Today was world mental health day. Before my diagnosis of Stargardts, I had struggled with anxiety, panic attacks and borderline agoraphobia on and off since the age of 14. I was no stranger to being somewhere completely safe, but going into a panicked meltdown and feeling absolutely terrified for no reason. I had many years of therapy for this, counselling and muddled on through life not really telling anyone except my mum and husband for fear of people judging me. In February 2015, my wonderful husband went out and got me a dog. I named him Loco the Labrador and he was perfect and from the day he came home he changed my life. He got me out of the house and into the fresh air. The further I walked with him, the more my anxiety lessened. He became my companion when nobody else was home and he became my comfort when out on my own.
A few things happened in the beginning of 2017 that re triggered my anxiety. My niece was born very poorly with a hole in her heart and it had taken its toll on our whole family, so I decided to go for a course of hypnotherapy, which really helped and eased my anxiety no end.
I am so very grateful for the hypnotherapy I had, as a few months after that and out of know where, I was told I was going blind. I can’t even begin to explain to someone not going through vision loss, the mental torture it can create. I also dread to think if I hadn’t of had everything in place at the time of my diagnosis, how debilitating my anxiety would have become. I have reached so many low points with my anxiety to a point I never thought it would ever get better and sometimes I felt like giving up. After my diagnosis, my anxiety was sky high, but after the initial shock wore off, I managed to practice everything I had learnt before it. Mindfulness, breathing exercises, having small goals and things to look forward to, but most of all I found admitting it to people the best thing. Hiding it made everything worse and it only puts pressure on you not to panic. If you tell someone and they don’t seem interested or bothered, tell someone else, there are people out there who will listen, there is help out there, even going to see your GP or contacting MIND, someone is out there to listen to you. My point of this post is I have hit rock bottom before and never thought I would recover, but here I am, with a diagnosis that is very difficult to live with, getting on with things and if I do say so myself, doing it quite well ♥️ never give up, the scary feelings will pass eventually and it’s ok not to be ok, believe in yourself.
I did this article with Northampton Association for the Blind today for World Mental Health Day. I thought I would share for anyone else dealing with vision loss. The tips I have listed in the article are what help me to cope on a daily basis.