When Doubt Comes


When Doubt Comes

     Our main character sits and thinks. "Sometimes I have doubts. Sometimes my self-confidence is lacking and I question if I can take the next step, bear the next risk or maybe even hang on any more. I feel I'm having that problem right now. What do I do?"

e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

**1. “FROM ME: “The answer to this first one is to read the rest of the responses. See how many ways this Provoker can be taken.”

“Hello. This one is hard to respond to because there is not much
information. I'm wondering if I am missing a part of it. It sounds as
though this individual is having a time of doubt. This is something people
have whether they are blind or sighted. Am I missing something?”

Kathy McGillivray (Miniaplos, Minnesota, USA)

**2. “I had to think about this one for awhile. My first reaction is really the
one I'm going with here: This could be anyone, not necessarily a blind
person. Everyone is discouraged at one time or another; everyone feels as
though they can't cope. But, regardless of the reason, we can only choose
to allow the feelings to overwhelm us and do nothing about them;
therefore, becoming more and more miserable and feeling sorry for
ourselves. Or, we can face the problems for what they are, challenges,
and continue with getting on with life. If we want people to believe that
we're the same as everyone else, then we have to act that way; face our
problems for what they are and not ask everyone else to sympathize with us
because we're blind and having a tough time.”

Cindy Handel

Willow Street, Pennsylvania, USA


FROM ME: “Love how she took it from not knowing who it fit, through to where it fit all, to ending up talking about blindness.”

**3. “My name is Gene, Right now I don't see this as an issue in a big way.
Only looking at smaller issues like dating.
For sure thou this was a big issue for myself. When getting the news of RP
and going blind either slowly or fast. In my case it was like a slow death
and each day it destroyed my self-confidence in anything I could do. From
at the time Marriage, raising children, work and everything in general.
What could I do ... Well, I made the wrong move and hit the bottle for a
period of time and slowly killed the marriage and a relation with my
children; because I didn't think I could do anything. A lot of feelings to
deal with Love, compassion, mad/anger, sad/tears, fear and once in a while
glad. It took a year of hell and pity on myself and thinking that no one
cared and why did this all happen to me and why can't I... After, a
year of this and a lot of caring friends and family. I decided to find my
self-confidence and give it a try. It was a hard road as you see I was told
that I was going blind in 83-4 and each day going blind slowly. Until four
years ago when it all left except for telling the difference between night
and day. I was determined to show myself that I could be a whole person
again. That being a working person and being able to take care of myself.
Taking one day at a time in building up my self-confidence and going to
counseling to deal with the issues surrounding the fear of Blindness.
That, my friends, for me was not an easy task for me to do. As I was at the
bottom of the pit and full of anger and fear; which, are the two things
that tore away my self-confidence. Once I learned the tools and dealt with
the fear and anger. It became a new road of adventure of it's up and
downs. Now, I can tell you that I'm good friends with my X-wife, very
close with my two boys and a young man who I'm trying to adopt. Like I
noted it was the love of friends, new and old && family who made it possible
even though I did the work. To the point that when it came time to move on
from my old job of 11 years. I knew what I had to do 9 months ago and did
it. Not being afraid to ask for help in getting back into school and job
training to move on. Now you want to try your self-confidence, that did!!
After, not being in school for many years, being 51 years old and learning
a new job. Then, to add on top of being ask to become President of a Lions
club and make a movie/video. Again, I revert back to the basic foundation
that I built from counseling, communication, love of family and friends and
trusting yourself in asking questions. So, I can say my self confidence is
where it should be and enjoy my time as President of the Lions Club, Going
into a new job in a short period of time , enjoyed making
the video and being able to speak to groups of people about the trials
that blind persons go through in loosing their eye sight slowly. four
things I find valuable in keeping this level of confidence: Love of family
& friends, Love of a God, Positive people around you and communication
skills. It was not an easy road, but well worth it and proud to be blind
and independent, yet not afraid to ask when necessary. Thank you for allowing myself to share with you”

Gene Stone (Portland, Maine, USA, geno@maine.rr.com )

**4. “I tend to want to educate and encourage. The only time I felt that
education and encouragement were not necessary and my frustration got the
better of me was when my mom and I and a friend with a guide dog went to a
Chinese restaurant and the owner wouldn't let her have the dog in the
restaurant. My friend just had us put her dog in the car and I was ready to
leave the restaurant and go somewhere else to eat rather than do business
with them. I've had some funny experiences like when I walked up a snow
bank because I went a little too far crossing a street. Another student
asked if I needed some help. My first thought was to tell him that no I was
fine that I climbed snow banks every day. But I just said thanks yes I could
use a hand. I have joked around about using the sighted guide technique of
taking the person's arm. I explain that if they step off a cliff, I'll be
following the person and I won't fall off.”

Marcie Brink

(mbrink@complink.net )

FROM ME: “How many of you have also felt, “It was one of those days? (I like how she kept her cool!)”

**5. “This is one of the best provokers I think that has come along. So many
people who are blind are shown "role models" on TV of people who are always
happy, always "well adjusted" and never seem to have those rough days where
it's a big decision just to get out of bed. I get irritated at these
so-called TV blind people who present a totally unrealistic image to blind
people and the sighted public alike about what it's like to deal with
blindness every single day.

What is important for EVERYONE to remember is that we all have rough days.
No matter how long you've been blind or how easy things usually are for a
person they are always going to have days when things don't work and don't
fall into place. It's just the way it is sometimes. Not to be cliché but
that is life. And life as we all know is not fair.

In no way do I mean to sound cold and unfeeling. I completely understand
the feelings of helplessness, fear, and sometimes anger that accompany the
rough days. The important thing I think is to acknowledge the rough times.
Don't try to push them aside, blow them off, or ignore them. Deal with them
one at a time and although they may never go away they may get easier. Hang
in there. Talk about it if that helps. Find something that helps. It's
different for everybody. But whatever you do don't feel like you're
"different' or "abnormal" just because you have doubts. We all do at one
time or another.”

Wendy McCurley (USA)

**6. “I find that it is ok to quit for a short time. If I do nothing for a
little while I get bored with myself and pick up the phone or read a
headline or change my thoughts so that my condition doesn't feel so
unbearable. Prayer always settles my thoughts and gets me centered.”

Julie Dauksza (Valley Cottage, New York, USA)

FROM ME: “Prayer. How many of us find this one rising to the top of our list?”

**7. “The interesting thing is, this particular thought provoker has nothing at
all to do with blindness. Yes, it does apply to those of us who are
blind, but it also applies to anyone who is a human being. We all get
into those depressions now and then where we question many things about
our lives. I had a recent experience with this and ultimately what I came
to learn is that everything happens for a reason. No event, whether big
or small, goes without significance in our lives. So when when the hand
you are delt comes with stakes that seem too high, ya just gotta play the
cards and pray that things come out the way they should. Sometimes life's
answers can frustrate us. We question why things happen and why we are
traveling the path we are on. This is okay. God gave us a brain to use
and our ability to question and analyze is a natural part of it. But I've
found that if we become too busy questioning everything, we will never be
able to devote the necessary energy to finding any answers. I know that
many people on this list are blind or are going blind. We all have those
periods when we become angry and frustrated with it. I've found that this
is very healthy and the best way to deal with it is to share with others.
That is why this forum is so important to all of us.
Sorry if this seemed too vague and abstract, but I hope I made my point.”

Ryan Osentowski (Lincoln, Nebraska1 USA)

**8. “No matter how strong your confidence in yourself and your abilities are,
sometimes you will have doubts. Whether the doubts are about your
situation, yourself, or relationships, it is a normal condition. If we
didn't question our own decisions, situations, or relationships we would
stagnate and never move forward in our lives. For me, when my confidence is
shaken or I doubt something I've done I often find something I do well and
do it. It boosts the ego a little bit and sometimes that is all I need. I
may also ask the advice of family or friends on decisions or actions I have
doubts about. Although you may not like what they have to say. I
personally have never felt like I couldn't go on. Sometimes I get tired of
trying to catch the curve balls that life has thrown me. I've always
managed to pick myself up out of the dirt, brush myself off and move on. I
do what I have to do to survive.

I lost my son to cancer almost 6 years ago. It was a devastating blow and
very difficult to deal with. When something like that happens, it leaves
you asking all the "what ifs and what could have beens...." I've realized
over time that it was not my fault...that I could not have done anything
different. I have regrets, but I wouldn't change any of the things that I
did for the world. Now, when someone asks me if I have any children I tell
them that I borrowed an angel for a little while. I like to look at the
positive side of things and not dwell on the negative. I am reminded of my
son some times when I feel the warmth of the sun on my face, hear the laughter of
other children, feel a breeze tousle my hair, or feel the softness of a rose

Life is never easy or fair, but it is what we make of it. Strength,
courage, and bravery come in many different shapes and sizes. So does love
and kindness. Sometimes it is not the things you see or feel in front of you
that is important, but the foundation it all sits on and is often overlooked
that where we find the answers to our questions.”

Rhonda Sampley (Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

FROM ME: “Learning to cope with a major loss in life is not easy, no matter the nature of the loss. Going blind is tough, losing a child is tough. Does what you learn in one situation help you in the next?”J

**9. “That is the time to take stock. As Robert Fulgham says in his books,
"learn to differentiate between a problem and an inconvenience" If your
house is on fire, you have no food or home, a family member or loved one is
dying, you are facing prison, THOSE are problems. Everything else is an
inconvenience. Learn the tactics of scale. How to deal with problems and
how to face up to your successes. Yes, there are people who cannot handle
their own success as much as failure. When dealing with inconveniences,
learn how to ask for help. When dealing with true problems, such as fires,
death or crippling illness or pain, learn how to ask for help and when to
let go.

Things to lose, in ascending order of importance:

clothes and some possessions

heirlooms and things of value







And keep these in mind. If you have to give up home to keep life, do so, if
you have to give up home to keep belongings, dumb't. If you have a choice
between your job and your health, note that health is higher on the list.

Finally, know when to quit gracefully if necessary. Suicide is a horrible
thing, but can, at the extreme, be a relief in cases of intractable pain
and suffering. However, it is an extreme step and will affect everyone
around you very badly for a long time to come. Seek counseling first, note
where 'life' is on that list and do whatever it takes to avoid that final
step. If it becomes inevitable, know who to turn to and how to proceed.
Failure can be devastating.

And remember that the difference between a problem and an inconvenience may
be hard to see at times, but it isn't impossible. We are all survivors.”

Sylvia Stevens (USA)

FROM ME: “When doubt comes, how far will some of us go?”

**10. “I am just learning caning and I am finding it daunting as I also have a
balance problem. I am trying to address it by looking at it as an extreme

I talked to a counselor from our local center for the blind and I was
telling her about the last thought provoker. She noted a blind friend who
was upset when people didn't offer to help. I sometimes wonder if we are
too proud at times and don't accept the help we could get.
I am writing a little website for kids on blindness - basically for kids who
are not blind to make them aware. It does have some graphics, but I will
send you the URL so that you can at least be aware of it. I thought that
would also be a way to build confidence by reinforcing learned skills and
sharing with others.”

Catherine Alfieri

(7 Summer Tree

Pittsford, NY 14534


**11. “This happens to us all at one time or another. Sometimes we just need to hunker down, hibernate and re-group. But that can become a problem if the feeling persists. We need to have a realistic time limit on our pull back and re-group.
Then reach out and talk to others that you trust. Explain how you are feeling and most times you will be surprised at the response of those close to you. Many times they have just passed through the same dark tunnel that you are stuck in.”

Lastly and most important, reach out and help someone less fortunate than yourself. There is always a reality check that someone out there has their life enhanced because you are in this world. There is always someone needing a friendly greeting or a trip to the market or an elderly person who may need an errand run or in need of someone to listen to a story from the past. Volunteer some time and see how valuable your place in this world is. Some times we need to value ourselves enough to give ourselves a kick in the butt and get going. Other times we need to withdraw and recharge the drained batteries, but the bottom line is to keep on going!”

Suzanne Lange (California, USA)

**12. “I think I can, I think I can," from the Little Red Caboose we read as
a child is what I have used many times when I was in this position. Working
with positive people can pull a person beyond a challenging day or that
monthly threat of paying bills, just one more time. I have wondered many
times if it is worth struggling for the American Dream, to have ones own
home. Between taxes and repairs I think, " Can I do this one more year?" To
bypass these negative thoughts we or I do try to focus on the positive which
for many years seems to have always worked when that weaker moment surfaces
. I look around and see so many who have no clue if there is a light at the
end of the tunnel and then thank someone up above for what I do have to
include a job and a private home.”

Lee a. stone (Hudson, New York, state, U.S.A., stonedge@taconic.net)

FROM ME: “I remember the lesson I learned from that book too. How many of us do receive that type of foundation at the knee of our parents? What better time to begin learning positive thought, patterns that will stand us in good stead for the rest of our lives; guess the question in my mind is, “Are we to think that will always be there, later? Why not?”

**13. “Find some good people, who know and care, to hang around. Keep yourself
busy. Read War and Peace or some long book that shows, things could be
worse! Take a nap? That's what I do...cause I get tired.”


**14. “When feeling depressed or just "down", I would say the best thing to do is
talk to someone about it. Whether professionals, friends, or others. There
are "tons" of people out their going through the same thing as the character
in the story. There are many e lists out there that can offer insight,
support or just a kind word from most of us that have "been there and done

Usually works for me...”

Bill Tucker (Huntsville, Arkansas, USA)

**15. “I use these strategies, and recommend them to my clients for
self-confidence. First, make a list of all the things you think you've
accomplished or done well in your life, then ask a trusted family
member/friend to add their ideas--the more the better. Write them down and
keep it. Second, when you feel your confidence fading, read through your
list and think about how you achieved those goals, especially in similar
situations. Then, write what the problem is, why you feel a lack of
confidence, what you would tell a friend, and how you can accomplish the
task. Then, go for it! Mistakes are experience, and no one is a failure
even if you fall flat on your butt in a mud puddle!”

Jessie Rayl (Martinsburg, West Virginia, USA)

**16. “While reading this description, my first thought was "why does this person have so many doubts?" Visually impaired persons are not the only struggling, doubting, low-esteemed people. We all encounter low points during our journey through life. My suggestion is to arrange an appointment with an adjusted peer, counselor or pastor. Talking is the first step toward sorting out confusing feelings. Medication may be a last resort if it is combined with therapy.”

Marcia Beare M.S.W. (Martin, Michigan, USA)

**17. "I can't help but share my fantasizing about Lee A. Stone's reference
(Response 12) to the little red caboose saying, "I think I can." Had that
story been about a caboose rather than an engine, it might have come closer
to identifying with the person swamped in doubt than the engine does. After
all, an engine has the tools and the motor to lead, while a caboose doesn't.
The caboose, however optimistic, isn't equipped to push or pull anything.
It would have to consider first how to interest someone in helping so that
it could perform best its job of supporting a leader and communicating from
the rear what is necessary for the engine to know in order to most
effectively lead.

I think that's what a person overwhelmed by doubt must do--look within to
find the courage to get support from God and fellow human beings in order to
work his/her way out of that place. One way I have often done that is to do
something, preferably anonymously, that may lift someone else's spirit.
Just wondering how that person might feel makes me feel better. I think the
buzz phrase for that these days is doing random acts of kindness.

Thank you, Lee, for helping me find the connection I was looking for to
respond to this provoker. I find value in the powerful message of "I think
I can" in dealing with doubt too.

Maybe it would be good for someone to write "The Little Caboose That Could"
to help people understand how important supporters are."

Barbara Walker (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA,

FROM ME: "How about it? Who out there will write the book, "The Little Caboose," the big support."

**18. "I enjoy these Thought Provokers. As for
"When Doubt Comes,"
It took a lot of prayer, study, and determination to
realize that I will always have doubts about the
things I do. For me it would be the height of
arrogance to be so sure I am always right, always
infallible. Life has shown me otherwise. In similar
vein, I would venture to say that there is, for me,
no choice that goes wholly unregretted for the road
not taken. A tiny corner of me will always wonder:
If I had stayed married to him, if I had raised him
differently, if I had been stricter with her, if I
had been more ambitious - more self-disciplined. And
then it is time to let go these doubts and questions
and regrets and get back to the business of living."

Carolyn Gold (Clearwater, Florida, USA,



**19. "Personally I have not felt that I couldn't go on, though there have been low points in my life.
Since I believe my life is a gift from God, and there is a purpose for my
being here, I know enough to wait out the tough times.

I just got off the phone with B., a man who is blind. But that isn't his
major problem. His major problem is a case of optarectalitis, which is when
the optic nerve gets crossed with the rectum, and gives you a crappy view of
life. I'm not saying his life has been roses: He lost his mother eight
years ago, his girl friend five years ago, and another girlfriend last year
from various causes. Although his father is proud of what he does and sends
him money he doesn't need, he hates the man and can't wait to "get even" with
him. Granted, there have been tough times, but his crappy view started long
before them. He is employed, has helped other blind persons, and still
thinks alternately about walking away from his life or ending it. He already
has another girlfriend, one who is of a far better quality than he is used
to, but nothing helps.

The other phone call came from a man who has been totally blind for ten
years and has decided he wants to make something of his life. All he really
needs, he says, is a talking typewriter, but he was told it didn't exist. I
gave him the phone number of someone who could sell him a Talk 'n Speak,
which will probably be exactly what he wants. He's upbeat, and looking
around for whatever he can find that will help him, even though I'm sure he's
had a long period of feeling there was no place for his life to go. (That's
not my conclusion. It's based on something he told me.)

So what's my point? We determine whether the times are tough, since two
people who are in the same circumstances do not have the same attitudes."

Lori Stayer (Merrick, New York, USA)

FROM ME: "Copying her last statement, "We determine whether the times are tough, since two
people who are in the same circumstances do not have the same attitudes." How much of our attitude is by our choice and how much by circumstance?"

**20. "I sincerely doubt that there isn't ONE of us that
hasn't felt that at one time or another, forget
blindness, maybe something else in your life, a tough
situation at work that has NOTHING to do with your
vision. Other medical problems. My belief is that
from time to time you ARE going to feel down about
certain situations that you can and cannot change.
People with perfect vision have the same problem.
People with multiple handicaps have the same problem.
As long as you don't start lingering on it ALL the
time, I see no problems with occasional doubts. It
would be MORE dangerous (in my opinion) to be
OVER-assured, to think YOU are always right and NEVER

Andy Stahmer (Kansas, USA)

FROM ME: "He does have me thinking... is doubt at times the precursor to a new experience, the impetus to taking a risk, the birthing contractions to growth or the stimulus...?"

**21. "I know the feeling, I had a pretty rough week. There are lots of
things happening in my life that are new and uncertain, but what I try to do
is enjoy the same pastimes I've always loved, such as writing and listening
to music. Sometimes when things are really stressful, I just have to let go
and call it a "mental health day" as the new ergonomic parlance goes.
Somehow the mind and heart (at least mine) can't deal with doubts and stress
indefinitely, and find a way to deal with challenges and problems.
Thanks and cheers,"

Teresa Cochran

**22. "When I think back to my college days (*many* years ago!), I realize that one of
the best things I learned had nothing to do with books. I had a professor whom,
at the beginning of each class would write a quote on the board. It could be
anything--from humorous to profound. We were then encouraged to express our
thoughts. At first we were a hesitant group, but before long we opined with

What I learned is that everyone, with no exceptions, is the same on the inside.
We *all* deal with the same struggles, fears, wants, needs, desires. Those
"beautiful" people who seemed so on top of everything were just as insecure as
those who may not have given the appearance of having it all together. I can
still the remember the faces of many of the people in that class.

So for those who are depressed, having doubts, remember above all that we *all*
feel that way at times. And I know that the person who wrote the original
message may be thinking, "yeah, but at least you can see." and you are right.
But that doesn't lessen the extent of our own feelings and what is relevant to
us. We can never fully understand the situation of another until we truly walk
in their shoes--until we lose our vision, lose a child, a home, a husband or
wife, deal with a life-threatening disease, but until then, we must be
compassionate to others and also learn to reach out and ask for help. Please
don't be intimidated by those who you perceive as "successful." I promise you we
are all equal when outside distractions are removed."

Pam Zipperer

(Valdosta, Georgia, USA)

**23. "This ought to be a busy thought provoker. I think we have all had our
doubting days. Most of us have even had them run into doubting weeks.

I think the most important thing you can do for yourself during these
doubting days is to get out amongst it and do something. Sometimes trying
something-new helps build confidence too.

Get around people who encourage you. Being around a variety of people also
helps. Stay alert to opportunities to be taken advantage of. Also, keep in
touch with other blind people. Find a mentor who can help you with the
rough spots.

Good Luck Go Getter!"

Nancy Coffman (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

FROM ME: (Well, how about this notion that it matters as to who and what kind of person you are around? We've seen this many times now."

**24. "I think there are a number of appropriate things to do. Just a

1. Think about all of the good things that have happened to you and the
great experiences you have had in your life. They will overshadow the

2. Associate with, talk with, correspond with those of us who have "been
there". We need to be mentors to each other and build each other up.

Sometimes, when I get to feeling depressed, my wife reminds me of all my
many blessings and for the good health I enjoy. She also reminds me that
if it weren't for my blindness, I would not have my wonderful guide dog.
We all need someone like that to help us keep our perspective."

Lynn J. Boulter (RPlist)

**25. "From my experience, having doubts may be a good sign, since it may be a
way to get things re-looked at or re-evaluated. I handle doubts variously
by talking to God in prayer, by asking friends or experts in whatever it
is, by working harder on the project, by doing research in to whatever it
is, by trying another approach or sometimes, by letting time take it's

Cheree Heppe (Blindad list)

**26. "What doubts? What are you struggling with? I'm sure most of us have
experienced doubts from time to time, a lack of self confidence, maybe even
a lack of self worth. One thing I've learned over the years is that
regardless how dark my mood, usually by the next day I seem to have a
lighter mood and wonder why I was so troubled the day before."

Doris Fisher (Bellflower California, USA)

28. "I think we all face this every day. That's why I say that we all must
have great courage just getting through every day life. I've always
wanted to go sky diving and my friends all say that they would have to be
pushed out of the plane. I always just say that I would just step out
because in a way that's what I do every day. Just step out and get it
done, and I'm very proud of my accomplishments when I do. That is what I
keep in mind when I have these doubts. I think of how I can get it done
and how happy I will be that I accomplished it when it's done.

Does that make any sense?"

Kim Estevez (RPlist)

29. "Doubt is a flag. A feeling to warn you, you've not got all going for you. And its what you do next that separates the... well the ones that do and get there. And the ones that don't and don't get there."

FROM ME: " I could have written that one."

30. "In response to your thought provoker.

When I feel I can't go on or feel defeated, I know there is a higher power,
my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I pray and ask for strength and
encouragement to carry on. Sometimes it doesn't come immediately and
sometimes not in the way I expect, but soon, if I have faith, he will bring
me power and lift me up, and restore me to a higher place than before.

I know this will probably bring some flames or shots about believing in
God. However, if you don't believe, you can't understand the power He can
have over your life and the blessings He will bring to you.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting

Have you ever heard the story about the footprints in the sand

A man had died and gone to heaven. God showed him his walk of life. It
was a path of footprints in sand. There were two sets for most of the way,
but in some places there were only one. The man asked, "Where were you at
these times?". God answered, "I was with you always. When you couldn't go
on, I carried you."

These are my beliefs and thoughts for the day.

May God bless you all,"

Ken Praul, Tech Support

and Guide Dog Dodger

FROM ME: "How about hearing from others with religious orientations. Let us especially hear from a verity of other religions."

31. "I guess that depends on your philosophy of life. Me, I hide in my house. I
don't mingle with people. I don't love. I think about suicide. Not that
that's right, of course. Still, as unpopular as it seems to be, I think
deciding to end it all is more courageous than simply muddling on. I muddle
on only because of Baha'u'llah."

Carol Ashland Guide Dog Hawkeye,

(Eugene, Organ, USA)

FROM ME: "When blindness comes, there are some of us who do kill ourselves or try to. I do not think this happens often. What do the rest of you think?"

32. "I tried to kill myself. I had doubts. I'm blind as a result of that attempt. Now I feel better about myself. Sounds strange to say that, but I now believe in myself, where I didn't before. The process I went through to adjust to going blind straighten me out. Blindness has been good for me."

FROM ME: "What a way to learn a lesson. I'm sure there are more stories just like this. What do you think? Respectfully saying, even wilder ones!"

33. "I always have those doubts. I have to pray and know that god is with me.
Otherwise I could not go on. Trying to depend on the human race is like
picking a haystack out of a needle. Impossible."

Dawn Petty (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

34. “Doubt, yikes!, I hate that guy. He's always following me around, pulling my
hair, moving curbs and planting things in the wrong places. It's like
having an invisible enemy, rather then an invisible friend.
In my opinion, and I have no desire to inflict it on any of you, blind
people are not like everyone else. We have issues that sighted people, deaf
people, bald people, gay people, etc. don't have to deal with. And, they
have issues we don't have to deal with, either! *Hair care for men isn't
something I ever want to deal with!! Ever!*
We are a culture, unto ourselves. We have a language, our own technology,
our own political issues, our own child care situations, our own
stigmatism’s, *had to throw that in*, our own educational issues, etc.
I learned something at a convention I went to, and they called it blind
esteem. I have been blind for a While, and have spent most of my life with
sighted people. Their concepts of what is an achievement for me, and my
concept are different, no, let me say, are extremely different! When I am
praised for something that a sighted person could do with their eyes closed,
I get a twinge, that is something between disgust and embarrassment. Ugh!
When I find myself loosing ground, when I start thinking that everything
feels too hard to do, I have to retreat for a while, talk to people who care
about me, and those people who rely on me and it slows the downward slide.
Everyone, at least I hope, everyone, has that person, or people, animal or
mineral, that has that special gift that is special for you, a warm fuzzy
that never runs out. Robert Newman is one of my warm fuzzies!
Passion and Hope”

Jade (Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

35. “When I had my most
difficult times when I was a young person, I thought about suicide but felt
that that was not a choice for me because I knew that this life was given to
me by God and I didn't have the right to throw it away. Since then, I have
gone through losing my husband three years ago to complications from
diabetes and losing my job through downsizing in March. What has given me
the strength to go on is my faith in Jesus and God. He's taught me so much
in my life about what I could do that I didn't feel I could do that I know
that he'll take care of me through everything this life dishes out through
the good and bad times.”

Marcie Brink (Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA,

mbrink@complink.net (

**36. FROM ME: “The following message is in response to response 31 which was sent out in the second update of this Provoker.”


I don't know who you are. I don't know if you are
young, old, male, female, if you work outside the
home or not, if you are married, single, a
significant other, if you have kids.

The only thing I did catch is that you are an
adherent to the B'hai Faith and, as such, you are
supposed to find life precious. Well usually it is,
but sometimes it isn't. The reality is that
sometimes life is pretty awful, but not always.
Sometimes it is wonderful. At those times the world
is washed with sun. Music is full of wonderful
under- and over-tones. A simple cup of coffee or tea
brings relaxation and refreshment and peace.

A favorite passage from my own religion's prayer book
"Prayer will not bring water to parched fields,
mend a broken bridge or rebuild a ruined city, but
prayer will water an arid soul, mend a broken heart,
and rebuild a weakened will."

That is what our faith is for (no I'm not a B'hai,
but I believe all religions teach this) - to get us
through the horrible grim times until we can enjoy
those moments of beauty again. It may be trite, but
it's true: suicide is a permanent solution to a
temporary problem. I hope you will keep working at
this business of living until you can once again turn
your face up to the sunshine.”

Carolyn Gold (Clearwater, Florida, USA,



**37. FROM ME: “Here is a second response from respondent 31.”

“I just read everyone's response to the thought provoker regarding
depression, including my earlier one. There are a lot of good ideas
expressed, but I do feel that sometimes people view complicated problems in
a more simplistic way than those problems deserve. I know that for myself,
going out and getting involved with people is not always, or even usually,
the answer for depression, as I feel very alienated and separate from most
people, especially sighted people.

Often my belief in God and in Baha'u'llah, the latest Messenger from God,
and the return of Jesus Christ, is the only thing that keeps me from
leaving this difficult existence. Sometimes I think that not doing that is
my mission in life. If I didn't have Baha'u'llah, I would be bereft indeed!”

Carol Ashland (Eugene, Origan, USA,

Guide Dog Hawkeye,

and Angel bird, a.k.a. Miss wings.

**38. “I am also experiencing some doubts. I have applied for another job
which, if I get it, will require me to move to another town.
Although the job sounds like something I want to do, I'm not sure I
want to move to another town where I know almost no one, especially
since I've been happily living here in Sheridan for about the past
twenty years.

On top of that, my mother was diagnosed with cancer a couple of
months ago. Although she is very optimistic, her oncologist says
that her cancer is incurable but not terminal. Because she lives in
Story, a little town about twenty miles south of Sheridan, I have
difficulty getting transportation to her house. The only time I get
a chance to see her is once a week when she comes into Sheridan for
her chemotherapy treatments. So, we both must be content with the
daily phone calls I make.

Because of this, I feel guilty because I know if the tables were
turned, she would drive into town to see me as often as she could.
Because of this guilt and my concern for her, I am occasionally
struck with what author Larry McMurtrey calls "a bomb of grief",
which requires me to stop what I'm doing and have a good cry. Once
this has subsided, I feel a lot better.

I am not a religious person at all. However, there is some higher
power which is allowing me to take things in stride. Both my parents
have been supportive of the possible change in job and location,
despite my mother's illness. When I expressed my concerns about
leaving her in her condition, she said "I'm going to make it and
that's all there is to it." So, I guess life must go on.”

Abbie Johnson (Sheridan, Wyoming, USA abbie@wavecom.net )

**39. “FROM ME: Here is a response in response to my note posted in the previous update wherein I asked for thoughts from other religious orientations.”

“Not a flame, but an observation. Having been a fundamentalist Christian
for a few years, then Episcopalian and now Pagan, I can say that I have
been in all camps and I know the workings of that reliance on larger forces
than oneself. I was a child and remained a child as long as I continued to
have a sky-parent to pick me up, pat my head, wipe my tears... but I was
not an adult. When bad things came, I could blame the devil. I did not have
to accept responsibility. When good things came, I could praise God, but I
could not escape the sneaking feeling that I wasn't a full adult,
participating in my own life and directing my own course.

To realize that each and every one of us is responsible, individually, for
our own life, salvation or damnation, and that the universe was *not* made
for us, but that we are a functioning (although a microscopic) part of a
larger mechanism is terrifying. It takes a strong mind and courage to
realize that if we screw up, nobody's going to come along and fix things
for us. It's a stronger call to morality and knowledgeable living to know
that the ONLY one who can forgive, is the one that wrong has been done to
and that there is NO "blank ticket" forgiveness that will haul us out of
our mistakes. Life without guard railings is frightening... but IS
freedom that no religious person will (in my opinion) ever know completely.

These are my beliefs and thoughts for the day.

May God bless you all,

I appreciate your sentiment. May your courage always match what is asked of you.

I am Asatru (for you with screen readers, that's ay sa tru. Asatru is from
the Old Icelandic meaning 'ture to the Gods' the Aesir (aye-seer) of the
old Nordic lands. Odhinn (oh deen) Asa-Thorr, Freyja (fray yah) Frigga
(free gah) and the rest. Modern Asatru belief is a reconstruction of the
old beliefs and began about 30 years ago. Range of belief runs from those
who literally believe in the Gods as entities with distinct personalities
and existence to those who (as I do) see the Gods as mythic templates and
object lessons, examples for humanity to follow. So I do not "worship" them
as much as I take instruction from stories about them.

The Asatru faith teaches us to stand on our own two feet. Self-reliance is
a major tenet of the faith. Since Asatru is a warrior and an agricultural
based faith, it stresses the idea of providing for one's own family and
neighbors and providing hospitality to those whom warrant it. The best way
to deal with discouragement, according to Asatru, is to find the cause and
either defeat it or make a deal with it. One thing the faith does NOT
encourage is to simply pray about it and hope that some God or another
decides to intervene. It is the basis of my own philosophy and has kept me
fulfilled and on a moral and self-reliant track for probably around eleven
or twelve years, now. I will never wear another deity's collar and leash
again. If others want to, they may and I have no objection. I will never
try to convert them. May they prosper! Wolves do not need more wolves. An
increase among the flocks, however, suits the pack just fine. (grin)”

Sylvia Stevens (USA)

**40. “I was not very interested in this one initially as it seemed to me to be
such a universal problem, but as the replies have come in I have got really
into it. It is universal, but people are being very open with their
comments.... How can I not be interested?
What do I think? Well I am generally a positive thinking person, people
would look at my lifestyle and say I was successful I'm sure, never the less
I doubt myself when I'm low and friends are scarce. I find because I'm
strong that people use me to lean on which is quite a big responsibility. It
gets very hard when you’re doubting yourself. If you share that doubt with
people who rely on you to be strong, would this break their mentor opinion
of you I wonder?

We each have a therapy to lean on, be it other people, religion or music,
find what works for you and use it to recover your soul.

I loved the quote about the flag being a warning. I will gain comfort from
that one as flags are not a problem, not to see them is (not in the visual
sense of course!).

Keep up the good work Robert, I really enjoy this forum and save copies to
illustrate the complexities of visual impairment as a teaching aid as well
as for general interest.”

Kiera Bentley (Berkshire, England)

**41. “A twist on the familiar story of the pessimist, the optimist and the glass with some water in it: after the pessimist has declared the glass half empty and the optimist declared it half full, the engineer weighs in and says: "It looks to me like you have excess capacity there." Self-doubt is that portion of the glass that has no water in and the issue is: what do you want to do with it? I would say that, if we took the engineer's view, we stand in danger of having, as it were, the situation where; my glass runnet over, if it happens to tip a bit. Think of that unfilled portion of the glass as a kind of safety valve that you can fill with doubts or hopes, some reasonableand some not. I can't think of many people I have known who don't have this portion of the glass to fill up their lives with interest and meaning. Anyone who is incapable of doubting is without human interest and, on the other hand, those who have nothing but doubts re pretty depressing persons as well. John Stuart Mill, the nineteenth century Briti8sh philosopher, remakred: "Better a doubting Socrates than a contented pig." Bringing the theme around to blindness may add a dimension of something a bit out of the ordinary, that is, the number of persons who have to deal with blindness as a factor in doubting or hoping is relatively small, but each life has its circumstances. If you have only a single-barreled response to all those circumstances, life could get pretty dull and, of course, you, as a person, could get pretty dull too. Hamlet had his problems, but at least in the end, he did kill old Claudius.”

James Nyman (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

FROM ME: “A philosophy of doubt? (Let’s see if I can say this right-) Not one that is doubting, but is one of doubt, its positive factors along with its negative impact, a need for doubt. Can anyone else report on other aspects of doubt and its philosophical worth?”

**42. “For everyone, taking the next step is a matter of faith. If you don't have
doubt, you don't have faith. It's all part of the same package. One sermon
I heard put it this way. When Faith is on vacation, Doubt comes and waters
her flowers.”

Abby Vincent (Blind-issues)

**43. “One way of handling self-doubt, for me personally, is to share
something I know I'm fairly good at with others who will enjoy it.
For instance, I love to sing, so I often share my talent with others
either in the local clubs, or in convalescent homes where the people
aren't fortunate enough to get out and about.

I also find a sense of fulfillment when I'm able to teach someone a
skill I have that they haven't yet mastered. It sometimes bothers me
that I seem to need to feel needed in order to possess self-confidence. But when someone takes the time to share something
special with me I never forget that experience, so I guess it isn't
such a bad thing after all.

Rhonda Selby (Blind-X)

FROM ME: “Sharing a tool, a tactic; a two edged sword- you reach out to help another and in turn helps you. How many other positive tools and/or effects are there for our actions?”

**44. “Alright Rhonda same here! There’s no better booster of self-esteem, than
having some one come up to you and say, hey, that was really a treat! Been
there, done that, and it works! smiles! keep in mind too, that every one
suffers from self-doubt! Blind and sighted!”

Jammin Jack Zimmerman (Blind-X)

**45. “Since we all have doubts about our own abilities, we must each handle it in
our own way. Personally, what I do is to make a decision based on whatever
information I can get. Then I just go on and do what I have to do. I try not
to look back or to question my decision. I just tell myself that I did the
best I could, and even if I was wrong, if I learn from the mistake, then it
is not wasted.
Good thought provoker.”

Elaine Morgan (Hollywood, Florida, USA, morgane@gate.net

Visit My Home Page

The Blind Leading the Blind

where the Blind Help Each Other)

**46. “The doubt arrives and no tools. Then self worth and confidence starts to
crawl away and you do not see it coming - there again with no tools. Then
as suggested in the Provoker to end ones life: can I or should I?
In rereading what I had answered to this provoker I said ok I think I look
at it all. Going from a negative state and no tools to the positive with
the right tools to deal with any doubts or self-confidence issue that may
come up. Then, I read 31 and 32 and I had to come back in to say. Carol
there are people out there either in the family or in this thought provoker
who care and you need to reach out and touch someone. To dwell and hide is
what gets us to the point of low self-esteem and self worth. I mention
the tools. Like working in my flower beds I need certain tools to keep a
healthy and good looking garden. Then, as mention a strong faith in a GOD!
So come out and reach out!! 32. I wish you lived in this area sure
could use you to talk to a young man who did the same thing you did. The
problem is that he didn't go the same way as you. At his age of 21 it's
in a world of everyone owes and if you have some input below is my email.
As in 31 this young man thinks of ending life for the second time.
Thank you again for your time sir:

By the way I think if you sweet talk my brother Lee you can get him to tell
the "I think I can.”

Gene Stone (Portland, Maine, USA geno@maine.rr.com )

**47. "Its time for faith in God. All is found there."

Ron Henry (Omaha, Nebraska USA)

**48. “My condition is very similar to Macular Degenerate. At times if and when I'm
talking to someone they can not tell if I'm talking to them. Unless I focus
my eyes straight at them. When I do that they react allot more comfortable.
Once not long ago. I was seeing a client for a therapy appointment. He had
asked "Why are your eyes darting so much?" I have to admit I felt
embarrassment. I had explained that when I get nerves my eyes do this. When
these incidents happen I feel so much despair and like an alien to the
world. As a therapist who does great at her skills and techniques to be
rejected like that is a reflect on my condition with eyes. You know that is
the first part of the face everyone sees! In spite my parents
underestimation of me I have come along way! In spite of occasional
humiliation and few embarrassments I have still. I held my head up high! The
world is AFRAID OF US!”

Alexa (Panorama, California, USA)

**49. “This is something everyone goes through from time to time. It's
something we have to go through. Its part of growing. Nobody can be
happy, go lucky, perky and self assured one hundred percent of the time.
Nobody should be expected to be those things all the time. Its not
normal and a person who tries to give off the impression that nothing
phases them and that they can do absolutely anything in life is a phony
as far as I'm concerned. That kind of arrogance in a person wouldn't
earn my trust.

The point isn't even so much questioning whether you can do something and
doubting that you can. The point is to take the giant step forward and
'just do it'. Trying is to do whatever it is you have to do is the more
important thing and is what counts. Succeeding at doing it is always nice
of course, but you'll never be able to succeed at anything unless you try,
so that's the first step.”

Patricia Hubschman (Levittown, New York, USA)

**50. “Hi, Listers,

Doubt is a very normal part of life, I think, and maybe one of the
universal human constants in it that affect all of us at one time or
another, blind and sighted alike.

I think it is important that we acknowledge doubt and deal with it
honestly. Often we are afraid to admit that we doubt, that we struggle, get
depressed and lose hope. I find it important to get encouragement from
others then. Yet the kind of encouragement that is most helpful doesn't
usually come from those people who seem to never struggle and fall nor is
it the kind that just pats me on the back and tells me that things are
going to be all right no matter what. In order for encouragement to come
across relevant and believable to me, the person giving it needs to be able
to empathize. Hence I find it more helpful to hear from a person who knows
the struggles I go through than by someone who never seems to be affected
by the ups and downs in life. It is like with the advice to just pull
myself together and move on. At times, that kind of thing is just not
possible and "advice" like that hurts more than it does good.

A friend I met early on as I was losing my sight has been a tremendous help
and encouragement to me. He was there fairly much from the beginning when I
learned that I was going blind. He witnessed clinging to sight, hoping some
would stay, then months when hope was all gone and I wished to die, to my
first uncertain steps towards accepting blindness and actually wanting to
learn new ways of life. That friend has a thing about being a role model
sometimes. He feels he is expected to be one and that he falls short of it.
My friend is very human, very caring, and also subject to emotions. I have
seen him joyful and exhilarated, certain of himself and the future, but
also sad, discouraged, depressed, desperate and facing the deepest
darkness. It is there that connection is possible on the deepest level.
Only if we know doubt and fear can we also experience faith and hopefulness
and can truly empathize when others go through a dark valley. I wish that our
society would be more encouraging of such genuine feeling and not often ask
a "How are you?" that doesn't really want an answer.

Religion has been mentioned several dimes in connection with doubt. I do
agree that religion plays an important part in dealing with doubts. I also
think that without doubt there would be no real faith. With faith being
defined as hope in the things unseen, the absence of doubt would make
faith, the hanging on when things look dark and impossible, would not
really be faith anymore.

Yet I do not claim that prayer and meditation can always combat doubt. I go
through phases when I feel my prayers go only as far as the ceiling and
stay there. In those darkest times, the intellectual knowledge that things
often have a way of working out even when we can't see how. Nor can I
always say that my faith helps me beyond the doubts. At times doubt for a
while seems to overshadow everything and it is only in retrospect that I
can see God's purpose in my life.

I have learned that there is a darkness that is darker than the darkness of
blindness that I fear at times. My own personal understanding of hell is
the absence of God and that is relevant in this life also. I feel that kind
of darkness when doubts and fear become so strong that they seem to
overpower everything for a while and make me loose focus on God. I know, of
course, that during those times God is still there, but it sure doesn't
feel like that at the time. It is only in retrospect that I can see God's
bigger plan for my life and for those around me. I am grateful that through
God's grace and love, I do not need to stay trapped in my own shortcomings
and limited perspective.

On a more personal and specific level, I think with my loss of sight, there
is a greater plan and a greater picture involved although I cannot even
begin to see but a fraction. The past year and a half just about every step
has been in faith and at the same time, I had and have been constantly
struggling with doubts and fears. We have seen the beginnings of dreams
coming true in spite of what has happened to me, but in times of doubt I
have been struggling with the idea of dreams being illusions or turning
into nightmares. Yet there has been a constant there that meant that the
things that happen work out for the good or even or r something better than
we can ever imagine. For me, that universal constant is god and that helps
me have faith and hang in when doubts came. I have seen time and again that
darkness is always darkest before the morn.

I hope that we will be able to encourage one another and be able to openly
share who we are and what we are struggling with. I hope this list will
continue to be a forum for this and maybe also be a stepping stone for a
few deep relationships going beyond the space of this public forum.

Take care, all.”

Doris Schmill (Berlin, Germany; currently Minneapolis, MN, USA,

at dorisschmill@gmx.net

OR schmill@mail.students.go-on.net )

**51. “I just joined. I'm responding to the question about doubt. You guys are
wonderfully open & it's very refreshing. I'm not sure that I have anything
relevant to say about this since my experience has been more of an ongoing
underlying depression of which doubt is probably a major part. There are 2
kinds of doubt that I know. 1 is self-doubt & the other 1 is doubt that
there's anything in my upbringing or education that can truly help me live
my life from a deep place.

I'm blind from birth, 1 of those preemie babies who spent my first month in
an incubator. Eyesight hasn't been a part of my experience & thus, I had
the advantage of being able to learn everything from the ground up to suit
my own needs, such as learning to read & write Braille when the other kids
were learning to read & write ink print. Yet, nothing in my life works. I
don't have a job or a significant other & no children. It's a challenge
trying to find a reason to stay on earth. I honestly don't know how much
that has to do with being blind. I think there's a lot of negativity in
society about blindness & that's part of the problem. It doesn't matter
what talents & abilities you have if opportunities aren't available to use

At the same time I feel that having to ask permission to participate in
life no matter what your limitations are is some kind of absurd illusion.
Pervasive though. I can't change my outward circumstances & I can't change
other people. I can only change myself so I've set about re-evaluating
everything to try to discover what in myself needs to change.

I'm deeply interested in spirituality. With respect to that I think you
have to find what works for you & follow it. I started out as a
fundamentalist Christian & I now attend an Episcopal Church. We're kind of
a renegade bunch. there are Pagans among us. My own personal beliefs &
practices are pretty much Pagan. I follow the shamanic traditions &
practices as taught by the Center for Shamanic Studies. They come from a
variety of South & Central native American tribes. I concur completely
with what Sylvia Stevens said about the Pagan traditions bringing the
individual into spiritual maturity, responsibility & freedom. For me
personally, I would say that if I'm ever going to have the tools to deal
with doubt & the other plagues in life & have some clue of how to use them
effectively, it's going to come from taking responsibility for myself.
This doesn't mean I get no help. Just that it's ultimately up to me to
figure out what I need & don't need & that no outside authority figure can
tell me that. I have had inklings of hope & joy while participating in
Shamanic ceremonies & my fatigue level has diminished over the past couple
of years so all I know to do is "walk this road" as that song on the
Bryndle cd says.”

Lorie McCloud (Corpus Christi, Texas, USA,
(lorice@primenet.com )

FROM ME: “Taking responsibility for yourself… That is a hard one to argue with. I might also say, it is interesting what form that may take.”

**52. “It is essential that I find that quiet place within me to sit and contemplate "where to from here?" Depending upon the severity of the storm of self-doubt in which I find myself, I must be prepared to take corrective action with force equivalent to the winds that threaten to capsize my vessel. If the storm is a hurricane, I must survey the deck and begin to toss those non-essentials of life overboard, so that the vessel upon which I navigate my life will remain - above all else - afloat in the angry seas which toss me to and fro. Having done this, it is critical to shore up the structural integrity of the source of strength to which I cling, and for me, personally, that source is faith in God and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Just as any sailor of the high seas or coastal resident of North Carolina's Outer Banks will tell you, by definition, every storm - even the most destructive ones - have a beginning, a middle, and an end. No matter how dark the skies above me, I am always encouraged to remember that this too, shall pass. It is this long term perspective that gives me the strength to assess each of life's failures, and - for that matter - successes, with an understanding of their fleeting passage through my life. In the meantime, I will ride out the storm's fury below deck or in my cozy storm shelter and reflect upon what is truly important in life. It is through this reflection and soul searching that I am refreshed and encouraged, and without fail, I emerge from the storm shelter to find cloudless blue skies, the sunshine warm upon my face. And I realize...had it not been for the storm, I'd have not fully appreciated the glorious new day before me.”

Lisa Mauldin (Dothan, Alabama, USA, lisamauldin@earthlink.net )

FROM ME: “Don’t you just love seeing how many of us can and do make use of analogies? Useful!”

**53. “I really liked number 34. What a neat blend of humor and observation. I can almost see that little person named doubt sneaking in when someone is feeling sensitive.

He has certainly been trying to knock on my door the past few weeks. I am trying to apply for employment, unfortunately, I am getting more rejection letters than offers. I remain hopeful since so many people are praying for me, and I have a patient husband who has been supportive of me. However, it will be wonderful to pay off those student loans. Reading these responses has also helped to keep a positive outlook. Thanks everybody.”

Marcia Beare (Martin, Michigan, USA,

Jmbeare@accn.org )

**54. “I say that some people took the Provoker to mean that the main character was thinking of killing himself. Well, I think it was possible for some to read that into it, but that only those who “think of that” would make that conclusion. However, that’s not the real big issue here, when doubt comes. The real issue is being brave and smart. Some times you need to not do that which faces you, if you can really know it something that you need more work on. So it is a signal to you to get busy and fix that problem and learn some new skill or confidence. Doubt is good when you see it this way.”

Martie Goodswell (USA)

**55. "When doubt comes, I try to think of things about myself that need to be
improved. That's one of the reasons I have gone back to school for two
masters degrees. I'm thankful that I have been fortunate. I grew up as the
oldest of five children, so I was also a leader. My parents cut me no slack
and just because I was blind didn't mean I could get away with anything. I
was expected to do my share and to be educated, employed, active in the
community and responsible for my own actions. Because I have been so
fortunate, I try to find ways to give back by helping other blind people to
set goals and to achieve them. I know, however, that we are not able to
change people; we can only change the way we deal with them. I have looked
at every job I have ever had as a stepping stone to the next one. I have
always taken my work and my responsibilities seriously. When doubt creeps
in, I keep remembering something a friend once told me. I had had a
horrible day at work and all I wanted to do was go home, relax, fix my
favorite meal, take a hot bubble bath and go to bed. I was questioning my
abilities and my judgments. I checked the mail as I came through the front
door; in an envelope was a little note in Braille, thank God, which merely
said "You can make a difference." All doubts were gone; my confidence was
restored and I felt like a new person.

Joyce Porter (Houston, Texas, USA,
Email: jobhou@ix.netcom.com )

**56. If I may I would like to add one more short one. I have had the good
fortune of having Government employment via VESID and I must say even as a
office manager over other persons with a disability I find it some days a
total challenge. It so happens that this office, an Independent Living
Center, brings in so many folks with a variety of disabilities and utmost
challenges in their lives. So when I feel that doubt building up, it seems
that someone much worse off in many ways, usually youngsters appears at my
desk, looking for services. There is an old saying" god works in mysterious
ways" well believe it or not, it does happen, no matter who your god is. We
all have so much to be thankful for as we sit here at our keyboards. When
a doubt appears, look around ourselves, blindness is not so bad. Smile and
make another person happy and turn that negative thought into a positive.
That job we are looking for is in front of us, maybe it is not the well
paying job and possibly it is. Either way reach out on this keyboard or on
a phone and help another person out the best you can. Thanks Robert for the
space in time for our " or my" venting.

Lee a. stone, (Hudson, New York, USA,

stonedge@mhonline.com )

**57. “Hi everyone: I read some of the answers and want to let you know that having a doubt does
not have to deal with blindness. However, many times it does come from it.
And because it we face society misconceptions about blindness.

When we got the right training and feel comfortable with our blindness, then
we realize that people out there won’t give us the opportunity we deserve.
The best thing can happen to me when I feel that way is talk to my friends
from the National Federation of the Blind, read some literature about
blindness, attend meetings and talk to successful blind people. Yes, many
might say that they already did that and it does not work.

The beauty of being part of an organization is that we collectively can work
together to change what is facing us. The way how we think, determines the
way how we behave. AND, the way how people think about us, determine how we
are treated.

We need to constantly work collectively. Some people said that they belong to
an organization and they have not found any good on it. My question is, how
much they did for others like the leaders of the pass did for us?

No, I am not trying to get out of the subject. The best way to feel good
about our blindness is by being connected with other blind people.
This web page is a very good method of knowing other blind people. Many of
us here have good jobs with good salaries and benefits. Many of us don't
have a job. I will guess that those who don't have jobs usually have Moore
doubts than those who are working. The answer here will be that we both are
blind but some have more doubts than others.

Among those who are employed, there are some who also have doubts. Any one
can have doubts. We need to work on finding the right answer to our

Many blind folks feel very good after they come from a National or State
convention. Think about it and don't let others kill your dreams.

Carlos Servan (Lincoln, Nebraska. U.S.A.)

**58. Well, here is my two cents on this one. I once worked for a gentleman who was paralyzed from the neck down. He was
a whiz with technology, was very independent, and seemed to always have a
positive outlook on life. I often wondered how anyone could find the inner
strength to be that kind of person when faced with such a daunting challenge
as he did.

We worked together for several months, and became very good friends, so one
day, I just asked him how he could have become so well adjusted. He told me
that he had in fact spent many years wallowing in self-pity, abusing drugs,
and not being the kind of person he wanted to be. I was thoroughly amazed,
since he seemed so well adjusted and independent, that he had gone through
such a dark period in his life. I find myself reflecting on this very often
lately, as my friend passed away about six months ago due to complications
from his paralysis.

When doubt comes for me, I just think about the struggle my friend faced
with courage and grace. Compared to the rough road he had to travel, my
problems are practically a picnic. So, I try to force myself to face
whatever it is that is causing my doubts. Sometimes I succeed in overcoming
whatever problem I am facing, and sometimes, I end up doing something
foolish, like knocking over something in a restaurant, bumping into someone
in the hallways at work, and so on. However, it is important to keep these
things in perspective. So what if I bumped into someone in the hallway?
Other than a bit of embarrassment (sometimes mutual), what effect will this
have on the cosmos? Not much, so just try again, and don't sweat it! If I
really get down in the dumps, I usually end up playing my guitar until the
blues pass on by. Then, I can approach the issue with a fresh perspective,
or at least with a sense of humor.”

David Thurmond (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

**59. We do not have a corner on the market of self-doubt. I think everyone feels
that way at times. I think "self" pity is the enemy not self-doubt. No one is
perfect. If we don't look at ourselves as a second class citizen then half
the battle is won. We need to be sure we get what we need even if we have to
push ourselves. Personally I never say, "If only" or "what if"...I strive for
solutions for living my life to the fullest. All self doubt does is make you
afraid to live. You don't have to see the sun to know it's there. Just feel
it's warmth.

Sharon (Michigan (USA)

**60. "My first initial reaction would be for this person to seek some sort of
counseling. Of course I am saying this without knowing very much about the
person. For example, if I were going to get a responds from this person I
would want to know things like if the person has a history of suicide
attempts or depression. I would want to know what kind of medical
conditions if any does this person have and what if any medications this
person is on. The persons name and some information about where the person
lives and some information about the persons family and so on.”

Sincerely (Jannel Morris, St. Joseph, Missouri .

**61. I definitely agree with those of you who say to have faith in God, and know that He will eventually heal all wounds. Personally I wouldn't say I've ever
had an extreme feeling of doubt in the sense that I am always stabbing myself in the back and things like that. However, there is one situation in which
I find myself these days, which to me spells doubt with a capital D! I think I've mentioned that situation enough times throughout this great forum.
I think joining support groups is a great idea. I for one am in one support group which includes people with different disabilities. I've been a member
of this group ever since it began over 12 years ago. The group has grown tremendously over these years. Most of us had previously gone to high school together
and were already good friends. My brother and I used to be the only two visually impaired group members. Now that he is living on his own in the city he
isn't able to make it up to our gatherings except for a few times. Our sister who is blind is now a member though. We have a great time together doing
various social activities, and yes disability issues do come up and to me that's fine. This group has had various leaders over the years. To some this
would seem like a bad thing, and to some group members it wasn't what they wanted to have happen. For example, this group used to be overseen by a mental-health
agency which I had been introduced to only briefly before I became a member of the group. This particular agency eventually decided to focus more on young
teens in crisis, and our group is for young adults. So the group changed hands, so to speak, to another mental-health agency. This change did not sit well
with some. If memory serves me correctly, one of our guys circulated a petition to have the group remain in the hands of the first agency. I think the
petition made its way to the local township community services administrator, but I can't remember the details after that. Anyway, these two agencies so
far were great. The current group leader, who has been on vacation for the past two weeks, actually works for a third agency which so happens to be one
of the employment agencies I went through. She is a recreational therapist and took the place of someone who had a baby.
I must admit I'm almost to the point of giving up looking for work, and I am sensing a similar feeling in my parents. I've been at the job search for three
years or so, and I would say I've done virtually everything within my power that I know to do, yet it just seems the VR agency here in Illinois is the
superpower. A few days ago I received a call back from one of the blindness organizations, and the lady told me how to become a member and she is going
to send me a Braille copy of the monthly magazine put out by my state chapter. I have also been a member of my township's advisory committee on disabilities.
We are currently focusing on employment, and we are setting up an informational seminar with various speakers. To my knowledge all presenters have responded
except for the person from the state VR agency.

Jake Joehl, Chicago USA