Tags: Center training, depression, lack of sleep
6 weeks. 6 full weeks until I’m done at the center. Has it really been that long? Is it really only that short of a time away? I may be freaking out a bit. There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time. I’m worried and excited to go home. Worried that I’ll revert to old habits and excited because I miss my spouse and cats desperately.
Today my anxiety level was raised quite a bit. It was time for drops. Where each of us are dropped off somewhere and our task is to find our way back to the center. I’m generally not too worried once I’m out of the vehicle but the driving around beforehand is the freakiest. I get so worked up to the point of tears. It’s awful and I hate it. But as soon as I got out of the car I knew I was downtown and it didn’t take me long to get where I needed to go. Got a coffee while waiting for the bus. Then made my way to the center. I’m still shaking from the anxiety and adrenaline from the exhilaration of knowing where I was.
I realize I haven’t talked much about what I’ve been doing lately because I’m going through so many emotional changes that it’s easy to forget the other accomplishments. So I’ll give an update.
Food I’ve made: vegetarian chili, lemon bars, coconut macaroons. All were delicious and I may have shoved the coconut macaroons into my face so fast that I felt ill afterwards.
Also I have started a sewing project where I’m making a crochet hook holder out of a washcloth. You don’t even know how hard t is to sew a straight line with a machine. It’s super freaking hard. After looking online for some tips I’ve made a pattern out of a sheet of Braille. Making a row of the letter k and sewing in between.
Shop class: things are going well. I’ve used a hand held sander, a biscuit cutter, the chop saw, and I’ll let you know what my project is when it’s all done.
Braille: still moving along nicely.
Cane travel: I’ve been going downtown a few times and having to find addresses with a fellow student/staff trainee and then finding the way back to the apartments.
Computers: I’ve been doing well using the screen reading program JAWS and I can surf almost as fast as I can sighted. But seriously web developers? Get your act together. Make your shit accessible. It’s not too hard.
I’ve been networking with some artists and have an opportunity to show a piece of art this summer so that’s exciting.
I’ve been having a real rough week after an amazing weekend with my fantastic friends and my wonderful spouse. It was so hard to come back an I’m having a hard time getting my head back into the swing of things. Just floating through each moment hoping I can make it through. Sleep has been especially difficult. I have maybe slept 4-5 hours a night. And I’ve been straining my eyes reading print because I can read it faster and I need te escape.
Here’s hoping you’re all having a wonderful day and week. You all deserve it and I wish you all the best. I could really use a hug. So I offer one to you all. Thanks for reading. *Big hugs*
Tags: blind, darkness, Happiness, light
I may be losing my sight slowly now but I think I have been blind my whole life.
For so long I have lived in the darkness, shrouded in my fear of the world and how it saw me. How it would treat me. How it could treat me. How I thought it was going to treat me.
We base our view of the world on our interactions with it.
I have been around of a lot of negative people and experienced many negative things. These things build up over the years and can cover your sight. Causing you to be blind against anything that could be a good thing.
Every once in a while you try to put on some rose colored glasses and hope to see something beautiful in the world around you. You try. You try so hard.
But at the same time you’re too afraid to look at something beautiful. It doesn’t feel real.
That familiar darkness that has been building up along your spine and encircling you with negativity is safe.
It is always with you so it is a comfort to be covered in it. It’s like a sticky tar you can’t get rid of. But it knows you. It knows everything that has ever happened to you.
It knows of the boy who made fun of you because of how you danced that one time…. So it tells you not to do that ever again….
It knows the time a boy from class who lived up your street told everyone he felt an earthquake every time you walked around the house… So it reminds you that you are fat an unlovable….
It knows every. single. time. you were turned down, rejected or dropped to the side and remembers it all in detail so it brings it up out of the blue to remind you that no one thinks you’re worth anything.
And you believe it.
There’s too much evidence not to.
It makes you suspect everyone. It makes you wait for the terrible things. It makes you expect the terrible things. It makes you embrace the terrible things. It makes you see terrible things in every little thing that happens every single day.
Yet, you still return to it.
I am my own abuser. I am my one bully. No one hates me like I do.
Layer after layer of horrible sticky tar has been slowly removed over the years thanks to counseling and thanks to being here at the center.
I’m some place where no one cares that I have pink hair, that I have a face full of piercings, that I’m overweight, that I’m tall. No one cares if I’m attractive to look at or not.
It is beyond freeing.
I’m in a place where they are talking just to me. Seeking out my opinions. Sharing jokes. Checking on me. Offering an ear, a shoulder.
Just me. The actual me.
At first the slimy, clingy tar of darkness did it’s normal work of making me react poorly to knocks on the door, calls on the phone. All I saw was annoyances… people are annoyances waiting to cause pain to you… is what my comforting tar beasty tells me. It builds walls as tall as the sky.
I had written for my counselor a chat with the tar beasty and then I tried to write a conversation with the positive side of me.
She was extremely hard to talk to. But what I got mostly was that she actually was there. I do have a positive side to me. A side that actually wanted me to be happy. And also believed I deserved to be.
Sometimes a single moment can change everything. A ray of light that is too bright can suddenly appear from nowhere. Maybe it was a beam that consisted of multiple small rays that converged at the right time to be magnified and obliterate the tar from my eyes.
A suggestion that change can be made.
A romantic scene from a tv show.
A constant stream of creative release.
A promising word about your future career.
It can be anything that suddenly makes you so happy that nothing else matters.
Now I get it.
I am allowed to be happy and I am. I am allowed to be loved and I am by not only others but also by me.
I fully have been enjoying my friends without any fears that I was just kept around because I was another warm body.
I realized that for so long I have been so worried and focused about how I was being perceived and seen that I wasn’t showing my love and appreciation to my partner. I was too caught up in the labels of “husband” and “wife” that I forgot what really mattered.
I can be happy.
I deserve to be happy.
You deserve to be happy.
Love what you love. Don’t worry about what others are thinking. Love what you love.
I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m currently worrying about how cheesy this post may seem. But I’m happy I’m doing it.
Mistakes happen. You will get hurt. But it’s not the end of everything good. There is so much good and beauty in this world but tar is so very hard to see through. But you can do it. If I can find a calm center of happiness, then you can.
You deserve it.
Tags: angsterbation, Braille, eyes
I have finished my 4th week here at the center for the blind and I am in a very different place than when I started. I was miserable at first. So amazingly miserable. What with having an actual schedule, meeting new people, spending most of the day under sleep shades, amongst many other various stressor. It was and continues to be difficult. Not only being away from home and all things familiar, but also with being back in an environment where there are expectations. I have random moments of anxiety on my way to various classes and although during the classes I am mostly able to relax and enjoy the learning experience.
I wish there was some job where I could be paid to put needless stress on myself.
I would be super rich.
We had “drops” the other day. Each student is driven around to confuse them and then dropped off and told to find their way back. You are only dropped in a location where you have traveled before (except your very final one) and challenged to find your way back to the center. I was so scared and stressed out about it that I woke up on the day of covered from head to toe in a stress rash with hives. I was miserable. It’s been over a week since and I’m almost fully healed from it.
Although it took a rather long time and a bit of help my fellow drop-ee we found our way back. I was terribly upset. I wanted to do well. Let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than perfect. I keep putting “perfect” as the only way that I can accept anything I do as being “good” or “successful”.
Not so surprised I’m a terribly good stresser now are you?
During a day where I felt I did really horrible because I walked up a couple driveways just a little bit and walk a little to the right when I cross streets, my teacher had a chat with me. He talked about how some students want to be perfect every time. He challenged me to talk about what exactly was negative about what I had done that day. I tried with all my might but couldn’t fully point out anything because I was able to realize what I was doing while I was doing it and correcting it. I didn’t walk out into the middle of the street, or into anyone or anything, I made it to my destination completely physically unscathed. Trying to see the positive through the cloudy and clingy negative is difficult but actually not hard as I thought when I actually focused.
Yes I do and will have bad days, where I feel horrible before, or during, or after a class, but I will need keep finding a positive element. Even if there is a small one I’m able to come up with, then I will be okay.
One thing I have accomplished is walking completely around the block that the center is located on. It’s just under a quarter of a mile. I did it without going into a street, not going too far up a driveway, and all in one piece. I may have taken a long time to do it, but I did it.
I did ask a lady where the sidewalk was once when I was a little bit up a driveway and having a confused moment. Since I heard her voice calling out to help me I asked….. then she said it’s over there and grabbed my arm and led me. I told her thank you but I’m in training and needed to find it, but she led me anyway. I’m not sure English was a first language but it still made me feel temporarily upset. I managed to shake it off and continue on.
Other things I’ve done the past two weeks was grocery shopping for class, baking a coffee cake, going to an escape room (and successfully escaping), drilled holes, and learning how to read on a braille note.
The braille notetakers are awesome, I would love one but they are super expensive (thanks to supply and demand
and also horrible people profiting off the blind.
Check this out: Click Here This is the one I am borrowing from the center. I’m starting to read Matilda by Roald Dahl. Something a little easier than normal to read as I want to get my reading wpm up. With not having much practice I’m at about 11 wpm. I really want to get that puppy up.
I feel like I should be talking about something philosophical and grandiose, but I’d just like to tell you all (myself included) to live in your moments. Any bad moments are just that, bad moments. You’ll be okay in a couple, few, some, many moments. But you will be ok.
Tags: angsterbation, blind, Braille, click ruler, eyes, sleep shades
Tomorrow will be the end of my first two weeks of being at the center for the blind in Lincoln, Ne and it has most certainly been an interesting trip. I thought I would dread putting the sleep shades (blind fold type device) every day and after lunch but it hasn’t been as bad.
The first day or two were the worst. I didn’t want to spend that much time in the sleep shades and I was hating the social aspect of meeting new people and having to spend the majority of the day with them. I was just plain miserable.
But I am surprised that I feel better about it for the most part. There are definite things I am not looking forward to, such as how long it will take before I can be considered for graduation. I also am having a terrible time with sleep. New/different bed, no cats, no husband, different sounds, and lack of a pattern are all to blame.
I have homework some nights, I have various meetings throughout the week and I also once a month have to take part in the cleaning of the common areas at our apartment location. Also, I have to consider the fact that there is a movie theater on the same block as me and my massive addiction to the new Star Wars movie. (6 times as of writing this!) Not to mention cooking my own meals for lunches and dinners and keeping the apartment clean for weekly walk-throughs. I don’t have a lot of time to de-stress and gather my energies for the next day.
It should be ok once I figure out a workable sleep/work schedule. Just a matter of getting it done…….. I just jerked up from falling asleep for a sec there; it seems to be my new move now. Head banging to the sleep metal music playing in my head.
I have been working hard and I’ve done a bunch of things so far and I’ve been told I’m doing well so I’ll take their words for it. Here is a list of sorts for what I have done under sleep shades so far: navigate the center’s building, walk outside to the two bus stops we use, walk over to a nearby footpath bridge, navigate and use escalators and bus, fried eggs, made brownies from a mix, washed dishes, thread a needle, sewed on a button, learned a new way to measure pieces of wood, practice on the new UEB standard of braille, brailled notes, start to learn a screen reader program called JAWS, there may be more but I can’t remember right now.
Still nodding off and fighting sleep. I really should go to sleep now…..
If you think this stuff is not at all difficult, I challenge you to try some of these things blindfolded (safely) and then tell me how you did.
This is incredibly mentally and physically and emotionally challenging.
I have only cried twice so far. (4 if you count my hearing of both David Bowie’s and Alan Rickman’s deaths.) Once when I was after navigating to a different part of the building, and I cried to myself without anyone really realizing. The other was this evening because my braille homework was just not clicking for me so I became extremely flustered and upset.
I know I will cry at other times but that’s ok. This is tough.
But I have become mostly accustomed to the people around me. Either they’re going through the same things as I am or they’re teaching it and have gone through this training as well. So they know what they’re talking about when giving people reasons to attend the center and how to empathize with what we are going through. Pretty much everyone is nice and understanding so that helps a lot.
I am going home for the weekend and will take some breaths and enjoy the three days at home before trying out a new week at the center.
Gotta keep on keeping on.
If you’d like to see how I’m learning to measure things in shop class here is a video I found about the tool we use. the video is a bit long and it is not the best filming but if you watch for a bit you will see a pretty cool device.
Watch this video on Youtube (link should open in a new tab/window)
P.S. I have a piece of valuable advice to give to sighted people everywhere. Please, if you see a blind person and they ask where a place/thing/person is please, for the love of whatever you believe in, do not immediately take their arm and lead/drag them to the location/thing/person. Use your words, cardinal directions, amazing eyesight, and creative minds to help. Or if you have a problem with that, ask if that blind person would like your physical help. We are not helpless babies that don’t understand. We are human beings trying to make it in a sighted world. We have our own skills and ways of getting around. Even if you are embarrassed for yourself or that person while they are seeming to be lost in a room do not assume that that person is dumb or lost. We have to take longer to see what a room is like, and where we need to be.
I am not a UPS package needing to be delivered.
I am a human being trying to make do as independently as I can, just like you.
I deserve that respect as much as you do.