19th to 23rd October is Irlen Awareness Week. In order to celebrate this and help raise awareness for a condition that controls my life, I’m asking you to consider the pitfalls for those of us who have visual stress.
I grew up with labels like clumsy, daydreamer, inattentive. I grew up not knowing that the way I saw the world was not like everyone else. I didn’t know I shouldn’t see halos around people on a stage in a darkened theatre when I looked at them or that sunlight wasn’t supposed to cause me severe migraine pain. I grew up thinking everyone else saw things the way I did, that the words jumped off pages for them too. I didn’t know that there was an alternative to hiding in the shadows in order to rest, that I could be in a room without needing to adjust the light. I never knew that the reason I kept falling over was because where I thought things ended and I began wasn’t where they were at all. I never saw the full richness of colour, the nuances of shade. I didn’t know that clouds could have such texture. Until the day I put my tints on, I lived in a world where colour was bleached and definition had no meaning, because I couldn’t see it.
Now I see the world with different eyes, I see all the different greys in clouds, see the beauty of their texture, and the depth of the sea. Words stay still on pages, the sun looks beautiful in the sky, without causing me pain. I can stand on my own two feet and not be viewed as that clumsy one who can’t see the edge of the table over there. I can focus without having to let my eyes wander. I’m not inattentive, I’m a visual learner with visual stress. And I hadn’t known that for most of my life. But thanks to two pieces of tough tinted plastic, that stress is calmed, my sensory overload progresses more slowly.
I am an Irlenite! Watch me change this world!
If you want to know more about Irlen Syndrome please go to www.irlen.com