How To See Blindness as a Word and Not a Sentence

woman with outstretched hands
woman with outstretched hands. Harry Williamson/UK/Spring Studio

The fear of losing our eyesight is second only to being diagnosed with a terminal disease like cancer. Our emotional reactions to both these life-changing situations are likely to share one common reality: they threaten our existence as we know it.

If you are being confronted by the fact that you are losing your eyesight, it’s natural that you are experiencing a sense of deep and unfathomable loss.

Feelings of helplessness, panic, anger, grief and injustice can kick in too. These are very normal reactions, as is a calm sense of denial – it’s not happening to you.

You may even be facing an identity crisis, scared of the person you have to become as sight fades. There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. All you can see is a dark abyss with no way out.

Stop the panic right there. Consider this: adjusting to being blind or visually-impaired is an aspect of your life you can actually have some control over. Let’s have a reality check: losing your vision doesn’t mean you have a terminal illness.

It’s not about losing your life; it’s about learning to live it differently.

After the initial shock and grieving process, and the realization that your condition is not terminal, it is possible to begin again by taking stock of reality.

With a change of personal focus, know it is possible to develop skills in:

Where you start is by knowing you are still the same person, with the same aspirations and talents, and the same ability to make decisions and positive life-choices.

The main difference between being blind or visually-impaired is that you are required to become more resourceful in problem-solving, more often.

A New Reality Check List:

You can create a new reality check list by identifying your personal strengths.

For example, no degree of vision loss can take away your ability to be a loving parent and caring friend, a skilled organizer and independent planner, a good listener and a positive person with those you love.

It is about being willing to do things differently: taking any small step forward is a giant improvement on remaining stuck in fear or in denial.

Don’t face this life-challenge alone. More than ever before, family, friends, colleagues and numerous support groups are waiting to help you get the best out of life.

So as sight fades, it is necessary to calm your anxious feelings about future prospects. Your innermost concerns can be reduced by taking some sort of action.

Where Do You Begin?

Start by confiding in a loved one within your family or circle of friends.

This is by no means a sign of weakness; it shows great courage that you are willing to take your first major step towards seeing your life differently.

Try not to think you are a burden for others because in losing your vision, you become a gift bearer. It is a natural side of humanity to want to make lives better for those we love. Together, you offer an opportunity for your closest companions  to help you take those important first steps on your new journey. These persons will willingly encourage you, as you would have done if the situation had been reversed.

There are also support groups nationally for people experiencing vision loss that know exactly what you are going through and can offer assistance on many levels.

If you can keep building on your strengths and if you are open to seeing your life from a different vantage point, the word ‘blindness’ won’t be a sentence hanging over your future but a word you use more frequently and with a deeper understanding of its new meaning in your life.

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