Therapist's Help With AMD

Last updated: August 2022

I was diagnosed in my 40s with dry AMD and the promise that it was a very slow-developing disease. Now in my later 60’s it has hit me. Hard.

Frustration and sadness

When my vision deteriorated significantly, I bounced between frustration (at not being able to do things easily that I’ve always done) and, on the other hand, deep sadness at my vision loss and fear of how bad it could be in the future.

Speaking with a therapist

After a year of these feelings, I decided to speak with a therapist, and I am very glad that I did. She confirmed that no amount of “pulling myself up by my bootstraps” or “looking on the bright side of what I can still see and do” was going to help.

Rather, she counseled that I needed to learn to “hold hands with suffering”; that, indeed, suffering is part of life. I knew that, but was trapped by a lifetime of trying to do my best and to be optimistic.

Accepting suffering and emotions

I still feel sadness and frustration, and when those feelings come, I can at least bemusedly say, “I guess I’m holding hands with suffering.” I don’t want to be in denial about my feelings and I especially don’t want to hear toxic positivity.

Owning the fact that there is indeed suffering involved with losing my vision—and holding hands with it—is a middle ground that is helping me cope.

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