Heywire winner Brielle from Dunsborough, WA, shares her story
My world is silent — I can’t hear anything at all — but I haven’t always been deaf.
Growing up, I could hear birds chirping, the sounds of the Indian Ocean and the breeze through the giant karri trees, but then something strange happened to me.
At first I started forgetting things, started losing bladder control, and started losing my hearing.
After two years of seeing doctors, I finally received a diagnosis: lupus cerebritis — an infection of the brain.
It was inflammation of the cerebrum and because of it I now have profound hearing loss.
I felt sad, crushed, and ashamed when this diagnosis came out.
I thought my life was over!
I had never even met a deaf person!
How was I supposed to have any social life with any friends?
How did deaf people even hold down a job?
I visited a school for the deaf and I was introduced to Paddy, the first deaf person I ever met, who taught me how to use sign language.
Immediately I was accepted into a beautiful new world.
My spirit was lifted and I shed tears of happiness as I made new friends.
Now, I see deafness as a superpower, not a burden.
I can go for a run around my neighbourhood without hearing traffic.
I’ve learnt Auslan sign language and I’m extremely good at lip-reading.
A year ago, I managed to get a job at the local supermarket and my hearing loss hasn’t been an issue whatsoever.
I work on the cash register, interact with the customers, and no one knows the difference.
And I still hang out with my non-deaf friends and we make deaf jokes all the time — nothing is taboo.
There are many devices that make my life easier too.
I can drive a car, and even talk to people on the phone through an app on my phone — I can read what they are saying in real time.
Going deaf is not a burden.
I am normal.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
And I can still be whatever I want to be in this world.
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