A screen reader called JAWS lets me use a computer to read and write, and when power user Sue Martin generously donated a series of her JAWS refresher classes to this year’s auction benefitting the Seeing Eye, , I bid on it – and won!
Sue lost her sight when she was 26, and she works for The United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a management analyst. She squeezes me into her busy life for an hour-long JAWS class every Friday over the phone, and in-between teaching me to use Notification Bars and navigation quick keys, she lets me in on her progress writing a memoir. Sue is a courageous woman, and that’s not just because she’s willing to try to teach a technology nincompoop like me to improve my computer skills. Her guest post explains her decision to share her life story.
Out of the whirlpool
by Sue Martin
I’ve known that I would write my story for years, it was just a question of when. When I was twenty six I was deeply depressed. When I thought I was out of options I tried to kill myself with a gun. I didn’t manage to kill myself. Instead my suicide attempt resulted in my blindness. I was no less depressed but now I had blindness to deal with on top of the depression. Putting my life back together after that fateful act has been a long and sometimes difficult road, but today, I’m quite content.
I didn’t used to tell people that my blindness was the result of a suicide attempt, but every time I’d hear a story of someone committing suicide I knew the time for me to come out and tell my own story was drawing closer. When I heard that some people I knew had a friend take her own life in England last January, I knew the time had come.
I started a blog, and before I knew it the blog turned into a book. I’m close to finishing the writing, and an editor is helping me sort through plans to consider as I move to publication.
Why am I writing this book? I want to shine a light on suicidal depression. It can happen to anyone anywhere at any time. The key to overcoming depression is to recognize it, talk about it, and ask for help. As long as there is life there is hope, and my hope is that, by sharing my story, I can maybe, just maybe, save a life.
The working title of Sue’s story is “Out of the Whirlpool,” and you can hear her talk about her writing project (and enjoy her sweet Alabama drawl!) on an interview on Freedom Scientific’s July 2012 podcast.