Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Charles Bonnet Syndrome - Amy

I myself do not have Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS), but it is a condition that I find very interesting.

CBS can happen as a result of sight loss. This happens because your brain can't make clear images from your eyes, so it replaces them with visions that aren't really there. These visions vary from person to person. Some have visions of people in historic clothing, things moving around in front of them, patterns, wallpaper that they know is wrong.

CBS is not widely known about. It can often lead to worry and panic in the person and their loved ones. People suffering with this condition are often too worried to tell others about their visions, as it makes them question their mental health. To the people with CBS the visions are very real. To be told it isn't real or that they are just seeing things can be very frustrating.

The visions of CBS just come and go as they please, no rhyme or reason, and no two people have the same.

Mood and stress can make these visions more frequent, and more cluttered. They don't always see just one thing at one time. There are often two or three things at the same time. This is something they learn to live with, this is the world they live in.

The visions seem as real as anything a fully sighted person would see. It may be strange, but it's there. It doesn't matter whether others can see it or not, because they can and it's a part of their life. Even many doctors, opticians and opthalmologists are not very aware of this condition, therefore do not even consider it as a diagnosis.

At Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind we are working very hard to spread the word of Charles Bonnet and make people more aware that this condition exists. Since learning about CBS I have become very passionate about raising awareness for it. Together we can all help to spread the word.

Charles Bonnet Syndrome support

A note from SRSB

SRSB has a dedicated support group for people with Charles Bonnet Syndrome. If you have experienced visions as part of your sight loss and would like to talk to someone about it, you can contact SRSB on 0114 272 2757.

There is also a national campaign group called Esme's Umbrella whose aim is work towards a greater awareness of Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Their website contains lots of useful information.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Holiday in Whitby with the Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group - Ken

Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group (SVIWG) organises volunteer led walks for visually impaired people (VIPs) in and around Sheffield.

This user-led group offers VIPs the opportunity to go walking regularly, assisted by trained volunteer guides. They are one of the sports and leisure groups that are supported by SRSB.

They recently had a group walking holiday in Whitby.

Sunday 10th September

The coach which was hired for the duration of the holiday delivered us to the Saxonville Hotel adjacent to the Whitby FC Football Ground at approximately 1pm.

The majority of the party decided to walk along the seashore to Sandsend, then back via the cliff path. Four of the party attended a modern brass band concert which they thoroughly enjoyed while a few members decided to go under their own steam for a short walk.

All of the party congregated back at the hotel at 4pm ready to be issued with their room keys. Each evening meal was served at 7pm with a choice of three items for each course. Breakfast would be served at 7:45am with various foods to choose from.

There was a bar but no entertainment provided, so a few individuals participated in a short walk after dinner and located a few public houses to visit.

Monday 11th September

All those participating on the walk were to congregate in the foyer ready to leave at 9:45am. Beforehand Mary and Janet kindly volunteered to walk into Whitby to collect sandwiches for the majority of folks who required something for lunch.

The party travelled via coach to Saltburn where we were met by a couple of local ramblers who were to lead the walk. The distance was 7.5 miles walking along the sands via Marske-by-the-Sea through to Redcar.

The weather was fine but blustery, plus we encountered a couple of heavy showers.

On arrival we visited the Lifeboat Museum which most of the congregation found interesting. Sadly the trip up the vertical pier had to be postponed as it was closed. We therefore clambered back onto the coach bound for the hotel.

Tuesday 12th September

We boarded the coach travelling to Grosmont where the steam train was due to depart for Pickering. Some of us enthusiasts stood alongside the locomotive to see, hear and smell its departure.

Paula from the local Ramblers Association lead the walk taking the path from Grosmont to Goathland through a wooded valley and up a steady incline to Goathland station where we stopped for lunch. Some of the party dropped out at this point but others continued through an old miners' track onto the Yorkshire Moors then along to the pickup point where the coach was waiting.

On arrival back at the hotel, Paul and I had a walk into Whitby calling at the Railway Station to enquire about times and prices to ride on the steam train.

Wednesday 13th September

This was planned as a free day where anyone could do what they wished. The weather overnight had been atrocious and it was still very windy as we sat down for breakfast.

The lady from the local Ramblers Association contacted Chris and terminated the scheduled walk along the cliff tops. However Chris decided to go ahead and organise a walk for those interested.

The party of 11 set off from the hotel to the abbey incorporating the 199 steps. George and Andrew joined us previously having been dropped off via the coach.

We initially had a look inside the church before setting off along the Clifton Way through Saltwick Bay. We then walked alongside the foghorn which warns ships how close they are to land then stopped for lunch at the lighthouse.

David found a walking boot but no one in our party claimed it.

We walked back to the abbey mainly via road where we descended the 199 steps once more. At the bottom we decided to call and enjoy a well-earned drink before browsing the shops then strolling back to the hotel.

The group had a great time and all arrived safely back in Sheffield already talking about the next trip!

If you are visually impaired and would like more information on joining this group, please visit the SVIWG website.