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Four parachutes bunch together in the sky featuring different images: waving friends, an online comment with lots of heart emojis, books and a laptop with an eye on the screen, and a doctor.

My Macular Degeneration Parachutes

Each one of us here at MacularDegeneration.net has experienced hardships in life. If you haven’t yet I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that inevitably, at some point, you will. And, if you aren’t going through anything difficult right now, you will again... and then you won’t.

Parachutes and lifesavers

Life is tough sometimes, friends. There’s no getting around it.

There is good news for us all! Life really IS a rollercoaster. The ups and downs of life are what helps us grow as humans. And, even through difficult times, we have so many people and resources to help slow our fall. I like to call these lifesavers my parachutes. I have found that no matter how many times I fall, I always have at least one parachute making sure I land safely.

Support from family and friends

Not only do our most important people in life lend a hand when we need help, but they are also there to just talk, vent, or distract us from our problems. Sometimes when I’m going through a really tough time, I just want to have fun and forget about my worries for a short while. Family and friends are great for this. In fact, they are my biggest parachute.

Online communities and support groups

Family and friends are wonderful, but sometimes they just can’t completely understand what it’s like to lose their vision, way of life, or independence. They also may not be worrying about their futures like someone who has been diagnosed with macular degeneration. This is why an online community and support group is so important and powerful.

Here at MacularDegeneration.net, we can find solace in a time that can feel so uncertain and downright scary. We can share our similar stories, hardships, and accomplishments. People with 'like' challenges can support each other in ways that nobody else can. And, we can learn from each other... which brings me to my next point.

Knowledge is a valuable tool

It may seem strange to think of knowledge as a life-saving device. But, for me, having a degenerative eye disease has been really difficult for me emotionally over the years. I have myopic macular degeneration, which currently has no cure or treatment options. Really, all I can do is research and gift myself the power of knowing what I CAN do for the optimal health of my eyes and vision.

I CAN live a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. And, I CAN take care of my mental health. I CAN get enough sleep. I CAN seek professional help from my doctors when I need it.

Doctors are great resources

Ophthalmologists, retina specialists, and therapists are literal lifesavers. Each is unique in their expertise, but all are equally important in my opinion. My ophthalmologist gives me the gift of sight with corrective lenses so I can see and function every day. Mine also ‘caught’ my MMD and referred me to my retina specialist. My retina specialist has the gift of making sure my disease isn’t progressing and if it is...what to do next.

My therapist, another one of my life’s biggest parachutes, is there to help me heal my emotional wounds. This allows me the ability to truly process my life’s hardships in order to live a happier and healthier life. Without my therapist’s help, macular degeneration would still be stealing my joy disguised as worry and fear.

Be someone else’s parachute

I try to walk the earth each day remembering that we are all going through our own difficult ‘stuff’. Though our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors may not be battling macular degeneration specifically... they are most likely going through something trying. It’s important to not get caught up in our own struggles and help others by being their parachutes,too.

No matter what we go through, we always have the power to help each other land a little more softly.

Andrea Junge

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