A Different Sort of Bravery – The Finale
Developmental Optometry, and by extension Vision Therapy, largely revolves around one simple concept – refining perception. Think about it, even a new pair of glasses change our perception of the world. In therapy, whether we are working with blocks, lenses, prisms, real space, simulated space, and spatial awareness, we are always working on the patient’s perception. The interesting part, at least for me, is that the perception changes never stop, even in day to day activities. As a quick example, the next time you visit your grocery store and something has changed – be it big or small – your perception goes into momentary conflict as it tries to resolve how the store used to appear versus how it currently looks.
There is no truth. There is only perception. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Imagine when you wake up tomorrow you have no idea where you are. The person sleeping next to you is unfamiliar, the clothes in the closet make no sense, the items in your bathroom cabinet must belong to someone else, your home, your car, your world is absolutely and completely unfamiliar. You open random doors, as if on a treasure hunt, just to see what’s behind them. There’s a random cat following you around, a dog barking outside, and voices coming from the other room. Doesn’t sound very fun.
Now imagine doing this every day. If you figure out how, please let me know, as I’ve yet to wrap my mind around such a state.
Patients with brain injuries have always held a special place in my heart, and that place grew quite a bit larger this past weekend. Imagine the courage it takes to continue living when nothing makes sense as it used to. Imagine the courage it takes to wake up every morning and suffer a complete meltdown for not know where you are, who’s sleeping next to you, or even how to steady yourself from all the dizziness. Imagine going out in public and having complete strangers approach you as if they know you, and you have not idea who they are or what they’re talking about. That is whole different level of bravery, friends. If it were me, I doubt I’d be able to get out of bed every morning.
For all intents and purposes, perception seems to be a cumulative process. It’s today’s input measured again previous experiences. I cannot even fathom having to start over day after day. The lessons of yesterday, gone. The faces of yesterday, gone. The experiences of yesterday, gone. The only pieces left to solve today’s problems are the best determination, bravery, courage and concentration you can possibly muster to keep moving forward.
That is, until someone walks up to you in the grocery store, and says hello…