Disclosing your blindness - Nothing's Off Limits

13 August 2021

Jason Whiter uses quite a quirky icebreaker at pubs to disclose his blindness.

“I just say, I’m not drunk, but I am blind,” he jokes to the Nothing’s Off Limits podcast.

Episode 10 of the series delves into the world of disclosure of a disability, how people who are blind or have low vision identify with the word disability and the community around them.

It can be challenging for people with a vision condition to accept that they have a disability.

Adelina Holloway would actively avoid disclosing her vision difficulties until it got too much.

“I would pretend I was sighted, and not disclose to many at all,” she admits.

“But trying to cover it up was just exhausting. I had to realise that I couldn’t hide from this anymore.”

Psychologist Courtney McKee who also has lived experience says it’s common to feel grief with vision loss, and with that comes stages like denial and bargaining.

“You’re entitled to your denial as you’re adjusting to it,” she says.

“But resistance definitely burns a lot of energy, and it’s better used working towards what’s good and possible for the person.”

For her, acceptance came from meeting others in similar conditions, who had different outlooks.

“Learning from them helped accelerate my growth,” she says.  

For Jason, sometimes he can avoid the conversation with the help of his white cane.

“Because I’m using a white cane, it’s openly obvious,” he says.

He encourages people with low vision to be honest and upfront, as many will respect that candor.

Nothing’s Off Limits is a 10-episode series and aims to tackle life’s more awkward, embarrassing and uncomfortable topics from a blindness and low vision perspective. 

Episodes are available as podcasts from the Vision Australia websitePodbean, and Spotify.