Meet our #WarriorOfTheWeek, Michelle Wingfield! ????
Spotlight on: Michelle Wingfield @mittyboo7
I have never seen the world properly, but I didn’t always know that.
I was born with multiple health complications and issues, leaving me disabled at very young age.
My disability is among the uncurable, as well as being progressive. I’ve also developed multiple chronic illnesses and I’ve dealt with a lot of hard news to take. Its never been easy- its always been an uphill battle for me.
Among my other issues, I also always wondered why everything looked static-y, and why it always looked as if it were snowing. I wondered why there were black and white, shiny and bright spots and shapes dancing around in my vision all the time. It made it diffcult to concentrate, escpecially when reading, sensitive to white surfaces and lights, and it never went away, even when I closed my eyes. But I never mentioned anything, because I always just assumed it was normal, that everyone saw things like that too.
When I turned fourteen, I was doing research for school on rare diseases and conditions, when I came across an article about Visual Snow. Just the name gave me chills, because it was such a perfect description of what I saw. I read it over and over again, and I realized what I saw and what I expieranced was in fact not normal. I was one of a rare many who dealer with this condition.
At first, the newfound knowledge that what I saw wasn’t normal almost made it more aggravating. And after that, I brought it up with my parents, and then my doctors, but everyone thought I was either making it up, or that it wasn’t such a “big deal”. The doctors didn’t know what to make of it, since every test came up normal.
But finally, I mentioned it to my neurologist. And he diagnosed me with Visual Snow.
Its difficult, because there isn’t a cure yet, and most of the medical society doesn’t believe its very real existence, so its easy to feel alone in this.
But whoever is reading this, just know you aren’t. You aren’t alone.
And here are a few things that have helped me cope with my symptoms, that might just help you….
1). Night or reading mode on electronic devices is truly a life saver. It reduces the blue light output and softens the lighting to a more calm, yellowish light than bright white. It helps me when I have to work on anything online, and for the sensitivity to brightness. It makes it easier on the snowy vision, too.
2). My visual snow affects my hearing as well as my vision. I get tinnitus, and it can really be disturbing and sometimes pretty painful. I noticed soft, calm music helps reduce that.
3). Sunglasses. Especially when out and about and driving.
4). Enlarging font size. The visual snow can make it hard to read, but enlarging the font can make the task a bit easier and more enjoyable.
Again, to all those who are in the same boat as me, you aren’t alone. No matter how hard or difficult it is, you can do this.