Pain is not gender specific but when you live in a society that predicts doom for a woman who is not ‘under a man’ as marriage is described by not a few, a shortcoming in any other area of your life is largely perceived by the majority to be the result of not having a man by your side to help you take the right decisions and that tends to make the situation hurt more than it should.
Last year was turbulent for me to say the least. I barely had the time to recover from one disappointment before something equally heart wrenching would take its place and then when I was certain it couldn’t get much worse; it did.
About two years ago, I had taken the decision to leave a steady but predictable job. The job which involved working with individuals with special needs was altruistic to a large extent but it was not able to address my years of work experience in diverse sectors plus the extensive training I received on providing behaviour interventions, I felt that could do more to integrate a better behaviour culture by designing some culturally adaptable behaviour templates that would be used by individuals and corporate bodies to help speed up development in the country I reside. I decided to move to a new location to try out the concept. It wasn’t all negative as I was able to attract a few clients but for long spells I did not have any and that made me disenchanted enough to start regretting my decision to try something new.
While I was still processing that experience, I got a more devastating blow, an eye test I had taken earlier indicated that I had ocular hypertension which is a risk factor for Glacuoma and then blindness if not properly treated and in rare cases blindness can emerge even with the proper treatment. Before that disclosure, I had never ever entertained the idea of losing my eye sight and I considered it unbearable based on the manner people with disabilities are treated in general. Even though in January 2019, a bill on people with disabilities had been passed into law, it is still not largely implemented. My distrust in the health sector also contributed to the uneasiness I felt and one can’t really be blamed because even highly placed government officials avoid our hospitals like the plague. They travel to countries in Europe and to places like India for routine treatments. Fake and sub-standard medicines are not that unusual in the system. Negligent care from health professional is also something that one would get concerned about.
I was also worried because with intermittent income getting proper and long-term treatment like the condition entails would also be a challenge. All the points combined to putting me in a very dark and bitter space but I knew I could not continue being that way. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and channel all the negativity to something productive and positive and then it hit me that I had the skills and training required as a Behaviour Specialist to help those in a worse situation i.e. those that are a 100% visually impaired. I knew it had to be something that addresses our exact situation as a people; not something imported or borrowed. For example things like guide dogs for the blind that people in other climes take for granted are virtually non-existent. Career choices are also limited. Infact it is common sight to see a blind person being led by another individual seeking for alms.
The program that I have designed for the 100% visually impaired addresses all areas including their social life, poise, manner of communication etc. I am also taking paying attention to their caregivers who play an integral role so I am starting the project with a non-for-profit aspect which involves counselling significant others who are directly involved in the care and support of their blind loved ones at no cost.
I am hoping that through this program that is still in the infancy stage, the pain I feel will truly count.