Gaining Perspective Through Vision Therapy

Part 5 of a series.  Click here to start at the beginning or here to go to the previous post. 

The reason why I write about my vision therapy is to document the mental and emotional realizations along the way.  I’ve come up with the tagline ‘gaining perspective through vision therapy’.  I’m also excited about the prospect of what can happen in my life and the lives of others.  How can a 56-year old brain learn something new? 

Each week, Dawn, coaches me on how to do my homework.  She's filled with words of caution as she tells me to 'sit down', 'only take the next step when you're comfortable' or 'take it easy'.  On Week 3 I'd made a little progress by completing some of my homework without having to lay down afterwards.  Woo Hoo!  

A few days after my 4th session was Christmas Eve.  I was excited about the weekend and did my first exercise of the day with my eyes closed to make it more challenging.  BAD IDEA!   I went immediately to the couch and laid down.  It took 30 minutes to recover.

Later that day we celebrated with family and had great conversations over appetizers, a wonderful dinner, and a hilarious gift exchange.  Mike & I got home that evening and quickly changed into warm clothes to volunteer at the Kiwanis Holiday Lights (1.6 million holiday light display).  It was a beautiful evening!  We handed out programs and collected food donations, checked the pathways for ice spots, and manned pedestrians near the dancing lights. 

We got home about 10:00 pm and I did two more eye exercises.  I felt a little guilty for having so much fun that day and not focusing on my vision therapy.  As I did my second exercise I felt nauseous but kept pushing myself.  I wanted to complete at least 4 puzzles before the day was through.  Ignoring Dawn's advice, I tried too hard and went to bed queezy. 

On Christmas Day I just wasn’t myself.  We went to church but I felt dizzy and lethargic.  Later that day we  drove to the Twin Cities for Christmas dinner.  I wasn’t sure I'd be able to socialize with a group of people because I was so exhausted.  Although I made it through the afternoon, I couldn’t even think about doing my eye exercises that night.

Dawn had let me know the week before that if I didn’t feel well, I didn’t need to do my exercises.  She talked to me slowly and deliberately to make her point clear.  Although it’s a generalization, people with esotropia tend to push themselves.  This may have come from years of pushing to keep up with everyone else.  If you tell me to do 10 push-ups you can be sure I’ll do them.  I may even try for 15 just to see if I can.  This mind-set, however, creates a problem in vision therapy.  If I push too hard, I’ll go backwards. 

Our bodies tell us the truth.  The exhaustion I felt on Christmas Day was my brain’s way of telling me to slow down.  I’m not more capable than anyone else.  I can’t will this process to work faster in me than the next person.  This is a process.  It requires me to trust my trainer and listen to her words of advice.  

From now on I’ll take seriously the vision therapy advice from Dawn.  This isn’t her first rodeo.  In addition to being a certified trainer, she’s also been through vision therapy herself.  She's walked this path, and cares deeply about her work.  I’ve got to trust her.  It’s the easiest way to get this done.

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