Visual and hearing impairments
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Struggling to come to terms with the effects of my disability

Hello I'm lotty and I'm 22. I have been registered blind since birth but still have a decent amount of usable vision in one eye. 

Up until the past couple of years my disability hasn't majorly effected my life for the sole reason that I haven't let it. I've done everything my friends have and rarely denied opportunities because of my vision.

However since I graduated from university last year and have 'entered the real world' I've been struggling to come to terms with how much my disability may effect my working life. For example it took me a year longer to get a job than most of my friends, whether this is because of my eyesight or not we will never know but when you're the last one not in work and the only one from your group with a disability it makes you wonder. Now that I have a job I'm thrilled to be in work but my sight is effecting me more than I thought it would and I feel like I'm not as confident as I would be if my sight wasn't a concern.

Also one thing that has always bothered me but had really got me down lately is not being able to drive and never being able to drive. I can't even describe the upset and fustraition I feel when I can't come and go like my friends, when I'm standing on the wind and rain for the bus for it then to drive straight past me because I couldn't read what number it is, then having to always rely on people and lifts. Which again I think is impacting my confidence as I fee less mature and able as everyone else because I am still dependant on others.

i hate to sound like I'm moaning and I know sometimes you just have to look on the bright sidee. I have a guide dog who is amazing and I couldn't get through life without her but lately it's just been even harder to look on the bright side and find the positives in this situation as the fact is I may never drive and I am struggling so much to come to terms with that but I don't want it to get me down and I feel as though I am stuck in a vicious circle! 

Im sorry this post is so long and I don't even know if this is the right place to be writing it but any advice would be appreciated or if anyone could point me in the direction of someone who would

Replies

  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi lot,

    You might be eligible for PIP mobility component which would in turn make you eligible for the reduced rate taxi fare scheme - a certain number of taxi journeys a year at, I think, 2/3rds full fare.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    @Ajk110 or @hollytuke do you have any advice?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Member Posts: 421 Pioneering
    Hello @lottyalice17,

    Perhaps talking to other people with similar or worse sight than you might help. Compare their stories to yours and find out what they can do. You have already achieved quite a lot in spite of the problems.

    Also a growing number of young people are now turning away from driving solely due to the costs involved. You are not unusual in not driving.

    Try the RNIB helpline and perhaps they could suggest resources that could help.
  • hollytukehollytuke Member Posts: 14 Courageous

    Hi Lott, you're definitely not on your own with this one. When I was in sixth form I felt exactly the same about driving and suffered with a lack of confidence, but remember not all sighted people drive because of the cost, or they just don't want to. There's so much technology out there so who knows what the future holds!

    You've already achieved so much like going to university, getting a job and not letting your sight loss hold you back is such a big achievement. You should be proud of yourself.

    I'm not sure if you have any other blind or visually impaired friends but they can really help you out when you're feeling low, want a rant, just like sighted friends can. Blind or visually impaired friends often know what you're going through, they often just get it. I'd say mine have really helped me over the last few years.

    Don't feel bad for posting such a long post about this, well done for speaking out, we all just need to say exactly how we feel sometimes.

    If you've got some goals that you want to achieve/places you want to go then could you maybe get a taxi?

    There's a lot of resources available to help you with a lot of things. Hope this helps a bit.

  • aldy74aldy74 Member Posts: 2 Listener

    Hi Lot


    I'm 43 and have had a visual impairment for as long as I can remember. I've got some useful sight still but nowhere near what I used to have when I was a kid. I ignored by disability for years and, like you, did everything my mates did. Driving was a big turning point in all of their lives - almost like the key to being a grown up! I never went through this and think it affected me in ways that others would not understand. It wasn't that I had no confidence but I felt that others were now more confident and could therefore do more than I could. I laboured with this feeling for years, but to the outside world I was still the same person as they knew before.

    It also took me much longer to get a job than my mates even though I had a degree in Law I ended up doing quite a junior job to just get my foot in the door and stop doing the manual jobs I had filled my time with while looking for a 'career'. I have however progressed in employment in the different companies I have worked for because they have seen a good work ethic and a degree of intelligence. But I have still had the feeling that things could or would have been different if I could have seen better.


    A big change for me was when I went on Management Programme which was with a bunch of senior managers from all across different industries and countries. I was really scared of being in a place where I was going to be 'found out' as not being as competent as people I worked with thought I was. I decided it was time for me to face my demons though and I put the question of how my sight condition appeared to everyone else in terms of my work ability as one of the things I wanted to find out by the end of the course. On the last day this question was put to my counterparts whose response was 'we can't believe you even think it affects you' and 'it really has no impact at all' and 'it is a fr bigger issue for you than it is for anyone else'. This feedback was life changing, especially as it came from strangers who did not need to be so supportive.


    My advice to anyone who is having those feelings of doubt and low confidence is to try to work out what the feelings are really rooted in and then to put yourself in a position where you find out whether what you're worried about is actually true or not. If it is you can start to work on the things that will make a difference, and if it isn't you can start to forget about it. That sounds simple and I know it isn't really like that, but it does help!

    If you are interested in meeting or talking to other people who have been through what you are experiencing or maybe in the same boat right now it might be worth contacting RNIB Connect. That is exactly the sort of thing it is being set up to help with. And, as you are one of the minority (like me) who is working there might be quite a lot you can offer to others in return.

    Keep going - things do get better!
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