Introducing Ro. Some of you may already enjoy her blog . Sense of Humour. Finding the Silver Lining. Taking Life One Day at a Time. And yes, even the importance of Grieving a Loss. Ro demonstrates Resiliency and I hope to meet her and Jayden one of these days!
On April 24, 2008 everything began fading to grey. My trusty left eye was failing me after remaining to see after my right eye failed on May 28, 2006. I was diagnosed with MS then, the optic neuritis in my right eye a tell tale sign. I was told the vision would come back and just be a little muted, but it never did. I was told the left eye would be safe, but it wasn't.
Being a member of a 12-step program, everyone said acceptence was the answer. Acceptence? Accept that I would never see again? Really? Finally a good friend asked me if I could accept that some days would be harder than others. Yeah, that I could do. I could accept my blindness one day at a time, just like I take my sobriety one day at a time. I went blind on my three year sobriety anniversary, so now it's easy to keep track of both my sobriety and my blindness. ;)
It didn't take long for me to decide I didn't want to be miserable. Sure, I sat on the pity pot for about four months but when the depression wasn't lifting, I asked for help and got into therapy to grieve the loss of my eyesight. That was when I started to get my life back.
Humor was everything. The day I got home from the hospital, a friend came over to help my boyfriend remove a couch. He walked in the door and I exclaimed how nice he looked with purple hair. The joke helped to break the ice for him and I soon found that joking about my blindness helped my loved ones begin to cope themselves.
I used to say I'd never see thirty, because of how wild I used to live. I got sober at twenty-six and started thinking I might just see thirty. And then I went blind at twenty-nine. Guess I was right. ;)
When people would tell me they didn't know how I did it, I would say, "you never know what you can handle until you have to handle it". I thought I had to be humble. My therapist pointed out that yes, while humility is a good trait, I needed to acknowledge my strengths. I soon discovered that no, not everyone would handle going blind the way I did. To this day I find people who still live in a bubble because of their visual impairment. That's just not me.
In February of this year, I got on a plane to go to Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael. I wasn't yet blind two years. When I was newly blind I swore I'd never go there to get a guide dog. Leave my boyfriend? Get on a plane? Blind? Are you mad? But it didn't take long to taste independence when I started getting comfortable with my white cane, and I wanted more. So off I went. Now I have my amazing yellow lab Jayden, and the world has opened up even more.
I refuse to let my blindness get me down. I have an Apple computer with a built in screen reader that I learned on my own after discovering how much Windows screen readers cost. I listen to baseball games on my computer, I blog, I twitter, I Facebook. There's nothing I can't do aside from drive and quite honestly I'm grateful to not have the headache of a car. ;)
Life is what you make of it. Sure I can't gaze at the sky and watch a thunder storm roll in, but I can ask for descriptions, feel the electricity in the air, smell the approaching rain, listen to the roar of the wind and booming thunder, and imagine the sights. I find ways to see.
One day at a time, my life has gotten more beautiful than I ever expected. It took going blind for me to really see. How's that for a silver lining? :)
Share your story of Resilience. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org