My Optometrist gave a talk on Memorial Day. He interviewed me and I was 1 of 2 current patients of his that he featured in the talk. In order to see the talk, you need to have a membership to an optometry website: I heart VT. Like - I love Vision Therapy. I think this is the link: https://www.iheartvt.org
[Photo: the iheart VT logo. There is a black heart to the left of the words, and the photo has a magenta offset heart above it and to the left, and a turquoise offset heart below it and to the right.]
I wonder how many of you relate to some of the things he said?
The topic was Dissociation. He was explaining how Optometrists can recognize that many of their patients probably do it. And how to help them with Vision Therapy.
There are some of the symptoms -
The exercises they have given me - wear ankle weights during vision therapy and at home now and then (light weight: 1 pound weights) and use a weighted blanket have helped me. There was a time during Vision Therapy with my therapist, A, when she asked me "how are you doing?" And I replied: "I think I am dissociating." She got into gear and made the exercise much harder so I was forced to pay attention!
- Tunneling. Meaning, focused so intently on what you are looking at, so that the background disappears. This can show up as a person walking and staring at the ground, unable to look up as they walk. This can also show up with horse back riders - they stare at the horses head to the frustration of horse riding trainers.
- Sensitivity to light. Keeping lights off in the house. Walking around in the dark.
- Issues with driving and parking. Not able to gage what speed you are going. Not able to park straight.
- Being startled easily when things come in to your visual range.
- Unable to focus on reading. Unable to focus on studying.
- Things (like furniture, the floor, fixed objects) “move.” (Jareth has this. It was my normal; I didn’t realize I have this until vision therapy made things stop moving and then it was AMAZINGly calm.)
- Perhaps existing in a “fictional world” in your head. That can feel very real.
- Isolation. This one struck me big - because I see me having been doing this over the years, more and more: Isolation, over time, means "not wanting to leave the house." Closing curtains and closing yourself in. It doesn’t start when someone is younger but increases over the years. I just blocked off my windows with contac paper maybe 2 months ago. My decluttering expert unblocked windows of mine. And I have basically re-blocked them off. Remember, I am approaching 50. So if you’re in your 20s or 30s, you may not relate to this one. No worries.
That moment was a pivotal moment for me - I need to pay attention to the HERE and NOW. Smells, sensations, my 5 senses ... these are the things I pay attention to much more now after months of vision therapy with their focus to help me not dissociate anymore! I don't think I dissociate anymore, but I will get back to you on that. This is HUGE!
By the way, people who dissociate in their childhood (as I did), have large chunks of their memory missing. I have large chunks of my memory missing. I do remember, as a child, thinking, "I need to remember my memories, or I will forget them." And I would sit there and intentionally review my memories. I wonder if other people ever did that too? Please let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments, below. Thank you!
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