Living with sight loss for the most part of my life has brought a fresh set of challenges to my door on more than one occasion. From the judgements, the barriers, the misconceptions and the long road to acceptance, it’s fair to say that it hasn’t been easy. However, over the years, I’ve learned what coping mechanisms work for me and I’ve also created a mental list for myself of things to keep in mind when I find some things hard to accept. Some of these aren’t necessarily rules but rather, they’re things that I like to remind myself of from time-to-time to help get me through and to motivate me to stay positive.
I find that I apply the things I’m about to list to many aspects of my life, not only my disability. I feel like it’s good to have these positive reminders in the back of my mind to motivate me to keep pushing forward in the midst of whatever challenge I might be facing.
Learn to be comfortable in your own skin
As I’ve grown up with my vision impairment, I’ve learned how I can embrace it, how I can use my disability to my advantage to help other people and in what ways it can make me stronger as a person. Sure, there have been times when I’ve not been the biggest fan of my disability and those times still occur from time-to-time, but I’ve learned how to be comfortable with it and how to love the little quirks that it gives me. I find that learning to be comfortable with my vision impairment and accepting that it’s something I can’t change has in time, helped to make me approach life in a more positive way.
Appreciate what you have
Although living with sight loss can prove to be frustrating at times, a reminder that seems to creep up in my mind quite often is that voice telling me to appreciate what I have, something I do everyday. Although I face many challenges due to my vision impairment and other health conditions alongside life in general, I always acknowledge the ways in which I’m lucky and I always remind myself to appreciate those things. I can’t change the fact that I live with sight loss so I’ve learned to embrace and appreciate the life that I’ve been given.
Don’t give up
For me, a fair bit of patience is needed due to living with a vision impairment since some tasks can take longer to complete and some things can just prove to be more challenging than it would for a fully sighted person. If I’m struggling with something or finding something difficult to do because of my eyesight, those are the times when I feel more frustrated and it’s quite easy to think that I should give up on whatever it is that I’m trying to do. However, something that I’ve always been told is to never give up, some things just take time, patience is virtue as they say.
Someone might need a little more time and support to reach their goals at times but don’t give up as it will all be worth it in the end.
Focus on the positives
Controversial to common beliefs, there are many aspects of my disability that I find to be positive, things that I love about my vision impairment. Although it can be easy to lose sight of the positive aspects sometimes and even though they can be a little harder to find and hold on to in some situations, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Something I’ve always tried to keep in mind is the positives that my disability brings into my life. Now, if I’m going through a rough patch, I’ll always encourage myself to think of the positives and focus on them in the midst of negativity.
Believe in yourself
Due to the misconceptions and preconceived ideas that surround sight loss and disability in general, it’s easy to take them to heart and believe that you’re incapable of doing or achieving something. I find it so much easier to cope with my vision impairment when I start to believe in myself and my abilities. Sight loss deprives me from being able to see the world like everyone else but it doesn’t deprive me of my skills, my passions or my abilities and once I started to realise that for myself and once I started to believe in myself and my strengths, the things I can’t do because of my vision impairment became more insignificant compared to the things that I can do.
Acknowledge the importance of educating others
As I’ve said a countless amount of times on my blog, there are many misconceptions surrounding disability so as a blind/VI person, I feel like I owe it to myself and fellow disabled people to educate others on the subject. I don’t do it because I want to catch people out, I don’t do it because I want to make people feel bad about the preconceived ideas they might have, I talk about the misconceptions and the things that I might find difficult because I want to raise the profile of such topics, I want people to learn from what I write and what I say.
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, don’t be afraid of the mistakes you might make, don’t be afraid of using the cane or any other mobility aid, don’t be afraid of showing weakness.
Ask for help when you need it
This is something that I’m still working on but it’s something that I find much easier nowadays than I used to. I’ve always been quite a shy person so asking for something and talking about what I need hasn’t always been my strong point but it’s something that I’ve encouraged myself to do more and more over time, as I’ve realised the importance of asking for help as I’ve grown up. Now, I’m not afraid to ask someone if I need to take their arm to be guided or to ask someone to read something to me. I don’t always need help but when I do, I always remind myself of the importance and benefit of it.
Just be you
Some people might not accept your disability, they might not know how to approach you because of it, these are things that I’ve experienced many times over the years, especially when I was at school and I often kept myself to myself because I didn’t know how to be myself in amongst people who sometimes judged me because of my vision impairment. In time, I realised the importance of just being me and embracing who I am.
Remember that your disability isn’t the only thing that defines you
My disability is only a small part of who I am. I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend, a blogger, a student and so much more. I’ve reminded myself of all of these labelling factors as I’ve grown up but something I’ve always been encouraged to do and a rule that I stand by is to acknowledge that my disability is a part of who I am and that it does contribute to building up my identity. However, it isn’t who I am and it’s a long way down the list of things I’d label myself as and I know the same goes for my family and friends. If you live with a disability, remember that it’s only one small part of your overall identity, don’t let anyone tell you any differently.
All of these things have played a part in the process of accepting my disability and coping with it on a day-to-day basis. They’re good reminders and things I stand by when I’m finding things to be tricky. They’re the things that I tell myself when I want to keep pushing forwards and they’re things that I’d remind anyone else of if they’re going through a hard time.
Life isn’t always easy and between you and me, I still struggle sometimes, but, having these rules/reminders in the back of my mind helps me to accept and embrace the life I’ve been given. I hope that talking about some of the things that help me will in time help others find some support and comfort in living with their disabilities or any other challenges they might be facing.
Do you have any rules you live by? Or maybe, just small reminders that motivate you to keep going? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear from you.