Emotional ups and downs when losing one's eyesight

Text by Reddit user Blind Insider

At some point you are bound to be in a difficult situation, but not to stop you rather to push you to make use of your strength and your courage...

In the world most disabilities are acquired, that is, only the lowest percentage of people were born with them; the other part had accidents or illnesses that led them to experience their disability.

Unfortunately, when a person hears the word disability they immediately think of someone who can do absolutely nothing for themselves and who, throughout their life will be dependent on someone else.

The above is totally wrong, since it's true no one prepares you before having a disability, it's also true that there are many that help you understand it and face it to live like other people.

Be it as it may, the process is very difficult, the emotional states that a person has to go through after being diagnosed with a disability are too many and constant. There will be those who, for example, accept it from the first moment and start working on it, but most go into denial, because they feel their lives collapsing.

Today I want to focus on people who have a visual impairment, because it is still very difficult to face blindness.

The most common diseases within visual impairment are retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and retinopathy in its different variants although also certain tumors in the brain or foreign diseases that are still being investigated can lead to vision loss. For those who are gradually losing their vision, it is probably easier to adapt to the situation, but for those who lose it suddenly, emotional shock is devastating.

Many will face feelings such as pain, guilt, depression, anger, death wishes, isolation, etc.

Imagine that you wake up like any other day and do your activities, talk to friends, take a walk, go to work, watch TV, read the newspaper, play with your children or your dog and finally fall asleep. Surely you don't even stop to think if the next day you will be able to see again, so what would be your first reaction to opening your eyes the next morning and seeing absolutely nothing? I think the first reaction is panic, that inordinate fear of something unknown that is attacking us.

If at that moment you are fortunate to have someone by your side to tell you to go to the doctor, maybe you could calm down a little but unfortunately there are millions of people who have faced this process alone and after the panic they felt despair; desperation for not knowing what to do, for not finding the phone to call someone, for knowing what is happening to them and also desperation to stop feeling that way.

I imagine that many people who lost their sight began to cry and wondered what was going on? Trying to remember some unusual event that would lead them to this situation, surely their head exploded looking for possibilities and solutions that unfortunately did not arrive, unanswered questions accumulate in the heads and everything becomes a time bomb.

Immediately you will have to go to the doctor and the questions will begin again, the studies and the waiting.

Why isn't there a magic pill that turns time back and brings your eyes back?  Why you?  Why at this time?  What did you do wrong? Those were surely the questions that were tormenting you.

Undoubtedly you will also feel rage if the doctor's diagnosis is not what you expected or rather is not what you wanted to hear, you will also feel rage because time passes slowly and you are still without your eyesight, rage because people tell you to calm down and that everything will be fine but you know that it is not so.

Panic, pain, despair, rage and crying will make you feel like dying. You believe your life no longer has a meaning, that you will become a burden or a hindrance to your relatives, that this is only the beginning of a horrible end, you feel that your life is over, there is no longer any reasons to move forward, you will not be able to get over this, you just do not want to do it.

You strive to create visual images in your head, you begin to detail the faces of your loved ones and you want to remember even the smallest detail of the last thing you saw in the hope that your brain will command your eyes to see again. You cling to your faith, whatever it is and you start asking for help, you repeat 1000 and one times that you are not a bad person, that you do not deserve this, that if, given the opportunity to see again you will try to correct your mistakes, even sometimes you swear you would do things that you know impossible to fulfill.

You have a long day and you go to sleep, although you spend hours without being able to, but when sleep overpowers you and you wake up the next day you get depressed again because blindness is still there, it has not gone away, it was not a nightmare. You start screaming or crying, you need someone to be with you and reassure you, you need to touch someone you know, you're collapsing again, you're dying again.

Your family keeps telling you that you will be fine, and at some point you begin to believe it and you also repeat it every second in your head; obviously this cannot be happening to you, everything has an explanation and in a few days your life will be the same again. Unfortunately when you go back to the doctor and he tells you that the news is not good, you start cursing everyone; although later you regret it and think that if you continue on that path you will do worse.

Your body is also in a state of alertness, you are rigid all the time, fearful, you feel a profound exhaustion, you walk slowly and you don't raise your feet from the ground because you are afraid of tripping and falling.

But you are not the only person who suffers, your family and friends suffer with you. This has taken them all by surprise, their world has crumbled, no one knows what will come next, no one knows what will happen to you, and no one knows how to help you. But even if they are full of doubts, they will be there.

Unfortunately there are others who become weaker than you and walk away, abandon you at the worst time in your life and they make you face this alone.

And so many days go by, and the rise and fall of emotions never stops, Your life may have stopped but the world didn't, the world keeps spinning, time keeps passing and life takes its normal course.

All of the above is what many people experience when they lose their sight either due to illness or an accident, then undoubtedly the stage of acceptance or resignation will ensue. It's time to work on the situation and try to get ahead by any means necessary.

You already have the diagnosis, reality is there in front of you waiting for your decision; if you are fortunate enough to have your family, the process will become easier. There are those who start by researching more about visual impairment, focus on experiences from other people who have gone through the same thing, they need to know what awaits them.

We know that it will not be easy at all, your life has taken a 180° turn. Nothing will be the same again, you probably can not work as you did before, you probably can not perform all the activities you did before, you probably have to make adjustments in your life but the important thing is not to stop.

At first you feel lonely and misunderstood, because the people around you will never know what it feels like to be blind and you begin to isolate yourself from the world, but at some point you will find that Support Network in other people who live in the same situation. Around the world there are millions of blind people who are willing to give you a hand and walk with you in this process.

You need to understand that you are not the first person to experience this but you will not be the last and just as someone helped you with their experience, you will also be able to help others in due time.

Nowadays, technologies and scientific advances allow people with visual disabilities to acquire tools that facilitate their day to day. Being able to communicate with people around the world who understand you and who are going through the same thing as you, serves as emotional therapy.

Getting started will always be complicated, but everything will pass and you will make use of your resilience to adapt to changes and, why not? Live new experiences.

You must be aware that maybe things will not be as before but things don't end here.  You are more than a pair of eyes, you have the ability to do many things without being able to see, that I assure you.

It's not bad to feel sad, but don't linger in the pain. Seek help and let yourself be helped. There are institutions, associations and groups that are dedicated to training you in different areas of life so that you continue to move forward and to make visual impairment not impediment.

As much as possible and as soon as possible, also learn to use assistive technologies that best suit your needs so you achieve greater independence and do not feel isolated.

Finally the best advice I can give you is to not give up or become a victim, on the contrary, be thankful that despite the disability you are still fighting to prove to you and the world that you can do things and that your courage, your strength and your abilities have not gone away.

Focus on the things you can do well despite your disability and don't get frustrated by those you can no longer do. Don't let your mind turn into your worst enemy and tell you you can't do something. You know you can, if you trust yourself you will always succeed.

Maybe you no longer have your eyesight, but you still have vision and it will lead you to attain your goals, so never lose those goals.

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