S1E7: The ‘Burden’ of Asking For Help

Overcoming perceptions: Learning that everyone needs help something and it's ok to ask. Featured guest, Sue Labar-Yohey, shares the story of her macular degeneration diagnosis and how writing and helped her create connections.

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In this episode…

Co-hosts Shawn Doyle and Dawn Prall begin the episode with a discussion on asking for help. Asking others for assistance can make you feel like a burden, but it’s an important skill to practice. Dawn brings forth the idea of people asking for help in all type of situations, such as customer service or dealing with a broken leg. We all need assistance at times and those who are helpers often get joy from giving aid. Shawn and Dawn then exchange views on gender roles and how they affect perceptions and vulnerability in needing help.

In the next segment, Shawn interviews psychologist and writer, Sue Labar-Yohey. Sue shares a personal story of her macular degeneration diagnosis and how writing helped her process her diagnosis and led to her connecting with others through her blogs. With the assistance of Linda Moore, they created a popular Facebook group for those with MacD to connect and find educational resources. Sue goes on to share her views on why it’s the best time in history to go blind. She then explains Apellis-2 and advancing research on treatment for AMD.

Shawn and Sue’s interview echoes the earlier conversation regarding asking for help. Sue’s top advice for those with MacD is to find acceptance and go ask for help. She reflects on acts of service as well as happiness created from supporting others. As an avid skier, cyclist, and dog-walker, Sue wants those with MacD to not be limited in their diagnosis, to find ways to be themselves, and to find gratitude in what they can do.

Next in the episode, Dawn and Shawn provide tips for living with MacD. They describe how to practice using peripheral vision and ‘ears to eyes’ strategies. These suggestions are useful for any stage of vision loss.

The episode concludes with information about the omniReader® from Vispero’s Bill Killroy and Mike Wood. The omniReader® is a lightweight, portable, scanning and reading device. The omniReader® has multilingual capability and you can customize the speed of the voice, the voice language, the size of the font, and the coloration of the font. The lightweight and durable product also has a handle for easy transportation.

What We Discuss in This Episode

The seventh episode covers the following featured topics:

“…a lot of people that I talked to say, ‘I would like to ask for help, but I don’t want to be a burden to someone else.’ If I ask someone for help, let’s ask you, Dawn, for help. If you help me, I’m not actually creating a burden for you. I’m actually creating joy for you because most people who are the helpers say, ‘It makes me feel good to help someone else.’ Even though you’re helping me, Dawn, you’re actually helping yourself, because you feel good about giving back to the world or to your community or to your neighborhood, or to your friend.” (2:58)

“…I think it’s hard for women to ask for help, because we’re supposed to be able to do everything. But it’s also difficult, and you tell me, I have lots of men in my life, happily, unhappily. But men don’t like to ask for help, either because I believe that society sees it as a weakness.” (7:40)

“I mean, when I met my optometrist, when she first told me I’d have to stop driving, and that, this is only going to get worse girl. I said, ‘Well, how am I going to get anywhere?’ She goes, ‘Ask.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to be a burden.’ And she says, ‘Oh, god, no, you’re not going to be a burden. One of the things that makes people happy is doing for others.’” (25:25)

“It’s Apellis-2…basically, they put a shot in your eye. Don’t worry, you are very, very, very numbed, at least I don’t feel it. It is slow, it is taking a piece, a domino, out of the complimentary system. The more and more that they look, macular degeneration is an autoimmune problem. It’s your body attacking yourself. That’s part of what they call the compliment immune system. The compliment immune system is ancient. It is in all sorts of animals going all the way down to like lizards and everything. It is a chain reaction, a long series of dominoes. What they’re doing is that knocking out a domino in the middle to slow down the chain reaction. Is that layman enough?” (32:18)

“This is the best time in history to be going blind. You have more opportunities; you have more help. You have more research than they’ve ever had before.” (42:38)

“Here’s a practical tip for living with macular degeneration: learn to use your eyes more efficiently, learn to use a more peripheral part of your retina to see more clearly.” (44:49)

“This product is basically a portable scanning and reading device. This will take any text that you have and convert it to audio output. If you’re looking to read a newspaper, read your mail, easily just put that underneath this unit. This unit has a built-in screen; it’s got a 10-inch screen on it. If you want to see the material that you’re reading, you can enlarge it. You can change the font coloration if you need high contrast, and you can also plug in your headset.” (49:30)

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