That Moment You Realize Just How Much Your Vision Has Changed in a Year

I had one of those moments recently where I realized just how much my vision has changed in one short year. For me, those kinds of moments are always a little gut-wrenching and stop me dead in my tracks. I always know that I’m doomed in the vision department, but noticeable changes are always extra difficult for me.

A merry Christmas

For Christmas this year, my thoughtful boyfriend rented out a local movie theater for our small family of four. It’s my favorite movie theater, small, quaint, and a little bit spooky. Because of the pandemic, it had been a little over a year since the last time we saw a movie at a theater. Needless to say, we were all really excited.

A lot has changed

Before the movie started, I took my youngest son to use the restroom. When we returned to the theater the already dim lights had been turned off completely so the movie could start. As soon as the door between the theater and the concession stand closed behind us the room went completely black for me. The movie screen and aisle lights were on, yet it was as if my eyes had just completely stopped working.

Struggling with dim lights

This was the first time I had experienced anything like this. I’ve been noticing at home that it takes my eyes a few moments longer to adjust from light to dark and vice versa. But, this occurrence was more drastic and a little frightening. I found myself almost immediately choked up asking my nine-year-old to take my hand and walk me to my seat.

I ended up needing to use the restroom myself in the middle of the movie. I tried hard to do everything in my power to not have to get up and go for fear of not being able to find my way back alone. I finally had to go bad enough that I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait until after the movie.

Asking for help

It’s never easy asking for help in situations where I feel like I should be able to do something on my own as I always have. These moments sink my heart into my stomach for two reasons. First, it’s a reminder of just how much vision I’m losing and that there’s more to come. Second, it feels very much like I’m losing my independence at the mere age of 38.

My sweet boyfriend is so good about not making me feel stupid or inferior in these moments. He takes it upon himself to do things for me that he knows makes my life easier like turning on the brighter lights when we eat dinner and automatically reading subtitles for me when we watch movies. He noticed my hesitation when we entered the dark theater and placed my arm gently in his to guide me to my seat.

I’m not a burden

I’m painfully finding out that there are some things I simply can’t do the same way I used to. I’m having to adjust, find new ways, and ask for help more often.

Sometimes it can feel burdensome to have to ask for help, so I try to remember all the things I can still do for myself and for others. I’ve learned along the way that people want to help me just as I want to help them.

When we sat down in our seats my boyfriend told me that a blind man once explained to him that when leading someone who can’t see, he should place their arm in his and not take them by the hand. I thought about it for a second and realized that it was easier when he did that versus when my son brought me by hand. It felt safer and more in sync with his movements.

Accepting changes to my vision

Oftentimes, it can feel hard to look back and realize how much has changed in a short period of time. I’ve been trying to be more intentional about my gratitude in order to combat these difficult feelings, so I gave myself a few moments to feel sad about my new changes in vision. Then I let it go and soaked up all the joy there was to be had in going to the movies, safely, in the middle of a pandemic.

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