Meet Our

Warrior of the Week

These inspiring individuals with Visual Snow Syndrome are sharing their experiences living with this condition and how they try their best to overcome its symptoms everyday.

Spotlight on:

Katharina Werner

Meet our #WarriorOfTheWeek, Katharina Werner

Spotlight on: Katharina Werner

I first experienced my visual snow symptoms at the end of high school. All of a sudden I had trouble reading the writings on the blackboard because the letters started to fade and I was overwhelmed by the statistics reminding me of the screen of an old television.
So my mum took me to an optician and bought me some glasses but that didn’t improve my sight. So we went to several doctors trying to find the cause of that flickering in front of my eyes.
The doctors told me I might be stressing myself out to pass my exams at school and wanted me to take antidepressants. But I was an all-average student and I was never worried about my grades.
My headaches got worse and even led to temporary blindness. I was told I was having a kind of visual migraine.
Even though I didn’t know what it was I was absolutely sure that it was not what they told me it was.
Luckily my mum believed me and against all the doctors telling her to calm down she stayed strong when I was about to give up. I was tired of all the doctors telling me my symptoms were made up in my mind but she took me to a neurologist where I got diagnosed with a brain tumor displacing my optic nerve.
I got a brain surgery that mixed up all my hormones. I felt like it couldn’t get any worse for a couple of months then I slowly started to recover. But through it all the statics remained and I was told that my optic nerve might get insured and I have to accept that the statics are incurable.
So I stopped searching for help and started to live with my visual snow.
As if that wasn’t enough my house then got struck by lightning and nearly everything I owned burst into flames leaving me homeless.
That was the moment I just decided that nothing would ever drag me down.
I went to the army, got into climbing, high altitude mountain tours, skiing, driving,… To prove to myself that I can do anything I want.
The extreme sports also helped me to train to stay focused and to fight against the frightening moments of dissociation that happened to me more and more often.
About 10 years later just by chance, a colleague told me about VS and I started to research on my own and started crying because I instantly knew that this is exactly what I got. The missing puzzle piece I missed for years to understand who I am.
The disbelieve of the doctors is for sure the main cause for my mental issues and the unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Even though there is no therapy yet I felt understood for the first time in so many years and that gave me the strength to confront myself with my restrained emotions again.
The tumor, the fire, and the now chronical issues with my hormones and my sight that I can’t beat, brought me to the place I am right now. Everyone has got it’s baggage and that is mine and it made me who I am. It was a torture and I am still not completely healed yet. But I am still there, standing tall.
My story told me to be grateful for all the small things in life. We often worry about unnecessary things and it leads us nowhere. I just try to enjoy everything.
When I get overwhelmed by the static and the floaters I take a second to remind myself that I am still able to see the beauty of the world, even if it’s a static world it is still beautiful for me.

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