Change Your Macular Degeneration Attitude
Let’s be honest... macular degeneration sucks. It’s scary and debilitating and has changed my whole.entire.life, making everything so much harder than it used to be! There are so many things I can no longer do (that I used to be able to) and it’s so incredibly frustrating. I’m angry and sad and nobody understands or cares. I feel like my life is basically over, what’s the good in anything with all of these changes in my vision?
Wait, let me try this again!
Changing my attitude
Let’s be honest... macular degeneration has its difficult moments but has truly been an avenue for growth and appreciation. Some days are harder than others, but I refuse to let this diagnosis change the fact that I’m determined to live my best life. I can sometimes feel angry or sad, but I have been taking care of myself, body and mind, and I have coping tools to help me.
I know that I’m not alone in this, I’m a part of a wonderful online community where I have support, understanding, and a vast amount of knowledge. My vision changes are not the end of me. My diagnosis has truly given me the motivation to appreciate and give gratitude for all of my life’s joys.
See what I did there? Which one are you? You can look at your life’s struggles in two different ways. You can see them as either what they’re doing TO you, or what they’re doing FOR you. The first description of macular degeneration above would be me describing what this disease is doing TO me. Versus the second description explaining what it does FOR me.
The battle for my well-being
Living with anything as difficult as extreme vision loss and the frightening threat of a future that looks much different than we originally planned can distort our thinking. It can allow us to develop unhealthy character flaws and it can become common to blame all of our life’s hardships on this macular degeneration battle.
Avoiding the blame
I’m going to be really honest with us all right now... That blame is part of our problem and allowing negative thoughts to take over puts our lives on a fast train to misery and suffering. That blame helps to fuel all of our difficult feelings of grief, anger, sadness, worry, anxiety, and depression.
Fueling the fire or putting it out?
Think of it this way, whenever there is a problem or difficulty in life, we have to give it some sort of attention. Let's call our problem (in this case, macular degeneration) the fire. When dealing with this huge fire in life, you have to decide what you will feed it. Are you going to throw water on your fire of hardships to help put the flames out? Or would you rather pour gasoline on it and fuel it, allowing it to grow bigger and out of control?
Hardships are gifts in disguise
Let’s be real, nobody wants to experience severe central vision loss. There is no doubt about that. But... there are so many wonderful things that can come from a devastating diagnosis. Grace, gratefulness, bravery, perspective, forgiveness, surrender, and hope are just a few.
I say this all the time... my macular degeneration has given me the permission I needed to live my best life. I no longer give attention to what does not serve me in life and I look for the joy in everything. Even when it’s hard. That is a gift.
Tips for changing your mindset with macular degeneration
I often tell my young sons this when they’re doing what brothers do... arguing over the little things: it’s often not what you say, it’s how you say it. For me, changing my perspective is as simple as being intentional about my thoughts, my words, and my feelings. I also focus on caring for my whole self... body and mind. The best part of being a positive person is the butterfly effect that it creates.
Be the change,
Do you still drive?