Dealing with life’s challenges Posted on 8th November 2021 How do we cope when life throws different challenges at us? These can obviously be difficult for anyone but there are particular challenges so for someone who is blind or vision impaired when life throws curve balls at us. We hear from Mike Brace, former Paralympic skier; Dave Nason, Accessibility Lead at Sky and Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick, Corporate Social Responsibility Lead at Scope Eyecare and Healthcare on how they’ve dealt with change recently. Not surprisingly, everyone talks about the changes brought about by Covid and the impact that has had on their lives. Amie “In the last couple of years I’ve moved career direction and I love it but with that change comes a different lifestyle, different working hours, different formats, different routes. Then Covid came and now the transition back to reality, back to working in an office – that’s thrown a bit of a curveball at me. If I need to be more mobile again, I need to move my equipment around and that means I need a lighter weight laptop, the routine of getting to places and making sure I’m on top of public transport timetables. The move back to a more familiar lifestyle means more adaptations. I’ve really had to deal with that aspect of asking for help over the last 18 months and that’s been difficult, for someone who struggles with that.” For Mike, Covid has also meant a lot of change and a loss of confidence. “I’m a fairly confident and gung-ho person but I haven’t been on a bus or on the underground for 18 months. They’re so busy, most people haven’t got masks on and I can’t see who’s near me. I’ve been surprised how hesitant I’ve been to get back out there. I also haven’t been to the gym for 18 months. I do a lot of after dinner speaking and I’ve managed to get a few bookings online. I’ve realised that it’s so much more difficult when you can’t hear the audience, as well as not being able to see them. That’s really affected my timing or how I deliver things and that’s been quite a shock. It’s like having to re-learn a different skill.” For Dave, Covid has re-introduced old anxieties. “I like being sociable but I equally slightly dread getting the bus into town on a Saturday night and having to figure out getting around town and bars now because it’s been so long. There’s a part of me that’s wishing for zoom meetings! Now, we have to re-adapt back to doing things in-person. That is brilliant but also terrifying.” Our own Stuart Lawler shared his experiences too. “For me, the one thing that’s thrown me a curve ball since Covid is mobility and not having been out and about as much, near people. I remember going into my local shop about a year ago and everybody was wearing facemasks. One of the people who knows me said ‘hi Stuart’ and I got very thrown because I knew who she was but I’d no idea where her voice was coming from with the masks – the audio around me was different. I felt like I’d gone backwards in terms of my comfort levels in doing these simple things.” Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences with us.