I’ve written before about how I started vision therapy back in June and gave an update when I started the therapy exercises. There’s been improvements and challenges since then, and I felt like it was time to give another insight as to how things have been progressing. As a very brief summary of my eye therapy condition: I have a lazy eye and as a result, my eyes have never really worked together, which causes one eye to do most of the work while the other acts like the kid in group projects who barely contributes anything.
So how are things going now? The simple answer is that things got hard particularly as pandemic burnout hit my family hard. The challenges started when the boys were home for fall break and I had to do nearly daily exercises at home as well as make all of these weekly therapy appointments and check-ins and such with them in tow.
First off, I hate doing the exercises with people at home. They have to be done five days a week, and I intentionally set them for when I have the house to myself. When the kids are home all day, I inevitably spend so much time making sure one kid gets showered and another kid eats and so on that it’s extremely disrupting having the peace and lack of interruption I need to complete them otherwise.
It’s also not easy to just do them later in the day. Sometimes those exercises are tiring enough that if I don’t do them when I’m fresh in the morning, by later in the day, the stresses of the day just leave me far too exhausted, especially as I deal with anxiety and depression. To complicate things, I’m prone to barometric pressure headaches as the weather shifts, one of those hitting at the wrong time of the day really throws a wrench in things.
It was also at fall break that one of my husband’s key coworkers who is challenging to replace left for another job. This dumped a ton of extra work on my husband resulting in a lot of 12-16 hour days, which was a major disruption to our usual child and household managing dynamic.
The result of this was me feeling like eye therapy had to be prioritized over a lot of other things and some of the things getting kicked down that I didn’t want to kick down on the list, but the high cost of vision therapy made me feel obligated to prioritize it. Therapy days where I go in can be hard and sometimes I leave absolutely exhausted, which throws the rest of the day off.
Also weighing in, the sheer amount of reminder texts that hit my phone also got so overwhelming I just start ignoring them. Even if I confirmed the appointments, I still kept getting reminders, and it just felt too much. Suddenly I wasn’t just getting texts, I was getting calls on the weekend too, the time I had carved out to not deal with anything vision therapy-related and feeling like I couldn’t escape what was bringing me an increasing level of stress was becoming too much.
One day when I thought I has successfully wrangled the kids out the door in time for my appointment and an additional monitoring check-in, I found out I had missed an appointment time I swore I didn’t make because that early across town when the kids had to be dragged along was just not going to happen. I burst into tears in the lobby because it was becoming far too much for me to handle in the middle of everything else. That day we made some shifts, one being I was not going to do any in-person appointments when the kids were on their school year breaks. Another was they had to stop calling me at home.
It worked for a few weeks, but as the pre-holiday rush was starting to come in, the eye doctor wanted me to come in for an additional treatment, which did not have any availability on the day I already set aside to do the in-person stuff. This was starting to feel like a part-time job, and I don’t know how anyone who is not lucky enough to be a stay-at-home or work-from-home can handle it all.
One of my friends thought I should take a few months break, but I knew myself well enough to know if I did not see this through, I wouldn’t come back. I couldn’t easily let it go either. Growing up with the financial struggles I had, a lot of medical stuff got ignored or put off. Because of my tests, I had lots of documentary evidence showing how my eyes don’t work well together. Quitting therapy when I knew there was an issue with my eyes and we had already invested a good chunk of money in it would do an even worse number on my anxiety.
I ended up having another meltdown in my eye therapist’s office and luckily she’s the nicest lady in existence. She switched me to coming in every other week for a few months and canceled the treatment appointments until they can occur on the same day as my other stuff. (They aren’t critical, they’re just another possible thing to help.)
Things started to feel a lot less overwhelming. My eyes have made several progress jumps, which are good, and I’ve noticed certain actions are easier for me as my tracking with both eyes improves. My takeaway from this for someone considering eye therapy is a few things:
- What is going on in your life and can you add this in?
- If seeing a bunch of data about why your eyes need the help is going to make you feel like you need to address things now, don’t start the process unless number one looks good.
- Get a more detailed explanation of weekly time commitment and ask if there’s anything else that could get added to help make sure you have all the information to make that call. When I first went in I felt like I was told swapping lenses and some at-home activities, the weekly therapy appointments and other treatments were not as clear and it caused a lot of stress for me.
- Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and set some boundaries.