Thursday, 26 October 2017

The Magic of Mappin Street - Amy

Amy
When my sight first got worse, I couldn't see the point of anything. There was no point in anything, because I couldn't do anything. Nothing right anyway because losing your sight ruins everything. Everything you do takes twice as long, even then you can't always do it properly. Just physically taking one step in front of the other involved a lot of concentration and focus. It was physically and mentally draining, it still can be.

For years I put off coming in to SRSB (Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind) because I just wanted to deal with things on my own. I didn't want the label of being blind, I felt that coming here would give me that label. I was wrong.

SRSB is a friendly place for people of all ages and sight levels. I imagined everybody to be sat talking about how bad their sight is. I just wanted to forget, not talk about it. I was wrong about that as well. The conversation varies like it does everywhere. But if you do want to talk about your sight, everybody will understand quite well. Even the staff have Visual Impairment Awareness Training. This gives them more of an understanding of what it's like living with sight problems. No divisions, no labels, SRSB is just a big group of friends together.

Eventually I felt ready to start moving on and making something of myself again. I had mobility training and started using a guide cane, which I was VERY reluctant to do at first. But it had to be done, it was the only way forward. While I was doing it, it didn't really feel like training. I didn't feel like I was learning anything. I then realised I wasn't learning anything because I already knew it. I knew what to do, I just needed the confidence to do it. At first I didn't feel more confident. I was still a nervous wreck, but I learned to ignore it.

The more time has gone on, the better I have become at ignoring it. There are still days where I can't ignore it, I think there always will be, but not as many. I needed to concentrate on where I was going and what I was doing, instead of worrying about everything.

The opportunity then came along for me to start volunteering for SRSB, working on the Blindlife Blog. Before I started coming here I felt like the only one in the world who can't see properly. Obviously I knew I wasn't, but it felt that way. Now I know that I am definitely not alone and many other people are dealing with the same things as I have.

I have had so many compliments on my writing for this blog, it is unbelievable. I have never seen myself as a good writer, or able to write anything that people would enjoy reading, so it has really surprised me. I also promote the blog using social media, which I enjoy. I always did want a job playing on Facebook!

One of my blog posts was used in a Living With Sight Loss course at SRSB. I was told that the post actually helped a few clients deal with and understand how they are feeling. Ever since I was a child I have always wanted to do something to make a difference to people who really need it. The reaction to the blog post has made me feel like I have possibly done that.

It has been suggested that I do some counselling training so that I can help people oven more. This is definitely something I am thinking about for the future.

I have also been given the opportunity to do collections for SRSB and help with Visual Impairment Awareness training.

I have been on the radio once and I have been asked to do it again on another station. Everybody seems to want to hear what I have to say, I don't really understand why. I'm only me, just saying it how it is.

Before I started the blog I felt like I had no opportunities and I never would. Now, I have so many, way too many to choose from. So for now I'm just trying a bit of everything and enjoying the ride.

 That's the magic of Mappin Street!

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