Meet our #Warrioroftheweek, Isabella Riemann💙
Spotlight on: Isabella
My name is Bella, and I’m 18 years old. I have lived with visual snow symptoms for as long as I can remember.
When I was young, I remember being scared of the dark because my mind would create figures out of the static I saw in my vision, which would make it hard for me to fall asleep.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m in 6th grade. I started noticing floaters in my vision. It took me a while before mentioning it to my mom, who then took me to see our family optometrist. I was told I had something seriously wrong with me, which led to visiting many different doctors over the course of 6 years. After extensive testing, they all said there was nothing wrong and nothing they could do, but I knew deep down they were missing something. Because of this experience, even years later, I struggle to go to the eye doctor, even for a regular exam. It feels incredibly isolating and invalidating to be struggling with something most doctors aren’t even familiar with.
It wasn’t until I turned 16 that my symptoms drastically increased to the point that I could barely function. I didn’t want to say anything to anyone in fear of judgment, so I continued to live in fear every day. I want to mention that my mental health during this point in my life was the worst it has ever been.
I stayed up late every night, wondering if there was anyone else who saw the world the way I do. I felt completely alone until one day, when I came across a website about visual snow, and immediately resonated with it. It took me almost a year to finally find and get in touch with a doctor who I have now been working with for a couple of months to help manage my symptoms, and hopefully I’ll start to see improvement.
I want to say that I’m incredibly grateful for my family, my team, and for this community, which has helped me more than I’d ever thought possible. I recognize I am so lucky to have a diagnosis and to be working with professionals who understand what I’m going through every day.
Today, I’m taking things one day at a time and focusing on prioritizing my mental health and living my life to the fullest despite my VSS. This has helped improve my symptoms and overall quality of life. I’m no longer letting visual snow stop me from becoming the person I want to be and living the life I want.
I’m sharing my story in hopes of spreading awareness about visual snow syndrome and just how drastically it can change someone’s life. I hope that at least one person feels less alone in their struggles after reading this.
Please know that no matter what, your life is worth living. And always be kind—you never know what someone is going through.