New to Vision Loss and Feeling Overwhelmed—Post Two in Getting Started Series

pause breathe series of words spelled out with scrabble tiles: pause, breather, ponder, choose, do picture credit:

By Sharon Hughey, ConnectCenter I&R Specialist

Sometimes, when I’m overwhelmed or confused, I like to stop and ask myself these four questions: 

  • What do I think? 
  • What do I feel? 
  • What do I need? 
  • What do I want? 

Once I know the answers to these questions, I am in a better position to ask for assistance from the people around me. 

Sometimes It’s Hard to Figure Out Your Thoughts and Feelings 

When you lose vision, it is sometimes hard to figure out what you are thinking, feeling, wanting, and needing. Sometimes, it takes talking with others around you to figure out the answers to those questions so you can get help. 

What do I think? 

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what I think because I don’t know enough about the situation. Or I’m too shut down to think clearly. 

What do I feel? 

Often, it’s hard to figure out what I feel if I’m unwilling to face my feelings. But as I face them, I’m more able to sort out my thoughts. 

What do I need? 

When confused or overwhelmed, my needs might be very simple, a cup of coffee, a weighted blanket, a hug, help with shopping, reading a favorite book, etc. 

Sometimes, it just helps to figure out the next step on the journey. 

What do I want? 

Needs and wants are different. A need is more of a necessity than a want. But it’s still okay to have wants and to express them to others. 

Sometimes people need to say “no” when asked for help. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to be involved. They may be busy or feel overwhelmed.  What we are asking may be beyond their ability to carry out. It may not be what they feel able to do for us at that moment.  

It’s best to approach a number of people when you need assistance, depending on your needs, and not overwhelm any one person. 

By DeAnna Noriega, Peer Advisor 

The method I use for coping when I feel overwhelmed is taking a deep breath to calm down, figuring out each step toward my goals, and prioritizing them. This helps me whether it is thinking through how to find my way when lost or when I’m buying or replacing equipment.  

For example, when Covid struck, I did what I always do. I wrote down the things I was anxious about and prioritized them by identified my most pressing needs;  including how to get food, medicines, and household necessities Knowing what I needed to address helped me think about solutions. I initiated such things as setting up meals on wheels delivery, ordering things from Amazon, setting up my local pharmacy to deliver and placed my credit card on file there to cover additional costs.  

Then I had a series of setbacks. I inadvertently dropped my E-reader into a load of laundry. My old desktop computer died. My laptop began making unhappy grinding sounds indicating that my hard drive was about to go. My notetaker started eating files. My state library for the blind and visually impaired shutdown. 

Thank goodness I still had my phone. I started downloading audiobooks on my phone. I reviewed costs and began replacing equipment or repairing it as I could afford to do so. Thus, I followed my coping method of solving immediate issues first and putting items on my do next list.  

There are times for all of us when life seems to gang up on us. We can’t get a break in the chaos to catch our breaths. My mantra of breaking it down and taking baby steps eventually kicks in and I do what I can do immediately. That might be to allow myself to cry, take a shower, drink a cup of tea, or eat dark chocolate. Then I start climbing the mountain standing in my way, working through problems like Sharon suggests with her list of questions. 

In Conclusion

Think about using Sharon’s framework for sorting out your feelings and your needs, including personal care. Losing vision can be overwhelming and you may need help in getting started and taking care of yourself. To help you with your journey, check out our first post on getting started when you are new to vision loss and explore our Getting Started Guide. Read through Beckie Horter’s post on her adjustment to vision loss and our personal stories section to find out how others new to vision loss have coped and moved on.