Monday, January 12 - 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
65 East Wacker Place
Chicago, IL 60601
When someone loses some or all of their vision, it can come as a shock with feelings of loss, similar to losing a loved one. Our Monday Afternoon Discussion focuses on the process of adjustment and the things we can do to make the adjustment process easier. We will explore resources and strategies and share ideas with one another.
Monday, January 12
What state of mind and body would you like to be in over the next 12 months? Come share ideas on how to get there! Consider all aspects of yourself: emotional, social, professional, practical. How do family or friends affect your efforts to change? Most importantly, what aspects of living with vision loss will you need to address?
Monday, January 26
Independence: Attitude or Skills?
We will contrast and compare the lifestyles of Joe Smith and Bob Robert—real people (with fictional names). Both have vision loss and both have adapted to living alone with vision loss in different ways. You be the judge as to who is more independent! Consider your own situation. What can you learn from Joe and Bob that will help you in your own life?
Monday, February 9
Facing Your Fears
Everyone has the “hard questions” in the back of their mind about their vision loss. These are the ones you don’t want to ask for fear of answers you don’t want to hear. Questions like:
Let’s talk about strategies for dealing with your fears and resources to get some answers to your “hard questions”.
Monday, February 23
Getting Started — Ten Things That Will Help You
Test your knowledge of the actions and resources to take on the road to living successfully with vision loss. Then let’s talk about what is not on the list. What do you need in your life to help you live with vision loss?
Monday, March 9
The Grieving Process — Stage One: Dealing with the Initial Impact
Each person’s reaction to the diagnosis of serious, irreversible vision loss is different, but for most people this is emotionally devastating news. How did your doctor break the news? How did you react? What did your family and friends do? Share your story with others who’ve received similar news.
Monday, March 23
The Grieving Process — Stage Two: Does your Brain Talk to Your Heart?
Your brain might have heard the facts about your vision loss but your heart might be refusing to accept or listen. Denial of the need for major changes in one’s life is a common reaction. Are you in denial? Come learn about the many shapes and forms denial can take.
Monday. April 13
The Grieving Process — Stage Three: Pulling the Covers Over Your Head
Do you feel alone and think no one understands what you are going through? Does it seem easier to give up doing what you normally do than to face the world? Are you angry all the time? Vision loss can provide temptation to withdraw from life. We’ll discuss strategies for reconnecting and responding to the world.
Monday, April 27
The Grieving Process — Stage Four: Down in the Valley
Adjusting to vision loss can feel like traveling up hills that are too steep and through valleys that are too dark. Depression is a normal stage in the process. It is important to recognize the signs of depression and know when to reach out for help. Lee Lewis, LCSW will share his knowledge of depression and together we will discuss strategies for coping and focusing on the positive.
Monday, May 11
The Grieving Process — Stage Five: A Ray of Hope
With encouragement, support, and sometimes simply with time and thought, a stage of reassessment of the situation and reaffirmation of living is reached. You begin to consider looking ahead rather than dwelling on what cannot be changed. Did you feel this turning point? Did anyone influence you or did it happen through your own reflections? Come listen to others and share your experience. Let us help you find new reasons for looking ahead.
Monday, May 18
Vision Loss: A Life Journey, Self-esteem and Independence
Guest Speaker: Leah Gerlack, M.S. C.R.C.
Leah’s is the Director of Counseling Services and Director of Assistive Technology for Spectrios Institute for Low Vision in Wheaton, IL. Leah has held several positions At Spectrios including managing the “Seeing is Believing” children’s’ low vision clinic program, served as conference chair for several low vision conferences and has served on the board of the Illinois Association of Education and Rehabilitation.
She was recently chosen as one of 12 “Women of Distinction” by Suburban Life Media. Leah shares her journey of dealing with decreasing vision as she pursued her education and career.
Monday, May 25: no meeting, Memorial Day
Monday, June 8
The Grieving Process — Stage Six: The First Steps Forward
At this stage, you begin to experience periods of hope that things will improve, and the future holds promise. You may, however, be resisting returning to normal activities because your attempts to do so are often painful and stressful. Hope comes with the learning of new skills that enable you to return to normal and significant activities. What are some things you have learned that have helped you return to your normal activities? What are some activities that you would like to find your way back to?
Monday, June 22
The Grieving Process — Phase 7
Stage Seven: Accepting Yourself and Moving Forward The goal is to adjust your life to the new reality vision loss has created. Vision loss becomes one—but only one—of the many aspects of your identity. What does being “adjusted to vision loss” look like to you? What feelings and aspects of your new reality have you come to accept? Do you still feel like yourself? What knowledge have you gained that you can share with the next person you meet who is walking this same path?
For more information about this support group, contact Polly Abbott at 312-236-8569.