I learned a lot since I gained low vision: lots of techniques, lots of technology, and lots of support from family and friends. I felt confident to seek employment, and I secured a job. I work part-time and balance that with being a wife, sister, daughter, friend, writer, dog walker, cook, laundress, etc.
I relish my accomplishments. The more I get used to something, the more efficient I grow, and the better I feel. There are days when I wake up energized, ready to take on whatever the day throws at me, my eyes behave, and I end the day feeling satisfied.
Also, there are days when I just can’t seem to find the flow. I struggle. I over do it, wearing myself down, or I focus on one area too much and get lost in the forest of obligations.
Or, my cat wakes me up at 5am. Cringe.
I am a nap queen since toddlerhood; I get cranky without enough sleep. If I snag nine hours, I’m at optimum levels. I function on less, but I prefer those magic nine hours.
I admire those people out there balancing family, work, and life with energy to spare. I compare myself. I’m stubborn. I hate feeling like I fall behind with things because of the consequences of low vision. But, I have a tool: napping allows me to bring back balance and patience.
Living with low vision reminds me to respect my boundaries and limits. Knowing where they exist is the one key. Knowing when it’s OK to go over them, aware of the consequences is another. Knowing it’s OK to feel frustrated at times, but it’s not OK to wallow in it because I have strategies to help me still accomplish what I want to do, like pacing myself and resting when I need rest.
People who have disabilities who need time to recharge like me don’t always bring up this down time. It’s hard to admit I can’t go go go all the time. It’s difficult to explain without sounding lazy why on one day I can be energetic, and the next day I am worn down, my eyes ache, and I just need to slog around and regroup. I’m not talking about depression which can mimic the same behavior. I’m talking about needing a nap, a break, a catch-up.
It’s a fact. Sometimes, I will need to slow down. Taking down time allows me to keep spending time with those I love and doing the things I enjoy. It’s a technique I added to my pile when I gained low vision, a tool to use when I need to recharge.
I’m still learning.
Inspired by the essay by Christine Miserandino: The Spoon Theory
Liz Crow founded a movement called “Bedding Out.” It embraces this time to refresh and refuel. Her website explains her events better than I will be able to in a sentence.