My journey to independence

Hello everyone and welcome back to My Blurred World.

I hope you’re all doing really well.

Today’s post is all about independence and my personal journey to gaining independence as a visually impaired person. Due to my eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa, I am gradually losing my vision and although this can prove to be a difficult process to live with at times, I think it’s important that people know that it’s not completely limiting and there are ways of altering daily tasks to make them accessible therefore allowing Blind/VI people to be independent.

I wanted to share my experience of independence and gaining independence with you all in today’s post as I believe it’s a topic that needs to be heard of and it’s not something I’ve talked much about on my blog in the past. I want to document my journey to independence here on my blog as I believe it’s important to share with you all and that people learn about the difficulties, the process etc but also it’s important to me that I note my experiences down, it allows me to reflect on my journey and allows me to realise what needs to change, what I can improve and so forth.

Independence consists of many different things, cooking, choosing an outfit, applying make-up, cleaning, washing and the one thing I’ve found to be most difficult, travelling.

I’ve always been prepared to turn my hand to things such as cooking, cleaning etc as I think they’re essential life skills that everyone needs to learn, visual impairment or not. I’ve personally had life skills training sessions which consisted of a rehabilitation officer coming to my home and we would discuss the things I found most difficult to do and find ways around them to make them more accessible. I have now found techniques that help me when cooking and I’d like to think that I’m quite confident when preparing a meal etc. I have things such as a liquid level indicator which makes it easy to pour myself a drink as it notifies me when the liquid is near the top of the glass or cup. I also have things such as different coloured chopping boards which I find helpful as it gives more of a contrast when I want to cut vegetables or any other foods.

I would also like to think I’m quite independent in things such as choosing my outfits and applying my make-up, I have written posts about how I make these tasks accessible previously on my blog so I won’t dwell on this topic for too long. Since I have some remaining vision, I can manage to match pieces of clothing together so I know what might look presentable and what might not. When it comes to my make-up, I have learned skills of application which work well for me so I know that it will hopefully turn out ok in the end. I might need someone to check my make-up but that’s normally for my peace of mind, after all, I don’t want to go out of the house with an orange face do I?

As I mentioned previously, one of the most difficult things I have come across as a visually impaired person is travelling independently. It’s never been a strong point of mine and since i suffer with anxiety, I have convinced myself in the past that it’s too much of a daunting skill to master. I was scared of the idea of travelling independently due to an experience I had on a bus on what I thought was supposed to be a mobility lesson to improve my confidence, I won’t go into any detail but the experience knocked my confidence and I haven’t been on a public bus since then. So much time has passed since then and although I still feel quite anxious when it comes to the idea of travelling on the bus, I know it’s something I have to conquer and it’s something I need to work on in order of becoming the independent person I wish to be. I know that with the help of the people around me, this will be something I’ll be able to achieve.

I believe that my confidence has grown a little recently when it comes to going out and about, travelling etc. I have recently made more plans with friends which is something I haven’t done in a while but I’ve realised that it’s made me much happier.


(A photo of the train ticket for my recent journey which you can learn more about below).

I recently travelled on the train for the first time without my mum, something which was quite a spontaneous decision but I’m so glad I made it. I know it seems crazy that I am nearly 19 and have never travelled on the train without a member of my family before but for me personally it was such a big step. It might be something that a sighted person would take for granted but for me as a severely sight impaired person who can’t see much of where I’m going, this was a big achievement. I did go with someone else who is also visually impaired but I still count the experience as something I did independently and I’m proud of that.

It made me realise that travelling isn’t as daunting as it seems, yes of course I felt a tad nervous and I probably will for future journeys too but I’m so glad to say that I made it in one piece and it has motivated me to do more things like that in the future.

I will be travelling to Manchester next weekend to my first ever concert and although my mum will be with me on the train, I am thinking of trying assistance in order to experience what it’s like and it will allow me to have a taste of what it would be like to travel on my own in the future. If it doesn’t work out this time then at least I know my mum will be there if I need any help.

I will be going to the concert with my best friend who is also blind and we have requested assistance at the arena wich means we will be guided to and from our seats, I believe that this is also a huge step towards gaining independence and I’m glad we’ve made that choice.

One thing I’d also like to mention is that I am now much more confident when using my cane. I used to be incredibly self-conscious when using it but I no longer feel that way (or at least not as much), I believe that this is also a big step to gaining independence as it means that I don’t have to depend on others as much in terms of sighted guide etc. I am thinking of writing a post about my experiences and thoughts when it comes to using the white cane so do let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading.

So what am I hoping to achieve when it comes to independence in the future? Well, I’m hoping that the assistance will prove to be as helpful as I desire it to be on the train and I’m hoping it will give me the motivation to travel independently in the future. I’m also hoping I will be able to conquer the fear and the anxieties I have when travelling on the bus and well travelling independently in general. I no longer want to have to depend on other people when it comes to going places and achieving the things I want to achieve.

I’ve been wanting to gain independence for such a long time and now I finally feel like I’m ready to continue on my journey to gaining that independence. I am hoping that now is only the beginning.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I hope you all enjoyed it. Are you visually impaired? Do you find it difficult to gain independence? Or maybe you’re a fully sighted person reading this and have struggled with independence in the past? Let me know your views and experiences as I would love to hear from you.

I hope you have a lovely day/evening.

Elin x

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21 Comments

  1. April 23, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    So proud of you for this post! I know independence is something you’ve struggled with and I know that you will be fully independent if you put your mind to it which you definitely are doing! Keep goinggirl. Sure many can relate to this post, including myself xxx

    • April 23, 2017 / 9:26 pm

      Thank you so much, you have no idea how much that means to me! Xxx

  2. April 24, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    You have achieved so much and I’m so proud of you! And you can cook as well which is amazing! And I wish you good luck to your journey to Manchester and hope you and your friend have a lovely time x

  3. April 24, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    This post is so amazing. So proud of the journey that you are taking you will be able to get there in the end I believe in you. Hope it all work out at the concert have a great time xx

    • April 25, 2017 / 6:27 am

      Thank you so much! This honestly means the world to me xxx

  4. Nia
    April 24, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    hi I admire you, I have lost all confidence in travelling alone I rely on my husband and my mum to take me places, im embarased to use my cane because i live in a small village and people stare, IM thinking of having a dog dont know what to do , its quite fustrating and it been 7 years since ive lost my driving icence which i still miss and get upset x
    Nia

    • April 25, 2017 / 6:37 am

      I understand where you’re coming from. Being independent and gaining your independence back is such a difficult process especially if you live in a small village which doesn’t have much transport links, I understand that as I live in a small village myself too. Feeling conscious of your cane is completely normal I feel but I’m sure you’ll be able to gain that confidence back. You have nothing to feel ashamed of, try not to worry too much about what people think, I know it’s easier said than done but at the end of the day it’s you who’s important and their opinions don’t matter. I hope you’ll be able to gain your independence back in the future. Good luck with it and thank you for reading 🙂 x

    • Lynne Nicholson
      September 10, 2017 / 11:47 pm

      Ria, embrace your Wand Of Power don’t be embarrassed by it. Most people watching you will be in awe of your courage and also checking that you are safe. See my comment further down. Yes occasionally there will be an asshat but we encountered them before our sightloss too. Don’t give up your independence to fear.

  5. April 28, 2017 / 8:33 am

    Well done lovely! Sometimes it can be daunting being independent doing things alone but you feel like you’ve achieved so much once you have 🙂 lovely blog 😊

    http://www.imogenrose.co.uk

  6. >Black
    May 22, 2017 / 3:03 pm

    Super awesome blog! I have RP too! I dont let it bother me though. And I am now travelling the world and writing about my adventures 🙂 well done on this lovely snippet, thanks.

    • May 22, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      Thank you! That’s amazing to hear, I hope you’re having the best time travelling. Thank you for reading 🙂

      • coolxkid89
        May 22, 2017 / 10:36 pm

        Definitely am 🙂 be sure to follow if you keen to keep up, otherwise i shall enjoy your reads ✌️

  7. June 19, 2017 / 6:16 am

    My journey is still incomplete. However, thank you for such an inspiring article. Proud of you!

  8. Lynne Nicholson
    September 10, 2017 / 11:41 pm

    Hi I just discovered your blog.
    I’m coming up to my first anniversary of being diagnosed with P.I.C. (Punctate Inner Choroidopathy), I’m nearly 56.
    I got my Wand Of Power at the end of June and love the independence and confidence I have got from it. Yes occasionally I’ll meet asshats who make me a little hesitant (man that shouted at me because I started down steps before he’d come up and didn’t seem to understand my white walking stick (before I got my wand of power) meant I couldn’t see him, or the cyclist speeding on the pavement as I was about to step on it from the road I was crossing or most recently a cyclist who thought the red light stopping the cars and letting me cross the road didn’t apply to him (?) and in my panic moving forward I stumbled (but luckily didn’t fall) and burst into tears when I got safely home) mostly I’ve met people who are wonderful ( the man who stood behind me as I started crossing a road (I thought he had stopped to check his phone) and called out when I stopped on the “island ” that the other half was clear, the lady that saw me and another visually impaired lady (I was the blind leading the blind) on an adventure to a new place and I was trying to get my bearings looking through my phone’s camera when she realised I wasn’t taking a photo gave us directions, same adventure the road was extremely busy so a council gardener who was tending a floral display willingly helped us across the road, also on that adventure the bus driver let us know when we’d arrived at the right bus stop, the customers and shop assistants who help me find things out of my visual range… some of whom when I’m in the shop I used to work in are surprised I know the right are for them to look for the items they are seeking.)
    I’m going on a new adventure on Thursday I’m going bowling I will be taking a familiar bus ride but then I need to find the bowling alley just in case my map app plays up (like on the adventure mentioned above) I’m reviewing the route daily so hopefully I can get there without having to phone the people organising our trip to fetch me (I’m going with Sight Life a social “club” for the visually impaired).

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