Sometimes I have something heavy to write about. The perfect words and related feelings come to me while I’m driving or doing some other inconvenient thing. When I arrive home, the words aren’t there anymore. Something blocks the awesomeness from getting from my head and onto paper. Luckily, I had a journal with me last week. I’m going to try and share some things with all you. The safety of the internet and all that.
Last week I had my yearly pilgrimage to the Retina Specialist. This is a dreadful time for me. What if I’ve developed retinopathy? I also relive the Day It Happened. Yet, it also brings some validation. The Dr. Lady is the only one who can truly believe that I’m telling the truth.
Six years ago I was getting ready to go out to breakfast with my husband and daughter. I decided to take my vitamins before we left. Within ten minutes those vitamins had me nauseated and they made a reappearance. When I stood up from that awfulness, I had no vision in my right eye. I blinked a few times as if that would make it come back. It didn’t. I was diagnosed with a retinal hemorrhage from a busted blood vessel due to the pressure of vomiting. I had to have surgery to remove the blood from the back of my eye. (I had my first ever panic attack before this surgery.) Everyone told me things would be back to normal after this. I would make a full recovery. At my post op visits they couldn’t understand why my vision wasn’t perfect again. I kept telling them that is was broken up. I was sent to Columbia University doctors and was given the same confused look. I was sent to Albany, to the lovely Doctor Lady. She had me scanned, injected, and blinded by many lights to the retina before she found it. The initial diagnosis was incorrect. That’s why I couldn’t see correctly. I had torn my retina in several places over my center of vision. That caused the hemorrhage. I didn’t have to try to describe what my vision was like out of that eye because she told me what I was seeing in perfect words. I was finally sane!
It didn’t change the fact that my dominant eye has distorted vision. It will never improve. I have no depth perception. With my two eyes open my vision is odd since my brain gets two different images to process. I’m clumsy. Adding to this, I was told to not have more children. I wasn’t planning to anyway, but there’s something about having those words said to you when you’re still in your twenties.
Obviously my eye problems have wrecked havoc with my depression. I’ve suffered since puberty and it’s slowly gotten worse the older I get. The eye problem took away my ability to express myself with piano playing, jewelry making and a few other things I have done over the years to boost myself up. I spent more time watching TV and YouTube. I loved watching dance. All kinds of dance from modern to ballet. I’ve always loved to take dance lessons. I kept trying to find adult ballet classes with no luck. I was circling the drain, so to speak.
My darling husband took things into his own hands and signed me up for ballroom dance. He thought it would give me some confidence and help boost my mood. It was one of the kindest things he’s done for me. The rest is history. Dance hasn’t gotten me off antidepressants, but it has helped me express myself. I’m a more improved person for it. Teach #1 danced my first steps with me. He was also a psych major in college. Maybe that’s why we’re such a good fit.
I don’t know how the normal-sighted are, but I have to add a few things to my learning. I tell how far my partner is away from me by how tall they are. This probably adds to my social dance anxiety because accepting a dance invitation by feeling someone up isn’t proper. (Not where I would dance anyway.)
Dance goals are big in studios. We have to sit down and talk about them several times a year. I think about it on my own, too. To tell you the truth, I tell them what they want to hear. They want me to spend my money on these big comps and productions. I tell them maybe and we move on. The truth is, I’m not there to just complete because it’s not in my nature, plus I’m too poor for that. I don’t go to parties for several reasons (see above paragraph, plus I work evening shift), so I’m not there to learn just social dance. Learning a Showcase routine is fun, but it’s not satisfying on its own. I like to learn more dances and technique. I think I just like to the magic fairy dust that gets sprinkled on me during lessons. My dance goals are to keep learning, keep my depression at bay, and not think about my eye disability for an hour. I need to dance as a means of self expression whether it’s at a comp, at a party, on stage, or during a lesson. If I happen to have the money, I may do more of the other things, but right now, just taking lessons is meeting my goals.
I’m no good at conclusions, just ask my Grandma who edited all my high school compositions for me. I feel good at putting all that in writing. If you made it all the way through, I applaud you and give you high fives and a shimmy.