Tag Archives: learning disability

Accept Yourself

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I’m dyscalculic.

I learn slowly.

I need a lot of repetition to understand things.

I struggle to process the world around me.

I fight depression and anxiety.

I’m clumsy and forgetful.

I become overwhelmed easily.

 

This is who I am.

Yes, these traits are frustrating, but there is an upside to all of this as well.

 

I’m creative and passionate.

I’m curious and I want to learn.

I understand complex ideas.

I can be articulate.

I think deeply and feel intensely.

I’m empathetic.

I’m intuitive.

I try.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It can be easy to forget this, and see only the flaws. I’m trying to accept myself and be at peace with who I am.  This is a process. I find it frustrating that I learn slowly and I need so much repetition, but this is how I learn.  This is okay.  I need to give myself extra time to learn and process.

People misunderstand me. People criticize me.  Yes, it’s painful.  It’s confusing.  It’s frustrating.

 

Don’t misunderstand accepting yourself

with giving yourself excuses to wallow in weakness.

 

There is a difference. Let me show you.

I wanted to play guitar, but I struggle to memorize, have no natural sense of rhythm and I believed that I could never learn to read music.

So it seems like I shouldn’t play an instrument, right?  No, it means I’m going to have to compensate for my weaknesses.

Will it be a painfully slow process? Yes.

Will I learn?  Yes, eventually.  Maybe even learn, forget and relearn.

Because of my poor memory, I’ll always have to have my music in front of me when I play, even though it seems like it should be memorized after playing it hundreds of times.  I forget chords often, so I look at my chord chart, however many times I need.

So what?

The bottom line is I can play guitar.

I do this because playing music makes me happy.  Yes, I learn slowly, but I am learning.  My only other option is to never learn anything and I don’t like this option.

Does learning slowly mean I’m wallowing in weakness?  Are compensations for the way I process information ‘crutches’?

I don’t think so.

Here’s another example.  I write, despite the fact I can’t spell, despite the fact I’m not good at remembering grammar rules, and I struggle to organize my thoughts into writing.

You know how I do it? I’m not afraid to ask for help.  I have my friends and family proof read for me, to catch grammar and organization issues.

 

I’ve realized that don’t have to be all things for myself and this is okay.

 

I know people say, “In the real world, you won’t have help,” or in the “In the real world, that’s a crutch,” or “in the real world, you need to be independent.”

This is a lie.

In the real world, people are meant for each other.  We aren’t meant to rely only on ourselves. Let people help you.  It’s good for you and it’s good for them.

Image result for albert einstein quotes fish

So, don’t try to climb the tree because that’s not what you were made for.

Get in the water.

Be a fish.

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The Never-Ending Cycle

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Image result for house cleaning clip art free

Courtesy of: Clipart Kid

 

 

There are three traps that I often fall into.

  1. I want to find a ‘cure’ to ‘fix’ how I am.
  2. Once I find this cure, no ‘maintenance’ is needed.
  3. Fast = Good

 

But in reality, none of these are true.

There isn’t a cure for how I am, because it isn’t a disease.  It’s simply how I was made.

It’s tempting to look for the one thing that will ‘fix’ all my problems, but I won’t find it.  It won’t just be one thing, because many different factors contribute to them, so obviously the help needs to be multi-faceted as well.

Compare this to owning a home. If you stopped regular maintenance (mowing the lawn, cleaning, repairs) it would become overgrown, messy and costly.  The same is true with my mind.  I need to remember that this maintenance isn’t messing up or failing.  No one expects a house to maintain itself, so why would I expect that from my mind?

I may find mental tools to manage, or new thought patterns, but there is no cure-all magic potion.

There will be ongoing ‘maintenance’ for as long

as I want to be a functional person.

 

I’ve come to notice that my life goes something like this:

Feel bad, regulate, feel better, repeat.

Yes, it’s messy. It can be discouraging.  But it’s all part of a process.

I know that messy, slow processes make people very uncomfortable.  But this is a wrong viewpoint.  Everything comes from a process.  And sometimes this process is a messy, slow one.

Going back to our home comparison, now you are going to declutter. Well, in order to declutter, you need to take everything out of the room and put in somewhere else so you can sort through it.  Temporarily, your house will be messier than before, but in the end, it’ll be cleaner and more organized.

This is how it can be while you are maintaining yourself.  The process of wrestling with anxiety or with learning disabilities, etc., can be a messy process. Wrestling with this issue is uncomfortable for you and for others watching you, but for the moment this is how it needs to be.

Let it be slow.  Let it be messy. It’ll be okay in the end.

 

Maintaining myself emotionally  is a daily choice.

 

Repeat your coping methods as many times as needed, even if it’s always, every minute of every day at times.  But don’t be discouraged, because, you know that a better time will come.  It’s all part of a cycle.

The Corpus Callosum

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Images are generated by Life Science Databases(LSDB). – from Anatomography

I’ve noticed that all of the issues I struggle with have something in common: a weak corpus callosum.

 

What is the Corpus Callosum?

It’s the largest connective pathway in the brain. It’s a bundle of nerves located in the middle of the brain that is responsible for communication between the right and left hemispheres.

Why is it important?

Hundreds of daily tasks require the use of this such as: attention, transferring information from one place to another, memorization, multi-tasking, hand-eye coordination, and driving.[1]  As you can see, communication between the two sides is vital to daily living.

As I began to research more about this part of the brain, I was interested to find that all of the following problems are related to a weak corpus callosum[2]:

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Dyslexia & other learning disabilities
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Clumsiness, lack of coordination
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Psychological disorders

I realize that all of these disorders are extremely complex and I don’t want to oversimplify them, but I have come to believe that the corpus callosum is a vital piece in the mystery of mental illness. A weak crossover may make one person struggle to read or spell, and another struggle to drive, or judge distances. Because all these symptoms seem unrelated, and vary so much in severity, doctors have come up with different names for each set of symptoms.

Dyslexics struggle to read and spell.

Dyspraxics are uncoordinated and judge distances poorly.

ADHD/ADD means you have attention issues.

The distinction between each disorder is blurred and complicated.  60-70% of people on the autism spectrum also have a learning disability[3], and 25-40% of people with learning disabilities show signs of mental illness[4]. While it remains a mystery what exactly connects these disorders, it seems as if a weak corpus callosum is a factor in all of them.

How can the Corpus Callosum be strengthened?

Gradually, as I strengthen this piece of my brain, I can feel the fog lift. I am better able to express myself through writing and I started playing guitar.  Only a few years ago, I struggled to get my thoughts into a logical piece and I said I’d never play an instrument, but now I am able to do these things.  While I still struggle, I’m getting there.  It’s a process.

These are just my own observations as I try to understand myself.  But whatever you choose to call it, it is a scientific fact that a weak crossover will make you struggle in many different ways. But, I have found hope in the fact that nerves are trainable. Daily brain exercise (crossover activities) and nutrition can significantly strengthen connections in the corpus callosum.  Though I’ll never be ‘normal’ or have a brain that functions as easily as some people, as I strengthen this connection, I’m starting to see glimpses of my brain working more efficiently.

[1] Van den Honert, D. (n.d.). , Is The Corpus Callosum the Missing Link in Dyslexia? Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://www.dyslexia.org/corpus.shtml

[2] Ibid.

[3] Learning Disability Statistics: Autism. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.learningdisabilities.org.uk/help-information/Learning-Disability-Statistics-/187690/

[4] Learning Disability Statistics: Mental Health Issues. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.learningdisabilities.org.uk/help-information/Learning-Disability-Statistics-/187699/

Hello Again, Again

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I’ve decided to start blogging again.   Sorry it’s been so long.

These last two years have been a time of discovery and change for me.  I got diagnosed with a learning disability which has really changed things for me.  I now know why I struggle with certain things and that I am not retarded.  I have a real problem.  I also am eligible for accommodations in college and on the SAT test, which  I’ll take this summer.  Read more about my learning disability here.

I’ve also started going to Alanon which has surprisingly given me strategies not only for dealing with alcoholism, but for for managing my anxiety as well.    I’ve continued to educate myself on my learning problems and the way my mind works.

All this research and real-life practice led me write a blog series about some of the some of the things I’ve discovered about my mind.

Here’s a sneak peek of the topics I’ll cover:

  • Corpus Callosum: why it matters and how it works
  • Understanding Anxiety: the fight or flight response
  • Feelings Lie: don’t let them rule you
  • The Never-Ending Cycle: Feel bad, manage, feel better, repeat
  • Accept Yourself: the good, the bad, the ugly