NLD and Sibling Challenges

January 22, 2012

Hi Everyone,
This week, I had a horrible experience dealing with a difficult sibling, someone who when very angry, gets physical. This person shoved furniture I sat on, right in front of two relatives–people with authority–but they did nothing. In fact, they defended and minimized the behavior. Even though in public, it would have definitely been considered wrong. Apparently my “words are mean,” and in the minds of these relatives, excuse the violent behavior. I’m very upset, and I feel betrayed by my own family. This sucks. I also feel that NLD makes it harder for me to express my thoughts and beliefs, especially under the time-pressured burden of verbal speech. I am presently stuck (due to the economy) in proximity to this person I can’t stand. Yesterday we ignored each other. But I’m not going to pretend this didn’t happen, let it go, or agree with people who said it was excusable. I just won’t be treated as less than them. And this relative is difficult to deal with–the person refuses to look for work and drinks excessively. I shouldn’t have to be exposed to these behaviors, but oblivious relatives do nothing. Do you have sibling difficulties? How do you deal with them? Thank you for listening to me vent.

Happy (Late) New Year

January 8, 2012

Hi Everyone,
Again, my apologies for fewer blog messages in the past months. I very much enjoy writing for this blog, and look forward to your comments and ideas. I will continue to write, especially as I develop more insights about living with this condition.

So one of my resolutions is to stay away from toxic people. So far it’s working better than last year, but we’re less than two weeks into 2012.

I’ve often wished to work in the field of college (or graduate) admissions and/or consulting (or academic advising). So this year I hope to do more with these goals, but am not yet sure how.

We’re going to have, through NLD awareness, advocacy, and acceptance, a better year than last. I look forward to continuing with this blog. Thank you to my wonderful, thoughtful, determined readers. It is such a great form of support to trade experiences and strategies.

Why I Skipped my High School Reunion

November 27, 2011

Earlier this month, I learned of a high school reunion.  I chose not to attend.  Here’s why: I don’t like how I was treated in those years. As I write about elsewhere, my high school told us if we weren’t good at sports, we didn’t matter.  It was dehumanizing.  I also didn’t wish to hear people bragging about their accomplishments–really fishing for compliments.  No thanks.

NLD, Setbacks, and Family Challenges

November 27, 2011

So right now, like many people, the economic crash has really limited my job prospects, and forced me to postpone some of my goals, hopes, and dreams.  The dream, for instance, to live on my own.  Before my diagnosis, NLD (and depression) took about six years of my life, where I lived in reduced capacity to enjoy life or be productive.  I currently work in two jobs, neither of which captures my strengths or talents.  I’m deeply grateful for any paid work, but have always believed a job should both help others and be intellectual.

Due to the economy and paying for NLD- and/or depression-related mistakes, I do not yet make enough to live alone.  I’m now stuck living with someone who doesn’t work, is often messy, has addiction problems, and isn’t looking for work.  I feel anguish when I’m home, and then beat myself up, figuring if I didn’t have NLD, maybe I’d be on my own.  I carry stress in my back muscles, and feel disappointment that college didn’t bring the independence I planned for.  I’m doing the best I can, but I want much more from life, so I try to dream each day about my goals.  I have many.

NLD and Inner Denial

November 27, 2011

Again, much apology for my lack of time, and fewer posts.  Today I wanted to talk about a thought pattern I often find myself in.  I’ll think things like: “I don’t have NLD,” or “I can be neurotypical,” or “I know how to make up for my NLD challenges.”  Then I’ll either have an NLD moment, such as a visual-spatial mistake, or a mistake in my communication, and NLD comes back and slaps me on the head.  I can’t get away from it.  I also can’t help the NLD-related anxiety–a painful sort that pinches me each day, as I worry about starting conversations, being spoken to, not knowing what to say, having speech issues, et cetera.  Here’s what would help: more mainstream awareness of what it’s like to live with spatial challenges.  People could interview us about what would have helped when we were younger (if we’re adults).  I hope to someday help train people to more effectively be supportive to those with NLD, and related struggles.

Social Anxiety and Phobias

October 16, 2011

Hi Everyone,
So sorry I have not written on this blog in forever. I struggle to keep up with work and school, plus challenging family and friends, but I am so thankful for the empathy of the NLD-supportive discussions on this blog. Just reading through your comments today has made the day much better, and your comments are helping me feel more understood in my difficulties.

Despite a very intensive speech therapy program, I continue to suffer from social anxiety. Sometimes it’s so tough, I can’t even bring myself to approach people, even when I know them and they’ve never done anything mean. I know it’s awkward to not approach them, but it’s just too scary. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen a great deal. I haven’t figured out ways around it, except to focus on written communication when I can, such as text messages and emails. But I don’t carry around a computer, and work requires lots of in-person communication. One job requires making change, which I’ve never done, so I need to develop some strategies for adding things up.

My family is quite challenging. I have an older relative who yells at me, which is very difficult, but do not yet have the resources to move beyond this. I feel that we with NLD are more likely to experience difficult people, and struggle more with the difficulties they present. Many times we might find ourselves in the company of others with various socially-impacting difficulties because they too have been ostracized. Unfortunately some of these friends can be poisonous, leaving us to choose between few friends and difficult ones. More on these things in the future.

I had years with no friends at all, and am still recovering. More later.

Misreading Cues, Then Beating Myself Up

April 3, 2011

Sometimes a social cue is totally over my head, especially in the moment. Or I’ll sense it, but not know how to respond, or respond in the wrong way. And then I beat myself up mentally. Even though it’s not my fault I have visual-spatial problems and a speech disorder. But I still feel so misunderstood and make so many social mistakes, I can’t help blaming myself. I don’t know where to put the confused, frustrated feelings. Often, there’s no time to explain the things I realize later. Or I don’t know how to do it. One recurring issue is my responses are sometimes slowed. So it takes longer to get through a conversation. I’m trying to translate visual-spatial messages and navigate my speech phrasing problems all at once. One good thing is I listen very well. So at least that part’s good, but other things are so very difficult. More later. I’m so glad we connect on this blog. It helps me express these frustrations.

“Social Anorexia”

March 31, 2011

I’m socially anorexic. I don’t have an eating disorder, but I go for long periods without connecting to others. When I do, I freak out markedly.

In social situations, I feel a loss of control. I hate talking in public. I think constantly of the next social situation I’ll be in, and how awkward, if not depressed, I’ll feel.

Part of me grieves the social removal and pain I struggle from. And part of me is just as used to it. Since I can do fine on my own, I don’t question it.

But I know at the end of each day, I am alone. If I’m not literally alone, I’m alone within my socially-awkward family. I’m not sure which is more difficult. Fortunately I have an awesome furry friend who keeps me company, but an animal can’t talk. Not sure how I’ll get out of these patterns, or if I will. I do beat myself up for it, though.

Please have compassion for our NLD social struggles. We can’t help them, and they’re not our fault. Thanks for listening, everyone. I look forward to your feedback.

Clumsy School “Accommodations”

March 29, 2011

I was recently in a class where I received accommodations. I couldn’t easily meet the participation requirement, as we were assigned oral presentations. I was given permission to make a virtual poster in lieu of speaking to the class.

On presentation day, the teacher highlighted new technologies that enhance remote posters. If he’d told me, I would’ve used the prerecorded voice option, but he hadn’t told me, and I was docked points later.

I still did really well–we with NLD are often really good students–but didn’t feel satisfied with a presentation that could’ve gone better with the technological features. But I didn’t know, so I have to leave it at that. Still, teachers need to think through accommodations and how they will play out, how they will feel to the student.

Too often, they don’t think about it enough. And I am complaining because I’ve seen it happen time after time. Have you had similar problems? Thanks for reading and listening to this.

An NLD Day

March 29, 2011

So my first problem was some trouble estimating time in the morning, but I managed to leave home with enough time to reach school.

However, I don’t drive. On my walk to the bus stop, I saw three buses go by, so knew I’d have to wait up to 20 minutes for the next one. Where I live they expect everyone to drive, so the public transportation is second rate.

When the bus finally got there, I realized I’d grabbed the wrong set of keys, so didn’t have my bus pass on me. So I didn’t have correct change, and they don’t provide change. Thus, I had to pay twice the fare, and lost money, but had no choice.

Because I didn’t have much money on me, I kept looking around for spare change. I was 50 cents short. I made the goal of asking my classmates for a few coins.

Unfortunately, no one seemed to want to have a conversation with me. Everyone talked with each other, but not me. I couldn’t find a way in.

During the class, I found myself answering some of the questions, but once the words were out, I realized my comments missed the point by a small but noticeable margin. The same thing happened as I attempted to do a group assignment.

Also, my thoughts were totally out of sync with my comments. Anyone else in the class would’ve been comfortable enough to borrow the money, but because no one there takes much interest in me, I didn’t feel like I could ask them. And I felt stupid for forgetting my bus pass and correct change. I also felt, correctly, that most people wouldn’t understand being completely limited to bus transportation. Nor did I wish to make people aware that I can’t drive, in which case I would have felt inept for yet another reason.

I reminded myself it’s not my fault I have visual-spatial problems, but was only half-consoled from realizing this truth.

I ended up walking home, which took an hour, but at least I was wearing tennis shoes and not carrying much. I felt stupid, powerless, and like I was NLD turned inside out.

Another NLD sign: I was making a big deal out of a small problem, but I feel we have no choice sometimes; our visual-spatial problems–which again are NOT our fault–are so overwhelming, and too often no one reaches out in helpful (i.e., not insulting and respectful) ways to comfort us.

People aren’t very forgiving of our challenges, which causes chronic emotional pain. I see people’s uncertainty when I say something that’s unintentionally gaffe-ish, and then I don’t know how to backpedal, and I shut up. I can’t find a way back in to the conversation.

So my thoughts go out to every person with NLD (or similar LDs) who has been in similar situations. Hang in there.