I understand that you are suffering but trying to cause yourself to become deaf will not help you to escape from society’s norms. You may not have to hear about what society thinks but even without your hearing there still be many other ways in which the norms of society will be evident to you.
What about reading? You have access to the Internet. The Internet has been called the information “super highway.” One only has to spend a short amount of time surfing the Internet to become aware of what is going on in the world. Undoubtedly through reading the Internet, or even a magazine or a newspaper you’d quickly become aware of what those in society are thinking.
You use the phrase “society’s norms” and although I am not exactly sure what you mean by this expression I am taking it to mean that you feel pressured to conform to what society defines as “correct” behavior. I also presume that you are feeling extreme pressure to behave in a manner consistent with society’s norms and you resent feeling that you have to follow along with what society says.
It’s healthy and open-minded to question the norms of society and it’s even good that you don’t feel compelled to follow them but to go beyond this and attempt to make yourself deaf is profoundly unhealthy. What you are doing will permanently damage your hearing. I can assure you that even if you accomplished your goal of causing yourself to become deaf that you will not have resolved the issue that has led you to want to eliminate your ability to hear, feeling pressured to conform to society.
There are other ways to deal with your strong feelings regarding societal pressures. I would highly recommend that you see a mental health professional. He or she can help you find safer and more effective methods to deal with the pressure that you feel from society.
He or she can also help you channel your strong feelings about societal pressures into other positive mechanisms for change. For instance, did you know that for centuries many philosophers and psychologists have written extensively about the subject of conformity and society’s norms? Why not consider reading or writing about the issue as a way to vent your frustrations rather than trying to harm yourself using methods that are sure to hinder you?
See a therapist and tell him or her what you have been doing. Your friend is correct to be worried about you. What you are doing in extremely dangerous. Please consider getting help now.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 23, 2008.