Disabled Is a Mindset
Law of attraction uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. I believe such is true in regards to my outlook on having a disability, I am not disabled; rather I am a person with a disability. I interpret those two statements to be distinctly different in meaning.
What is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)?
There are theories that support the connection between your thoughts and reality. According to the American Psychological Association, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thoughts about it are challenged in order to change undesirable behavior patterns.1 To put simply, according to CBT, one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all interconnected with each other, and therefore influence one another. Ultimately, the thought is if you change a thought, emotion, or behavior you can change, or at the very least influence another.
Our vision loss narratives
I grew up Baptist, and a popular scripture was Proverbs 18:21:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
In our community, we often discussed the importance of speaking up for yourself. Nonetheless, it was not until I was diagnosed with macular degeneration that I realized the impact that the narrative a person tells themselves about their situation can alter their outlook on life.
The relief of my Stargardt diagnosis
I was first diagnosed at the Philadelphia School of Optometry. I remember being super excited because doctors were finally able to name what I was experiencing. This, to me, affirmed that what I was sharing about my vision was true. My family, on the other hand, did not share those same sentiments.
Legally blind and owning it
Three years after being diagnosed with MD, my doctor in Arizona informed me and my parents that I was considered legally blind. I vividly remember being thrilled, in fact, I was so thrilled that I wanted my mom to make copies of my legally blind certificate. I thought I might as well own it, right? My mom quickly stated: “We are not going to speak those things into existence.” She researched, and as a direct result, her conclusion was that I needed to eat as many carrots and bake fish to improve my vision. I tried to explain that to her that facts are facts; this does not change how I show up in the world, rather it provides me with insight so that I can be well equipped when completing certain tasks.
Accepting my vision loss
Honestly, I often believe that my family feels that accepting my diagnosis displays that I have little faith that God can find a cure. I, however, believe that accepting my diagnosis shows the exact opposite. In my opinion, the epitome of faith, Hebrew 11:1 describes faith as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. More often than not I operate my life through things not seen - literally and figuratively. I do what I’ve never seen done in my community and I take risk because as Steve Harvey once said: “If I can see it in my head than I can hold it in my hand”...at least that’s the way eye see it
Do you still drive?