"A vision loss diagnosis isn’t easy, but with good support and someone to talk to, our mental health doesn’t have to suffer"Posted: Wednesday 09 October 2019
Blogger, Katie Berrill, was diagnosed with Stargardt disease two years ago. As a young mum and someone who has always had good vision, she struggled to come to terms with her diagnosis.
On World Sight Day and World Mental Health Day, she has shared her experience of living with the condition and talks about how she manages her mental health.
"After being diagnosed with Stargardts in 2017 in my early 30’s, I am well aware of the impact that vision loss can have on your mental health, but the counselling service I received through the Macular Society upon diagnosis, was invaluable to me and enabled me to cope throughout those early days.
"Having someone there each week to off load too is so important. I found it better to talk than bottle up my emotions and sometimes speaking to a stranger is easier than friends and family as it also removes some of the pressure from them. Alongside counselling I practiced mindfulness which keeps you in the present time so that you don’t think too far ahead about what could be in the future and I found this extremely helpful.
"My counsellor also advised me to set little goals each week, even just going for a coffee or eating my favourite chocolate, just little things to keep me focused on that gave me some happiness after my diagnosis. This really helped me and even two years on, I feel little goals are so important.
"I found exercise also important to tire me out before bed so that I actually managed to sleep. It doesn’t have to be a lot or strenuous, even a walk helps me on a daily basis as it burns off my negative energy and clears my head. I always feel better mentally after being outside.
"A vision loss diagnosis isn’t easy, but with good support and someone to talk to, our mental health doesn’t have to suffer."
Last year Katie set up a blog to raise awareness of macular disease and help others living with sight loss. Read Katie's blog about Stargardt.