The Many Losses of Blindness

There are many aspects of blindness a person losing their vision must adjust to. I just found an article describing twenty losses of blindness. These include:

  • Losses in the basic sense of psychological security.
  • Losses in basic skills, such as mobility or techniques of daily living.
  • Losses to communication, such as loss of social adequacy, ease of written and spoken communication.
  • Losses of appreciation, such as loss of physical integrity, visual perception of the pleasurable or beautiful, or loss of confidence in the remaining senses.
  • Losses concerning occupation and financial security.
  • Losses affecting the whole personality, such as loss of independence.

For me, losses in my basic sense of psychological security are common and not just blindness-related. I am not dealing with losses in basic skills at this point, and have never felt a loss in communication. Oh well, I have, but it was easy to adjust to.

Where I really struggle is with loss of appreciation. To be honest, I’d hoped to gain color perception back after surgery. This didn’t happen, and there is no way of compensating for the meaning of colors. After all, they can’t be touched, heard or otherwise non-visually perceived. Having always been quite a visual person, I still have a vivid but decreasing imagination of color, but this actually further reinforces the knowledge that I’ve lost the actual perception of it. I remember in 2004 going to blindness rehab and discussing with my fellow students what we would do if we gained sihgt. Most people said they’d read, travel or otherwise gain independence. I said I’d appreciate the beuaty of the sights around me.

As for losses to occupational or financial security, these have not really been related to blindness in my case. My parents say I would’ve gone into engineering or math if I’d been sighted, but this not at all interests me and never did after the age of around twelve. Whether vision loss contriubted to my loss of interest in math, I do not remember. I did consider career paths, such as in speech and language pathology, that are not suitable for a blind person, but I do not know whether I genuinely wanted to become a speech/language pathologist or just wanted to read up on it in university. What I did lose that somewhat relates to this, is recreation. I still miss not being able to draw, for example. Whether this is a loss of appreciation or a loss of occupation, I do not know.

Lastly, there is the loss of personal independence. I did lose independence skills when I lost vision up until my most recent vision loss ten years ago, but now my dependence is mostly related to my mental health conditions and autism. I have to think further on how this personal independence thing affects the whole personality, as is postulated. I think more is meant than just loss of practical independence, but I’m not sure.

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