"I had some very dark days, I lost confidence"

“My story started when I was born, my eye condition is hereditary and my father had it. It was diagnosed in 1968 when I was a teenager but on my medical records, the consultant wrote that he wasn’t going to tell my parents because it was ‘unlikely that it would affect my daily life’.

Fast forward to 1996 when I went back to work after having 15 years off to bring up my children, I knew I couldn’t see as well as I should be able to. I went to my GP and he sent me to the eye consultant. He had a look in my eyes and said ‘do you know you’ve got something wrong with your eyes?’. I cried all the way home, cos he said to me ‘you may eventually go blind’.

It was very, very hard. You do tend to pretend it’s not happening. I got a white cane quite quickly. I put it in a cupboard and didn’t use it. Then it got the stage I had no choice.

By 2003 my sight was too bad to continue with the job I was doing. Eventually my employer started discussing medical retirement with me. It was quite frustrating – that my income would be disappearing, part of your own being, there was an element of ‘I’m not really worthy anymore’.

I had some very dark days, I lost confidence, you think ‘what am I going to do in the future, how am I going to cope?’

For the three years after I finished work, I never went out on my own because I was too frightened.

I remember the first day I went out using my cane. I probably deliberated for about an hour. I set off and I got myself to the shop. I took my phone out of my pocket and I wrote a text to my husband and my two daughters “Mum at shop”. That was a turning point, it was huge. Since the Forth Valley Sensory Centre opened, I’ve never looked back.

I feel pretty positive, I’ve got a lot of my confidence back. I’m quite an outgoing person. My visual impairment doesn’t hold me back anymore. I can do most things anyone else can do, I just have to do it differently.”

You can listen to the audio version of this story on the Anchor FM website (this link will take you away from our website)

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