Is Your Tiredness A Sign Of Something Serious?

Being tired is perfectly normal in some situations. For example, if you’ve been burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline at work and stay up way past your bedtime, it is a given that you will wake up feeling very sleepy the next morning. And you might have to deal with that tiredness throughout the whole day! Similarly, if you are particularly busy or take part in some very strenuous exercise in the morning, then your energy levels will probably drop, and you will feel quite lethargic in the afternoon.

However, if you are constantly tired without any real reason for feeling that way, it could be a sign or symptom of a much more serious condition. Worried that your lethargy and sleepiness could mean you are ill? Read on to find out more!

Young lady lying in bed with white sheets and bedding

Picture Credit

Depression

Tiredness is a symptom of regular depression, and bipolar depression. But what is bipolar depression exactly? It is similar to regular depression and most patients feel the same feelings of sadness and uninterest in the world. However, there are some other symptoms that can help differentiate between these two depressions. For instance, those who are bipolar suffer from mood swings and sometimes even psychosis. If this sounds like you, it is important you see a medical professional very soon.




Anemia

If you feel run down and generally under the weather alongside your tiredness, then the most probable explanation is that you are suffering from anemia. This is when you haven’t been getting enough iron in your diet and end up with a deficiency. It is most common in women, especially those who have been through the menopause. It is easily treated with iron tablets.

Diabetes

There are various symptoms of diabetes, and constant tiredness is one of them. Diabetes occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood or when there is not enough insulin being produced to control blood sugar levels. Other symptoms include a constant feeling of thirst and sudden weight loss.

Glandular Fever

Glandular fever is a viral infection and most commonly seen in young, teenage girls. The main symptoms include a sore throat, swollen glands, and high fever, but most patients also complain about tiredness as well. Even though most of the symptoms will go after four weeks, the tiredness can often affect the sufferer for at least a couple of months.

Coeliac Disease

Some people are unable to eat any form of gluten as they have coeliac disease. When coeliacs accidentally eat some gluten – found in foods such as bread, cereals, and pasta – then their body reacts badly, much like an allergic reaction. Tiredness is one of the most noticeable symptoms, alongside diarrhea and weight loss. There is also often a feeling of discomfort after eating any ingredients that contain traces of gluten.

As you can see, your body might be trying to tell you that your tiredness is a sign of an underlying condition. Think you are suffering from a serious condition? Then it’s a good idea to see your doctor as soon as possible!




Mental Illness: Seeking Help

Mental illness will affect almost everyone reading this post at some point. That could mean you develop a condition like depression, or it could mean someone close to you goes through that experience. Whatever the situation, you’ll want to know how to overcome the issue and get back to normal. While medication is the right course of action for some people, most of us just need to apply some self-help. With that in mind, you should consider some of the methods mentioned below. At the end of the day, drugging yourself doesn’t solve the problem. It just stops you from caring about it quite as much.

Clinic Counselling Session

Credit For photo

*Picture showing a counseling session in a clinic between two women.*

  • Try talking therapies

Sometimes you just need to spend time talking to an expert to overcome mental health issues. That is often the case if you suffer depression or anxiety. You might have bottled everything up for years because you can’t ask your friends for help. However, there are plenty of professionals willing to listen to anything you have to say. Considering that, ask your doctor for recommendations for local therapists. You’ll have to pay for their services, but it’s worth the expensive in many instances. Once you’ve worked through your issues, it’s much easier to recover and become a happy thinker again.

  • Get yourself a life coach

There is a misconception out there about life coaches. Most people think their services are only suitable for rich people. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of experts in that profession that don’t charge the earth for their advice. A life coach will consider all your problems before designing a plan of action. They’ll uncover the reasons you feel down at the moment, and then try to counteract them. If you’ve tried everything else, you have nothing to lose. Just search online for suitable professionals and then read reviews. That way, you can sort the wheat from the chaff and ensure you’re dealing with someone with a good track record.

couple

Credit for source
*A young couple sitting on a pier overlooking a lake where two ducks are swimming.*

  • Improve your existence

It might sound obvious, but most people seem to forget they can make positive changes without assistance. With that in mind, you should sit down with a pen and paper and work out what you don’t like about your life. You can then come up with a strategy for altering all those elements. If you hate your job, you need to retrain and look for something new. If you spend every evening feeling lonely, you should register on some dating websites. It’s not rocket science, and you could feel better instantly. You just need to take control of the situation.

Using the advice from this article, anyone with a common mental illness could improve their lives. You can’t sit around feeling down and expecting things to get better on their own. You need to take decisive action if you want to recover. Of course, medication can help some people to get their head in the right place. Just make sure you use the techniques mentioned on this page alongside any antidepressant drugs. Otherwise, you’re just prolonging the agony.

Blind Girl Hacks: How To Apply Your Make Up

Blind Girl Hacks: How To Apply Your Make Up.

The base:

Exfoliate

You should exfoliate your face once a week to keep your skin soft as well as ensuring there are no dead skin cells flaking when you apply moisturiser.

You can use specific scrubs that work with your skin tone. It is really important to use facial scrubs that work with your skin tone as it will help decrease skin irritation and spots.

Moisturise.

Once you have exfoliated your face and neck, gently pat your face dry with a clean towel.

Start by dabbing a pea sized amount of moisturiser to your forehead, cheeks, chin and neck.
Using your fingers rub the cream into your face in circular motions, making sure to cover your eyelids, nose and cupids bow. (The skin between your nose and top lip.)

If your face feels dry or the amount of cream used was not enough, apply more.

A ladies hand holding a glass jar of white moisturiser

Face:

Primer.

A primer is the base for your make up. Primer has a sticking agent in it called glyserine which is the base for your make up, it ensures your make up will last all day.
You can buy them as a spray or as a liquid which you apply by hand or with a brush.If you are not using a spray bottle, dot primer on your face as you would apply moisturiser. However do not rub it fully into the skin, leave it so it feels wet and slightly sticky to touch, this is called tacky. Doing this will allow your foundation to stay in place.

Smashbox primer

 

Foundation

 

There are 3 main types of foundation; liquid, mousse and powder.

Liquid: For those with dry skin.

Using the nozzle press down once onto the back of your hand. This should be enough to cover your face and neck.

Dip the tip of your foundation brush into the liquid,
Dot it around your face. 2 dots for your forehead and cheeks and 1 for your nose and chin.
Begin by using a stippling circular motion starting at the nose then move to the cheeks, chin and forehead.
Blend out to the edges of your face using short quick strokes in the same direction
Blend the edges using the stippling motion to blend along the hairline, jawline and ears.

Mousse: Mousse foundation is for normal skin.
This is a sort of thick cream. and is best applied using your fingers.

Using your index and middle finger gently scoop out the foundation. Mousse spreads far so a small amount will go a long way.
Dot your face using your two fingers2 dabs on the cheeks and forehead and 1 dab on the nose and chin.

Starting from the edge of your nose use your fingers to rub the foundation in circular motions.
Using your fingers ensures you cover your face completely and smoothly.
Continue with circular motions blending into your hairline, jawline and ears.

Powder:
For oily or combination skin.

Use a fluffy powder brush or buffing brush to apply your powder foundation.
Put the brush into the powder and swirl around 2 or 3 times.
Tap off the excess powder using the side of the compact.
From the center of your face swirl the brush in circular motions,
Blend outwards, if needs be count how many brush strokes you used to cover one side of your face and repeat on the other side.
Blend into the hairline, jawline and ears using circular motions.

Concealer:

Concealer is a way of highlighting the face and getting rid of dark circles and blemishes.
For dark under eye circles use a concealer that is 1 or 2 shades lighter than your foundation
If you have a lighter complexion use salmon tones

For blemishes or discolouration use a green or yellow concealer.
Make sure you are using the right concealer for your skin tone.
Starting from the bridge of your nosed finishing at the outer corner of your eye, draw and upside down triangle with the point finishing just above your lower eye socket.
Blend the concealer in by Gently patting the area; using your ring finger. This is your weakest finger and will not damage the delicate skin under your eyes.

If you have deep set eyes make sure to work the concealer up into the inside of your nose.This area is often missed and can leave you looking sleepy.

For a more natural daytime look and you just want to cover up your dark circles, use a lightweight concealer with a slight colour cancelling undertone. Dot the concealer and gently blend as mentioned above.
You can also use a brush to apply the concealer.

 

A conceler palette ranging from light white colours at the top to dark brown colours at the bottom

Blemishes:

Dab the concealer softly on the top of each blemish and around the blemish itself.
Blend out softly using a clean brush or cotton bud. .

Highlight and Contour.

Highlight

Highlighter makes your face look brighter,, more awake and gives you a glowy look.

You can use this alongside contouring or add a bit of bronzerto create a shimmery effect.
Draw a much smaller triangle between your brows with the base finishing where the eyebrows meet.

Draw a small line just under your eyebrow bone but but above the crease in your eyelid. This gives the illusion of larger eyes.

Draw a small line in the centre of your cheek.

Draw a small line along the bridge of your nose. This is where the light naturally hits your face but it also helps your nose look thinner, especially if you contour the sides of your nose.
Apply a thin line starting from the centre of your ear coming down diagonally towards the centre of your eye socket.
Apply a tiny amount of your highlighter to your cupids bow to make your lipstick look sharp.

 

Blusher

Blusher gives your face a healthy glow, making you look younger and more alive.
There are different types of blushers that come in several bright colours. Make sure you use colours that suit your skin tone and complexion.
To make your blush look most natural match the blusher with the type of foundation that you use.
For example if you use liquid foundation use a cream blusher.

There are 2 main places to apply blusher; the apples of your cheeks and your cheekbones.

Apples:
To find the apples of your cheeks smile, they are just beneath your eyes where your cheeks bulge. Good for slimmer faces for a healthy glow

 

Cheekbones:

They are just below the apples of your cheeks, you can find them with your fingers or a brush.

A plusher palette in a varay of pinks and oranges

 

Eyes:

Eye Eyeshadow

There are three main types of eyeshadow; cream, loose and pressed.

Cream these eyeshadows work best as a base color for powder eye shadow, or for solid, single-color coverage.
Loose these eyeshadows are often where you find the most color pigment, but can be messy and tricky to work with.
Pressed these eyeshadows are the most common type of shadow, because they blend easily without being too messy.

There are a selection of eyeshadow brushes out there, which do different jobs for applying make up to your eyes.
If you’re just getting started out with make up, I suggest getting 2 brushs that you can practice with.
* Stiff flat brush:
Use this to apply eyeshadow to your entire lid. This brush is best for picking up lots of pigment and distributing it over your entire eyelid.
* Soft stiff dome brush:
This is used for applying eyeshadow to your crease and blending it outwards.

Application:

Starting from the outer corner of your eye gently dab a nude colour across your lid using the stiff flat brush. Make sure to go no further than the crease of the lid.
The crease is the small gap between the top of the eyeball and the bottom of your brow bone. You can use your finger or the brush to find that space. Then sweep back and forth in a gentle rainbow motion to ensure the area is covered.
For a pop of colour, add a brighter eyeshadow in the centre of your lid and blend out using soft strokes in the Direction of the outer corner.

Using the tip of your brush apply a small amount of white/cream coloured shadow to the inner corner of your eye, use small soft strokes to blend out gently. This brightens your eyes considerably and gives the illusion of your eyes being bigger.

Eyeshadow palette ranging from light colours in the top left and darker shades to the bottom right

 

Eyeliner.

There are three types of eyeliners; pencil, gel and liquid.

Pencil: this gives your eyes a sharp and a defined look. Make sure to always sharpen your pencil before applying.

Gel: glides on easily and effortlessly. They usually come in a little pot with a brush.

Liquid: gives your eyes that bold look. Liquid liners are used for precision, they may come in a tube with a brush, or a pot and pen style.

The best way to apply any eyeliner is to: sit, place your elbow on a flat surface and rest your pinky on your cheekbone. This will keep your hand nice and steady during application.

Application:
Applying eyeliner can take a lot of practice so don’t be disheartened if it’s not perfect.

Start on the outer corner of your eye. Look the opposite way two the eye you are applying, for example if you are starting with your right eye, look across to your left. This actually Titans your eyes naturally so you can get a smoother finish.
Gently spot or dash along the eyeline until you reach the inner corner.
Connect the dots or dash to complete the line.

If you are totally blind this method may not work for you, so I would suggest starting from the outer corner and doing small strokes until you reach the inner corner of your eye. Again, this will take a lot of practice, and do not be disheartened if it is not straight or equal. Just ask a sighted person to give you guidance on correcting it

Once you feel confident putting eyeliner on your lower lids, feel free to try applying liner on your upper lids following the same process. I would suggest keeping your eyes closed and looking down, this naturally Titans the eyelid and gives a smoother finish.

What color eyeliner should you use for each eye colour?

Green:
Red is a complementary color for green, so choose shades that have red undertones, such as purple: Lavender, plum or violet. You can also use light brown or bronze.
Blue:
Colours that compliment blue are; purple, silver,, grey and brown.

Hazel:
Rich, autumnal colors like golds, browns, and greens as these colours would enhance the color of your eyes.

Brown:
Use shades of blue/purples and metallic tones of golds, browns, and bronze as these will make the eyes stand out

A selection of diffrent colour eye shadows

Mascara:

Choosing a mascara can become a bit of a minefield, but don’t be put off, you just need to simplify what it is you want from a mascara.
Do you want to volumise or lengthen your lashes?
What colour do you want? There are so many colours to choose from, but a popular choice is black, or brown for those who are fair skinned.

Do you sweat a lot or are you in an environment that’s damp or wet? If so, you will need a waterproof mascara.
You will also need a kind and gentle make up remover, but one that can tackle your water resistant lashes.

There are a number of different brands that range in price, drugstore to high-end. Once you have decided what type/colour you are going for, it’s time to shop around. Use the Internet, friends/family and even beauty representatives to discuss your wants and needs in a mascara.

Curl your eyelashes first.

Start by curling your lashes with a lash curler. Using your thumb and forefinger open the eyelash curlers. Keeping your eye open, place the curler at the base of your upper lashes.
Close the curler gently onto your lashes, bringing your finger and thumb together, and close your eye. Hold it in place and gently tilt your wrist up so the handle is at 90° to your eye. Hold for a few seconds then gently release by pulling your thumb and forefinger apart.

Application:
Before applying any I make up you should use primer.
Primer for your eyes is invaluable. It helps keep your eyeshadow intact, so you do not need to reapply during the day.

Taking the tube of mascara, swirl the wand around to coat the bristles with the mascara properly. Make sure you’re not pumping your wand into the tube repeatedly. This pushes air into the tube where bacteria contaminates the wand. this also makes the mascara clumpy, and it dries out faster.

Open your eyes as wide as you can and look towards the ceiling; starting at the roots, apply the mascara with a wriggling motion. This ensures that there is more volume at the roots, and your lashes don’t feel weighed down.

Place your other hand under your eye to help guide your dominant hand in, so you can find your lashes.
Alternatively, buy sample packs of mascara so the wand is shorter and the bristles are smaller, this can help when you are first learning to apply mascara




There are 3 ways to apply make up to your eyebrows; brow mascara, eyeshadow and brow pencil.
You can buy eyebrow mascara from anywhere that sells make up, eyebrow mascara is essentially a miniature version of mascara for your brows.
After getting rid of any XS on your wand, start from the inner corner of your brow and do short strokes through the eyebrow hair.

For those who would like to try darkening their eyebrows, but don’t yet feel confident enough, using a brow mascara or pencil, you can use your eyeshadow that matches the colour of your hair.
To do this; dip a thin eye brush into your eyeshadow palette, and tapping off any XS.
Starting from the inner corner of your bro follow the shape of your natural brow using small strokes of the brush until you reach the tip.

Pencil:
Hold a pencil point up and vertical against your nose to see where your eyebrow should begin. The edge of the pencil that is closer to your nose marks the line where your brow should start.

Locate the ideal end point of your brow, which should be at a 45-degree angle from the outer corner of your eye. Still holding the pencil against the side of your nostril, pivot the point of the pencil away from your nose and to the outer corner of your eye. That is where the tail of your eyebrow should be.
you are trying to draw what looks like many individual hairs, Giving a natural feathered look .

Lips.

There are several types of lipsticks, some include; satin/sheer, matte, liquid, Cream and gloss.
Saturn/Sheer: These are oil base lipsticks that moisturise lips, but need to be reapplied often.
Matte: these are bright and bold lipsticks that give a flat and non-shiny look.
Cream: good for women with small lips, it gives the fuller lip affect. It is not shiny but gives a creamy look.
Gloss: gives the lips a shine and enHances th shape. Good for women who have small or thin lips.
Liquid:
It contains the pigment of a lipstick and the slide and Sheen of a gloss.

It’s recommended that you find a lipstick that is 2 shades darker than your natural lip. To test this out put a small amount of lipstick on your bottom lip and see if it is 2 shades darker than your top lip..

Many women wrongly believe they can’t wear red lipstick. Red lipstick is timeless and bridges age and culture. The secret to choosing the right red lip color is in the undertones. Pink-skinned girls should opt for cherry red. Those with olive skin can wear fire-engine red. Dark skin looks great with deep reds.

Application:

You should always apply lip balm before beginning your lip make up. Depending on the lipstick you are going to use, you may need to dab off the XS with a tissue.
This moisturises your lips, and also acts like a primer for the lipstick.




Lip liner:

Choose a nude or a colour that matches your lipstick perfectly
To get the best look you will want to make your lips taut over your teeth and opening your mouth wider than usual.
Begin by making a cross on your upper lip at the point of your cupids bow.
From there use small thin strokes and follow the entirety of your upper lip line, making sure to go right to the corners of your mouth.
For your lower lips start from the corner of your mouth and work your way in to the plumpest part of your lip you can repeat this on the other side if your hand isn’t steady enough.
Lipliner gives your lips definition and also stops your lipstick from running, or bleeding, as it is known.

Lipstick:

To give your lips definition, repeat the cross at your Cupid’s bow.
Slowly blend the lipstick over your upper lip ensuring that you keep within the lip liner, and follow down to the corner of your mouth.
On your lower lip start from the corner of your mouth and blend to the centre of your lip.
Rub your lips together; this makes sure your lipstick is blended equally and has a natural finish.
If you feel there is too much lipstick, fold a piece of tissue in half and gently clamp your mouth around it. This will take of any excess, and is called blotting.




***I hope this post has been useful, giving you basic knowledge of make up application.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read any more tips or guides, please just let me know 🙂

******A massive thank you to my gorgeous sister, who not only is my very own make up artist, but helped me write this guide. Ensuring I explained it in an easy to follow manner 🙂
Love you bro xxx

Friendship, Relationship, Love

Gary and Sassy cuddling together on a bench. photo taken from behind with a lighthouse off to the left.

I never thought i’d end up with Gary, in fact, neither of us ever thought it would happen…

We met at University when he joined in 2012, both my Uni housemates met him on nights out during Freshers week, at separate times, and before long he joined our friendship group.

He and I clicked straight away, and it was nice to have another male within the group. Gary wasn’t like a lot of the other Freshers, he wasn’t the biggest party goer and was mature for his age, which I think is why our friendship blossomed and the group felt so relaxed around him.

We hung out, texted, stayed at each others houses and gave each other relationship/ dating advice, it was plutonic. Our friends all joked and said if we ever lived together, we would get together, but we laughed it off and ignored their comments; we didn’t see each other like that.

And this is where the story gets interesting…

It was my housemates’ last year at Uni (it would have been mine too, but that is for another story), our lease was due to run out and I was frantically searching for a place to live as a singular student that I could afford, with no luck whatsoever, Gary and 3 of my other Uni friends had all agreed I could stay at theirs until I found a place, it’ll only be about a week I said, so i’ll be out of your hair in no time!

Gary and Sassy both laughing. Sassy with her hands covering her face and Gary stood behind her grinning

3 months went by before I finally found somewhere ! Needless to say Gary and I grew closer, spending more time together: hanging out, eating together, and because of my sight loss he even helped me go shopping. Being blind and moving to a new area takes a lot of mobility and energy to get where you want to be. I was most grateful for his support, friendship and sense of humour at that time!

It literally came from nowhere, one night we were playing drinking games, and when the others had left the room he randomly just kissed me.
I was in total shock, but for the strangest reason it just felt right…

Gary and I moved in together as a couple after his student lease ran out, and we’ve been attached at the hip ever since.

He’s been my rock, confidant and my best friend for as long as i’ve known him, it’s just intensified since being together. He has been at my side through the toughest 5 years of my life, 3 of which has been as my partner.

We are a very happy family unit, spending the majority of our weekends rambling and chasing our gorgeous pup Ida!
Currently we are saving for our first house and plan to move where his family live, although, we have made a happy life four ourselves here.
I can’t wait to start the next chapter of our relationship and eventually be his Wife! ❤

sassy touching noes with Ida the guide dog

Disability Q&A #16 Glen Sheader

Hello and welcome back to my #DisabilityQ&A Campaign 🙂
today’s interview is brought to you by a very interesting man called Glenn, we met on Twitter and he was keen to be part of my series. I hope you will agree that his interview is interesting, eye-opening and shows that if you have the right support, and determination, you can do anything!

Tell me about yourself:

Hi, I’m Glen Sheader, 33, I live in Blackburn, but from Bolton. I am a assistive Technology Coordinator. My hobbies Include: Walking, trying new food, reading, social media, technology, TV, football, and generally keeping fit.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I am registered blind/severely sight impaired due to Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.
Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
No, I developed my eye condition early in 2006 when I was 22.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired,

Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?
I usually refer to myself as being Visually Impaired.

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
I use a long white cane.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you?
This is a difficult question, you would think that the obvious answer would be a straight forward Yes, however I would say that I would be a 70% Yes. When I lost my vision, it went in around 5 weeks, and took almost 2 years to accept, and I fear that if it came back instantly, it would also take some time to accept. There would be some hesitation, but my answer would be a yes. I know that I still miss having sight, there are many occasions when I day-dream about what life would be like being fully sighted again.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
My vision is severely blurred, if you imagine a thick fogg right up to your nose and trying to see through it, that is what it is like. So most of the time, I can see what is in front of me up to a certain point, but I cannot see any details. So, I can see a person, but I have no idea what they look like.

How has your disability effected you?

*Socially – to be very honest, when I developed my visual impairment at the age of 22, I slowly isolated myself. From my perception, there was an obvious social awkwardness. My people did not know how to react or what to say when around me, plus I did not know how, or did not want to explain my condition. Now later in life, I have a small circle of friends, but it is hard socialising when you cannot recognise people. If someone walks past me and says “hi”, most of the time I am not sure who that person is. So 11 years on from developing my eye condition, I would say it is still a challenge for me socially.

*physically – I have no problems physically. I often think that I am physically fitter than most, as I do not have the luxury of jumping in the car. I am on foot or public transport everywhere I go.

*Mentally – I am fine mentally, but I do have down moments. There are rare occasions when I find myself feeling low due to the stresses and strains of living a life with a disability. Those first couple of years of trying to accept my disability were extremely difficult. I shut myself away, I had problems sleeping, I drank too much and I struggled to see a future as a blind person. It was a huge help to study as a Counsellor. I did this for personal and professional reasons. I gained an excellent set of skills and a qualification, and I benefited massively from understanding more about ways of thinking, emotions and feeling, and most importantly understanding loss and the grieving process.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?

I have strong feelings about this…I feel for some strange reason this happened to me as a harsh wake up call. Before my eye condition my life was not going anywhere. I lived at home with my mum, I drank every night, I liked to smoke pot, I was not very outgoing or adventurous, and I had no good qualifications or a career path. As difficult as those years were trying to get my head around what had happened to me, it was a period of time when I became broken and slowly I started a rebuilding process. Between then and now, I have developed as a person, I have carved out a worthwhile career path for myself, I have met lots of fantastic people, and I feel privileged to have volunteered and worked for some great organisations giving me the experience and opportunity to help and support many people in varying ways. For example, working one-to-one with a person as a Counsellor, or delivering a workshop to a group on Assistive Technology.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your

disability?

“Can you not just wear glasses”
Or not necessarily a question “You don’t look blind”
My condition is related to my optic nerves, I have no problem with my eyes, so glasses will not make any difference. Also, most visually impaired people do not look blind. I think both of the above are due to a lack of awareness of sight loss in general. Surprisingly many people think that you are either fully sighted or you see total darkness, with nothing in-between. Similarly, people do not understand what a white cane is, or they expect everyone with a sight problem wears dark glasses, taps a white cane around and uses a guide dog, or as many call them a “blind dog”.

What are the positives of having a disability?

I think that my experience of my disability means that I have a different outlook on life. I am a very positive person, I feel that the worst is behind me in my life, and I try my best to enjoy most days and I look forward with hope. I am confident that overcoming the hurdles that I have, have given me the strength and skills to deal with hardship in life.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

Of course I acknowledge that life as a visually impaired person has challenges and difficulties. Because I have had sight, there are times when I know that something would have been much easier to tackle as a fully sighted person. Similarly, it’s tough when you find yourself in a situation where you are treated differently, or even abused for having a visual impairment. These can be harsh reminders of the fact that I have a disability and the happy bubble of life bursts leaving you a little vulnerable.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?

I think the point that I mentioned above; the issues of socialising are difficult. It is hard to sometimes communicate or more importantly maintain communication are the difficulties. If I could explain to the world that I am very unlikely to recognise them when passing, and a polite “hi it’s such a body” would be great. Many neighbours, associates, friends and even family, will pass me and not acknowledge that it is them, therefore socially communication breaks down. I am sure there are people that no longer talk to me, as they feel that I have ignored them in the past. Where as, the truth is that I have walked by in my bubble and been oblivious to people around me.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily /

weekly basis that frustrate you?
*In your home – Not knowing where something is if it has been miss placed. Since being visually impaired, I have been very organised, as I need to know where things are, so that I can find them easily.

*outside your home – I really hate it when people obstruct the pavements, the main culprits being drivers parking their cars inappropriately. It is very frustrating when walking along and having to go into the road around a vehicle to get past. I think some drivers forget that they need to leave sufficient space for a person to get past on the pavement; and this also includes room for a pram, wheelchair, etc.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass

on to another VI/ disabled person?

One of the biggest tips that I can give to another person with a visual impairment is to become confident with today’s technology. There are accessibility features on most popular devices today, that allow a person with little or no sight to get the most out of using them. There is so much that you can do with a smart phone, to help you be independent. The list is pretty much endless, but here are some benefits that might not be obvious: access print by using the camera, using it to help navigate, an accessible communication device in your pocket, look up bus/train times while out and about, audio description on videos/programs/films, get a picture described, plus all of the main-stream Applications are accessible. It can easily bring a person up-to-speed with their peers.

Do you use Assisstive technology in your daily living?

*Screen reader I am able to use many pieces of Assistive Technology due to my work, but personally I use JAWS on my work laptop and Voice Over on Apple products.

My main device that I use daily is my iPhone. It is such an important piece of technology for me. I use it to communicate by calling, texting or emailing, I use various social media to keep in touch and up-to-date with the world, I read the news, I watch TV/videos/films, I read books. Also, it is my magnifier, my note tacker, my calendar, my diary, my scanner reader, my audio book player, my radio, my GPS navigator, and much more. These are all things that historically I would have to buy as separate items costing a huge amount of money and would certainly not fit in my pocket.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going
through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?

I would definitely say speak to someone. Both professionals and others with similar issues. When the time is ready get practical help, whether that’s mobility training, or other things, get emotional support, maybe Counselling, self-help advice, peer support groups, and get out there and try your best to keep going. Try not let life stand still for too long, as roots can set in and it is then very hard to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?

variety is the spice of life as they say. If you feel that someone maybe different to you, don’t make that negative judgement. Be open minded and why not accept some variety into your life. What’s the worst that could happen? You might meet someone new interesting, you might, if anything, learn something, and you just may be inspired.
Also, don’t park inappropriately on pavements.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your

family deal with your situation?

*RNIB Schools? I lost my job working for a Ford Dealership in the Motor Trade, so from here I attended an RNIB college in Loughborough.

I had mobility training from a Rehab Officer.
I had some Counselling.
I attended some social groups at my local blind society.
I did lots of volunteering to fill the gap in my skills and experience to help me seek employment.

Where can people find you out in the world?

FaceBook
https://www.facebook.com/glensheader

Twitter
@glensheader
@viparent_glen

Email
glensheader@gmail.com

❤❤ Thank you so much Glen for taking the time to be interviewed! Your journey with sight loss has definitely been an interesting one to read, I love how you’ve turned your negatives into positive’s, especially with becoming a counsellor, learning to understand yourself and help others is a great thing!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

http://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/category/disability-qa-campaign/

Why not take a look at the rest of the interviews so far? #DisabilityQ&A Series http://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/category/disability-qa-campaign/




Understanding M.e. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)

Hi, I’m Ellen! Sassy has kindly given me the opportunity to write a bit about ME, (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and my mum’s experience of suffering from it. I think it is so important to raise awareness and I have included some tips for anyone who wants to help somebody suffering from the illness.

In 2011 my mum was diagnosed with ME after many months of feeling very ill and numerous doctor and hospital appointments.




What is ME?

It’s not easy to define what ME is due to many different symptoms and theories as to what causes it. Some say it is a neurological disorder, others an immune dysfunction, but much research is still needed.

How ME effects my Mum:
ME effects people differently and can vary in its severity. For my mum, in addition to an overwhelming tiredness she gets body aches, pains, dizziness and nausea. And I’m talking 24/7. It’s like having bad flu every single day to the point where you can’t get out of bed.
One of the hardest things for suffers is the lack of understanding. You can look well on the surface or perhaps be having a good day but that doesn’t mean you’re cured. The next day might be a very different story. It’s much more than just feeling ‘a bit tired’ and can’t be made better by a good night’s sleep!
The stigma around ME:
Many doctors, (though not all!), don’t understand ME, probably due to not knowing the cause of it. Some can be unsympathetic and dismissive. It’s important to find a doctor who understands and supports you as this is the first step in being diagnosed and feeling better.
How to support someone who is suffering with ME:
Depending on the severity, developing ME can completely change your life, in some cases leaving you bed ridden. If you know someone suffering here are some ways you can help:
• Don’t tell them that they just need ‘a good night sleep’ or to take ‘a refreshing walk in the countryside’ to feel better. The only way to manage ME is to allow your body to rest and pace your activities every day.
• My mum can’t easily plan ahead as she never knows whether she will be having a good or bad day so be flexible and understanding. Plans may need to be adapted to include less walking for example.
• Encourage them to take time out each day to rest. This is the main way my mum can manage her illness. If it means having a Spanish style siesta each day, go for it! And don’t let them feel guilty for missing out on things!
• Offer to help with the more mundane life chores e.g cleaning/walking the dog. It means they can save more energy for the fun things!
But it’s not all bad news! When first diagnosed my mum couldn’t even walk from her bedroom to the kitchen and had to spend months in bed. But now she leads a normal yet slower paced life by building in time each day to rest! Most people improve over time and are even cured after 5-10 years. It’s all about balance and staying positive!
In a funny way I think my mums ME has actually bought some positives to her life. She takes a lot more time for herself and has rediscovered hobbies and interests that she’d given up during the usual frenetic pace of life. Now I’m older I look back and realise how hard it must have been, even at her worst she was always there to pick me up from school and cook me dinner and never complained about how ill she was. She’s an amazing mum!
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, come and say hi at www.ohhelloellen.com or on Twitter




Spring Staycation For Those With Disabilities

With recent unrest and Brexit on the horizon, a holiday in the UK is looking like an attractive option this year. There has been a recent rise in the ‘staycation’ due to economic reasons, but though you may not have to change your sterling into another currency, a staycation still requires a little organisation, especially if your holiday needs to include accessible elements.
Though many would assume sharing a language would make everything infinitely easier (which it does) there are other elements of a mainly meteorological nature, to overcome. The UK has many fantastic locations for every sort of holiday you can imagine, from the picturesque West Country to the action packed Lake District. Though as with most things in life, planning is key.
While the UK is making great efforts towards being more inclusive, accessible for one hotel means wider door frames and a lack of steps, while what you really need is specially adapted facilities and a hoist. Ensuring that you are getting what you expect is mainly down to clear and open communication from the start and at every element of your trip.
Not only is accommodation vital to your trip, but so are many other elements, but often overlooked is dining. While on holiday, you wish to treat yourself, but if all the best eateries are up several stairs and do not cater to those with limited mobility, it will not be the vacation you are hoping for.
We spoke to those who know best when it comes to accessible holidays, for their top tips for a staycation to create a little guide that everyone should peruse before they indulge in a British break. Including everything from accommodation to activities, dining to domestics, it allows you to do nothing but relax by the time your holiday comes round. Click here for the in-depth guide :

http://www.companionstairlifts.co.uk/news/planning-your-spring-staycation/
Keep up-to-date by following their social networks:
Facebook
Twitter


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Disability Q&A #15 Sean Randall

Welcome back to my #DisabilityQ&A series.
Today’s interview is brought to you by Sean, we met on Twitter and I asked if he would like to participate, thankfully he said yes 🙂 his no nonsense approach with his eloquent writing echoes everything I’ve come across in the blind community.

Enjoy!

Tell me about yourself:

My name is Sean Randall. I’m 28 years old and I live in a village just outside of Worcester in England with my fiancée, 5-year-old daughter and Guide Dog.

What is your job?

I am an accessibility and technology specialist at a school for the blind and visually impaired. My workday is split pretty fifty-fifty between working with a student and his or her technology needs, and providing accessibility support for the college as a whole.

When teaching the students we can be working on practicing typing skills to writing computer software or anything in between. Students bring me any technology they want to learn to use better, and together we explore all the options and find techniques for improving their access. It’s a great feeling when a student who has never used a computer before can walk into the classroom and reply to her emails before moving on to her next task without any input from me at all. We’re just at the start of a new school year, so there’ll be a new intake of students to get to grips with, and I was pleased to learn that over the summer, all our former students got their places at university or ended up somewhere they were happy (one of my best pupils is now working with the BBC!)

The other half of my job is not as immediately gratifying but it *is* important. I manage our school network and technology from an accessibility point of view. This can involve anything from making sure new software the college wants to obtain is accessible to all staff or students, right down to deciding on specific manufacturers and suppliers for specialist devices (such as Braille Displays. We also run a lot of outreach events, where teachers and support staff from all over the country come to see what we do, and I answer lots of questions and help find paths through the education system for young people throughout the UK during these sessions. I get questions from young blind people themselves, their teachers, parents and carers, and even sometimes their friends. It’s a hugely rewarding job I do, with such a variety of tasks on any given day that I’m never at a loss for something to do.

What hobbies do you have?

I’m a huge reader. If I ever have 5 minutes to myself you’ll find me sneaking a few pages of my current novel: I enjoy science fiction and fantasy books in the main, although a good contemporary fiction novel or legal thriller sometimes hooks me. I follow technological, political, disability and accessibility news very closely, mainly because it’s the sort to impact me and my family and job the most, so I don’t read much non-fiction for pleasure because I like my books to whisk me off to somewhere pleasant for a while!

I also enjoy horror films, long walks, country music, goalball and good food and spend some of my time volunteering to help people with their technology over the phone or in their own homes if they need it. I dabble in software development too, my fiancée is quite partial to having a pet programmer who can whip up little computer programs to do her bidding.

What is the medical reason you have a disability?

I was born over 12 weeks prematurely, so my eyes weren’t fully developed. I needed Oxygen to survive, and that further damaged my retinas. I weighed less than a bag of sugar at birth. People often ask me if it would’ve been sensible to try without the Oxygen to keep my eyes intact, and I always tell them the same thing. Without Oxygen I would die. With damaged retinas, I simply need to be a little more creative to live the kind of life I want!

Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?

Yes.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired,Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?

Blind. Even though I don’t live in pitch blackness – I can see light sources in one eye – I don’t have any “useful vision”. Blind is a simple word with a simple meaning and it makes sense for me to use it to describe myself, and it has the added benefit of being true!

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?

A guide dog. I took the step of getting him when my daughter was born, because I knew we’d need to go places. True enough, the walks to nursery, the bakers, butchers and shops around town were made much more efficient and pleasant with him and he is a faithful companion and family pet when he’s not working. I was very against getting a guide dog until I had a pressing need, and the village where we live at present is probably a little too small for him really (I find myself walking him for the sake of it more than work). SO even though he’s loved and a huge part of the family I would have to think carefully about the need before replacing him when he retires in a few years.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.

If you’d asked me this question 5 years ago I would’ve been emphatic and firm and said no. I was happy in my skin with a quality of life I was content with doing what I wanted to be doing. All this changed when my daughter came along. We have a great time, but there are things having vision would improve: getting around is probably the biggest one, the freedom to hop into the car and drive off somewhere is strong. Also just being able to know where we are by looking, and to see what my daughter is up to without needing to keep an ear or a hand on her would be a big incentive for me to gain any vision I could.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?

Just light. It’s enough to tell where the sun or brighter sources (windows, larger lamps etc) are coming from. I do get burned-out quickly, which is hard to explain, but for instance if I was standing in a room and you turned the light on and off a few times quickly my eye would stop processing things and I wouldn’t be able to determine if it was on or not. Sometimes I get random flashes of light that aren’t there, which can be confusing, usually when I’m very tired or unwell.

How has your disability effected you?

My disability has shaped my life, in many ways. Socially it’s made me very keen to help others, and I enjoy a good level of engagement within the blind community (I’m active on social media, mailing lists and so on). I don’t have many sighted friends, but those I do have I get on well with.

Physically, I don’t know what impact it’s had. I’m not particularly coordinated or skilled with my hands and fingers, perhaps that would’ve been different if I wasn’t disabled. I am quite fit – I can run a fair distance and spent the first few years of my daughter’s life carrying her around on my back.

Mentally, being blind has made me realise that if I want something, asking for it has to be done the right way. So many of my friends have asked for “help”, without being specific enough that the person in question knows what to do. For example when our daughter started school, it wouldn’t have worked if we’d just said “we want letters in an accessible format: how on earth is the school receptionist supposed to know what we find accessible? The spectrum of visual impairment goes from needing print a little larger than average to deaf-blind people reading Braille and nothing else, and blind people themselves can often do things in a number of ways. “Can you email us letters?” is what we said, and we get them that way and everyone is happy. I think the core lesson here is that you as a person with a disability need to have the awareness of what’s out there to help you and the ability or advocacy to communicate that where appropriate. This is where the sociability comes in, being part of the blind community on social media or otherwise gives you a great resource when you’ve got questions.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?

Certainly it’s made me do what I do. I can’t imagine I’d work in the disability sector if I didn’t have a disability myself. I’d like to think it’s made me a more tolerant, caring and understanding person. It’s hard to separate me from my disability because it’s always been a part of me; if I’d lived nearly 30 years with working eyes then maybe I could answer this one properly!

*Please give a positive example of how this has done so… Example: Not judging people by their appearance

Although it mightn’t appear positive to begin with, I think the one thing my disability has done for me is to not take any excuses. There’s no reason why someone with my eye condition and nothing else wrong with them couldn’t learn to do the things I do. Not the things I’ve chosen to learn (like computer programming), but the day-to-day tasks of maintaining a house, paying the bills, helping with homework and going to and from my job are all things that society expects of me, that I expect of myself and that I would expect of anyone in a similar situation.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.

I think the most widespread question is sort of an umbrella “how do you manage?” and of course that depends on what you’re doing at the time. The average sighted person tries to imagine themselves doing the task in question with their eyes shut (making a cup of tea, sending an email, changing a nappy, chopping vegetables) and of course to them it’s a scary and worrying prospect. They almost invariably decide they couldn’t do it, and so they assume I have some amazing secret that enables me to work on their level. I’m as guilty as anybody of this – I’ve met people with one arm or missing fingers, or who can’t hear or speak, and of course I find myself wondering how I’d cope in that situation.

There’s no easy answer, either. And that’s because we adapt in hundreds of little ways to thousands of different tasks whether we’re disabled or not. There’s no magic solution, and I think people leave perplexed because they’re expecting something to make up for my lack of vision when in reality, I simply do things differently sometimes because I’ve never had it.

What are the positives of having a disability?

Learning that things are rarely impossible. It’s probably the best time in history to be disabled because of the profusion of technology. I can work, bank, shop, play, study, interact and absorb online with, in nine cases out of ten, very moderate adaptations to the way anyone else might do it.

One of the best examples is books. I used to buy second-hand paperback books from charity shops because I had a huge beast of a scanner, which would scan one page at a time into the computer so I could read the book. I’d buy old tatty copies so I could chop them up and feed the pages into the system, and spend about a month correcting the scanned text to something readable. Seriously, weeks on a single book. Today? I just buy the Kindle edition. I cannot express the glee that it gives me to know that in less time than I could walk to the shop and pick up a print copy of the book I can be reading it curled up in my dressing gown, lounging in the sun, or heading off somewhere on the train. And the point here, of course, is that the same holds true for you if you are sighted. The difference is in how we absorb the material, not how we get it. And that’s the key problem historically and one where the gap is slowly but steadily narrowing.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

I have two big downsides to my disability. First, I can’t live as spontaneously as I’d like. If I wanted to go on holiday, drive to a random restaurant for a meal, go and see a film or treat my fiancée to a day out I have to plan more than most do. I need to look at audio-description in the cinema, menus at restaurants, travel assistance for trains or aircraft and guidance to or around unfamiliar areas. None of the things are impossible, but all of them are less practical. Perhaps not all of them are completely necessary (you can argue we can watch a movie without the audio-description) but why not use it if it’s there? I don’t see this ever going away completely. Things are improving, the sheer variety of apps on the market for your phone for accessibility is a staggering testament to this, but unless we end up living in a society where we have little robots to be our eyes I imagine there will always be situations where another person is put on the spot to render some small assistance.

The second negative to being disabled for me is the lack of belief and understanding from the general public. It’s by no means the majority, but I have come across people who tell me that my daughter “will be a help”. Really? DO people honestly believe that my fiancée and I live such dreary and doleful lives that we had to have a baby to cheer us up with the understanding that she’ll be a working pair of eyes when she’s older? Well, yes. Some people clearly believe that. And it’s utter nonsense, of course. She’ll do her fair share of chores as anyone else (washing dishes is a chore but we can’t stop eating and when she’s old enough to help out around the home she’ll do so). But that would happen whether we or she were blind or not, the two just don’t conflate at all. I know the great public can be stupid en-mass (remember Boaty Mcboatface?) but how they can’t perceive that we lived perfectly viable lives before her birth but must be bringing her up as a slave to our vision loss is a mystery to me. It’s not just about having a child, of course. I tell someone I’m late for work and I get “Oh, but it’s so good you’ve got a job!”. I ask a company to email me something and I’m told “isn’t it amazing that you can do email?” and on one memorable occasion I was told that “you’re a star” when I came back from a public toilet. What on Earth is that all about? So if I had to put it into a sentence I’d say that this downside to being disabled is the negativity that people project on me as a result of it. I feel very sorry for those who lose their vision later in life because as well as their own uncertainties and confusion about how things will work, they have this huge cultural bundle of negativity to deal with as well.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?

Perhaps my biggest personal difficulty is having a written signature that isn’t clear. I wasn’t instructed in the use of a pen at an early age. I have a vague memory of a week or so’s practice to open a bank account in my early teens, but that never followed through and so I can rarely duplicate a written signature the second time around. Luckily it’s something with time, effort and practice I should be able to resolve!

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily /weekly basis that frustrate you?

*In your home

I think my number one irritation at home is consistency. I use a variety of apps to read labels and scan bar codes of produce so I know what things are, and if they are perishable items (such as food) when they go out of date or how to cook them. I’ve found that there’s rarely a simple solution to knowing exactly where on the packaging the bar code or expiration date is. It’s brilliant that I can do so much of this stuff on my own, but frustrating when there’s no consistency of labelling between brands. I understand getting the information in Braille would be a huge cost and mean changes to the manufacturing process, but surely a directive that best before dates should be on one side or other of a product’s packaging isn’t too much to ask!

*outside your home

My biggest issue when out and about is again consistency and awareness. If the bus doesn’t stop in the same place as it did last time I got off, I may only be a few feet from a landmark I know about but that might as well be a mile. Perhaps this is an endemic issue of how mobility training for a blind person works, but it is very hard for me with no useful vision at all to have an overview of an area. I can learn a very specific route from point A to B, and along that route I can identify stable landmarks to assist me, but very rarely am I able to find points nearby any of those landmarks and from there know where I am. This again is something that is changing with technology and I must admit, on the rare occasions I get lost, the public are amazingly helpful. But it would be good if bus drivers were able to explain the difference between where the bus is and where it should be, if shop owners are careful not to obtrude their goods and car owners keep their vehicles on the roads not the pavements. It’s a lot of little things which can add up to an unsettling traveling experience and that which with a little forethought and curtesy would make life much easier not just for me I am sure, but for many blind people too.




Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?

I think my biggest tip would be to embrace whatever equipment or aids you need. Whether that’s clipping your socks together for a wash or getting an app on your phone to identify the colour of the pepper you’re chopping into your meal.

Do you use Assisstive technology in your daily living?

Screen reader:

Yes, on the computer, phone, tablet an TV.

Braille note :I use a Braille display when needing to make notes in meetings or to read back things when I’m in conversation.

Colour detector:

Occasionally, usually for food and drink (i.e. the colour of milk bottle tops etc.

Talking scales:

We have 2, my fiancée is an avid cook. I found the scales useful for measuring baby milk when we needed to do that.

Apps are a huge part of my life, because I use them for reading text, identifying colours and currency, working out what products are and how long they’ll last. I’ve probably spent over a hundred pounds on apps on top of the cost of the iPhone itself, but its seriously worth it. Less used apps are handy for working out if the lights are on, GPS, getting lifts in bigger cities, playing games etc.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?

I think the best bit of advice is that there’s stuff out there to help and people who can help with it. Losing anything is bad, losing part of your sensorium must be a huge shock and adapting is never easy.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?

Don’t assume that because you can’t do something with your eyes closed that it’s impossible for someone else.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your

family deal with your situation?

No. I had support at school as a blind student, but remember, “my situation” was normal for me as an adult.

Where can people find you out in the world?

I’m on twitter @cachondo, write blog posts on my LinkedIN profile at http://UK.linkedin.com/in/AccessibleSean and review good books on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/Seanrandall

You can always email me on contact@SeanRandall.me or, if you like to talk and have a smartphone, send me a message on roger at https://rogertalk.com/cachondo

❤❤ Thank you so much Sean for taking the time to be interviewed! this is definitely an interview I’ll be reading and rereading. Your thoughts and values show that with a positive mental attitude and the right support we really can do anything We set our minds to. ❤❤

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

http://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/category/disability-qa-campaign/




Sightloss stress and depression

Did you know that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness?
Were you aware that there is a positive correlation between sight loss and depression?
I’ve been diagnosed as clinically depressed since 2015
Through the support of my partner Gary and my GP, I sat and talked candidly about my erratic mood swings, lack of energy, motivation and my constant exhaustion.
We talked at length about my symptoms and the options available to me.
I opted to go on antidepressants as I have previously had counseling.

Antidepressants aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok. However for me they have been invaluable; they have improved all the symptoms I mentioned above, and most importantly for me it’s helped me focus on the bigger picture.

My deterioration in vision since the age of 14 has been a source of vexation and frustration for me.
I hated relinquishing control, having to ask friends and family for help, needing things like worksheets adapted and continuous hospital appointments.

I just wanted to be normal.

But I wasn’t.

I walked into people and inanimate objects, I would knock things over, not be able to read anything without a magnifying glass and so many other things.

I’ve always been a perfectionist so asking for help or embarrassing myself publicly always sent me into a spiral of stress.

Over the years this stress manifested into rage and because of this I pushed people away, or, pushed them to their breaking point.

At the time I genuinely believed my outbursts were justified and acceptable. I believed I had to fight: fight for support, fight to be heard and fight to prove myself.

There was always a reason, an excuse, a situation. I couldn’t see that my behavior, thought processes and even actions were out of control.

It wasn’t until I was at University studying psychology and having a truly fantastic network of friends around me that i recognised all of my grievances and anger were due to me losing my sight.
I still had my moments but they were few and far between..I would get riled up by the little things; dropping something on the floor and spending 5 minutes looking for it, tripping up kerbs or spilling my drink. everywhere.

I learned to laugh it off. Reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things they really weren’t such a big deal.

Yet as my sight deteriorated further and these menial things seemed to happen more frequently I realised I needed some support.

And that’s when I rang the RNIB counseling support line, and registered myself on the waiting list.

I wanted to talk through my problems, how to acknowledge my frustrations but not let it control me.
I wanted to know how I would manage with my impending sight loss and what techniques I could use to make my life and mental state healthier.

The waiting list was so long that by the time my first counseling session happened, I had already lost my remaining vision.

My counselor was fantastic,although I had lost my sight, and the worst had happened to me, she listened, emmpathised and talked through my anxieties and frustrations with me.

The counseling was invaluable to me and it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 Depression decided to rear it’s ugly head again.
It took me a long time to acknowledge that I was changing and becoming angry all over again. It was always the small things: walking into doorways, pouring the kettle and missing my cup, dirty dishes and not noticing I wasn’t holding my cup straight so hot tea spilled over me and my interiors.

All those little things added up to one big thing: dealing with my sight loss.
This is why I started antidepressants,I was chemically imbalanced, so why not try chemicals to restore my balance?

I still have my down days, and that’s ok. It’s about acknowledging my stress levels and doing something about it.

Here are some ways I cope with stress:

  • Try your best to realise when you are in the midst of an angry outburst or thoughts.
  • Allow emotions to be present. Cry, scream, shout, But not at anyone. Be present in acknowledging the feelings, but don’t let them take over.
  • Don’t use expletives or negativity when expressing these thoughts.
  • Breathe deeply, and think only of what your breathing is doing.
  • Read up on mindfulness, and try putting it into practice.
  • Listen to music. Blast out one of your happy songs,
  • Distract yourself by making yourself focus on something small.
  • Exercise, it releases endorphins.
  • Text/ call someone. you care about.
  • Find a task that needs a lot of focus and thoughtfulness. Maybe like writing a blog post? 🙂
  • Watch something funny.
  • Make some tea, and enjoy the 10 minutes to sit and drink it.
  • Think of something positive. What are you proud of?
  • What are your passions? Find them and emerge yourself within them.
  • Smile! Yes, forcing yourself to actively smile, actually lifts your mood.

Constant stress can lead to depression so make sure self care is at the top of your priority list.
Depression is an illness, a brutal thought process that truly can take over your body and mind. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Establish your stressors and find a way to combat them.Only you know your triggers and only you can save yourself from stress.

Think positive, stay positive! 🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 13

#GuideDogDiaries Day 13

Breakfast was still a little chaotic but I definitely think Ida is grasping the expectations we have for her.
This time she did stay in her bed while I was getting her breakfast ready but that was primarily because Gary was sitting there telling her to stay.
Ida clearly couldn’t contain her excitement because Gary shouted through to me that there was a puddle of drool forming on her bed!

She did speed through to the kitchen at the mention of her being summoned but thankfully she was quicker to settle. I gave her her breakfast and she scoffed it like there was no tomorrow!

I was really excited about today; this was going to be our first walk in our local area together!
Mikyla arrived and as expected Ida was a total whirlwind! She was ecstatic to see her friend again, However Mikyla deliberately didn’t show the same enthusiasm, she wanted Ida to settle and remain calm.
Mikyla explained that this was the process of her withdrawing herself from Ida, Ida needed to learn that Mikyla was no longer in charge, I was,. Because they have spent 3 months together training and being a companionship Ida was more likely to look to Mikyla for guidance and obedience. However when Ida was fully relaxed and content Mikyla did say a quick hello, reinforcing that she wanted Ida to be calm in a visitors presence, but also to make sure Ida was aware she had done nothing wrong.

We chatted about the events of the last few days, she seemed happy with th progress Ida and I had made so fa and happy that Ida was relaxed… Even if she was still jumping at the air-freshener! 😉

Our walk was short and sweet: we walked around the block only once.
We talked, stopped and repeated certain areas of the walk that Mikyla thought Ida needed more help reinforcing, for example indenting at the pavement. Not because Ida or I were doing anything wrong, but to ensure that Ida would indent enough so it was safe for both of us to cross.
Ida did fabulously by locating the up kerb; putting her 2 front paws on it and waiting for me to reach it, and giving the command forward before proceeding.

As this was our first walk together since we arrived home Ida was keen to say the least,: the tension on the harness was probably as strong as it had ever been but thankfully she did steady and slow herself down when I asked her to.




I was so impressed with Ida on the entire route, particularly when I got her to locate the bus stop, she did it slowly but precisely, and put her nose to the seat indicating that she had found an empty space for me to sit.

We repeated the approach to the bus stop again, and Ida executed it perfectly! I couldn’t stop grinning, and Mikyla and I both gave her lots of fuss for working so hard! 🙂
On the last stretch of our block route there is a zebra crossing, which Ida located. Even though I wasn’t planning on crossing Ida got a positive response from me for doing so; “
not today, good girl!”

This assures Ida that she did a fantastic job by locating the zebra crossing, however we were not taking that route today.
Training with any dog, especially a Guide Dog is all about positive reinforcement. Congratulating them on a job well done, and communicating this assertively so they will repeat such behaviour. 🙂

On the approach to our house I gave the signal to Ida to find it.

“”Where’s that gate on the left? Find it.”

She found our house beautifully and seemed rather impressed with herself for doing so,wagging her tail happily!
She got lots of fuss for working so hard! 🙂

Mikyla and i chatted through what we had just done and how pleased she was with our partnership, and Ida’s intuition for locating things such as the bus stop and zebra crossing.
Mikyla said she wanted to do the block a few more times, and in reverse too before she qualified us on the route, but assured me with our work ethic and ida’s enthusiasm it could be as early as Monday!

Mikyla wasn’t going to return until Monday, and as we were not qualified she did not want me to do the route, however she was more than encouraging for Gary and I to take Ida on a free run on the Sunday together.
This would give Ida a chance to let off steam, Gary and Ida to spend more time together and most importantly a chance for me to test Ida’s recall!

All in all a very positive day, I’m super excited about tomorrow: free run here we come! 🙂




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