Feelings After Watching a Documentary on the Blindness Rehabilitation Center

Today, I got a subscription to see past episodes of Dutch television programs mostly so that I could see a documentary series called Five Days Inside. It’s where three presenters rotate to visit mostly health care settings or other institutions that are not commonly shown to the general public. The episode of four weeks ago was about the blindness rehabilitation center I attended in 2005. I actually still recognized some of the staff talking to the presenter from when I went there.

Watching it had me very emotional. I don’t know why. I guess because most of the clients who were featured, some roughly my age when I attended the program, are so optimistic about their future despite sometimes having recently lost their vision. When I attended the program, I often felt way ahead of these people and way behind of them at the same time. After all, I had pretty good Braille reading skills. My reading speed at the start was more than twice that which is the ultimate goal of the rehabilitation program for adults. As I learned today while watching the episode, some people don’t even have the tactile ability to ever learn Braille. Most will only be able to use Braille for simple labeling, not for reading books, like I do.

On the other hand, I never learnd to cook. Not in those four months in the center or the eighteen months in an independence training home that followed. It wasn’t for lack of teaching, but I couldn’t manage these tasks. Or even simpler tasks such as putting peanut butter on bread.

Today, I talked to my CPN from the mental health agency. We were talking about my skills or lack thereof. She seems to blame my parents for not having taught me properly. I understand. Then again, with my having had a meltdown each time my parents tried to make me learn new practical skills, it’s only understandable that they gave up. My CPN acknowledged this is a common autistic trait. My parents would say I’m not autistic, just stubborn. Apparently I decided from as early as age seven on that I would never learn practical skills because I couldn’t do them visually. Or maybe because I thought I was too smart for them. I don’t know what my father’s theory boiled down to exactly.

And now I see these blind or partially sighted people who are planning on working or going to college. I don’t know how I feel towards them. On the one hand, I feel envy. I wish I could cook tuna macaroni or zucchini soup. I wish I could ride the bus on my own, then go into town to buy raisin rolls. I wish six months of training could teach me the skills to live independently and go to college or work.

Then on the other hand, I feel an enormous sense of relief. I feel relieved that somehow my support coordinator was able to convince a long-term care funding lawyer that it’s at least partly due to blindness that I can’t.


8 thoughts on “Feelings After Watching a Documentary on the Blindness Rehabilitation Center

  1. Do you talk to Carol Anne on Therapy Bits? She is blind but has her own place and cooks, she just has a P.A. oe family that come in and help her sometimes. She could probably give you lots of good advice IF being independent or learning some of the skills interested you.
    Don’t feel too bad about cooking, hun. I can see half well but my sister got all the chef genes and domestic goddess skills in the family. I suppose it helps that she likes cooking and cleaning and I loathe it.
    Being on your own is scary and you can’t force it if you’re not ready. And there’s no rule I know of saying you ever have to be ready. But should you just want to pick up some skills for yourself, ya know, to bolster self esteem, it’s entirely doable in small increments over time. Don’t let the anxiety and fear control you. Life is too short. Make that peanut butter sammich one day and giggle with glee that you did it for yourself!
    It all comes in our own time, though, so don’t be in a hurry. Just know the option is always there if it’s your choice. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for encouraging me. Yes, I do know carol anne. As for learning new skills, I agree on taking it step by step. I currently still freak out at the thought of having to learn a simple task and I’m not sure that’s going to get any better, but I hope it will.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I once swore pregnancy and childbirth would be too humiliating and overwhelming but my kid is 10 now and I am still here so never underestimate how strong you are. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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