This Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month, award winning blogger Elin Williams writes for TPT about her own experience of living with the eye condition.
I’m Elin, a 20-year-old blogger and Open University student who is passionate about beauty, fashion, music and writing, just to name a few.
I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) when I was six years old, three years after my parents realised that I couldn’t see in the dark.
This month is RP awareness month and I’m sure many will be sharing their stories and experiences both on and offline, so naturally, as a blogger who is passionate about raising awareness, I wanted to add my own voice to others, in the hope that it will help or educate someone in some way.
I’ve always been a happy and positive person. Since life with a disability is all I’ve ever known, I’ve found that it has made it slightly easier to come to terms with sight loss. However, I can’t gloss over the fact that growing up with RP has definitely been a challenge.
Gaining confidence, independence and trying to overcome the feeling of loneliness and isolation have been some of the toughest hurdles for me to overcome. There was a time when I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I was losing a little of my remaining eyesight every day.
It was particularly difficult when I found it hard to see my friends at school or when people would constantly try to trip me up in the corridor. I didn’t have the confidence to explain my condition to others, I didn’t understand it for myself at times, and this led to lack of understanding amongst others my age. It seemed to me that the majority of people were treating me differently because I couldn’t see.
Six years on from my original diagnosis, I was registered as blind/severely sight impaired. At this point I was finding it difficult to find my place in an environment where no one seemed to understand. I eventually found my feet with a group of friends who saw past my disability and helped me to see who I was behind the label.
My Blurred World
Although the feeling of being ‘different’ persisted during my time at school, I eventually started becoming more confident and comfortable with my disability. I became aware of the benefits of focusing on the positives and I started noting down my feelings towards RP. These notes then evolved in to my blog, . My blog has provided me with more acceptance and reassurance since I began writing it and I’ve been able to connect with fellow blind and partially sighted people from all over the world.
It has been a long, hard journey. But I think I can finally say that I’ve found acceptance when my vision impairment is concerned. Things such as writing my feelings down and talking to other disabled people has helped me to realise that although life with sight loss has its fair share of challenges, they can be overcome. It is possible to be successful, happy and positive, it just requires a lot of patience and determination.
A few years ago, I realised that I had a choice, to either let my vision impairment prevent me from striving for what I want to achieve in life, or to embrace it and try my very best to overcome the challenges that come my way.
I have chosen to embrace it.