The January blues may be behind us, but with wintry weather and dark mornings still affecting our mood, the importance of taking time to talk can really help in staying positive.

That’s the view of a Berkshire estate manager who has shared how important counselling services were in helping him to adjust to losing much of his sight following a traumatic work accident.

Peter Middleton, 55, from Newbury enrolled on an RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) counselling service last year and says talking about the challenges he was facing helped him to cope with feelings of a loss of identity.

This time last year Peter suffered an injury at work when a gardening incident resulted in severe damage to the inside of his right eye.

Mr Middleton said: “Unbeknownst to me, my left eye already had very poor sight, at minus 13, and my right had been compensating.

"So, following the accident, I was classed as severely sight impaired, as I had no vision in my right eye and extremely limited useful vision in my left.”

“I’ve always been a very active individual; playing golf, and motorbike riding. I can’t drive anymore, the motorbike had to go and so my partner has to do all of the driving now. It’s been a big change for her and a life-changing time for us both.”

The feeling of struggling to cope led Peter to apply to RNIB’s counselling service, which can provide both online and telephone support.

Less than six weeks after the accident, he started receiving counselling from Elizabeth. “I am so glad I did. Without any doubt at all, Elizabeth saved my life. She was extremely understanding, empathetic and caring, and she was an inspiration to me.”

Feeling more emotionally resilient, Peter set about gaining more independence through white cane training.

This also led on to discovering new ways of doing things around the home using assistive equipment.

“Things like making a cup of tea using a liquid level indicator and using coloured matting for printed documents to direct your eyes to the line you want to read. These things almost bring some form of normality back to it all.”

“Everything is still quite raw, and I get frustrated with myself when I find it difficult to move around.”

Mr Middleton is now looking to the future with more hope, he’s just started the application process for a guide dog and is keen to do more travelling with his partner Sacha.

RNIB’s counselling services continues to be able to help people with sight loss through the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have raised more than £8.3m for RNIB’s work.

Head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery Laura Chow said: “Peter’s story is a powerful example of just how important the work of RNIB is and it’s inspiring to know that the support of our players is helping to make such a transformational difference to people’s lives.”