I would like to
kill thank Cooper for this. I have known Cooper since she was a 19 year old college girl with a blog. Now she’s a 22 year woman with a job and a blog. She has always had an incredible intellectual curiosity and a sly sense of humor; both traits that will take her far. Of course Cooper “called out” our beloved MizzyB so I cant 🙂
I have been thinking about what “personal development” is. I see it often attached to the law of attraction. Saying that I believe in personal development and that you attract if you do X Y & Z, is a bit like saying I believe in mother’s milk, and apple pie. That’s over simplifying and I’m going to over simplify even more.
People claim that the only obstacles between us and success are our own fears and stumbling blocks. Maybe that’s true for that person and many people but it’s not true for many of us.
I’m a talented writer. Does that mean I’m going to get a book deal? Probably not. Not because I’m not putting out positive energy or am lazy or don’t work hard, but because I have non verbal learning disorders with many learning disabilities. I call it Asperger’s social cousin who can’t tie shoe laces. That’s not really true. I can tie shoe laces.
My reading comprehension was always many grades above whatever grade I was in. That’s not supposed to be normal with NVLD nor is good judgement, something I don’t think I have but it’s always been judged excellent in the true school of judgement, job reviews.
I do have problems with decision making, planning, initiative, assigning priority, sequencing, motor control, emotional regulation, inhibition, problem solving, planning, impulse control, establishing goals, monitoring results of action, self-correcting, when it comes to myself.
I don’t trust my instincts. When I don’t trust them and listen to other people, I get into trouble. That might sound contradictory to the above, but I can only explain it as being highly intuitive. Therapy has only worked when the therapist honed in on that and tried to make me trust my intuition. They always did.
It would work for awhile but there would be new situations, new people–and I would always think that they knew better than I did. Fortunately, my survival instinct would kick in and let me do what I thought was right in the beginning.
I can establish goals etc., for other people which is where the excellent job reviews come in. I became a manager in my 20’s because I wasn’t capable of being a rote employee. I joke about that but it’s really not funny. I turn many things into jokes. Life’s a lot easier when you have a sense of humor about yourself.
I always had high pressure jobs and would burn out or think I had made tragic mistakes that hadn’t yet been discovered, and would quit. The mistakes were in my head, or other peoples. I spent my 34th birthday crying and screaming at my fiancee because law firms had sent me 100 boxes of documents–without an inventory and out of order. There were gaps in the numbers.
They refused to acknowledge this and my bosses told me it was my responsibility to assign the work. It was probably the only time in my life I refused to do anything until lawyers from the law firm looked at the documents. They grudgingly came weeks later prepared to battle me, and then looked at the boxes.
I always thought that analogous to my life. A perfect box of documents, totally out of order, without anyway of determining the order.
These are my biggest problems: motoric lack of coordination, severe balance problems, and difficulties with graphomotor skills.
visual-spatial-organizational lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perceptions, and problems with spatial relations.
Unless you have experienced these problems you have no idea how over whelming ordinary life can be. I have had it easier than most people with these problems. I come from a loving family though there are still times my sister will say to me:
“You’re not paying attention.”
“You’re not.” And so it goes and goes. She is much better about this but she really doesn’t quite get it.
Why should she? What newspapers or magazines talk about this problem? I never even heard of it until this past spring. It was the first time my problems made sense. I felt vindicated but sad that I had denied myself some truly great men and children because I, and no mental health professional, understood what was wrong. That said I have been blessed in friendship. Very blessed.
All my life I would say that I see space differently and don’t see what’s in front of me. My best friend:
“Put on your glasses.”
“No, you don’t understand. It has nothing to do with sight.”
“Put on your glasses.”
And so it goes. I used to feel that if I said “I see dead people” people would understand more.
As I said I have had it much easier than most people who suffer from this. My balance isn’t the worst and has been improving as i constantly do balance exercises. Something about me attracts people. I won’t go into how to the law of attraction works in my case.
I’m highly intuitive, as I said, and grasp many concepts instantly. If I don’t grasp them that second i will never learn them. When I went to grad school for social work it took me a few weeks to understand that the language of social work consisted of simple concepts turned into fancy language. Then school became the single easiest thing I have ever done. My school required a full year research course instead of a thesis. I did find that challenging in a good way. My teacher told me that I was going so far beyond the requirements I should transfer to the school of psychology–his school and become a research psychologist.
Unfortunately I still didn’t know what was wrong and feared just about everything from not getting in to burning out to becoming a crazy woman.
I’m pure potential and yet I’m limited. Do you have any idea what that feels like? There are times that I have felt perfect happiness. Other times I have felt that I have a brain injury that never had rehab. I have felt every emotion and feeling in between.
When people talk about personal development and the law of attraction, I have to ask: what do you have to offer me? Can you solve any of the problems I listed? Can you help me come to peace with a life that by definition has limitations?
Oh I’m fine with never learning how to drive. I think people miss a lot by not walking. I’m not polluting the atmosphere with a car. I have no problems taking public transportation–I grew up on the Long Island Rail Road and New York City buses and subways. I can traverse the world by myself. Can’t read a map to save my life though I love them, but I have always got where I was going without any problems. I still find airports exciting, and have no fear of flying.
It’s not traveling or being in new places that overwhelm me, it’s the little things in life. It’s not even organizing my physical space.
Right now it’s blogging. When I ask people not to email me more than twice a day it’s not because I don’t enjoy emails, it’s that my mind gets crazed from too much email and back and forth emailing all day. I have become obsessed with keeping my gmail account to less than ten percent. It just makes me feel calmer. I hate group emails and see no need for constant ones.
I have been blogging for three years. When people ask me to guest post or to do this or that and i say no, it’s not because I don’t want to. It’s because I have mentally reached my limit
I was a political blogger and had to moderate comments. Try being rational with somebody who claims you’re worthless because you don’t read the right bible or any bible as not just a guide to life but as the only source of information. Personal blogging was a release. I don’t moderate comments because it’s part of what overwhelms me.
Blogging can be a very expensive and time consuming mistress or in my case the male equivalent. I can no longer afford it in any sense. How my blog became so popular so quickly will always be one of the sweet mysteries of my life. I broke every “rule,” and still…Yet I always felt it to be overwhelming and wished that it built in popularity over time. But I have always been a person that people liked or disliked on sight. Things have always happened quickly or not at all.
That’s not really true. It took me eight years on and off and three schools to graduate undergrad school. At my first college I majored in fun. My second I majored in being overwhelmed by the problems all the fun had caused me. It wasn’t until I moved to Cambridge and went to Boston University that I was ready to be a real student.
I’m now on the ninth revision of I don’t know how many drafts of my book. I hope it gets published. But NVLD isn’t sexy like Aspergers. I find it ironic that I can set scenes, tell compelling stories, describe a character in several words and still there will always be something not quite…..I won’t self publish for many reasons.
Yes my problems were informally diagnosed as Aspergers but nobody was ever comfortable with that diagnosis as I am an extremely social person and have never had problems making and keeping friends. I do get overwhelmed and need more alone time than most people but that’s my choice. That’s a big difference between NVLD and Aspergers. People with Aspergers tend to be good with computers and might be clumsy but don’t have the other spatial problems. Another big difference. I was never in denial about Aspergers; I just knew that it didn’t fit well. When I finally found out about NVLD it all came together.
My best friend Lucia, the one who used to tell me to put on my glasses has learned how to teach me certain basic things about Word for example.
My world consists of many panic and anxiety attacks. I became so used to being yelled at for not being able to do many things when I was young, i automatically go into fight or flight mode–though I have excelled at so many things as an adult. The panic and anxiety attacks aren’t rational but most aren’t. Therapy never helped. I wasn’t even really neurotic, just crazed from living with these problems. Medication helps to an extent.
This past summer I was trying to walk over a crowd of several hundred thousand people. Lucia’s daughter, Little Luce, heard the anxiety in my voice in our phone call. I couldn’t see her though she was in an area where I should have been able to see her, and she’s 5’11” and was waving wildly. She talked me through that attack. She’s sixteen. I would love to call her and her mother out but they don’t have blogs.
Personal development is an every day battle for me and sometimes a luxury I can’t afford. Too busy trying to just live.
This all said I won’t live a NVLDcentric life. I both refuse to be labeled, and can’t afford a disabledcentric life in any sense of the word or concept.
I would like to add the following women to the personal development blog roll:
Chandira of Diary of a Hope Fiend for seeing the beauty in life.
Buffy Holt Her writing is always inspirational
G of Simply Said for always seeing the humor in sometimes difficult circumstances.
Puppytoes (among many other names) for being inspirational.
If y’all want to kill me, I’m just continuing what Priscilla Palmer began.
I would like to thank her for starting this.
I don’t have Windows and tried copying and pasting the blogroll. Didn’t work. One thing that I have learned is not to waste my time on things that I know I won’t be able to do. It’s not an excuse. It’s my world and welcome to it.
I know this was long. Once again welcome to my world. And I thank the friend who was just so curious…..