Saturday, February 25, 2017

6 Tips on How to be Legally Blind

1. Don't be afraid to be different. Accept your condition
Living with legally blindness is hard especially in a sighted world.  You have to come to the realization that as much as it suck (and trust me it sucks a whole lot at times) legally blindness is part of who you are.  (Hopefully until there's a cure in the not to far future)  If you keep wanting to be "normal" (whatever that means) then you will be trully unhappy in your life because it's almost impossible to meet that expectation let alone try to exceed it.

Accept your differences and learn to see the beauty it can bring. I know you're probably thinking what beauty is there if I can't see, and yes I've been there too.  Its simply a matter of perspectives, not seeing has allowed me to look deeper into people's hearts (past the glamour and superficiality).   A shift in the mind goes a long way in helping you find peace and happiness.    It's ok to be different,  from the rest of society, its not easy, but its ok.

2. Physically take note of your surroundings'
 Goes without say, one of the biggest annoyances sometimes is finding washrooms.  What seemingly is a simple task that people don't think about, sometimes can bring about stress and embarrassment of not finding the right washroom. So quick tip is remember your location and take note of where the washroom is.

Same thing goes with directions.  Photographic memory of close by landmarks and possibly maps can help you find your bearings easier and less stress.  Remembering where things are take stress from having to try to find things.  Even small objects athome, if you can keep a consistent habit, it'll save you alot of time in trying to find things afterwards.

3. Technology is your friend.
 The rapid advancements in technology can help to make our lives easier.  A good cell phone camera with a larger screen can work wondering if helping to read labels, print, or things far away from you.  Plus it gives the added advantage of a GPS which means you don't have to try to read the small font on road signs.

Get familiar with ZOOM or text to speech functions.  Whehter you're on your computer or even your cellphone and tablet, zooming can help you quickly navigate while text to speech can help you read info faster.    As the technology progresses, we are seeing more and more innovative assistive devices and functionalities.

4. Understand people will not understand.
There is an innate isolation that comes with any form of illness or diseases.  People are generally self centered and can only relate to experiences within their own experience.  Just like you will not understand how a paralyzed person feels and experiences, it's difficult for most people to understand how we feel.  It's no one's fault but it is a reality.

There's going to be days of frustration, for the most part if you do not have expectations of people being able to empathize or comprehend what you go through, it can help lower the frustration levels.  This means, this will always be a cross you will bear, finding fellow patients may help you feel not so alone, but when you go back into real world, this is the reality that you face.

5. Process your emotions.
Believe me, a physical disability is more than just an inconvenience.   There's a lot of lasting emotional trauma that will need to be processed for you to be whole again.  The first thing is blame and shame, for fear of not being worthwhile, lovable, inadequacies, and possibly a sense of self blame.  It's not your fault or anyone elses' fault, but for the longest time growing up, I felt it was my fault.  I know logically it doesn't make sense, but perhaps that's just the pain and loss manifesting.

And then there's anger, the anger of "why me", the anger towards a world that doesn't have these problems, and the sadness of loss, of pain and self torment.  Why torment?  Because we are constantly reminded of what we cannot be, what everyone takes for granted and yet we cannot do.  The realization that the world isn't fair, the breaking of the child like innocence. All of it is ours to bear, and you cannot run from it, the best you can do if you can't handle it is to disassociate. Like trauma victims who leave their bodies during a traumatic incident, as a child, the only thing I could do was to forget and numb myself.  Until I was able to mentally process and face these emotions, I kept it hidden and locked away.

And then there's fear, the constant fear of not being good enough, of embrassment because you couldn't see, the fear of rejection.  All of which the average person goes through but is amplified many folds when you are faced with a disability. 

They say what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.  I agree with that saying but caution about the process.  It's rough and quite painful and often a lonely path.  Only when you learn to process these emotions, you will begin to see the light in things.  Happiness, joy, love, and a whole list of more positive emotions cannot exist if you feel nothing.  The pain teaches us to appreciate the small wins and things we have.  Being grateful help us recognize the things we do have instead of focus on the things we don't.  Everybody in their way doesn't have something, so I try to see it this way where what I don't have is simply somthing less common.

6. Find what you're good at.
Just because you have problems with a disability doesn't mean you have no talent.  There will be things that you'd be good at, learn and explore and find what works for you.  Because I guarantee that you can still excel and do great things despite of this minor setback.

Finding it will help to rebuild your sense of self and confidence.  It takes you outside of your disability and into a world of talent.

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