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Not doing so well...

I'm not doing so well.

I have a lot going on, stressful things, scary things, and really sad things.

Stressful things.

Obviously, the first thing I'll mention here is the PhD. In the past six weeks, since I came back from Iceland, I've written 53 flashes, that's almost 10 a week. It's been exhausting, not because writing is exhausting - mostly I find writing to be vary enjoyable - but because coming up with 53 new ideas in 42 days is exhausting. I've never been one to suffer writer's block, it's a gift and I appreciate it greatly, but even without writer's block, the flow of ideas will start to taper off after a while. This is especially true if you are writing with a lot of restrictions, which I am. The flashes I am currently writing need to be about Iceland, identifiably set in Iceland, identifiably modern, they need to be about identity (personal and/or national), they need to be ambiguous, and they must not be confused with poetry. Also, no cliches, and I need to show, not tell. These last two points are true for all writing, but are the things I really struggle with.

In November I'm back to reading and researching and planning a chapter, and getting some of that chapter written. I'm looking forward to not having to create out of the void!

Also stressful. Teenagers. Particularly teenagers with autism who just don't turn up to classes they are no longer 'into'. Teenagers who, when told they can't go to a catch-up with friends because they haven't finished holiday homework, take off anyway, and don't answer their phone - mostly because they and their friends never intended to hang out at the local reserve, but went to St Kilda beach instead. Gah!

More stressful. Waiting. I'm not good at waiting. I wasn't matched with a guide dog for the training session in October, and it doesn't look like I'll be matched with one for November, either (I'm thinking this because it starts in a week and a half and I haven't heard anything. The next training course is in January. January is more than two months away. That's two more months of relying on Dave, or my mum, or a friend to escort me places... I feel confined.

Scary things.

This brings me to scary things. I've been attending a forum for people who are losing their vision. I am the youngest person there, but it has been really good to hear other people's stories and find out other people are struggling the same issues I am. It has also brought up a lot of, evidently, suppressed emotions for me. I've realised how small my life has become since my low vision started reducing further. I've realised how much I've just stopped trying to do because it's such a challenge. Little things like not reading anything anymore unless I can put it under my CCTV, and even then, not bothering to read much because reading at the CCTV is inconvenient or uncomfortable. Not using the microwave, or figuring out how to use the dvd player or other technology because it is so difficult to see buttons and impossible to read labels.

There are so many technologies I need to learn to use, but also start using before I go completely blind. I need to start using audio books; voice over technologies for my computer, iPad, and phone. I need to learn to use braille properly. I need to learn to use my cane all the time (I'm so frustrated by it, especially in place I know, it slows me down). I need to learn to use a guide dog.

The issue I've been having is other people's lack of understanding. It's not their fault. People are used to me seeing a lot more than I do now, and my disability is hidden. I don't look any different. I also still can recognise a lot of familiar stuff, so I people think I can see. I have no clear vision anymore. Everything is blurry now. I am no longer able to focus. I am much more sensitive to glare now, as well. I've taken to wearing sunglasses inside to prevent migraines. I am constantly having to tell people, 'I can't see that now' and it is frustrating but also a constant reinforcing for myself that I am going blind. I am on the brink of tears all the time,

Sad things.

I recently had an old friend unfriend and block me on Facebook. I have absolutely no idea what I did to upset her. One day, without word she unfriended me, a couple of days later she blocked me. Another friend told me someone had reported a photo of hers to Facebook, so maybe she thinks that was me. I would never doing something like that, never, and I cannot fathom why she would even think I'd do something like that. I've always encouraged her, supported her, helped her where I could. I just don't understand. Another friend said someone told him they had said hello to me and I walked away from them. When asked who it was, the person pointed to me sitting a small distance away. I suspect the person with the complaint might have been this old friend. If this is why she unfriended me, it really breaks my heart because I really just did not see her or hear her. My vision is so low now, I can't recognise people I've known most of my life until they are right in front of me, you see, I can't see details anymore. As well as this, losing vision now means I have to focus so hard on where I am and where I'm going out in public that I often don't see or hear things that aren't my immediate focus. I wish she would have talked to me so I knew what I'd done wrong.

So, I feel like gong blind may also be losing me friends.

I'm trying to cope. Trying to be grateful for all the good in my life (and there is plenty of that as well, it's just hard to focus on it with all these distractions), but honestly I'm just feeling overwhelm and exhausted and misunderstood.

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