How Copeable Are You?

From The First Year: Age-Related Macular Degeneration
by Daniel L. Roberts (Da Capo Press; August 29, 2006)

Copeability is something everyone needs at some time or another in the course of life, particularly when experiencing loss of eyesight. It is something deep inside that waits until it is needed. When summoned, it rises to the surface, ready to offer comfort in the knowledge that everything will be all right.

But what is it? Is it part of the original human hardware, or does it need to be built? If it needs to be built, then what materials are required?

Some people seem to be born with copeability. Compare different babies. Some of them just deal with the stresses of life as a newborn. No one shows them how, they just do it. Most babies, however, melt down several times a day for no discernible reason. They are fragile, insecure little eggs, and their emotional insides are easily scrambled.

Some emotionally labile people survive through adulthood by depending upon family and friends for support. That may be good in the short term, but most people manage to eventually slap together their own specially-designed cope-abilities using materials gathered from living the greater part of a life.

Your Copeability Strengths

Below is a list of thirty such materials which have proven to be highly durable by those who are walking the AMD road. Discover your copeability level by counting those habits which you practice on a regular basis.

  • You deal with problems one at a time, rather than letting them pile up.
  • You compose lists of positives and negatives when a tough decision has to be made
  • You identify escape routes in case plans go awry.
  • You practice techniques such as counting to ten or controlled breathing during times of stress.
  • You let go of thoughts that really don’t matter.
  • You use yesterday’s lessons to plan for tomorrow.
  • You enjoy the present, because you realize that it is always the present.
  • You expect the best, but prepare for the worst.
  • You give yourself the gift of time.
  • You never say what you think until you’ve thought.
  • You don’t sweat the small stuff, but you work hard on the big stuff.
  • You maintain a bit of knowledgeable cynicism.
  • You believe that miracles can happen.
  • You let your enthusiasm show.
  • You look for hope in everything.
  • You love and laugh a lot.
  • You make no excuses.
  • You lay no blame.
  • You accept responsibility for your own actions.
  • You look for possibilities inside yourself.
  • You are your own best friend, cheerleader, and entertainment director.
  • You get plenty of rejuvenating sleep.
  • You eat and drink well.
  • You exercise.
  • You reward yourself for little successes.
  • You forgive yourself for little failures.
  • If you feel like your glass is half empty, you get a smaller glass.
  • You think of strangers as your friends.
  • You embrace change while respecting tradition.
  • You laugh and cry enthusiastically, because you know how healthy that can be.

Total: ___/30

Your copeability score:

30/30: You should think about starting a talk show. The world needs to learn from you.

22-29: You will be successful at this low vision thing. Congratulations!!

15-21: You will do fine if you can raise your score as soon as possible. Make that your most immediate goal.

8-14: You have some work to do. Start with the easiest to change, then build on those successes.

0-7: You are as delicate as an egg shell. Hopefully, this book will give you the strength you need to cope with the challenges of AMD. If you cannot get your score up to at least 20, please consider talking to someone who can help you sort out your thoughts and the direction you want to take.