Dealing with Negative Self-Talk and Vision Loss

One of my best friends recently started the home buyer’s process. She shared with me that there is a tree in front of the property that needs to be removed because if not the roots will negatively impact the foundation of her home.

Getting to the root of the problem: negativity and vision loss

In preparation for tackling this critical task, she received three quotes. The first quote was very low; the landscapers would remove the tree. The second quote was average. They would remove the tree and put poison down to destroy the roots that were in the ground. The third quote, which was the most expensive, stated they would cut the tree down, kill the roots to ensure that it will never come back again, and they had a warranty. Listening to her discuss the tree, it’s roots, and the three landscaping companies made me think about treating negative self-talk.

Recognizing negative self-talk and vision loss

Take a moment to think about what your negative self-talk is and where it stems from. My favorite mantra is: If I saw what normal people saw, I would do what normal people do. Believe it or not, this mantra came from internal negative self-talk that I experienced often when I was younger, and even sporadically during adulthood.

Wanting normal vision

Truthfully, I wanted to see the same as my counterparts. I wanted to accomplish the same tasks they were able to accomplish without using assistive devices or needing additional time and resources.

Changing the narrative of vision loss

As I got older, I made a conscious effort to reclaim the negative self-talk and turn it into a positive mantra: Yes Christine, you don’t see what everyone else sees and that is exactly what makes you special.

Metaphorically speaking, changing the narrative is the equivalent to the first landscaper’s quote on simply chopping down the tree. In 2019, I began to write for MacularDegeneration.net to share “The way eye see it.” This experience has been so cathartic and liberating on many levels

The benefits of therapy for negative self-talk

In addition to writing for MacularDegeneration.net, I also started to go to therapy on a regular basis. During my therapy sessions, we unpack negative self-talk and the struggles that I experience. My therapist provides me with a toolkit of methods so that I can combat negative self-talk.

Reframing vision loss through mental health

I would compare this current stage in my life to the second landscaper’s quote. I have cut down the tree which is the equivalent of changing the narrative about how I view my diagnosis. Additionally, I have put things in place so when the negative self-talk tries to come back, I recognize it, understand it, and have resources to combat it. For me, the ultimate goal is to be the third landscaper’s quote. I would love to continue to change the narrative about how I view my visual impairment, continue to share my experience so that I can continue to heal and access resources on a regular basis that combat negative self-talk.

There is a quote from Tarana Burke in which she said: “It is important to address the trauma in order to cultivate joy.” I believe such is true in regards to negative self-talk. In order to change the narrative, you need to find the root of where it stems from, own it (yes, I have a visual impairment and it impacts every part of my life) and change it. Because I don’t see what other people see, I don’t do what other people do and that’s what makes me Christine Joy… at least that’s the way eye see it.

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