I thought i should do a more personal blog post for a change tonight. I've been blogging for a while now and have explained very little about myself.
I am fairly modest i think this is why i detail little about my own life and situation. But i thought i'd give a brief but more in depth outline here of how i came to hold the views i do and what life experiences have affected me.
Up to the age of 16 i was always a very quiet, reserved and shy type of young lad who ddint have a huge amount of friends and found it hard to trust people. At secondary school at a all boys school in our near by county town i find it hard to make friends at times. I found i would get close to one certain friend more than fit in with a group of friends. I'd often keep myself to myself and just get by. This didnt help me one bit as i was repeatably picked on for various things about the way i was back then. Quiet having the face of a monkey or just being a bit of a wuss when it came to playing rugby with the others. I was never one for the rough and tumble and military style boot camp that all boys school liked to drum in to its students. It was a old grammer school and i felt it still held alot of that hard line discipline that was a throw back to those days of segregation.
I wasnt a particularly intelligent student i always did my homework on time and got on well with my teachers but i struggled at things like maths and english for at ime. But eventually i did ok and got a respectable set of GCSE's.
Starting the 6th form i thought i'd got over the worst of school life having seen some of my more formidable bullies leave the school due to failing their exams i felt a lot more relaxed going into the 6th form. Getting on well with teh teachers i had been friendly wti h from before and finding a few others had grown up too i found things getting better for me at school anyway.
At home i'd always had a difficult relationship with my dad, i still do to a degree we rarely speak socially and he used to get very angry at me for the slightest things. I remember when asking for help with my maths homework one time him getting very angry and upset with me for doing something wrong. Likewise he liked to get my brother and i interested in the things he was interested in. he had this vision of us all playing golf together and growing up liking thet hings he did. This was a vision i didn ot share and although i didnt mind golf i was never mad about it like he was and he grew increasingly frustrated at this.
Before my GCSE's i had a lot of revision time off like you do and my dad was constantly on my c ase to revise revise revise and was very strict about it. reminding me i'll fail and end up stacking shelves if i dont revise properly. I did revise to the best i could but i hated exams and was rubbish at them really. But they turned out ok in the end but all that summer of 2004 in Portugal whilst on holiday my dad was on my case scaring me into what happens if i dont get the results i need to get into 6th form. This stressed me out no end.
A few months into life in the 6th form at school whilst playing basketball i was hit squarely on the head with the ball i did not see it coming. Otehr strange events kept happening like playing badminton at school i would go to hit the shuttle cock and completely miss it when in previous years i'd been very good at this and was always told i had a excellent eye for the ball etc. I did i had 20 20 vision with was considered the best level of vision possible. I was colour blind but many men are i am lead to believe . This did not affect me at all
But more and more in lessons i was squinting and having to sit nearer and nearer the front of class's to see the board. This was just getting silly i thought i asked my mum out of the blue if i could go to the optitians to see what if anything was up.
She and well we all thought at that time it was simply down to me playing computer games far too much as teenagers at that age generally do these days we thought nothing more of it.
But at the optitians i and the optitian seeing me was stunned to find i could not even read past the first letter on the board of letters designed to test your eyesight.
This for if anyone doesnt know is a set of letters with the top letter being a absolutely huge letter A. anything below this i could not see a thing.
THis concerned the optitians and refered me immediatly for a emergency appointment at our local hospital.
This was the real start of the period of me loosing my sight i'd say. Visiting hospitals all around Hertfordshire going up to London to see eye specialists and barely stopping to breath in between. Having test upon test to see what was causing this rapid loss of sight was a great puzzle to the experts. Having had blood test after blood test once having twice in one day as the assistant had lost one and had to do another i was kept in over night in early november. Having had a lumber puncher to test if there was any blood in my spinal fluid. This was their thinking taht i may have a brain tuma which was causing pressure on the back of my eyes. This turned out not to be the case thankfully but i imagine that was the reason for the great rush and all the tests as they feared the worst that i may have a brain tuma which would have been awful of course.
Luckily it wasnt it turned out and tests finally confirmed i had a rare case of something called lebers optical nearopathy disease the rarer form. You can read more about it at this site here
Eventually my sight would steadily decline over time and as the site link provided above says usually between 2 to 8 weeks is teh time it takes as the accute phase as they call it begins to slow and eventually stable out and tends to stay at that point at which it is. For me it has left me with no central vision and blurred peripheral vision which at times when i'm tried for example is not much use at all. When it is useful i can still see around the edges and make out outlines of frames, people and doorframes which can be very useful indeed i've found.
But i do use a long white cane now having taken mobility lessons at home and away at the Royal National College for the blind in Hereford. which is a residential college specialised in supporting and helping long term or recently blinded people to learn to live independently again in the outside world. I enjoyed my time at Hereford and look back upon my time there with fondness. Some of the people i met there changed my life i can say that now they inspired me and filled me with confidence to take on this world. meeting other people who were blind and had gone blind or had been blind from birth gave me the confidence to know there is still life out there and i can still do very many things indeed, given some adaptation and adjustment life isnt too bad for me really. I have previously blogged that i do claim DLA and this has helped me maintain my level of independence the best i can.
But all this adversity and having to learn to cope again with life taught me a hell of a lot. I have come out of my shell and have now found the confidence to talk to people and i'd never have thought to myself i'd have been on the national radio, spoken to a public crowd of over 100 for the Jarrow march meeting which came through our area last year, travelled across the country using the train network independently found myself a girlfriend well several actually some didnt all work out too well but that's by the by. and made some good solid freinds now who i see as friends for life now.
How i lost my sight or what brought it on is a mystery no scientific research can tell at the moment but i am fairly sure the levels of stress i put myself under and was under unessesarily from my dad and people at school did not help one bit i am sure. I dont hate my dad for what he did but certainly it has made things very difficult between us. Whether this will ever change i dont know but now i am living away from him with my mum as still cant find a affordable place to rent to live locally we at least have that distance now and i feel happier away from him i must say.
Politically i am now in the socialist party i've always thought of myself of the left and since loosing my sight i know now the struggles people go through the precious time we have on this planet to help and do all i can for others to make this world a farier more equal society is my aim now and i hope to carry taht on in to the future.