To the Man Who Wants to Marry Me

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I once believed that no man would want to spend the rest of his life with me, let alone date me. I have been called many names based on my disability, and those words are hard to forget. “She does not matter. She is blind.” “You poor thing.”

Having a disability can cause a battle between my self-confidence and the truth that I am strong and brave. I have many insecurities, and felt that no one would be able to put up with them. Many of these struggles are in my head, and many of them I will have the rest of my life. I fear new places, people, and being judged by others. I am strong, but I am only human, and everyone has their bad days.

Emily and Daniel


And then I met you. I knew I wanted to be around you, because getting to know you was easy. It was not scary; it was fun. You pursued me every day. You said you wanted to be a part of my life when we first met, whether it was romantically or not. I told you I was not ready to be in a relationship, even though I wanted to. We were falling for each other, but it was hard for me to believe someone as caring, funny and handsome as you wanted to be with me. I told you I was legally blind and that I was going through counseling at the time, but you said it did not matter, that it made me stronger.

We met only a couple of years ago in college, so the dating phase was fun. I could tell you anything at all, from my childhood or from a few months ago, and it was all new to you. It was fun getting to know someone who came from such a different background, and find someone with the same values. It was easy to fall for you. You listened to what I said, and remembered it all. You still do. This is important, because the little things you remembered meant you actually cared. You were the one I dreamed about, but never thought I would find. You made me feel special and still do every day.

After a few weeks I told you I wanted to be official because I could not ignore the fact that I already fell for you, and you caught me. You made me feel respected, and I respected myself around you. There was no question about being together. It was the way you respected me, loved me and made me laugh that caused me to finally be happy about who I was. I get so caught up in my own insecurities, but you bring me back to reality.

When you got down on one knee a year later, I could not wait to be Mr. and Mrs. Thank you for choosing me, and for the many things that you do. You make me feel like what I call my “silly girl emotions” are legitimate feelings. When you look me in the eyes, I am able to hold your gaze. You make me feel safe when I am anxious. Thank you for being the love of my life. Thank you for reading menus to me when I cannot. Thank you for driving me around because I cannot. Thank you for teaching me sports, when I do not know what is going on. Thank you for dancing in my apartment with me, even though you never dance without music. Thank you for being the man I will soon call my husband. I promise to see the best in myself, and always in you. I promise to always be there for you, like you are for me.

The Mighty is asking the following: What do you want your past, current or future partner to know about being with someone with your disability, disease or mental illness?If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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How a Disabled Pregnant Woman Handles 6 Insensitive Questions

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Being a young, 30-something, blind woman, I usually stand out in a crowd. People are often shocked to see someone my age wielding a white cane as I navigate through my local neighborhood. When my husband and I found out we were expecting just six months after I had been declared blind, the two of us were in absolute shock. The idea of impending parenthood thrilled and frightened us both. We had no doubt in our ability to raise and love a child. However, we knew the words “disability” and “pregnancy” were not exactly synonymous.

pregnant woman
Holly.

As my belly began to grow, I felt like I graduated from neighborhood oddity status to circus sideshow act. People could not seem to get over the fact that a blind, disabled woman could actually be pregnant and was planning to raise a child. Already scared out of my mind, the intrusive, jaw-dropping questions I received began to add additional stress to my already high-risk pregnancy.

I didn’t want to feel bad about being pregnant. I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself for being blind. I just wanted people to be happy for me; but congratulations and inappropriate belly rubs were hard to come by. At a weekly ultrasound appointment with my doctor, I burst into tears talking about the situation. He listened sympathetically during my hormonal tirade, handing me Kleenex after Kleenex. When I had finished, he put his hand on my shoulder and gently said, “But I have one question, why do you care?”    

His words rocked me to my pregnant core and then it hit me. If I was about to be somebody’s mother, I had better grow some thicker skin. I couldn’t succumb to this negativity. Why did I care? I was not going to feel bad about this pregnancy or the baby I so desperately wanted because I was disabled. I decided right then and there if people had the nerve to ask, then they needed to be prepared for my answers and a few follow up questions.

1) Was this pregnancy planned?

The sex was, but the baby was an added bonus. Issues relating to family planning involve two people, my husband and myself. But, if you must know, we were thrilled when we found out I was pregnant. No, we didn’t plan to have a baby six months after I became blind. We had tried to start a family for years and oddly enough in the midst of a catastrophic health crisis, it happened. There’s a precious bundle on the way and, planned or not, we’re so excited. Can you just be happy for us?

2) You’re not keeping it?

If by “it” you were referring to my baby, why wouldn’t I keep my child? I’m an educated woman in a happy, stable and committed relationship. I have the financial means and support system in place to provide for this baby. I want nothing more than to become a mother. The world is filled with disabled people who are capable, competent and financially stable enough to raise children, biologically or otherwise. Maybe you were unaware?

3) Where’s the father in all this?

Oh, you mean the man I’ve been married to for 10 years? The person I share a life with? Are you referring to my husband, the soon-to-be father, who’s over the moon about impending parenthood? He’s right over there. Disabled people are married. Our relationships are not unlike any other you’ve encountered. We go through our fair share of good times and not so good times. Did you assume somebody wouldn’t want a meaningful relationship with me because of my disability?

4) I didn’t think disabled people were “allowed” to have kids.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no law that states people must become sterilized if they become disabled. We have sex. We reproduce, same as you. People with all sorts of disabilities make the conscious decision every day to have children. This may come as a shock, but “people like me” don’t need permission from “people like you” to have a baby.

5) But how will you _________?

new mother holding baby
Holly and her baby.

How will I change the baby? How will I feed it? How will I get to the pediatrician? Don’t you think I’ve thought about all this stuff? Don’t you think I lay in bed every night worrying about how I can accomplish these things? I’m scared. Terrified even. But here’s a newsflash, what new parent isn’t? I have nine months to make a plan, figure things out, network and put resources in place to enable me to meet the ever-changing needs of my baby. And frankly, since you’re not the one responsible for my kid, then you’re not the one who has to worry about any of it. I don’t have all the answers, and that’s OK. Disabled or not, I am about to be a mother, and when it comes to my baby, I will go to the ends of the Earth to make sure he or she has everything that’s needed.

6) Don’t you think having a disabled mother will be hard on your child?

Yes, having a disabled mother may be hard on my child. Despite my best efforts, I know I have limitations. As a blind mom, I might not be the ideal soccer coach, and there is no chance in hell I am going to be volunteering for car pool duties. But I know having me for a mother means my child will learn determination. My child will know when life throws them a challenge, and there will be plenty, they don’t have to succumb to it. They will understand what it means to have empathy for another human being. My child will know that someone’s disability does not define them as an individual, because it does not define my role as their mother.

So please, if you ever encounter a disabled pregnant woman, don’t make assumptions. Don’t interrogate them. Tell them they are glowing. Say congratulations. Treat these soon to be mommies like you would any other expectant mom — and always remember, despite the woman’s disability, loving their baby requires no “accommodations.”

mother with her two children
Holly and her children.

Follow this journey on Blind Motherhood.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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When a Doctor Said 'You Poor Thing' About My Blindness

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I used to go to an eye doctor whose words showed that he looked down on me and my disability. He said, “You poor thing,” when I could not pass the eye exam. He was trained to be an expert on vision, but he was not an expert on my life. He looked at the results of my tests and only saw the impairments in my eyes. He did not know the things I could do.

What I would tell him now is that he might think he knows my challenges on paper, but he does not know how I handle them. I am legally blind, but I never let it hold me back. It is a part of me, but it does not define me. When I look at the world  in front of me, I do not see blurry vision or strained pictures. I look at what I know and appreciate what is there. I look at what is in front of me, not in the far distance or past. I love to take photos of the beauty in this world, but he would not know that by looking at my test results. I love to play cards, but he would not know that by his perception of my abilities.

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Braille tattoo meaning “strength.”

When people have doubts about my abilities, I see it as a challenge. No, I will not play football in a 100-yard field, but I will play football with a small group of friends. I am as capable as anyone else — I just adapt to my surroundings in a different way. I am thankful for my life, and the ability to be strong in a situation others may question. I know my limitations but challenge myself every day. My eyes might be scarred, but my ears are open to see. I should have responded to his comment right then, and helped him to change his view.

Having a disability, there will always be people who doubt our abilities, but they do not have to be right. Even though doctors may know about a condition, they cannot assume they know the patient. No one can do that. Only I know what I am capable of, and only you know what you are capable of and what you want to achieve.

This tattoo (right) in Braille says “strength.” Even though I am not fully blind and have never used Braille, I carry my disability with me every day, and I am stronger because of it.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment when you were at a hospital and a medical staffer, fellow patient or a stranger made a negative or surprising comment that caught you off guard. How did you respond to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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What I Wish I Had Known About Retinitis Pigmentosa

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When I was in the 8th grade, I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. I had no idea what it was at the time, and didn’t really feel it affected me. I could still see very well, and most of the effects weren’t supposed to happen, or so I read, until one was older. Here is what I wish my family and I had known then…

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited disease causing retinal degeneration. It can occur and be diagnosed anytime from childhood to later adulthood, and varies in its speed of progression and severity. Growing up sighted and then losing your vision rapidly can be scary. You will have to make a lot of adjustments to how you do things over time, but with the right support and resources, it is entirely possible to live the life you want to live, and live it to the absolute fullest.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a very tricky disease. Night vision is usually the first to go, followed by peripheral vision, and then it gradually closes in, until it also takes out your central vision. The degeneration can come in waves. You can have stable vision for years and then suddenly lose a lot at once. In the advanced stages of RP, you might not be able to read a menu or identify a face, but still be able to tell someone is there and make eye contact with them. This can be confusing to the general public, who may not understand as well as they might if you had a more visible disability.

Research says many individuals with RP don’t start losing their sight until they’re in their 40s, but that’s not always the case. I’m 26, and I have lost the majority of my vision. I didn’t always recognize how much vision I had lost, like the time I missed a stop sign during my driving test. I tried to dismiss it, until I would catch myself missing many other things. I didn’t want to stop driving, but a friend with RP put things in perspective. What if I were driving, and a young kid decided to cross the street, and I didn’t see him just like I didn’t see that stop sign? How could I live with myself? I took my friend’s advice and eventually surrendered my license.

If you are diagnosed while still in the public school system, it will be highly beneficial to get an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for services in the classroom and other supports that will affect your development. While I disclosed to principals and teachers that I had a visual impairment, I didn’t know special education or disability services could benefit me until much later, when I was a sophomore in college. I wish I had known. Many of my high school teachers did a great job with accommodating me, but a lot of broken bones and headaches (literally and figuratively) could have been prevented if I’d had a Teacher for the Blind or Visually Impaired and an Orientation and Mobility Instructor in high school. I would have been able to start the process of adjusting to my disability much sooner.

Outside of the school system, there are many other supports. Each state in the United States has a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program that prepares individuals with disabilities for employment. Most states also have a Division for Blind Services (or a name very similar) for individuals with vision loss. In Texas, our VR program starts working with children at the age of 10 to help them learn everything from independent living skills, to Orientation and Mobility, to specialized instruction in Braille, etc. If you have a significant enough visual impairment and qualify for these services, it is great to start early. However, you can also start as you are transitioning out of high school or college into employment. I found out about VR services after my freshman year in college, and started receiving Orientation and Mobility training, and later Assistive Technology, Independent Living skills training, and more. I highly encourage every family who has someone newly diagnosed with RP to contact their local VR program. There is also Lighthouse for the Blind and similar organizations in many states.

The above services helped me make great strides, increase my self-confidence, and develop more independent living skills. However, one of the things that helped me the most was meeting a young lady with RP. She was a mother to two beautiful children, graduated college with two degrees and managed her house independently. She had already been through what I was going through, and had great advice for me. She showed me how creativity goes a long way in terms of figuring out how to do things. She rocked being blind, and as one of the first people I knew with RP, she gave me a lot of hope.

She and her brother, who also has RP, introduced me to guide dogs. I always thought guide dogs were for individuals with total blindness, but in fact they can help individuals with RP, who might be able to see a person’s face but will miss every curb and bump or any obstacle that is not directly in front of them. Guide dogs can provide a lot of help in the nighttime, when the weather is bad, and as your vision degenerates. They can be that solid companion to help you with the emotional impact of vision loss. My Makiko has been instrumental in helping me maintain my level of independence. She has adjusted well to the changes in my vision, learning to help me with my new needs.

RP can be a roller coaster ride with its periods of stability and then sudden degeneration, constantly learning how to accommodate your new state of vision loss and continuing to do what you were doing. However, there are many resources out there that can make the roller coaster a little smoother. When I was diagnosed, my family and I all wish we had known about all of the services and support available. It would have made the transitions less of a headache.

I am now 26 years old. I am a huge family person. I am very active within my community. I am a full-time VR Counselor for the State of Texas and absolutely love my job. I live independently, love to travel, and have a great social life. I also have retinitis pigmentosa, and thanks to the amazing support and services I have now received, I live a very full life.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write the article you wish you’d found the first time you Googled your or a loved one’s diagnosis. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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8 Things I Wish People Understood About My Vision Loss

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1. It usually occurs slowly. 

While some people can go blind overnight or in a matter of days, many people with degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and macular degeneration, lose their sight gradually over a period of many years.

2. Just because our vision changes doesn’t necessarily mean our interests do.

Some people may assume that certain hobbies that are sight-related, such as sports, fashion, makeup and woodworking, might no longer be interesting or feasible after vision loss. This often simply isn’t true.

I feel there’s nothing worse than a group of friends assuming you no longer want to go on your annual bike-riding trip, aren’t interested in watching a football game together or don’t enjoy shopping with them anymore. Yes, some things may change, such as needing to use a tandem bicycle, a tether for running side-by-side or audio descriptions for movies, but these activities can still be very fun.

There are most always ways to compensate and adapt when it comes to the activities we love. I have a friend who is completely blind from RP and recently refinished his basement alongside his son, even handcrafting a beautiful wet bar, all without sight. I’ve heard of auto mechanics who can no longer drive but still find ways to work on cars. When someone has a talent or an interest, they often find a way to continue doing it.

3. It can feel socially isolating.

Think of all the social interactions you use your vision for, from greeting your neighbor across the way to commenting on someone’s clothing. From college students bonding over late-night activities around campus to parents observing their kids’ soccer games, some of these experiences can feel a bit awkward for people losing their vision.

While we can still participate in many of the same activities, some of the commentary involved in a shared visual experience can be missed. Sometimes I feel like I have to fake “ooh-ing” and “aw-ing” over that cute or funny scene everyone is pointing at, lest I feel out of the loop. We often can’t dart from person to person at a party, spotting friends across the room.

Some of this is unavoidable, but friends and family who go out of their way in social settings can make a huge difference. Even when I can’t spot you in public, I still appreciate being acknowledged and greeted.

For example, I love it when a parent of someone in my daughter’s kindergarten class comes up to me in the grocery store and tells me who they are, even if I’ve met them before, and starts a conversation. I can’t stand it when someone tells me, after the fact, that they were near me in a public setting — “Oh, I saw you at the movie theater last week!” — but didn’t make their presence known at the time.

It’s a weird feeling when people can spot you, but you’re not able to see them. It can leave you feeling self-conscious and awkward. When someone passes me and just says, “Hi, Joy!” without identifying themselves, I sometimes spend the next 10 minutes trying to figure out who it was.

On the flip side, when someone says, “Hi, Joy, it’s Lindsay!” I can ask how her daughter is or spout off a relevant comment.

4. The things we can and can’t see can sometimes be confusing, even for us.

I can’t always explain why I can’t figure out what a picture that someone texts me is, but I can read the print caption that goes along with the photo. Perhaps it has something to do with the visual memory of letters and how my brain fills in the gaps, even when parts of those letters are missing. Or maybe it’s the contrast or the size and color of the photo that makes a difference. Whatever it is, it can be difficult to explain to people and could even appear phony, like I have “selective sight,” but anyone who knows me well understands and doesn’t give it a second thought.

My younger sister, who works on a cruise ship, overheard one of her co-workers complaining about a passenger who had requested vision-related assistance but then appeared to be looking at something. The co-worker assumed the person was lying about their poor eyesight, but my sister grew up watching her two older twin sisters with vision loss and quickly told her co-worker the passenger might need help seeing some things but not others.

Vision loss isn’t always a concrete, black and white picture for people losing their sight. Take colors for example. I can identify most colors in a general sense but often can’t distinguish between blue and green, red and orange, purple and brown or even between yellow and white.

5. We can have “bad” and “good” vision days.

Sometimes it depends on how sunny or cloudy it is outside. Other times it depends on eye strain, the time of day, lighting inside versus outside and even how many trees or landscaping are around casting shadows, causing my eyes to play lots of tricks on me.

6. It’s not something I dwell on daily.

Gradual degeneration is a lot like aging. You don’t look in the mirror every single day, inspecting every new wrinkle, exclaiming, “I’m getting older!” — just like I don’t stare at eye charts constantly, noticing every little change.

Also similar to aging, most people don’t just wake up one day and realize they’re a senior citizen. You realize you’re aging at various points in your life, sometimes because of an event such as a milestone birthday, but other times you just notice yourself looking or feeling older from time to time.

Typically, vision loss is similar for me. There are times I’ve gone to the eye doctor and have been surprised at my change in vision because I hadn’t noticed it happening to the extent that it dropped, despite the fact that I could tell it was worsening. Other times, I notice the drop and am not surprised in the least when the ophthalmologist shows me my test results.

7. Some of us use mobility aids like canes and dogs, and some of us don’t.

There can be people who have the exact same vision who move about the world completely differently. There can be two people who both have 19 degrees of vision, deeming them both “legally” blind, and one of them uses a white cane while the other walks around without any mobility tool. If there is someone in your life who you feel should be using a mobility assistance but doesn’t, it’s usually a realization they need to come to on their own.

Even among those who are completely blind, not everyone uses a cane or dog. Some, for example, use echolocation. It’s a personal preference. A common misconception when someone begins using a cane is that they just had a major drop in their vision. Sometimes this is the case, but sometimes the person may just be sick of tripping over things and is ready for some help.

8. Most of us lead regular, happy lives.

After doing a presentation about my vision at my niece’s school recently, a couple of her classmates came up to her at recess and said, “We feel so bad for your aunt! It’s so sad, and we almost cried during her talk!”

Hearing this made me feel like I didn’t really do a great job conveying how much I love my life during my presentation. It made me decide to start my school presentations by telling the kids to smile and laugh because my story is not a sad one. Yes, I have dealt with my share of sadness over having RP, but sadness is definitely not the word that comes up for me when thinking about my life. Challenge? Sure. Adventure? Yep. Fringe benefits? Yes, please. Joy? Absolutely.

When you’re done crying over RP, there are so many things to laugh at. For example, on a recent trip to Chicago, I reached out to press the crosswalk signal button and began pressing on a man’s arm instead, much to his surprise. You can’t tell me that’s not funny!

I think Helen Keller sums it up best: “I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden.”

Editor’s note: Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

Follow this journey on Double Vision Blog.

The Mighty is asking the following: Create a list-style story of your choice in regards to disability, disease or illness. It can be lighthearted and funny or more serious — whatever inspires you. Be sure to include at least one intro paragraph for your list. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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When a Helper Becomes an Over-Helper for Your Disability

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If you or a loved one has a disability, you’ve probably encountered many wonderful, helpful people. You’ve probably also encountered some, shall we say, overly helpful folks?

Being legally blind, I usually have no shortage of helpers while out in public with my cane or guide dog. “Can I get that door for you?” “Can I grab some silverware from the buffet for you?” “May I assist you with reading that menu?” 

Most of these are what I’d consider helpful gestures, and I sometimes take people up on their offers if my hands are full juggling children and leashes, and other times I politely decline the offer, and all is well. But once in awhile, I find myself in a code red situation.

Like a couple weeks ago at yoga. I was attending a class with an absolutely amazing teacher at a studio I practice at regularly. I arrived two minutes before class was starting, which really isn’t ideal when you have a guide dog to get situated, a mat to roll out and yoga props to gather. To make matters more challenging, the tiny room was packed with people.

woman doing yoga next to her service dog
Joy and her guide dog, Roja.

Upon our arrival, everyone began maneuvering themselves around to make room for us, and a couple of my classmates who know me well offered to grab my props while I got situated.

“Oh my gosh, thank you!” I breathed a sigh of relief. Just then a voice popped up next to me.

“Hi, I’m Marcy and I went ahead and folded your blanket and put your water bottle at 2 o’clock. I also took your dog’s leash and tucked it behind her because I didn’t want it to get in your way.”

“Oh, thanks. Nice to meet you,” I stammered, slightly taken aback that she had touched my things without asking. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, however, so maybe she just saw others being helpful and thought she’d do the same. I got into child’s pose and hoped for the best.

“Today, we’re going to start with a gentle twist,” stated Greg, our instructor, “Begin by crossing your right leg over…”

“Here, like this!” Marcy interrupted loudly, touching my right leg. “Put that leg over the other one and wrap it around.”

Twists usually are confusing for me, but I eventually figure it out. Apparently I wasn’t getting into the pose fast enough for Marcy.

I quickly got into the correct twist position, but then missed Greg’s next pose while Marcy was loudly instructing me, and I couldn’t see what pose Greg was moving into.

“We are on all fours now!” Marcy didn’t excel at whispering.

Oh, table pose. I knew that one. “Now we’re going to go into a gentle downward dog,” Greg continued. Oh good, I know how to do that well, but I usually like to do a cat/cow or two before getting into my down dog. Greg always encourages his students to listen to what their bodies are telling them to do, so I make slight variations and add in poses at times.

“Downward dog is where you…” Marcy began. She was not OK with variations.

“Yeah, I know,” I whispered, trying to get back into my yoga zone as I moved fluidly into my down dog. There, now Marcy could see that I knew what I was doing.

But her little “helpful” interjections continued. I found myself trying to speed quickly into each pose for fear that Marcy would loudly offer her assistance if I didn’t high-tail it into warrior I. Occasionally, instructors come around and readjust students, and I really don’t mind when they adjust me or give reminders. They are, after all, the instructors, and most do it in a way that still honors the individual practice. But Marcy was not only not honoring my practice, she was missing out on her own.

“Remember to play with these poses and have fun,” Greg told our class gently. “It’s your own, individual practice, so try to go inward and sense what your body needs.”

Yo, Marcy, he’s talking to you.

But Marcy was too busy observing my wounded warrior to listen to Greg’s gentle reminder.

I, too, was having trouble focusing. All I could think about was how pushy Marcy was with her help. And the feelings it brought up were very familiar to me. It didn’t feel like Marcy’s help was about me at all. The whole thing felt like it was very much about her need to be a helper.

Marcy had a need to be needed, and it seemed I was filling that need perfectly.

I’d like to say I came up with some catch-all, perfect phrase to get Marcy off my case (or, more specifically, off my mat), but I couldn’t quite stop in the middle of class to hold an intervention. If I was going to enjoy the rest of my yoga class, I knew I needed to do what the mighty yogis teach: Be mindful and ignore the chatter. Not just Marcy’s outward chatter, but the conversation going on in my mind about Marcy and her need to help.

I began to listen only to the calming music playing through Greg’s iPod. I closed my eyes and listened to his instructions, and when Marcy would start doing her thing, I simply focused entirely on my breath and tuned her out. I didn’t whisper thank you. I just inhaled and exhaled. And you know what? After awhile, I didn’t have to ignore anything because Marcy had ceased her chatter.

I think there is a time to confront and be straightforward with people. But I also think there is a time to be quiet and remember that their issue with over-helping has nothing to do with you. It may be about them, and sometimes you need to allow them the space to figure it out on their own. After all, isn’t that what you want from them?

Thank you, Marcy, for teaching me an important lesson. Namasté.

Follow this journey on Double Vision Blog.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us one thing your loved ones might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. What would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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