Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
The loss of vision causes an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and the loss of self-worth. A person losing vision must start over and learn how to survive without sight. Overcoming blindness is a difficult task but definitely not impossible. Finding ways to smile, be happy and experience peace again become a priority. One method of recovery and a starting point for rebuilding one’s life is learning to take pride in completing simple tasks.
You’re sitting in your favorite chair and decide to go to the kitchen and get a beverage. A simple task people do every day. Now, think about sitting in your favorite chair and covering your eyes and doing the same task. Sighted people would immediately feel uneasy, lost and helpless. A blind person with training would not think twice about completing the task.
The purpose of this article is to help the sighted community gain an understanding of how a blind person completing a simple task of pouring a drink can help overcome a feeling of helplessness and loss of self-worth.
The best way of understanding the purpose of this article is by doing the challenge below.
Here’s the challenge:
Before entering your kitchen place, sleep shades or a blindfold over your eyes. Locate two glasses (one larger than the other); fill the larger glass with water from the sink. Then, try pouring the filled glass of water into the second smaller glass without spilling or overfilling the empty glass.
**Note: Think about the emotions that you feel when trying to organize this task in your mind without the use of your eyes. Pay attention to your level of frustration and your desire to quit. Keep trying until you complete the task no matter how many times it takes.
Realizations from the challenge:
You realize that you must think about every movement you make. Since you no longer use vision to judge distances, location and natural movement you must mentally visualize what you are doing. Similar to daydreaming, you see everything in the sub-conscious and try to match the movements in reality. You must mentally mark and remember where the glasses are located. You must learn to control the speed and height of the hands when reaching and finding the glasses otherwise, you knock over the glass. You quickly learn when picking up and sitting down the glasses to make sure you do not miss the edge of the counter/table where the glasses are located otherwise, you will be cleaning up broken glass.
**Soon, you realize you must figure out ways to prevent spilling the water and not overfilling the glass.
What techniques did you use to solve the spilling and overfilling issues? Visit the Vision Issues Forum and post a thread describing your techniques.
Practice, Patience and Determination:
Success for a visually impaired person begins with the first step. Using determination, training, education and patience you slowly learn to accomplish daily tasks. Something as simple as getting a beverage from your kitchen without spilling, overfilling or breaking the glass become sources of motivation, pride and a reason to smile. The feeling of accomplishment and reward received from completing the task makes you realize that you can do tasks without sight. You must learn how to do the task mentally and then complete the task with touch, sound and smell.
The feeling of accomplishment always brings a smile to my face, makes me feel pride and builds my self-worth. The success motivates me to attempt other tasks. Each small accomplishment develops a desire to accomplish more.
Doing Too Much:
My greatest challenge today is explaining to my sighted family members, friends and helpful strangers how doing things for me that I can do brings back the feelings of helplessness. When someone asks me if I need help and I say “no” and the person helps me anyway – I feel sad, useless and that I serve no purpose but act as someone who others have to help.
The Best Way to Help a Blind Person:
If you really want to help a blind person then simply, ask them if they need help. If they say, “no” then allow them to attempt to do the task. As a concerned sighted person you can serve a helpful purpose.
You should become an observer of possible dangers that a blind person may not recognize. Helping to prevent an injury of a blind person by observing for possible situations is the best way to help.