Have you been "there"?
In your dry eye journey…
Have you ever been in a dark place?
Where you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing works?
Where all the stories you read online just seem to prove that it gets worse, not better?
Where doctors don’t seem to be able to truly help?
Where you’re imagining what it would be like for this to continue, or get worse, and you find that picture intolerable?
Where the fact that you’re having so much difficulty coping is scary in and of itself?
Where the pain is just too much?
Where you are really struggling for any glimmer of hope?
You’re in good company.
It’s okay to admit it, because honestly, it’s happened to most of us.
Depression is an integral part of some stage of the dry eye journey - for many, perhaps even most people who have taken big quality-of-life hits from dry eye.
If you’re in a better place now…
…Mind, by “better”, I don’t mean “cured”.
I don’t mean “the way you were before all this started”.
You probably still have dry eye. Maybe you even still have a fair amount of pain. Or maybe you just have to do a lot every day to not be in pain. Maybe you spend 20 minutes or 2 hours every day taking care of your eyes. Maybe you see the eye doctor frequently, or are still chasing new specialists now and then.
When I say “better”, I mean that your eyes are no longer running your life.
You’re not living in fear of the future.
You have some kind of routine that gives you confidence and control.
You’ve moved on into the stable maintenance phase of dry eye.
Or dry eye has become background noise for you now - always there, but rarely dominating your consciousness.
Or maybe you really are among those for whom it was completely cured.
(Because the vast majority of us do get to a next place with dry eye, where live no longer revolves around it. It will look different for each of us, but we do get there.)
But… did you imagine, at your darkest moments, that you would get there? That there was such a place as “there”?
What made the difference?
Somehow, you made it through all that and successfully came out the other side.
What helped you turn the corner?
Maybe it was as simple as the passage of time.
Maybe it was your fifth doctor, and getting a more correct diagnosis.
Maybe it was a particular treatment, or a particular product, or maybe just a small variation on a theme.
Maybe it was discovering the particular combination of routines that keep everything under control for you.
Maybe it was about changing your diet.
Maybe it was the things you stopped doing that helped you the most.
Maybe it was a pain clinic. Or an antidepressant medication.
Maybe it was a change of environment.
Maybe it was some time off work and being kind to yourself.
What do you wish you had known?
As you look back over that history, can you see anything that you think would have made your journey easier?
There’s a reason everyone is on social media and scouring the internet, not just for diagnostic and treatment information, but for stories of people like us. We try to find a point of connection, someone with enough similarity to us that their progress gives us hope for our own progress. And it is in stories that we make those connections.
We all need hope.
And a way to contextualize our experiences.
If I could just know that the place I am in today is a “known” location on a “known” trajectory - even if all the details are different, the times and places and such, but if the journey itself is essentially the same journey, that’s what brings hope and connection.
Please share your story on dryeyestories.com.
Someone who is going through what you went through could have a different journey, a better journey, a more swiftly changing trajectory, if they had a stronger breath of hope earlier in their story, a fresh insight at the right time.
Help assuage someone’s fears by sharing some aspect of your journey.
Please visit dryeyestories.com and consider submitting your story.
It doesn’t have to be long.
We don’t need your whole dry eye story.
Maybe just choose one aspect to focus on.
A paragraph is fine.
You can upload your story in our form, or just reach out to Aidan, editor of dryeyestories.com, and he can help you.
It’s about hope.
Maybe you’ve been sharing on Facebook or other groups. But this is different. Everything you post in a group is here today and buried tomorrow. Groups are very important as a way to connect, but people participate most in groups when they are in a hard place. When everyone is in a hard place, you start to think that that’s all there is. You lose sight of the big picture. At times, for some people, online support groups can end up being just as hurtful as they are helpful.
By collecting stories in one place we’re able to provide a continually growing composite, a bigger picture view, a more realistic view of where our dry eye stories go in the long term - with the perspective of HOPE
Posting your story on dryeyestories.com makes it accessible, and searchable. You’ll never know how many people might read your story, and take heart from your progress.