The Importance of Emotional Healing While Battling Macular Degeneration
Many of us here at MacularDegeneration.net are experiencing or are helping to care for a loved one with vision loss. There are a lot of clear complications that arise due to vision loss physically. Like, applying makeup, clipping fingernails, navigating a dark room, or struggling to read or sew.
Is anyone feeling uncomfortable reading that? Well, buckle up... because I haven’t even mentioned losing the ability to see our loved ones' faces clearly anymore or losing our independence with the loss of a driver’s license.
Vision changes impact emotional health, too
We spend a lot of time thinking about the physical changes that accompany this disease. But, we cannot forget that this disease is so often accompanied by extremely difficult, life-altering feelings as well. The emotional aspect of a diagnosis of macular degeneration can be harder on us than the physical challenges that accompany it. Difficult feelings can facilitate a stressed-out body (worry, lack of sleep, lack of motivation to eat well, and exercise).
A stressed out body is a sick body. And, a sick body simply cannot facilitate healthy eyes and vision at maximum potential. Read that until it sinks in. This raises the question: What can we do about it?
Something I’m learning in a second self-help community that I’m a part of is how to take responsibility for myself: my thoughts, feelings, and actions... and then trust in The Universe that the rest will be taken care of. Taking a personal inventory means digging deep and examining ourselves as a means of learning, self evolution, and acceptance. Here’s what I have learned in therapy and in my self-help communities:
Healing and evolving is a lifelong process. Hardships in life are really lessons learned in disguise. Our successes and improvements matter more than our shortcomings. As emotional beings, we are often extremely hard on ourselves. We tend to focus on what is wrong in life and not what is going right. It’s okay to make lifestyle adjustments as we change and grow.
It's okay to change
We don’t have to do things the way we always have. It’s okay to change our minds and do things differently. Treating ourselves with compassion and kindness allows us to offer such treatment to others. We can not only live happier, more fulfilling lives despite our hardships, but we can help others do the same.
Imagine you were a tree
In this same group meeting, one of our members described himself as a tree. He explained that we don’t just plant a tree, help it grow, and then hope that will be enough for it to thrive. In order for trees to continue to grow, thrive, and bloom beautiful flowers, we have to keep watering them and giving them sunlight. The same goes for our inner growth and healing as humans.
We may not be able to control all aspects of our macular degeneration. However, we CAN learn how to manage our emotions and give them healing power instead of harm.
Selfish or self-loving?
One last thought I’d like to share with you is something that has really changed my ability to love and care for myself and others. Whenever I’m feeling selfish about a decision I make for myself... putting myself or my health first or saying no to things that no longer serve me, for example, I ask myself if I’m being selfish or self-loving. Perspective matters.
Our inner healing matters to our eyes too,
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