By Holly Bonner
People experiencing vision loss vary dramatically in the coping skills they use to confront this life altering change. Resilient individuals are both aware of social situations and their own emotional reactions to the behaviors of those around them. Another characteristic of resilience is the understanding that life is full of challenges. While we cannot avoid our sight loss, we can remain open, flexible, and willing to adapt to change.
As we enter a new year in 2020, Low Visions Specialists of Maryland and Virginia looks to be a resource for all our readers. We understand in order to manage feelings, it is essential to understand what is causing them and why. Resilient people can maintain control of their lives and are more apt to considering new ways to tackle everyday problems. Many of these attributes can be developed and strengthened. Here are some helpful skills to work on this new year if you or a loved one is coping with vision loss.
A Sense of Control: You must understand that you, and you alone, have control over your own life. It is best not to blame outside influences for your vision loss. Resilient people tend to have what psychologists call an internal locus of control. They believe that the actions they take will affect the outcome of an event. While some factors of our lives may be out of our control, it is important to know “we” have the power to make the choices that will ultimately affect our existence as low vision members of society.
Strong Problem-Solving Skills: Problem solving skills are essential. When a problem emerges, resilient people are able to spot the solution that will lead to a safe outcome. There are strategies that can help you manager you vision loss. If you lean on your resiliency to calmly and rationally look at your life, you will be able to envision a successful road to move forward.
Strong Social Connections: Whenever you’re dealing with a problem, it is important to have people who offer emotional support. Talking about the challenges you are facing can be an excellent way to gain perspective, look for new solutions, or simply express your emotions. Friends, family members, co-workers, and online support groups can all be potential sources of social connectivity. Having a good social support network will undoubtedly assist you in honing your resiliency skills.
Claim You Identity as a Survivor: You are “not” a victim of your sight loss. When dealing with your current ocular health, it is essential to view yourself as a survivor. Avoid thinking like a victim of circumstance and instead, look for ways to face the problem head on. If you stay focused on a positive outcome for your life, you will be able to move forward.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: Being resourceful is an important part of resiliency. However, it is also essential to know when to ask for help. During a crisis, people can benefit from the help of mental health professionals specially trained to deal with crisis situations. Other potential sources of assistance include:
- Books: Reading about people who have experienced and overcome a similar problem can be both motivating and good for ideas on how to cope.
- Online Message Boards/Social Media Groups: Online communities and social media can provide continual support and a place to talk about issues with people who have been in a similar situation.
- Faith Based Communities: Seeking spiritual or pastoral counseling in your chosen religious denomination may provide both a sense of peace and connection to others.
Low Vision Specialists of Maryland and Virginia wants to be a part of your journey towards resiliency in 2020! We are proud to sponsor the Sight-Loss Support Group of Greater Baltimore so that people with vision loss can meet in a safe and comfortable environment to:
- Share their experiences and emotions
• Make connections
• Learn coping strategies
• Discover resources
• Stay motivated
Monthly meetings take place at The Low Vision Shop, 2219 York Road, Suite 301A, in Timonium, MD 21093. Led by Diane Ducharme, a certified rehabilitation counselor, the group welcomes anyone who is blind, legally blind, or living with low vision. Diane believes passionately that loss of sight does not mean losing your vision for a meaningful life. Through group discussions, she helps you explore:
- Living life fully as a sight-impaired person
• Finding the right words to talk about your experiences with friends and family
• Gaining satisfying employment
• Continuing to be a productive member of society
Check out our next meeting to learn how the Sight-Loss Support Group of Greater Baltimore can help you feel less isolated and more empowered in your sight-loss journey this new year!
Do you have a blog suggestion? We’d love to hear and share your tips and experiences in a future 20/20 blog posts! Blog@LowVisionMD.org