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Finding Strength In Acceptance & Choice

Finding Strength Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Finding Strength In Acceptance & Choice

Recently, I was thrilled to participate in the Perfectly Imperfect series on Trend-Able during Invisible Disabilities Week (October 14 – 20). Being featured alongside Jessica Marie of Eyeliner & Empowerment and Diane of Spoonie Living was the highlight of my week. The creator of Trend-Able, Lainie, is a fellow advocate and warrior with a powerful message on disabilities. When you have a moment check out: 3 Chronically Awesome Bloggers To Know.

Did you know 96 percent of people who have a chronic illness live with an invisible one?* “In 1997, there were 26 million Americans considered to have a severe disability and only 7 million of them use a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker (U.S. Department of Commerce).”** What this essentially means is there are no obvious signs of an invisible disability.

Many personal challenges, I face as a person living with an invisible disability, are mainly misconceptions within society. Even in 2018, most people still believe blindness is seeing or not seeing, for them it means total darkness. When blindness is, in fact, a spectrum disorder. Contrary to popular belief, blindness is not always obvious.

Powering Through Acceptance & Choice

What I find interesting is how many of us who live with disabilities find strength in acceptance and choice. We know we cannot control our disabilities, yet each day we choose to power through. Though we might have different conditions, we empower others by accepting our conditions and realizing the power of choice.

Finding Strength Featured Image Description:

The image is a blue circular logo of invisibledisabilities.org. It has white text on the inner rim that says “Invisible Disabilities Week Oct. 14 – 20.” In the center of the circle is the year “2018” with an “i” (representing a person) between the 0 and 1. The image also contains the hashtag title “#InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek.”  

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Shaini Saravanamuthu | Blind Beauty Issue 25

Shaini Saravanamuthu's image is fully described in the body of the post.

Shaini Saravanamuthu | Blind Beauty Issue 25

“The best thing I ever did was come out and TALK about my disability/diagnosis!” ~Shaini Saravanamuthu

Shaini was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She is an accountant by day and a Sephora girl by night. Shaini loves learning new things and trying new projects, which have led her to several great opportunities and great friendships! She hopes her story inspires others and helps those who may be going through a similar situation.

Recently on Instagram, Shaini talked about her invisible disability, anxiety, and depression that sometimes manifests itself. Since so many of us can relate to Shaini’s message I wanted to share a lightly edited version of her post with you.

Having an invisible disability comes with its share of anxiety episodes! Initially, I hid those feelings because I was afraid no one would understand why I was feeling this way! So every time I was in a new place, I would feel the anxiety working its way up my body!

Depression & Anxiety aren’t the most welcoming conversation in our community, everyone just doesn’t want to accept that it is real and that it can happen to someone they love! This stigma is why I decided to open up about my story. I can now help others and most importantly help keep myself from living a lie!

So if someone you love comes to talk to you about how they are feeling, please listen to them. Help them feel better or help direct them to seek a professional!

The best thing we can all do is talk about it! Raise awareness and help get rid of the stigma around Anxiety & Depression!

Shaini Saravanamuthu’s Blind Beauty Description:

Description: Featured image is a Blind Beauty mock magazine cover. Shaini’s long dark hair covers her shoulders.  She is wearing a bindi (a gem worn on the forehead between the eyebrows) and pretty bright fuchsia lip color. Shaini’s vivid lip color exactly matches the small exposed portion of her fuchsia garment. She is wearing a long gold earring can in her right ear. 

Blocks of text superimposed on Shaini’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others.”

Shaini can be followed on Instagram: @shinez_

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A Shot in the Dark

Shooting Down Assumptions

Acrylic Makeup Cosmetics Organizer Luxury Crystal Insert Holder Box www.amazon.com
Acrylic Makeup Cosmetics Organizer Luxury Crystal Insert Holder Box
Amazon

Long before I lost my eyesight my middle son, Devon, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). To the casual onlooker, if Devon was having a good day, he would not appear to have anything wrong with him. If that same casual onlooker had the opportunity to spend some time with Devon they would soon need nerve medication.

Devon’s ADHD was a hidden disability that began long before his diagnosis at 6 years of age. From head banging as a baby, behavioral problems at 4 daycare facilities to never finishing kindergarten because he was expelled, to say he was a challenge is putting it mildly. I remember one of his daycare teachers telling me she just didn’t understand it because he was such an adorable, loving child. Every morning he would come and give hugs and kisses to his teachers and then later in the day something inside him would snap.

Upon the ADHD diagnosis the doctor told me that the mechanism in Devon’s brain that should keep him from acting compulsively was broken. This was why he acted out and just kept me on the edge of my seat. Life with little Devon was never boring and his disability was my introduction to the special education system and advocacy efforts on his behalf.

Devon is completely fine today and is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He majored in psychology and minored in music and is looking to start his own business.

Having experienced inaccurate assumptions first-hand, I remind myself things aren’t always as they might appear. The other piece that bears mentioning is the struggle for people who have hidden disabilities is multilayered. While some of us may choose to keep our disability under wraps there are others who want to be taken at face value without judgment.

Take cosmetics for example, wouldn’t you think it would be rather odd for someone to say to a person wearing makeup “You don’t really look like that…?” Likewise, when someone has a hidden disability and they self-identify, we should be mindful to do so takes courage and filter out our assumptions.

Makeup can be such a wonderful ego boost and it is so much fun to experiment with different types of cosmetics. For us blind and vision impaired ladies though it can be a bit of a challenge it’s definitely doable especially if we’re organized.

Visual clutter is a term I heard recently and it something that can be very distracting for people with low vision. Minimalistic is word that I’ve always liked for its simplicity.

How do we get rid of visual clutter with cosmetics? Paring down to just the essentials is really only the beginning. Organizing and labeling your makeup will help you in being able to readily locate any of your cosmetics. Investing in an organizer that works for you is worthwhile.

The 2-piece acrylic holder that I got from Amazon works best for me because it’s see-through and I like that I can put everything in one place. Also, it’s the perfect size that lends to ease in keeping it neat and tidy.

There are a total of 4 drawers (2 side by side at the top and 2 longer ones directly underneath). The inset piece that I sit on top of the drawers can actually be used as a stand alone. The unit measures 9.4 inches wide by 5.1 inches deep by 7.5 inches tall.

Since I know exactly where each of my cosmetics and tools are I don’t feel the need to label the drawers on the organizer but if I change my mind at a later date I can do so at that time.

“Whether I’m wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I’m always the same person inside.” ~Lady Gaga