A cup of coffee and a pair of gold frame glasses on a white table
Disability

Visual impairment and Mental health

10th October 2019

Today is World Sight Day.

As I’ve explained on here, I was born with my eye conditions, and have been registered blind since the age of 3. To recap, I have congenital Nystagmus as well as Astigmatism.

Today is also World Mental Health Day. I have seen loads of tweets celebrating and raising awareness of both Mental Health and Sight Loss, sometimes together which is what I wanted to talk about.

Being born with a visual impairment can sometimes be difficult, but being the person I am and having been told on multiple occasions how I am “determined” makes me think, do I have to always look like I know what I’m doing? The answer is definitely no!

It took me a while to learn how to use my white cane properly (it’s really not that simple, trust me – I still used to watch where my feet were so I didn’t trip, but that is my canes job!).I started using my cane due to feeling invisible as people didn’t know I had a visual impairment – since using my cane it has taken me a while to accept that I needed help, and facing the stigma that comes with it.

I often find people’s attitudes and actions towards those of us with visual impairments can be frustrating although some are positive too. This is when I have to be my own advocate and make sure my views are heard, as well as educating others (what I hope my blog will do!)

Through the power of social media and blogging Chloe, Elin, Holly and Amy (to name a few) are all trying to educate everyone about living with our visual impairments – please go check out their blogs!

As well as this, it can be quite isolating, and can in turn lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety – both of which I have experienced in some way or another. Travelling – one of the main things that makes me feel quite anxious although I am getting better at travelling independently and not letting it get to me.

With the help of charities such as the RNIB, Nystagmus Network and Moorfields Eye Hospital they are helping people with visual impairments live fully independent and accessible lives – through research and fundraising, breaking down barriers and stigmas surrounding visual impairment.

If you are reading this and are experiencing any Mental Health difficulties, please seek help or speak to someone – it does help. Together we can all help to support each other, whatever difficulties we are facing.

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