[nabs-l] Blindness, loss and therapy

Bridgit Pollpeter bpollpeter at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 21 00:50:26 UTC 2011


Chris,

Thank you for your kind words.  What a lofty goal you suggest!  *smile*
Who knows where the future leads for any of us?  I'm at a place where
I'm open to enter whatever door is left ajar.

I'm so unbelieveably grateful for the Federation.  I hope the students
on this list carry forth the torch that remains burning brightly.  We
have so much yet to accomplish, but I'm sure we are all just at the
beginning of great things.

Sincerely,
Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter
Read my blog for Live Well Nebraska.com at
http://blogs.livewellnebraska.com/author/bpollpeter/

Message: 8
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 12:55:45 -0400
From: chris nusbaum <dotkid.nusbaum at gmail.com>
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
	<nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blindness, loss and therapy
Message-ID:
	
<CABpnAxHsgTBVnhVqo1XzP22f98vkqo7dJFrTD0=0jtO9+atrhA at mail.gmail.com>
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Hi Bridgit,

I completely agree! Don't demean yourself, you're very bright, IMO! I
believe you could very well be an NFB leader on the national level if
you wanted to persue that goal! The quote from Dr. Jernigan in my
signature, a quote that's so famous within the Federation, says it all.

Chris

On 8/19/11, Bridgit Pollpeter <bpollpeter at hotmail.com> wrote:
> As a former sighted person, I thought I'd weigh in on this topic.
>
> I was fully sighted for 22 years then loss my vision due to a viral 
> infection compounded by pneumonia.  I drove, loved fashion, had 
> managed a clothing store, an avid reader, dancer, had been a 
> theatre/vocal performance major, was raised sighted, lived sighted 
> then pretty quickly lost my vision.  It took about a year beginning 
> with just a little haziness to my vision, and at the end of the year, 
> after a procedure that was suppose to restore vision, I lost it all.  
> Eight years later, it has cleared, if you can call it this, to where I

> can make out shadows, light and some colors, but I'm basically totally

> blind since I can't use any of this to use my eyes visually.
>
> I'm not sure why, and I've come to realize I'm in a minority, but I've

> never struggled much with losing my vision.  It wasn't the greatest 
> thing to happen, but it was not even close to being the worse thing 
> either.  I can't even put it in the middle of bad things that can 
> happen.  From the beginning, long before I knew about training centers

> or consumer organizations or philosophies of blindness, I discovered 
> blindness was not a catastrophic event and I was still very capable.  
> I knew I was the same person I'd always been, and I knew I could still

> do all the same things, I just had to figure out how to do them.  My 
> biggest problem, and it still is, has been other people in my life.
>
> Once my eye specialist diagnosed blindness, my dad couldn't stop 
> crying, and my mom said I better get back on anti-depressants, which 
> I'd been on and off of for years for an entirely different reason.  It

> was surreal comforting my father since I never cried about it.  This 
> isn't to say it has always been easy or wonderful, but my blindness 
> has never struck me deep enough to feel this way.  And I remember 
> being angry that my mom automatically assumed blindness would depress 
> me.
>
> For eight years, people, mostly sighted, have tried to project 
> feelings and thoughts onto me that are just not true.  No matter what 
> I do, what I say, I still have people assume blindness is 
> life-altering and limits you beyond functioning.  I don't provide lip 
> service because I've been brain washed or have an agenda, once I 
> received training, my life's been normal.  I've actually accomplished 
> more blind than I ever did sighted.  Once my doctors cleared my 
> health, I couldn't get into a training center fast enough.  I attended

> the Iowa Department for the Blind, and I went in with an open mind, 
> eager to soak up whatever I had to learn.  It was difficult being 
> around students who were resistant to training, or who couldn't "cope"

> with their blindness.  I'm not trying to diminish anyone's feelings 
> and experiences, but blindness is relatively permanent, and instead of

> wallowing in self-pity and refusing to move forward, why not adopt a 
> positive attitude and learn what is currently available to the blind 
> to live active, productive lives?
>
> When I discovered the NFB and studied its foundational philosophy, I 
> thought, finally, others who get it.  I'm a complete human being with 
> an emotional landscape- thoughts, feelings, desires, and my entire 
> life is not wrapped up in blindness.  During my first national 
> convention, during Dr. Mauer's banquet speech, his theme revolved 
> around the concept that blind people are not broken sighted people.  I

> cried as he spoke because I knew this, felt it, for years.  It was 
> comforting to be around people who agreed.
>
> Yes, I miss visually seeing at times, and I don't like that we are 
> still fighting for equal rights, and I wish more was accessible to us 
> allowing for the ease most sighted people experience in terms of 
> information, but usually, blindness itself has nothing to do with this

> other than because people believe sight is so instrumental to doing 
> the most mundane task, they don't consider how simple being blind can 
> be if certain things changed.
>
> I miss sight, but not the way I miss my grandma who passed away years 
> ago.  It's a different loss, and for me, no way near the magnitude of 
> loss experienced with true death.
>
> Left to my own devices, life truly isn't that huge of a challenge.  I 
> don't struggle mentally with blindness, nor is it a physical challenge

> in terms of doing things.  I've found alternative techniques equal to 
> using sight most of the time, and should these techniques be 
> recognized as equal to sight and adopted on a large scale, most blind 
> people would have very few, if any, issues.
>
> I'm not saying I'm happy to be blind, but I'm not unhappy either.  And

> I don't pretend life is super easy, but again, more than half the 
> time, the difficulty is related to attitudes and perceptions and 
> unwillingness to change that creates the difficulty in blindness.  I 
> still make mistakes and I have my own personal limitations, but I 
> don't feel my blindness contributes to intellectual or physical 
> limitations I have. As a person who was once sighted, I don't think 
> much has changed in my life.  I enjoy the same things, I do most of 
> the same things- blindness isn't stopping me.  I should probably 
> mention I'm also stubborn and rebellious, so when I'm told I can't do 
> something, I more likely to do it.  LOL
>
> So do I think all blind people require therapy?  No.  And should 
> training centers provide therapy?  No, and if a person feels therapy 
> would be beneficial, it is up to an individual to seek that care out. 
> It's no different than any other medical concern.  If you need a 
> doctor, you find one and go to their clinic.  The world does not bring

> you medical help.  So why should a training center provide it?  As a 
> diabetic, I wouldn't expect an on-staff endocrinologist.  People 
> seeking therapy shouldn't be ostracized and made to feel bad for doing

> so. What's right for me, may not be so for others, but an individual 
> need, or desire, does not mean training centers should invest in a 
> therapist.
>
> People need therapy and psychiatric help for many reasons, and if a 
> person believes this would help them deal with blindness, that's okay,

> and they should seek that help out.  I don't think it is necessary for

> an institution to provide that care though.  At the end of the day, it

> does not contribute to the program.
>
> While losing a sense after once having had it, it is a loss to an 
> extent.  And there is an adjustment period since you learn to do 
> things in a new way.  I understand I'm in a minority with my view when

> it comes to sighted people becoming blind later in life and how we 
> address this fact, but I didn't find blindness to be as emotionally 
> challenging as some believe, nor did it take me long to adjust to 
> being blind.  I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, so if this is 
> possible for me, I know it is possible for various crayons- all 
> shapes, sizes and colors!
>





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