My neice. Tawna, shared this insight [I just inserted the words in brackets to make it include those with a P-diagnosis]:
I got my first pair of glasses in the eighth grade. The eye doctor was shocked that I was functioning and getting good grades with such poor vision. She called it “broad side of the barn” vision; meaning if I was standing in a field I might be able to see the broad side of the barn.
My entire world changed with the introduction of those glasses. I remember the ride home. I was utterly gobsmacked. I kept saying things like, “I can see the individual leaves”.
Getting glasses was a good thing. It was an exciting thing. It was the best and right decision, but it wasn’t without its challenges. I was overwhelmed by the sensory input. At school I kept getting lost between classes, I couldn’t recognize anyone and all of the detail now visible in crowds gave me a headache and triggered anxiety.
I was in a better situation. I knew it was better. Knowing it was better made it easier to stick with glasses while my brain learned the new skill of recognizing people and places by the way they looked.
Before glasses I recognized people by the way they moved and sounded. I found my way around my large Middle School by memorizing distances. I recognized locations by shape, colors and lighting, sounds and smells. I developed a system that worked for me and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it- but no amount of compensating for my poor eyesight made me see clearly.
Those who had always seen clearly, or had been wearing glasses for years, couldn’t understand why I was struggling with my new view of the world. Some shrugged, others laughed, a few made fun. I appreciated the compassion I found in the loving support of my Mother and Grandparents. They didn’t understand exactly what was happening inside my mind as I relearned my world, but they were an endless source of love, sympathy and encouragement.
At times I have been blessed with the opportunity to support another as he or she comes to terms with a new, better, reality. I have loved a child adopted out of trauma. I have befriended those who are new to Christianity. I have supported friends who have faced life-changing truths. I have offered support to a newly married couple struggling to adjust.
As with my new glasses, these good people were relearning their world with new eyes. It is easy to say, “You were abused and now you are loved. Why aren’t you happy?” It is harder to acknowledge that leaving your known world for an unknown world, no matter how much better the new one may be, is frightening and overwhelming and even sorrowful at times.
Be patient with yourself as you move into a better [or altered] version of yourself. Allow yourself to struggle. Give yourself permission to grieve what you’ve left behind. And when you have found your footing, when you are secure in your own better [or altered] version of your world, reach out a hand and help lift another.