Technology Success Brings Renewed Self-Confidence

With the beginning of the new year, the peer advisors are enhancing the theme of independence on VisionAware. Be sure to read Audrey Demmitt’s overview for the independence section, From Personal Loss to Personal Growth, the Road to Independence.

I’ve had a really tough few months. When in the midst of it all I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what it was. And it was only when I began my emergence from what turned out to be a minor depressive episode that I could see clearly what had happened.

woman at computer

Technology is a big part of my life. My day job is with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Information & Technology. I use various technologies in my personal life as well, having recently published my first book. I’m active on email lists, Facebook, and Twitter.

To make a long, and probably boring, story short, I’ve had a heck of a time with technology. It started when I got a new personal laptop with a new operating system. As I began using the new machine I discovered that the Function keys weren’t working as expected. I pressed a Function key and my screen reader said, “F21.” “F21”? What was that all about? Then my employer gave me two new laptops and all heck broke loose. On my team at Veterans Affairs I have a reputation for blowing up computers. I do a lot of software testing and that can be a risky business. In a period of three months I got three new machines and blew up three others meaning that the offending things had to be reimaged.

As I wrote in my blog post titled, I’m *Back*!, clearly thinking sideways, I regarded these technology failures as personal failures. The bizarre part of my recent troubles is that I actually blamed some of my perceived failures on my blindness. “Maybe,” went my thinking, “If I could just see what’s on the screen when my computer locks up, maybe I wouldn’t be getting in so much trouble.” Really? I’ve been blind for over thirty years and spent twenty of those years teaching others to adjust to and deal with their vision loss. But, bizarre as that pattern of thinking was, it was there all the same.

What pulled me out of this funk? It was a technology success. I had a complex project at work and was collaborating with someone new to the team. Focusing more ferociously than I had in months we accomplished our task. Wow, that was pretty cool. And, just like that, I began to turn the situation around.

As this new year of 2015 begins, it feels incredibly good to be walking into it as the confident, decisive person I know and love. And I hope I’ve learned something. I hope, next time things seem to be going to hell in a hand basket, I hope I’ll remember that my self-concept shouldn’t be based on external events. I’m okay, no matter how many computers I blow up!