For those of you who don’t know me personally, I started blogging in 2017. At the time I did not have my own blog, but I wrote many posts for my local sight loss charity. I was and still am very passionate about making people aware of the impact that losing your sight can have on your whole life. It is not just a case of “My eyes aren’t working properly anymore, but it’s OK, nothing else has changed”. For me, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Losing my sight changed EVERYTHING.
When I first started to lose my sight I worked as a Nursery Nurse. I was off sick at the time with a badly sprained ankle. I was just about ready to go back to work when my sight started to deteriorate. Over a mterrer of weeks it got to a point where I could barely see a thing. I would say that I couldn’t see more than a metre in front of me before it turned into thick fog. There was no way that I could go back to work. I just wouldn’t be safe. My employer was really good with me while I was having tests and trying to figure out what was going on. But it got to the point where I started to realise that I wasn’t going back to work any time soon, if ever. That was the only job that I had ever done. What was I supposed to do now? I had been trying to find work doing something different for a while, just because I fancied a change. But nobody was interested, I didn’t have experience doing anything else so nobody would give me a chance. So it was hard enough to find something new anyway even when my sight was OK. What was I supposed to do? That work was all I had ever known. I really missed the children that I had been looking after. I really missed the people that I had been working with. I really missed having that independence and time out of the house. I didn’t even get a proper send off because I just never went back after being off sick. For quite a while after leaving my job I used to have dreams of still being at work. We were always outside and the chidlren kept trying to escape and I had to keep pulling them back away from the gate or stop them from climbing over the fence. As soon as I had got one child I would notice another one who I had to run over to. I used to wake up feeling so exhausted, like I really had just done an eight hour shift. This question kept coming into my head though. “If I’m not a Nursery Nurse now, what am I?”.
I was never really independent oroutgoing, but I did love the freedom of being able to go out on my own and just do whatever I wanted. After work I used to wonder around the city centre, call in a few shops, go for something to eat and then go and sit by the fountains in the sun. I loved it because there was no rush for anything. I could just do things in my own time and have that time to myself to clear my head after a busy morning at work. When my sight got worse, I didn’t have that freedom anymore. I didn’t feel safe going out on my own, especially not ouside my local area. I felt so trapped because I just couldn’t go anywhere on my own. I hated it. After a long time of feeling trapped I eventually agreed to have cane training which did help to boost my confidence a lot. I was able to get the bus and go into the city centre on my own. But when I was there, I still wasn’t confident enough to go in any shops on my own. There were to many people that just didn’t give me the space I needed. Plus I couldn’t see what I was looking for anyway. So unless it was going somewhere like a bakery where they just handed over what I wanted, then it was pointless me trying to go shopping on my own anyway. If I need to do any shopping then I do it online. Since I had the cane training though my confidence has got a lot worse again for a few different reasons. Over the years I have managed to find new forms of freedom. Blogging is one of them and recently I have really got into having spa sessions at home. Just me in my room with a nice candle and some lovely smelling spa products. So even though I can’t get out on my own, I have managed to find that peace again.
For quite a while it felt like my relationships with everybody had changed. My family and friends weren’t my family and friends anymore, they were my carers. It felt like going out with me wouldn’t be fun anymore, it would be hard work. It probably is some of the time. It took me a long time to realise that everybody always looked after me anyway, because they care about me and that’s what people who care do. Now I do need more help and I do appreciate that it probably is draining and hard work, but it doesn’t seem to stop people wanting to spend time with me. It took a long time for me to adjust to needing so much help, and everyone else to adjust to what help I needed and when I needed it. But now, we’ve got a good thing going on. My close friends and my family all know when I need help and they just do it without either of us needing to ask or cause a fuss. And I feel comfortable enough now to ask for help if there is anything extra that I need. But because there isn’t that fuss and worry there any more abouut what I need help with, it doesn’t feel so much like they are my carers now. And I don’t feel so much like I am a burden to people. We’ve all just accepted things for how they are and learned our own way round things together. So because of this, things feel more normal.
It changed how I felt about myself. I went from having a career and hopes and dreams of doing something really meaningful one day. to not knowing who I was or where I was going. When I was doing my childcare training I never set out to stay a Nursery Nurse. I wanted to do it for a while as I was doing my training and then move on up the career ladder. I always wanted to make a difference in some way. I wanted to work in child protection, or with children who have disabilities or learning difficulties, or something in a children’s hospital. I always dreamed of working with children and families who would really appreciate it and that I would come home feeling that my job was worthwhile. When I lost my sight, all of those dreams had just gone. Maybe there is still something I can do and I would love to think there is, but my confidence was just shattered. My whole life just felt shattered. I didn’t know who I was any more or what the future held for me. I really believed that whatever it was, I didn’t want it. I wanted my lold life back.
After a complete meltdown and a long recovery I realised that I had to start trying to move on. As hard as I wished, I was never going to get my old life back. I had to start trying to make a new life for myself. I started to get more involved with my local sight loss charity and they asked if I would like to volunteer and work on their blog. I didn’t really know anything about blogging, but their blog hadn’t been worked on in a while so I couldn’t really do any harm. Anything I was able to do would be progress. So I decided to give it a go and found my love for writing. I got some really lovely comments about it and I wanted to do more. I got a real thrill from it, and still do. I write a post and then get nervous, but excited as it gets published and people start to see it. Then sometimes I am lucky enough to get comments and likes which really means so much to me. Then that makes me want to do one bigger and better next time. I get the same thrill every single time I publish a post. Some people have even told me that some of my posts have helped them. This really does mean the world to me. If this is true and my writing has helped people, then I am doing what i always dreamed of. I’m just doing it in a different way to how I expected it to be. After two years of blogging I decided it was time to have my own blog. I do still write for the charity every so often and I do still volunteer for them doing other things. They helped me to create this new life for myself. My new life as a blogger. I don’t feel lost anymore. I know who I am and what I was meant to do. I used to write when I was a teenager, I wrote a diary and poems, but I never thought it would lead to anything. I never thought I was any good. It turns out that I’ve always had a thing for writing, I just didn’t realise.
xx ❤ xx