After losing all sight in his left eye in 2013, Aaron Slade’s life flipped upside down.
A successful chef for over 18 years, he woke up with an unexplained black dot in his left eye and after going to the doctor right away, was diagnosed with birdshot, an incredibly rare condition and form of eye inflammation.
Birdshot can affect both eyes and cause deterioration very quickly, and Aaron was quickly rushed to surgery.
Unfortunately, all vision was lost in Aaron’s left eye and while they managed to save his right eye, he’s technically declared blind and was left with vision that he describes as ‘looking through black net curtains on an icy window’.
His loss of sight meant he could no longer do the job he loved and he spiralled into an incredibly challenging time for his mental health.
“Getting birdshot was incredibly hard but it was my mental health that suffered the most,” said Aaron. “There were times that I felt like giving up and I was all alone, even though I had my friends and family around me. I had psychosis and was hearing negative voices and had deep feelings that I was being watched wherever I went. Not feeling safe in your own home is an awful feeling which is amplified further by having very little vision.”
After being assigned a mental health worker to support with his recovery, Aaron was introduced to Anytime Fitness Truro in 2018. After initially attending alongside his health worker, Aaron developed the independence to go alone and after seeing the benefits, made a number of changes to his lifestyle.