as sinful or idolatrous. Idolatry is a broad category. You can use it to rule out everything fun in your life if you're "creative" like me. Also, I got super superstitious, driving around a block just to avoid a black cat and things like that.
But then I came to the realization that God lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust, and that nobody sinned to cause that blind man in the bible to become blind. Job did nothing wrong, and his life turned to crap anyway. So I learned all the purification rituals in the world won't get me that dream job. If I'm saved, I've been granted perfection, so something more mundane needs to be done to get that job.
I came to the realization that too much superstition is a bad thing. Considering cold facts like the economy and the lack of jobs in my desired field instead of worrying about every black cat led me to bury my idealistic career plans and apply to jobs that are actually there. It worked. My career isn't the one I always dreamed of, but it's fun, and probably better for me psychologically.
If you can use any of this advice, then maybe it will validate me living through a time in my life where I actually punched myself in the face hard enough to give myself a black eye just because I got a speeding ticket after failing a job interview.

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