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Vision Loss and Emotional Upheaval

The life of someone continually having to adjust to new vision loss if full of ups and downs. There are a lot of emotions flowing through a person whose environment is so unstable. The emotions that tripped me up (pun intended)  when I was trying to adjust to others knowing about my poor vision were pity and pride. Take a look at this excerpt from my book, Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith.  

Book Excerpt

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Outside the door on my way out to my brother, it was just my luck that I ran into a parent of one of my students. She saw my cane but didn’t seem surprised. “Amy, I’m so sorry. How do you manage? I had no idea….”

Was that pity in her voice? Pity. The one thing I couldn’t t stand. I was as capable as any one of the
teachers here. I dared anyone to say my students were not progressing in their language skills!

That afternoon, I bundled up and went for a long run. Despite the cold, when my feet hit the pavement, I felt in control—at least in this one area.

My life is a mess, I complained to God. If only I knew someone, anyone else going through what I was, it would be easier. Should I be angry? Touched?How can I handle all the emotions going through my head? Father, I know that this parent has a good heart. And all the teachers and staff at the school
are kind and caring. But I don’t want anyone to treat me differently.

If I weren’t so hush-hush about this entire vision thing, others would have a much better idea of my abilities. They wouldn’t have to guess the worst.

I let my thoughts flow as I continued to run, recalling an incident a week earlier.

I’d asked Mrs. Curtis if I could show a video to my Spanish III student. She paused, as was her custom, to think through my request. “I see no problem as long as it ties into the goals for your student.”

“Yes, of course. It’s a DVD of Fuenteovejuna, the literature we’re reading now. I can’t wait for her to see it. You know, it’s by the sixteenth century playwright, Lope de Vega. Did you know his play is based on actual events during an uprising in Spain?”

Her eyes had crinkled at the corners as she shared my enthusiasm. “Is that right?”

“Yes, it’s all in Spanish. Maybe a little difficult for her to follow—they’re native speakers, after all—but I’ll only show a couple of scenes, and she knows that part of the story.” I saw the principal glance at the clock, so I got to the point. “I just need to know where the TV is.”

“Why, it’s right there in that old sanctuary not far from your classroom,” she had said. She made a face. “That’s right, you can’t see the TV. Sorry, I forgot.”

My jaw dropped. Of course I could see the TV. I’d just forgotten where it was.

If I weren’t so hush-hush about this entire vision thing, others would have a much better idea of my abilities. They wouldn’t have to guess the worst.

My run had turned into a slow jog. I could hear my labored breathing. God, why am I so secretive? How can I change?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  No, if I talk about it, people will feel sorry for me. No one wants that.

Trust Me.

But God, it’s so hard. I don’t want anyone to know. I can’t open up. Look what happened already.

Another scripture jumped into my head. What is impossible with men is possible with God.

My run had turned into a slow jog. I could hear my labored breathing.

Look what happened already.

Another scripture jumped into my head. What is impossible with men is possible with God.

“Ow!” My foot hit an uneven edge of the sidewalk, and my ankle turned. I landed on the sidewalk, scraping first my right, then my left knee. My ankle hit hard, and I fell forward. I lay there for half a minute before I changed my position to sit and assess the damage. White hat, covered in mud. Ski jacket, torn in the sleeve. A tear in the right knee of my blue jeans. My knee tingled. I brushed off the gravel and pressed my hand against it to stop the sudden shaking. No blood this time. I turned to my ankle. Swollen. The tears came, hot and heavy as I doubled over.

I hate my life! One minute I’m okay, the next minute, I can’t even walk. Why? Why? Why me? Why is my life so complicated?

I let myself cry for a few minutes.

No one has it easy. Look around and see how many are struggling. You have Me to guide you. I will never leave you or forsake you.

Even so, I continued to cry.

I stopped crying a few minutes later. Okay, God. Enough of this pity party. How can I blame others for feeling sorry for me if I give in and do the same thing?

I gingerly stood up to see if I could put any pressure on my ankle and took a few limping steps.

A car drove up and the driver rolled down his window. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes, of course,” I said, my old pride kicking in.

“Do you live nearby? Would you like a lift home?”

“No, no, no. I’m fine. Thank you so much.”

“Sure?”

“Yep.” I nodded several times to reassure him.

It was only when I tripped a second time, long after the man drove away, that I realized God had probably sent him to encourage me. Why do I thwart You, God, at every turn? I continued slowly home.

People should just call me Old Limp-along.

***

Can you relate to this incident? What kind of situations have you found yourself in that you’ve struggled with your emotions, especially pity and pride? Or are you a person who rarely shows their emotions no matter what you are going through inside?

So looking forward to reading your comments!

Vision Loss and Emotional Upheaval
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6 thoughts on “Vision Loss and Emotional Upheaval

  • February 2, 2015 at 8:10 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    Days like the one you described have often happened to me. I too, am vision impaired. Yet, I can still function. I need only to do things differently. Unlike you, I let everybody know of my disability every chance I can. i do this so they don’t feel pity for me, and it works.

    I have people telling me all the time how proud they are of me that I can still create graphics with Photoshop even though I cannot visually do as well as others can. I don’t let that stop me. I can still see, blurred vision and all, enough to get the job done. It may take me far too long to get the work done, but I feel pride once my work is complete.

    Late last year, I started doing book designs for several PLR providers. They know I don’t have the greatest vision, but they still expect their work on time. 🙂 I have far too many abilities to let my vision impair my work. When the day comes that I see total darkness – things will no doubt change from how I work now, but I’ll deal with that ossue when the time comes.

    Until then… believe in others and share your setbacks. You’ll draw people nearer to you when you do. Trust me dear friend. It’s worked for me, it can work for you too.

    – Bonnie

  • February 2, 2015 at 9:19 pm
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    My father suffered a traumatic brain injury during his service in World War II, I was born about seven years later. Growing up, I saw people’s attitudes towards my father, who had seizures never completely controlled by medication, at the times when he had a seizure in public. Fear was #1. Some people, though, wanted to help, but didn’t know how. So the need for educating people was #2. And, my parents even hid his condition from me as long as they could. So, shame was #3. I very much relate with your story through the eys of my father. I have thought about blogging about him, but something has stopped me. Fear? Shame? I will have to work my way through it.

  • February 2, 2015 at 11:37 pm
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    Hi Bonnie,
    Add me to the long line of people who are proud of you!
    I gradually started to change my thought patterns and share my vision loss with others. I’m learning that the more matter-of-fact I am about it, the more others feel at ease. It did take me time to reach this point. I am also learning that I need to approach things differently, and that’s a problem=solving skill I’m getting (a little!) better at. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom.
    I’ve heard of that term, “PLR provider.” but I’m not quire sure what it means. I think it’s great that you are doing book designs!
    Amy

  • February 3, 2015 at 12:17 am
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    Hi Alana,
    This is the first I’ve heard of your father’s traumatic brain injury, I believe. Bless him! I can relate to all of the feelings you’ve outlined in your comment. People fear what they don’t understand or can’t control. I have found that people are so kind, on the whole, and DO want to help but aren’t sure what to do or how to offer. They don’t want to do the wrong thing, get embarrassed or embarrass. It’s a tickly situation. Education is definitely the answer. And the more open your father (or I) am, the easier it is for others to respond because others follow our lead. When visiting my sister as her cancer progressed, and it was apparent that my sister was not going to make it, I entered the house with some uncertainty. But my nieces continued to joke with my sister, and I realized they were still celebrating her life. So it became a place of hope and everyone who left my sister became encouraged. I would like to be this kind of person. I am striving to welcome people into my vision-impaired life, celebrate what is possible today and have them leave feeling empowered. Do you know what I mean? I hope my book achieves this!

  • February 5, 2015 at 9:48 pm
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    Hi “Old Limp-a long”

    Sorry. I couldn’t resist calling you that. LOL In my earlier stages of RP, I didn’t want to tell people about it. But eventually, the disease reveals itself as we lose more sight and can’t keep it hidden. I love how God brought Scripture to your mind for encouragement. I would be lost without God and His Word. When my daughters were little, I created a type of walk that I used in the house. I call it the blind man’s shuffle. It’s where I move very gently and don’t bring me feet to far from the ground. When I used this “shuffle” it didn’t hurt my kids as much when I walked into them. So I guess, you can call me “Old Shuffle A-Long.”

    Matt

  • February 6, 2015 at 2:06 am
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    Old Shuffle-Along,
    Ha ha! Only one difference, you were doing it to protect your daughters. I was doing it to protect my pride! LOL.
    Glad it’s different today. 🙂
    Amy

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