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Independence and impairment: the fight for survival

I have expressed the need for a greater understanding of the psychological aspects of sight loss many a time - or any other restrictive impairment for that matter. Sadly, my efforts have failed to yield the inclusion of emotional or psychological support services for those with such impairments and on a recent trip abroad I was reminded of why it isn't only the practical aspects of disability that matter.

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Hope, sight loss, grief and the remarkable resilience of humankind

Yesterday, we made our pilgrimage to Moorfields Eye Hospital for my annual MOT: this involves having my eyes photographed, having drops that sting like crazy put into them and then having bright lights flashed in their direction at different intervals, only to be told that my eyesight is getting worse. The retinitis pigmentosa has now completely invaded my macula, which makes sense of the gazillion point font I need to read text, my whopping 1/60 acuity is now hanging on for dear life and the double vision as well as the psychedelic photopsy are now permanent features, but I am not troubled. In fact, on receipt of all of this news, I was so non-plussed that it was as if someone had told me that I was perfectly fine.

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Living with a disability: can those who don't really understand?

I think it is pretty fair to assert that you can never really understand something until you actually experience it. It matters not whether it is the thrill of becoming a parent, the grief of losing someone you love or even the trivial delight that us girls get when we find that perfect pair of shoes.

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Coping with sight loss: the grieving process revisited

When I registered blind in 2008, I made the decision to embrace my loss and come to terms with the eventuality of losing all useful vision. And so began the grieving process. I went to some pretty grim places in my soul, but when I reached acceptance, I realised that I had never been angry, which is unusual as it is supposed to be a key stage of the grieving process.

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Learning to let go: how disability reformed this control freak

I have always been a self-confessed control freak. Variations on this term have long been in my vernacular, dispensed willy nilly to excuse all sorts of obstinate behaviour or as a last vestige when things weren't quite going my way. And because I am a pretty decent person overall, these little quips have broadly been ignored or tolerated by most and thrown out with the emotional trash as one of life's little trade offs. And as I am always learning and striving to be a better person, this is not a characteristic that I am particularly fond of.

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Does it grow corn?

I have never been a big fan of rules and think I will probably remain a bit of a rebel for the rest of my life, because even now, when faced with having a rule imposed on me, not only do I want to break it, I want to break it twice. And in the same vein, I am also not much of a conformist or big on social convention, and these things do get me into trouble now and again.

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Loving someone with a disability: change begets change

When I look back on the incredible amount of change that I have been through since I picked myself up off my backside and decided that registering blind was not the end of the world, I am a little taken aback at how all of this change has transpired so seamlessly. And the changes themselves have been wide and varied - some by design, others by default, some under my control and others well out of my grasp - but the one constant in all of this has been the foundation of love, respect, understanding and encouragement provided so effortlessly by Mark and Martin.

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