I have written a post referring to my learning disabilities but I don’t think I have ever written a post about having to live with one. Because even referring to it as “learning” there are related things that affect how you function, how you comprehend, and how you handle things in everyday life.
Now if you didn’t know I have two disabilities; I have ADHD and auto processing disorder (meaning I can’t distinguish between certain sounds). I like to say I have double of everything- double being over whelmed, double short focus skills, double struggling with comprehension, and pronunciation. So that’s what I have and now after years of being so confused, and trying to understand what it was, how to tell people, how to apply myself, ask for accommodations in my courses, and to be okay with them. I have realized how to deal with my disabilities. Because they will never go away, they are a part of you and the sooner you accept that the faster you can just be you.
So here it is how someone lives with a learning disability from MY perspective….
Explaining to people….
First off, telling people leads to a lot of questions because most people are curious about my disability and surprised that I could have them. But in a few rare cases a lot of people can easily be judgmental. Or they tell me that they have one too and if they could do it then I can do it; or they felt that if I get to take my test in another room why can’t they? I just say everyone is different.
The hardest part in telling people that you have a disability is making it sound like you are giving an excuse, when really you aren’t. You’re telling them well my brain works different than yours. I do things differently than you (even if you have an L.D too). I never used it as an excuse; I never too advantage of my accommodations, and I try my hardest to overcome the obstacles that they through at me. And I like when people can see that instead of being critical.
I never use to tell people about the disabilities. I never use to write about them and now I can’t stop; and think that not only helped me accept them but also embrace them.
Another difficulty is dealing with people because you can easily get frustrated, and they can easily get frustrated. You can easily appear to be too straight forward. You can get easily overwhelmed in situations that seem so normal- small places and loud noises can get to you. So while others are in the coffee shop having a conversation you may be sitting in the corner trying to act normal when really you can’t sit still, fighting the urge to put your hands over your ears to block out all noises while you try to do things.
The story I tell people is about years ago shopping at MOA in the old Forever 21. It was large (not as large as it now) and it was messy, everything was everywhere and it could get overwhelming. I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t finding what I wanted, people kept crowding around me, and others’ opinions weren’t helping. My sister sat me down and told me to stay as she went and picked things out. I was probably around 16, unconfident, unaware, unsure of not only who I was but also what was going on in my head. It was really comforting that I had my sister there to understand and be my life preserver.
I think when it comes to being in the public and having to try your hardest to get over your struggles it is not only embracing but makes you feel vulnerable. I don’t like to seem vulnerable, but over the years I have come to terms to let people see how I can overcome my disabilities. Some people can’t handle it, which is alright. It can be hard to grasp yet I think that shows more about them than you.
This world is not designed for everyone; it’s designed for the average- if you fit on that average scale good for you, if you succeed even better. However, if you are under that line, you’re looked down on because you show how you do not function the way the world is built also to them you’re not going anywhere. But in reality you’re the biggest threat because you have more drive and will power to go places.
We say being different isn’t a bad thing yet when you are different there are always those negative, judgmental comments that make you feel like you can’t even be different that different has a standard as well. And it’s hipster.
So your brain works differently, so you see things differently, so you have to do things differently. That doesn’t make you different that makes you, you.
You are human….
This can easily be forgotten, especially for me, since I have these challenges I am always really determined to get through my challenging moments. And I’ve learned to tell myself and others that I am human, I am my own person and I have my limits. I have the right to be who I am. You are not superhuman.
If you are like me and have many challenges you have to face and want to show you can do anything, but sometimes you can’t and that’s hard to grasp, for your own sake it’s best that you don’t overload yourself.
You are who you are, disability and all. It’s who you are- and if you can’t see that and embrace it well you are going to have a hard time, not only to control it but to overcome it. People are going to see what they want in you, but, ignore them and know that they don’t know everything.
You are you not what the L.D defines you as.