Do you feel your child has anxiety disorder? Here’s what to do by Ralph Macey (Guest Article)

Nothing is more painful for a parent than to see his/her child suffering mentally or physically. It’s easier for parents to be on the alert mode when a child is suffering physically. A wound on the knee is easily visible and parents can give medications immediately. But what about the wound in the mind? How can a parent determine that his/her child is suffering from an anxiety disorder?

 

Well, there are a few tell-tale signs to know if your child is suffering from an anxiety disorder. Here are a few of them.

 

  1. Inability to mix with school friends
  2. Too much perfectionism
  3. Problem in focusing on studies
  4. Lack of interest in interacting with family members
  5. A tendency to avoid various activities and situations
  6. Not willing to get out of bed and do all the daily activities
  7. Shaky hands, headache, insomnia, breathlessness, overeating or not eating foods, stomach upset

 

If you see that most of these signs are present in your child, this means that he/she is suffering from an anxiety disorder. What should you do in this situation as a responsible parent? Should you leave it on time and hope your child will become normal again? Should you take some proactive steps to help your child get better? What should you actually do?

 

Well, if your child’s life is getting affected due to anxiety disorder, then you should obviously take steps to get him or her well as soon as possible.

 

Here are a few steps you can take to help your child recover and lead a healthy life.

 

  1. Consult the primary care provider: Take your child to the primary care provider first. He can check all the symptoms and find out various ways to treat children with an anxiety disorder.

 

If your child has a mild anxiety disorder, then, in that case, the primary care provider may prescribe a few medicines and counsel him/her for a short time. Let’s say the primary care provider may take 6-8 counseling sessions. However, if your child has an acute anxiety disorder and PTSD, then he may refer your child to a good psychiatrist in your area. The psychiatrist can give long-term counseling and medicines to your child and make him/her smile again.

 

  1. Initiate delightful conversations: Most kids with anxiety disorder prefer to lock themselves in a room. That’s very bad for their mental health. All the demons get a chance to create a hurricane in their mind.

 

No matter how busy you’re, try to spend quality time with your child, Sit with him and watch a movie in a theater. Initiate delightful conversations when both of you’re in the car. You have to let him shed his guard and open up about what’s bugging him. Don’t go straight to the topic. Rather, give him time to open up.

 

  1. Don’t avoid the trigger factors: Too much love and adjustments are not good for your child’s mental health. If you adjust too much for your kid and avoid the situations that create anxiety, then that would turn into a big problem in the future. Don’t avoid small situations that make your child anxious. This is because you can’t be there with your child 24*7.

 

For instance, if your child becomes anxious whenever someone invites him to a party and you politely decline the invitation to avoid problems, then that’s a wrong move. He would never learn how to mingle with people in a huge gathering. He can’t avoid all the parties all the time. So you’re doing him more harm than good.

 

Teach him the ways to overcome his fears. That’s the best way to help him overcome his anxiety issues.

 

  1. Don’t give junk foods: Many children suffering from an anxiety disorder love to eat junk foods. But these foods trigger anxiety. Don’t let your child eat chips, burgers, pizzas, etc. Encourage them to eat leafy vegetables, fruits, and healthy meals.

 

Conclusion

 

The biggest fear of people suffering from an anxiety disorder is that they want to control things that are uncontrollable. You have to teach your child to handle adversity. You have to make him understand that there are alternative solutions to various kinds of problems. For instance, if someone misses a train, he can take a cab.

 

Instill confidence in your child and help to build emotional intelligence. Teach him the various ways of figuring out a solution to a problem. Let your child go out and face the world.

 

As a parent, it’s normal to feel nervous when your child goes out alone. You may always worry about him. But will you be there with him throughout his life? Can he stay his entire life at home? This is not practically possible. So you have to let him go out and learn how to sort out problems on his own.

 

Interview with Laurie (Guest Post #24)

Hi everyone, Today’s blog post comes from my friend and fellow blogger, Laurie. Be sure to check out her blog and follow her on social media.

  1. What is your name? Laurie
  2. Age? 55
  3. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? Mental health issues such as chronic depression and anxiety. Invisible illnesses such as Celiac and autoimmune diseases such as microscopic colitis, also sleep apnea,chronic fatigue syndrome and osteoarthritis among many dx.
  4. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? It makes it difficult to function on some days between the fatigue and pain. Brain fog can make keeping up with my blog a struggle. I look at others blogs and have a really hard time not judging mine but I am not going to give up.
  5. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? Because it is not visible to them it is hard to know or remember that I have a chronic battle that I struggle with daily. It gets frustrating at times.
  6. If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would it be? Don’t live your life based on what you think others think of you. Make sure you take care of you no matter what. We need to break the stigmas and show them that we are more than our dx. We are people with feelings and can live a full happy life in spite of our disease or disability.
  7. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging and or YouTube channel? My youtube channel inspiration was due to watching my daughter with her having fun with her animal channels. My blog is something I have always wanted to do but struggled with the confidence to really go for it. Then Ruth Soukup started using the “Do It Scared” motto and it keeps me going.
  8. Besides writing or making YouTube videos, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love to read. I don’t have a specific genre of book. I like many types. I also like to watch movies with family we sometimes have family craft nights too.
  9. Name a bad habit that you have? Emotional eating
  10. Name your best quality?   Empathetic
  11. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why? That is a tough question. Maybe Mother Theresa. She did so much good and I want to know how she did it all.
  12. What is your college major/Minor? Bachelors arts liberal studies with minor in early childrens services and minor in psychology
  13. What school (college or university) did you go to? UMA~ University of Maine at Aug
  14. What is the title of your blog or YouTube channel? SEEKING SERENITY AND HARMONY
    Laurie photo
    Photo provided by Laurie.

     

     

     

    1. When and why did you start your blog or YouTube channel?
  15. BLOGhttps://seekingserenityandharmony.comI dabbled with a few random blogs off and on but didn’t really get into it until early 2018. My goal is to spread awareness about mental health and invisible illness issues and stigma. I also have a strong interest in advocacy for children as I am watching the mental health rates in our youth rise instead of decline in the last several years. Youth are also showing signs of mental health issues at much younger ages now than ever before.

    YOUTUBE CHANNEL

    It started out as just a place that I posted some bird videos of my poultry so I could share them on Backyard Chickens where I am a member. I have utilized it some during It’s a Lovely Life’s Blogging Challenges but don’t utilize it as much as I should. I want to do a lot more videos this year and hopefully some much better quality ones. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRDPiiXB_K0NemU4cHy42qg?view_as=subscriber

  16. Where do you see yourself in five years? In 5 years I hope that I will have more time to write and focus on the projects I want to spend time working on. I would like to think that in 5 years I will have improved my health issues and not have such a daily struggle.
    1. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)
  17. https://www.instagram.com/seekingserenity2001/https://twitter.com/harmony2001https://www.pinterest.com/SeekingSerenityandHarmony/

    https://www.facebook.com/seekingserenityandharmony/

    https://www.facebook.com/SeekingSerenityandHarmonyHomestead/

Interview with Ami (Guest Post #23)

Hi Everyone, today’s guest post is from Ami. Be sure to check out and follow her on social media. 🙂

What is your name (or blog/channel name)?

My name is Ami and my blog is UndercoverSuperhero!

Age?

I’m 25 in January.

What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disabilities that you may have)?

I have Bilateral Hearing Loss, Optic Neuropathy, Severe Nerve Damage, Sensory Ataxia, Transverse Myelitis, Raynaud’s Disease, Depression, Anxiety, and I have recently been diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease.

How does your visual impairment (or other disabilities that you may have) effect you on a daily basis?

I have hearing loss to a degree; I can hear some things but I struggle when others are speaking. Optic Neuropathy (Central Vision Loss) means that the tissue behind my eyes, are very pale which leads to the loss of my central vision. These two impairments combined leave me unable to watch TV, read small pieces of text. Plus, I cannot see some facial features unless they are very close in front of me.

Severe Nerve Damage was caused by an untreated Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Transverse Myelitis caused me to lose all of my mobility, due to my spinal cord becoming inflamed. This also causes me to experience altered sensations in my hands; they feel like I’m constantly wearing rubber gloves.

Sensory Ataxia affects my balance, co-ordination and fine motor skills. The sensory part causes me to not be able to sense where my limbs are, unless I’m actually looking at them (with my good side vision). I can walk a few metres with my walking frame, but due to Sensory Ataxia causing muscle weakness, I become tired very quickly.

Raynaud’s Disease is where my hands, feet, and ears are oversensitive to cold temperatures, thus causing an attack where the blood vessels in my extremities (fingers and toes) become narrow and decrease the amount of blood flow. The attack causes sharp pains, very cold hands and feet. I sometimes have to wear gloves and ear cuffs in the summer!

My recent diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease came after a muscle biopsy discovered a mutation on one of my genes’. I’m still learning about this disease, but so far, this is possibly the cause of my Sensory Ataxia, Optic Neuropathy and Bilateral Hearing Loss – it’s difficult to say how Mitochondrial affects me symptom-wise as, for me, it’s most likely the cause of 3, possibly 4, of my disabilities and impairments.

I’ve had Depression and Anxiety for just over a decade, it’s definitely improved over the years and despite all my disabilities, I am generally a happy person and try to remain positive. However, due to flashbacks and certain life events, I can experience bad bouts with my Mental Health.

Ami

What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?

I’ve never been asked this before! I think at the beginning, of my symptoms, my family didn’t really understand what was happening, which to be fair, nor did I. However, as I slowly learned to adapt, they started to adapt to my disabilities and impairments too. As soon as they realised that, deep down, I’m still the same Ami, they didn’t treat me any different and we could move forward.

If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) What would that be?

My advice would be – I know it seems scary right now, that’s normal, but as you learn to adapt to your disability or impairment, you will learn that the world around you can be adapted too. Just take one day at a time.

Who has inspired you the most in life?

Growing up, I never felt I had anyone to look up to. However, that changed when I fell in love with superhero movies. Superheroes have their own issues to contend with, but they push them aside when they save the world. They don’t let anything hold them back.

Who has inspired you for your blog or YouTube channel?

Sam Cleasby, a radio presenter and activist who blogs about life with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, inspired me to share my recovery story through writing and I’ve not looked back since.

Besides writing or making YouTube videos what do you like to do in your spare time?

Besides writing, I love volunteering! I volunteer as one of Scope’s Online Community Champions, the role includes welcoming new members, signposting members to relevant resources which may be of use to them. Try to answer any unanswered posts, flagging up posts which suggests the member is putting themselves or others at risk. Reporting any spam and generally keeping the community a safe and supportive place for everyone.

I’m also the Leader of Ataxia UK – Norfolk Branch Online Support Group on Facebook, it is quite a quiet group but I’m always on hand if anybody has any questions or needs any support.

Name a bad habit that you have?

Not writing something down while I remember it! Otherwise, its forgotten.

Name your best quality?

Strong – not physically! But strong within, I have had a tough few years but it’s made me a better person and I wouldn’t change a thing.

If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?

Tom Hiddleston because he is incredibly passionate about each role he portrays; I’d love to find out what inspired him to become an actor. Also, I love his dedication to charity work. He is handsome too!

What is your college major/minor?

I didn’t attend college.

Why did you choose the title of your blog or YouTube Channel?

I love superheroes and as cliché as it sounds, UndercoverSuperhero just popped in my head when I woke up one morning.

When and why did you start your blog or YouTube channel?

After writing my first guest post, for Scope, it inspired me to write about my recovery journey. UndercoverSuperhero began in October 2018.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would love to become a Wedding Planner within the next 5 years! Regarding my blog, I’m enjoying watching it evolve; I like to be spontaneous with it. In general, I hope to still be taking each day as it comes and making the most of my life.

Where can other people find you on social media? (Please list and provide the links.)

My blog – UndercoverSuperhero – https://undercoversuperhero.com

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/UndercoverSuperheroAmi/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmiHIreland

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/undercover_superhero_ami/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0zcvNOK_xw56IZ-Ab790kA

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/USuperheroAmi/

 

The Time I Overcame

This is a new story series! The Time I overcame…. The first story comes from Ailsa.  I hope everyone likes this new series. Take it away, Ailsa.

Hi everyone, I am Ailsa, and I am the proud owner of Brains on Wheels. Brains on Wheels is my personal blog, where I write about my experiences surrounding my disabilities. I would like to thank Amanda for letting me write for her blog…

Today I would like to talk about how proud I am to have achieved my English GCSE at a grade 3.

In England, we have an education system where people who are 14 – 16 take exams called GCSEs, which stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. Genually, pupils around 16 years of age take their GCSEs. As far as I am aware, and in my experience, most GCSEs consist of coursework and exams. Some have more than one piece of coursework, some have more than one exam. It all depends on the subject

In June 2013, I took my GCSEs. I took all of the core (required) subjects; English, Mathematics, ICT (I got the highest grade in ICT), and combined Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). I chose to take one other subject: Health and Social Care. I sat each exam, I have double the amount of time to complete each paper. Everything went well in my exams, I am proud of my grades.

For the English exam, there were three components to make up the final grade; Controlled Assessments, also known as coursework, Speaking and Listening, and one written paper. I did all three parts.

In all my exams, I am aloud up to 100% extra time because it takes me longer to read and get my thoughts written down. I am also entitled to a reader, a scribe (writer) and rest breaks. It took me about five hours to complete my English exams! I made it! From analysing and comparing texts, to writing a short narrative, I did the lot. Five hours later, I was absolutely exhausted!

Then came Results Day. I went all the way back to my senior school, which was Portchester Community School to collect my GCSE results. When I arrived, first of all I had a quick natter with my friends, and met up with the LSA I had helping over the five years I was at the school. I took my results envelop and opened it… All of my results were as expected, apart from one subject: English.

Back then GCSE grades went from A* (which was the highest) to the lowest grade of G. U was ungraded.

I was predicted to get a D in English at school. When I looked at my English grade, the paper said that I got a G. On the paper, it had the grade broken down into three sections: Coursework, the Speaking and Listening, and the exam. I had marks for the coursework and the Speaking and Listening exam, but they had my result for the paper marked as 0!

I was so upset with this! English has always been one of my strongest subjects and to go through this was horrible. After a lot of conversations between my mum, school, the exam board and I, we found out that the exam board had lost the paper with my answers written on. We were all incredibly angry about this. The rules say that if the exam boards lose someone’s paper, they have to give the candidate their predicted grade. The exam board announced that they had “found” my paper and gave me an F. To this day, all of us think that they never found my paper, and they didn’t want to give me my predicted grade, so they just picked any old grade to give me.

Anyway, when I was about to start, the staff at my college (UK) said that if I didn’t get a grade C or above, they would help me to get a higher grade. I can’t remember when, but when I asked about re-sitting my English GCSE, they refused to give me the opportunity on the grounds that I wasn’t working at the appropriate level. They also said that I “wouldn’t be able to cope” in a mainstream class, even though I went through mainstream schools. This made me extremely angry, and even more determined to prove them wrong.

We made a deal that if I passed Level 1 and 2 Functional Skills English, I could then re-sit my GCSE. Functional Skills English has never been practical for me because the writing part has to either be hand-written or typed on a computer. Even though I am able to use a computer with my feet, when I get stressed or emotional, my mussels refuse to function effectively. As a result, I couldn’t type very well or quickly and before I knew it, my time was up. Straight away I knew that I didn’t write enough to pass. I took this exam twice, and the second time around, I passed!

They finally allowed me to join a GCSE English class after passing Level 1. I did well in the classes, but the college still would not let me take the GCSE. I took the class for two or three years before I was allowed to take the exam. I watched lots of other students; my peers gearing up for their exams, knowing that I wasn’t going to be taking the exam with them.

By the time I was put in to do the GCSE English exam, in 2018, the system had changed completely. The grades changed from A* to G, to 1 to 9. I had to learn a new set of skills for this exam, which wasn’t that bad, but it was still annoying. I was just lucky that I had a fantastic teacher!

The good thing about the exam changing is that it was a shorter exam. I still got double the time take the written exam, but because it was shorter, it was easier. I still did the Speaking and Listening exam with the same amount of time as the rest of the people doing this exam though.

When I came out of my last exam, I was so excited and proud of myself for doing it that I screamed at the top of my lungs. One of the things that I said was “in your face!”, I know that was a bit childish, but I don’t really care because I waited so long to do it. I just want to thank the people who believed in me and gave me the chance to do this. It really was an amazing feeling!

It just goes to show that you should believe in yourself and you should never take ‘no’ for an answer. If you want something that much, you should fight for it!

Thank you for reading this blog post, I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my achievement! Feel free to visit my blog, subscribe and follow me on Social Media…

Brains on Wheels (blog) – http://ailsas.wixsite.com/brainsonwheels

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BlogbyAilsa

Twitter – https://twitter.com/BlogbyAilsa and https://twitter.com/AilsaSpeak

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/4il5a

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ailsa.k.speak

Interview with Chelsea (Guest Post #22)

Hi Everyone, today’s guest post is from Chelsea. I met her on Facebook. Please be sure to check out and follow her on social media.

  1. What is your name (or blog/channel name)? My name is Chelsea.
  2. Age? I’m 32 years old; I’m originally from Texas but have relocated to a new state, nearly two years ago now, as I needed a fresh start and a new environment that would allow me to thrive.
  3. Who has inspired you for your blog or YouTube channel? : There isn’t just one person that’s inspired my writing–in fact, my own life experiences have inspired my writing. I’ve been writing for myself in a journal format since I was in elementary school because for me, doing so has always been an outlet. I was abused by numerous biological relatives for years, yet writing was the one thing I could always count on. Because when human beings would hurt me and otherwise let me down, writing has been there, as a faithful, constant friend. And the thing about writing, is that writing doesn’t abuse you; writing doesn’t invalidate your feelings; it welcomes you with open arms, 24/7, no matter what it is you are feeling, thinking or going through.

4. Besides writing or making YouTube videos what do you like to do in your spare time? Besides writing, some other things I love doing in my spare time are reading sci-fi/fantasy books, LGBTQ-themed books, books on atheism or self-help books. I also love listening to most kinds of music; though, right now, a few of my favorite artists/musicians to listen to are Zedd (who creates Electronic Dance Music or EDM for short) Kehlani who sings R&B and Billie Eilish who sings a mix of genres. While there are probably songs from every genre of music that I love, there are definitely particular music genres I’m not really a fan of as a whole; those are country, heavy metal, opera and classical. That being said, I also love being with my friends/other loved ones and learning how others express their creativity.

5. Name a bad habit that you have? A bad habit I have is biting my nails; I usually do this when I’m nervous, bored or really stressed out.

Chelsea
Photo of Chelsea. Photo provided by Chelsea. 

6. Name your best quality? My best quality of mine would be my brutal honesty; because people don’t ever have to worry about where they stand with me. They know that I give good advice/advice that I make sure to lead by example with. But mostly, I love my brutal honesty because it shows folks that I’m trustworthy and will always tell them the truth, even if the truth can be hard to hear.

7. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would that be and why? : If I could interview anyone dead or alive, I’d choose the Obama Family; I’d choose these folks because I love many of the things they stand for, and they seem very down-to-earth. It would be interesting to be able to pick their brains and to get to know them as the fellow human beings that they are.

8. What is your college major/minor? My current major in college is sociology. I chose this as my major because I’m passionate about helping people heal. I’m also a firm believer that if everyone in the world were in therapy, the world as a whole would be a much different place. In my younger days, one of the colleges I attended was Austin Community College.

9. Why did you choose the title of your blog or YouTube channel? : The tagline of my blog is: my life living with multiple disabilities/navigating through trauma. : I started blogging publicly a little over two years ago now. Someone who’d come across an article I’d written and liked it, was the one who’d suggested I start blogging publicly. This person got in contact with me and told me that they thought the things I have to say are valuable and given that this person was involved in a charity that was geared towards educating sighted people about how blind/visually impaired folks live/function independently, I knew that taking their advice would be wise. And as they say, the rest is history…or is that HERstory, since I’m a woman; hahahaha.

10. Where do you see yourself in five years? It’s near impossible for me to think about where I see myself in five years because my disabilities and chronic health conditions have changed my life in ways I never would’ve thought were possible. The main way in which these things have changed my life, is through causing me to slow down and listen to whatever my body is telling me at any given time. Like most people, I too allowed society to influence the way I viewed how my life should look to others. I forced myself to go to college as a young adult, simply because I didn’t think I had any other choices. But it’s only been within these last couple years that I’ve learned that taking care of myself is, and should be, my top priority. And so quite frankly, living with these chronic/life-threatening health conditions has helped me see that for me/my body, taking things an hour at a time or most times one day at a time, is the best way to operate. Because my body does not, and will not, meet what I think is an unrealistic and harmful standard, that society tries to force onto people, anyway. So if I’m here on this earth in five years, that in itself will be a gift.

12. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (Or other disabilities that you may have)? : I was born with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP); I was born at 26 weeks and weighed two pounds, three ounces. I had to be given too much oxygen at birth, just to be kept alive…and that’s what ultimately made me become blind. I had some usable eyesight up until I was 18…but then I became totally blind. Just to clarify though, when I say I used to have usable eyesight, I don’t mean that I could see good enough not to use a white cane. What I do  mean, is that I could see out of the corner of each eye, where my nose meets each eye. So I’d have to literally put things close to my eyes to somewhat see them. But honestly, it’s bittersweet for me to tell people that I used to have some eyesight because then they want a full explanation about what I could/couldn’t see…and that becomes so draining. So I’ve found it’s much easier for me to just say I’ve been totally blind for years…but had a bit of vision as a child. I find that that explanation is sufficient enough for the majority of folks. My Cerebral Palsy was also something I was born with, that was due to my bio mom’s drug/alcohol use while I was in her womb. I was also born with Hydrocephalus which was also due to my bio mom’s drug/alcohol use when I was in her womb.

13. How do your visual impairment (or other disabilities that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? My disabilities/chronic health conditions affect me on a daily basis by isolating me, for one thing. This past fall semester for example, I’d initially planned to go back to school, after having taken off in the summertime. But then it turned out that health issues came up in the fall that were shunt-related…and so I had to take off from school. And when I’m not able to go to school and feel like a productive member of society, that can be very isolating. But what truly helps me through dark times like this, is the fact that I use an iPhone and a Mac computer, both of which have speech output software built-in to them which speaks aloud what is visually on the computer’s or phone’s screen. And having access to these things makes my life much fuller and brighter than it would be without these things, that’s for sure. Because both my Mac as well as my iPhone, allow me to engage with the world through Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media. Both of these devices literally give me the world, when I sometimes don’t feel like the world has me.

14. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?  What others think about my disabilities/chronic illnesses varies from person-to-person. But to be honest, I don’t care what folks think, for the most part. I used to care deeply about how others saw me and I even felt at one time this deep need to be accepted by society. But to be honest, the more I live as my confident, unapologetic and authentic self, the more I’m truly accepted by others.

15. If you had to give one piece of advice to other about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would that be?  If I could give advice to others living with disabilities/chronic health conditions, I would first encourage them to be unapologetic about who they are. And then the advice I’d give them, would be to tell them to love on themselves more…and don’t pay anyone any mind who tries to tell you not to do you. Because ultimately, each individual is responsible for his or herself…and only each individual knows what would make him, her or them, happy.

16. Where can other people find you on social media? (Please list and provide the links)?

My website can be found at:  http://chelseamunoz.com

The Facebook page for my blog can be found at:  https://www.facebook.com/CJMBlog/

The Twitter page for my blog can be found at: https://twitter.com/cjm042715

 

 

 

Interview with DJ Hey (Guest Post #21)

Hi everyone, today’s guest post is from DJ Hey. I met her on Twitter. Be sure to check her social media accounts.

  1. What is your name (or blog/channel name)? My name is Heather Nyblade, and I’m 31 years-old.
  2. Who has inspired you the most in life? My family and friends have inspired and continue to motivate me to follow my dream and live the life I deserve to live.
  3. Who has inspired you for your blog or YouTube channel? My vision teacher I had in high school, Martha Castigilla, inspired me to start my YouTube channel and suggested making a video about how people should and shouldn’t treat the blind.
  4. Besides writing or making YouTube videos what do you like to do in your spare time? I love doing my trance music mix called “High Energy Tunes,” which can be heard once a month on laut.fm/liftedtrancemusicradio and my official SoundCloud page. I also love performing at clubs and venues, since my goal is to travel the world by performing at the big-name events.
  5. Name your best quality? My best qualities are what the trance music community is all about, which is peace, love, unity, and respect (PLUR.)
  6. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why? It’d be my favorite DJ, Ferry Corsten, from the Netherlands. Because he  he inspired me to pursue my own career as a DJ, specifically at the same events he and other trance artists perform at. Such as Tomorrowland in Belgium, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas, Dreamstate in Southern California, and Luminosity in the Netherlands. After meeting him in 2013 and enjoying his set at the Intervention Pool Party, I was instantly hooked.
  7. What is your college major/minor? I have a high school diploma.
  8. Why did you choose the title of your blog or YouTube Channel? The title of my YouTube channel is DJHeyOfficial because DJ Hey is my DJ name, and the official part is to let people know this is my real YouTube channel.
  9. Where do you see yourself in five years? I want to see myself performing at trance music events all over California and out of state before getting booked over in Europe.
  10. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disabilities that you may have)? I was born three months prematurely and was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity )ROP), which is what caused me to be totally blind.
  11.  How does your visual impairment (or other disabilities that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? I don’t look at my blindness in a negative way, mainly because of what I mentioned earlier about coming from a loving family.
  12. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? I’ve had situations where people have given me the “Oh, I feel so sorry for you because you’re blind” comment or would automatically assume it must be really hard for me to do something, just because I can’t see. But everyone I’ve met through my shows and social media have been really impressed with what I can do. This is why I’m extremely thankful for them being there to love, support, and appreciate me for who I am. Because the trance community has been all about being there for each other as a family.
  13. If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have What would that be? Don’t  let it stop them from doing what they love or living the life they want to live.

14. Where can other people find you on social media? (Please list and provide the links.)

For anyone who’d like to check out my socials and follow me, they can be found at linktr.ee/DJHeyOfficial.
DJ Hey
Photo of DJ Hey. Photo credit goes to DJ Hey.

 

 

Interview with Matt Harris (Guest Post #20) And a GIVEAWAY!

Matt is a good friend of mine. He writes amazing poetry. Be sure to enter the giveaway and follow Matt on social media. 🙂

Let’s start with the basics…

  1. What is your name? My name is Matt Harris, and I’m a fifty-nine-year-old poet—and author of Seeing Through Blindness. I live just outside of Baltimore, MD. Before we begin, I would like first to say hello to your readers and to thank you, Amanda, for giving me this opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my work.

 

  1. What is your college major/Minor? I am currently enrolled as an English Major, with a specialization in Creative Writing, at the University of Baltimore. Several years ago, my marriage broke up; and a year later, I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (US). US is a genetic disease that robs a person of both eyesight and hearing. At that time, as a former drug and alcohol abuser, who had been sober for 20 years, I feared that I might fall back into that lifestyle again, because I so desperately wanted to numb the pain from my marital breakup and Usher Syndrome diagnosis. The words Go buy a six-pack, one won’t hurt kept echoing through my mind. But I knew that was a lie. I knew from my past substance abuse that this old saying applied to me: one drink was too many and ten were not enough. So, I pushed those lies aside and decided to lean on my faith in Jesus. He has kept me sober and has given me the strength and comfort that I needed to cope with the pain. And shortly thereafter, I enrolled in the University of Baltimore at age 55, with a 99% vision loss and a 60% hearing loss. If everything goes as expected, I will be graduating in the spring of 2020. I plan to write a memoir based on this experience. I hope it will make a nice bookend to my poetic memoir, Seeing Through Blindness, which tells about my experiences with blindness and drugs as a teenager and young adult.

Let’s talk about writing/YouTube/Blogs…

  1. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging and or YouTube channel? My mother, who passed away last year, was a great inspiration for me. She grew up in Baltimore with 6 brothers and a sister. And although they lived in poverty, my mom chose to work hard and fight her way out of her circumstances. What inspired me initially about blogging, however, was that I wanted to try to get out information about my book—and to share its message of hope. I also wanted to blog about other poets’, or writers’, work as well. I think it’s important for writers to support one another, as you do, Amanda. But my blog turned into a rather eclectic assortment of topics—everything from an article about a blind man from Scripture named Bartimaeus to a friend whose rock band once opened for Led Zeppelin in Baltimore. But since starting college, I have largely neglected my blog because my studies have taken top priority. I hope to focus more on blogging after I graduate. As for YouTube, other than a few poetry recitations, I haven’t utilized my channel to its fullest potential. But after having watched some of your YouTube videos, Amanda, you have inspired me to take another look at how I could use my channel to help people and, at the same time, support other writers and promote my own work.
  2. Besides writing or making YouTube videos, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love to read. I’m a HUGE Stephan King fan, currently reading Doctor Sleep. I also love reading Scripture. In addition to reading, I like walking, going to the beach, attending plays, poetry readings, going to the movies, engaging in good conversations, and eating at restaurants. During football season, I love listening to Baltimore Ravens’ games. The team was named after one of my favorite poems: “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe.
  3. What is the title of your blog or YouTube channel? My blog, along with information about my book, can be found at my website: seeingthroughblindness.com.
  4. Have you ever written a book? If so tell me about it? My latest book, as I mentioned earlier, is called Seeing Through Blindness. It tells about my battles with visual impairment, drugs, and God during my teenage years and young adult life. It speaks not only to the issues of people with disabilities but also to issues concerning addiction and marginalization in society. Since I’m a poet, I wrote the book as a narrative poem in a free-verse style. I like this style because it allowed me to use a ton of imagery to tell my story by showing it. The poetic structure also enabled me to say what needed to be said in 100 pages—instead of probably 300 pages if I had written it in prose. A show called This Is Baltimore, Too produced a documentary about my book, which aired on a local cable television channel. Here’s a link to the show if any of your readers would like to take a look at it. This Is Baltimore, Too — Seeing Through Blindness with Matt Harris
  5. Where can people buy your books?

My book is available on Amazon—in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Matt
Photo of Matt Harris.

Let’s get to know more about you and your disability…

  1. Name a bad habit that you have? I have a tendency to rock back and forth sometimes when I’m standing up. I developed this habit when my oldest daughter was a baby. Sometimes the only way for her to fall asleep was for me to stand up and rock back and forth with her in my arms.
  2. Name your best quality? I’m a good listener.
  3. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why? I would love to interview John Milton, the British poet who wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost. Milton was blind when he wrote this masterpiece in the 1600s. I would ask him how he, as a blind person, wrote and edited this voluminous piece using only seventeenth-century technology.
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years? I would hope to have published my next memoir and several more books of poetry by then. I would also hope to be traveling the country to recite my poetry at various venues.
  5. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? As I mentioned earlier, I have a genetic disease called Usher Syndrome (US), which causes both blindness and deafness. At age 21, I was first diagnosed with a genetic eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). RP causes severe visual impairment and can lead to total blindness. At the time of my RP diagnosis, I was declared legally blind and could still hear perfectly. By age 45, I started to experience hearing loss. About 10 years later, after my hearing further deteriorated, and since RP and US are genetically related, I was tested for US, and the results came back positive.
  6. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? Having a dual sensory loss can be challenging. It often feels like I’m in a foreign country trying to decipher language and the lay of the land. It sometimes feels as if I’m fading away. But, fortunately, the technologies available today help me maneuver through some of the foreign territory that I face each day. Also, as I mentioned earlier, my faith in Jesus helps to anchor me in peace while I’m trying to figure out how to navigate this new world in which I find myself.
  7. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? I feel that my condition is very misunderstood and that people have a lot of misconceptions about it. For example, there is a misconception that blind people have bionic hearing. This myth trips me up at times when people think that about me, not realizing that I actually have a profound hearing loss. This misconception can create misunderstandings when people speak to me and then misinterpret my lack of response as rudeness. I try to dispel these misconceptions whenever I can. On the other hand, some people, even though they still might think that we have superior hearing, still insist on speaking loudly to us. Although this irritates many blind people, it actually helps me with my hearing loss. All in all, however, I do believe that for the most part people in general mean well. I think that the people I meet in my everyday travels just simply do not know how to respond to me because they haven’t been around people in my situation. These are just a few of the many obstacles I face each day. I’ll save the rest for my future memoir.
  8. If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would it be? I would say to try and develop a good sense of humor about visual impairment and smile a lot and try to put people at ease. Also, if you are losing your sight gradually, I think it’s very important to be aware of–and grieve–the emotional and psychological trauma that can occur in each stage of sight loss. These continual losses over a course of a lifetime can be harmful if not dealt with properly.
  9. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)

I mostly hang out on Facebook. Here’s a link to my Home Page: Matt’s Facebook page

Let’s talk about the holidays…

  1. What holidays do you celebrate during the winter season?

I celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.

  1. What is one of your favorite memories of the holiday? I liked when my daughters opened their presents on Christmas Day when they were little. They would get so excited. I also enjoyed the warmth and the scent of seasoned oak logs that crackled in our wood stove that we always burned on Christmas Day. These were very fond memories.
  2. Best gift you ever received?

The Gift of Eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord!

  1. What does the holidays mean to you?

In recent years, the holidays have become a time of reflection for me. But, of course, they also represent a time of giving. And with that thought in mind, I would like to conclude by giving a free copy of my book, Seeing Through Blindness, to the first five readers who comment on your blog using a quotation from your article. (Unfortunately, I can only send copies in the United States.) Just PM the location to Amanda to where you would like me to send the book.* Thanks again, Amanda, for inviting me to your blog. Happy Holidays!

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*Amanda’s email is: Amanda@amandagene.com

If you would like to be interviewed on my blog please email me at: Amanda@amandagene.com