bad things and good people…
It’s never an easy concept to explain or even understand, but sometimes bad things happen to good people. A car gets stolen, health fades in and out, or you struggle financially and need assistance. We’ve all been there. That lonely and dark space where it feels as though the world is conspiring against you – and only you. Some people refer to this as a black cloud that hovers above them, some may argue it’s negative energy, and still others will find different reasons for it. No matter what it’s called, it’s a tough spot to be in.
I’ve known some strong people in my life. People who have hit bottom, literally and figuratively, and clawed their way back. My friends Cavin Balaster and Abby Asaad, come to mind, to name a few. They both had great lives, they both suffered life altering head injuries, and they both showed incredible strength, determination, and fortitude during their darkest days. Cavin I met on his way out his dark days, and Abby I knew before, during and after her struggles. For the small part I was able to play in each of their successes, both their stories make me proud because they both have found their way out of the darkness and have begun to thrive.
Lately, I’ve another friend in the eye of the storm. Despite all efforts to be a good person – no, check that, she’s a GREAT person – and remain positive while moving forward, bad things continue to happen. Her heart hurts, and mine hurts for her. I think the true definition of helplessness is to have a full grasp of someone else’s challenges, and all the while knowing that there’s nothing you can do to make it better.
One of the most difficult concepts for me to grasp – EVER – was the idea that there are lessons to be learned from struggles and failure. At moments where there seems to be no solution, a lesson may be hiding beneath the pain. It sucks, but sometimes we have to look for it in the silver lining. Both Abby and Cavin have taught me huge lessons about life, about strength, about courage and about myself. One of the most important lessons may be that time can heal most wounds, and for the rest, time simply allows you a space for better understanding.
You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with Vision Therapy, and why any of it is important. Look no further than your teenage patient who’s full of attitude, the difficult parent of the struggling third-grader, or the wife of the thirty something year old brain injury patient. They are in crisis mode with a few plates full of worry, fear, helplessness and stress.
They worry that it will never get better.
They fear that their lives, or even worse their child’s lives, are headed somewhere horrible.
They are helpless in finding a solution.
Their stress level is at it’s maximum because – well, see the previous three sentences.
It’s always a bit challenging for me when negative comments are made about patients, or their families. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never done it, because I have, although I’m proud to write that these days those moments are few and far between. The lessons I’ve learned have taught me that by the time some people find Vision Therapy, they are at the end of their rope. They’ve exhausted every avenue and pulled every string they could get their hands on. People in this position are not always going to be pleasant, nor should we expect them to be. If we can, instead, view their negativity and abrasiveness as a cry for help we may have much more success. After all, in their minds, this probably isn’t how they pictured this portion of their life playing out. They’re drowning, and they’re hoping you’ll throw them a life preserver.
The parallels between my struggling friend and a struggling VT family seem to be interestingly similar. Oddly enough, the best ways for me to help in both situations may also mirror each other.
Take a deep breath, listen to their struggles, give them your best, and remind them of one very important concept…