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This year has been incredible. I chose to focus on the positive and the many wonderful things that have happened to me.
I can’t help but reflect on the words people have said that were designed to hurt me. I don’t spew off my professional qualifications on NLD boards for many reasons. But I have two years of grad school, many post grad courses, work and a license in social work. This does tend to make me think in a certain way.
This is going to sound so elitist and maybe it is but I do understand more than a high school grad and don’t care who hates me for saying that. Few people including doctors know much or anything about NLD in adults. So I say “this is my opinion,” or “I believe.”
People say I talk down to them. But how do they talk to me? Apparently all people with NLD are forever children who need to be talked to as if we are slow seven year olds. I resent that.
I don’t consider my accomplishments amazing. It makes me sad to realize how much more I could have accomplished had I known about NLD prior to age 56. That’s a fact.
Think about that. I navigated through life without being called “disabled,” which I’m glad about but that also meant I got no service. None at all. I graduated from college and grad school–and did exceptionally well. I should be very proud of that. Instead I feel that I didn’t live up to the potential I know is in me.
I’m told I lack humility. I thought about this a lot and if lacking humility means I’m not Mother Teresa well I’m not. But I care about people a great deal and take much pleasure in helping them. I think I succeed more than I fail.
Am I self-centered? I sort of had to be as navigating the world wasn’t easy for me. I see people in the NLD community who are obsessive and self-centered about their children. That’s considered a good thing but making your own way isn’t?
That’s called advocating. People advocating for themselves are considered wonderful but people like me who were raised to question everything and might see another solution to a problem or another problem completely are considered to be troublemakers.
Unfortunately my parents are no longer on this earth. They would have have loved to advocate for me. They did but it was hard when you don’t know exactly what the problems are.
I want to begin the New Year feeling good about myself, and damn it I will because I’m more, much more than a series of negative comments and words.
I am obsessive. I don’t think that’s a horrible trait. I need to make up for time lost. Contributing to the world is very important to me.
The Milk Party had taken over my house. My sister was over as were my parents. My father found out that my sister thought she was eating chicken dipped in Panko and incredible spices. In reality the chicken was dipped in uncooked pork. He had to warn her.
I looked at the ottoman. If they opened it, I couldn’t imagine the consequences. There was coffee; both beans and fresh ground; French roast and pecan. Both made from the darkest best beans. This was especially unacceptable. Having coffee in the house meant an instant death sentence.
I woke up panicking. It was the third night in a row I have had one totally horrible dream followed by two great ones. In real life I have reached a point in my work where it’s finish the frigging thing before I kill myself by panic attack. I hope to update Courting more frequently, but first I have to figure out what I did to Iphoto or pictures probably that makes it impossible for me to put in images. I really really have to do that for Psychology Today also. It sucks having a disability that makes the little things so hard!
I got a comment in one of my old PT posts by somebody who is either a student in mental health, a wannabe or somebody who just likes using language in as complicated form as possible. I can’t imagine this person is actually a professional yet….
It made me realize that no matter how concretely I explain things people are going to think that NLD is a mental health problem not a neurological one.
Do you blame the mother when a child has Asperger’s? Or do you say that the child is acting up to get love from the parents? No of course not. You would be stoned to death metaphorically. Yet it’s OK to say that about NLD? I don’t think so.
So much of my life was wasted in therapy trying to find answers to problems that are neurological not psychological. I can’t stress that enough. I see the difference between young women with NLD and me. They are much more confident. They haven’t spent their lives being blamed for not being able to organize themselves properly or looking at things their parents did wrong yet knowing that can’t be the true problem because they were secure in their family’s love. Yet maybe this happened or that….No I can’t do this to myself anymore.
Twenty years ago yesterday my father had a stroke. He died five days later. I miss him more than ever.
I hope to be out of this mood shortly. I also hope that during my lifetime people begin to truly understand that the depression and suicide rates for NLD are so high because it’s not a matter of trying harder. It’s a matter of learning how to work around what doesn’t work properly in your brain. It sounds so easy!
Hope you enjoy this. I wanted to try something different. Something that shows how great my life has been.
I know it seems contradictory to the posts I have written before about NLD on PT But as I said “NLD plays by no rules.”
If I was never called disabled or treated as if I were disabled does that mean I am?
I thank the readers who have stuck with me as I lost many when I became immersed in this world. No it doesn’t feel great but…..I know I’m a decent or better writer. Writing has been a major focus of my life forever. It’s funny but a lot of my facebook friends don’t realize this. I find that cute for some reason.
My first blog post in Psychology Today
Almost six and a half years ago this began as a blog about my life and interests. My friend said “let’s begin blogs.” I almost asked what one was but had heard of Anna Marie Cox then known as the Wonkette. I am very political.
Somehow people enjoyed my stories and my blog took off.
I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan then in a luxe doorman building I wouldn’t have been able to afford moving into in 04. § Read the rest of this entry…
Once in Junior High I was supposed to give a speech. No words came out. I spent the rest of Junior High and all of High School waiting to lose my voice again. Never happened in the literal sense. But few if any people in Jericho outside of my family really knew me until Senior Year when the class intellectual/hippie girl and I began hanging out basically because we were the only girls we knew who liked to go into the city and be part of the counter-culture. § Read the rest of this entry…
As always Thom thanks for the words. I truly love 3WW
My father would patiently teach me to cut paper dolls. I would be so excited until, of course, I cut the head off or part of the legs and arms. The torso, forget, it would look dismembered. I would have made a good serial killer and I was–of paper dolls or anything that required the least bit of coordination.
I still can’t open an envelope that has a perforated edge without screwing up whatever is in it, and as it’s usually a check, uh!!!!!!!!!!
“Try harder,” my father would eventually scream. “Just try da da darn it.”
My father was a CPA. Accountants by profession and nature are perfectionists. He would lose his temper. I would scream. A good time was had by all. The evening would end with me dissolving into tears, and my father hugging, kissing me and apologizing. But still I knew if I only tried harder….My father knew everything. He must have been right.
I was a bad girl intent on making my parents life miserable. They never told me this but I knew. If I hadn’t thought this myself the child psychologist my parents sent me to when I was nine, beginning to bud, and throw temper tantrums. But only at home and only to my parents. OK my little sister too. Never in school. Never in public. I was considered a model child.
My father and I would drive to the psychologist. The car radio would be on. One week New York had a parade for Fidel Castro. The next week, it seemed, he was the enemy. I asked my father why.
He turned off the radio and looked at me sort of stunned. “You know that’s a brilliant question. I have no idea.”
it was the first and probably only time my father didn’t have an answer to a question. He talked whether he knew anything about the subject or not. He could have told me that Castro had been fighting Batista who was a dictator and America was glad. But then the American government decided to fixate on Castro being a Communist. Or he could have said that the American government just learned that Castro was a Communist, which I believe was the official story.
But he didn’t. He gave me a great gift that night. I think my father, then a “progressive,” later a lover of all things Nixon and then Reagan wanted me to understand that we lived in a crazy world where things didn’t always make sense. Or maybe he just didn’t know.
The child psychologist was an ugly short man with nose hairs and tobacco stained teeth. He was the professional and I was just a child who never yelled at adults or kids or anybody not in my immediate family. Like my father he didn’t believe in silence.
I loved doll houses, furniture and dolls but not in his office. Dr. Wiener would make me play with the dolls–a mother, father, sister and of course me. The dolls didn’t look like us. They were objects not people, and I thought it was a stupid waste of time. I was a girl who loved dolls almost too much. But these dolls made me sick.
It’s OK,” he would say, “this is your safe area. You can talk to the dolls and tell them how much you don’t like being adopted.”
“But I like being adopted. I love my family very much.”
“Pia, you have big problems and they’re caused by being adopted. In our sessions we’re going to make you see how much being adopted hurts you.”
Even when I was nine I didn’t understand how being clumsy, not being able to learn grammar, having temper tantrums and so much more was caused by being adopted. It didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t remember life in a foster home. This was my family and I loved them very much.
My father would buy us O’Henry bars, and we would eat them on the drive home. He would play rock & roll then because I liked it.
I began to buy into the things Dr. Wiener said. I would tell my best friend, Ava, as we lay in the grass in back of the garden apartments we lived in that being adopted was very complicated and very difficult. I was so glad that it was me who was adopted and not my little sister because I didn’t want her life to be hard. Then we would lie in silence looking at the blue sky until one of us had something important to say. Usually about rock & roll stars or books we were reading together or separately.
Later I would understand that many therapists and others looked at being adopted as a disease. They were convinced that many parents only adopted to have a “complete” family, and that ADHD and other problems were considered problems of the adoptee. All that time, money, and effort wasted on trying to solve problems that didn’t exist and not trying to solve the problems that were real!!!!!
For the record I miss my parents everyday and can’t imagine life without my sister.
3WW–Three words on a Wednesday
There are times in life we know something important is happening or about to happen in our immediate life: high school graduation; the first day of college; meeting the person we will love; etc. But there are times that the unexpected happens and something, maybe small maybe large, happens we will treasure forever.
October 17, 1977 could have been just another day in my life. I was taking grad classes at The New School in poli sci and wondering what I was going to do with a fairly useless Masters when a friend, David, asked me if I wanted to apply for a job in the company he was temping at. He was convinced that the supervisors and co-workers were anti-Semitic and wanted my input. I just wanted a job. There was a recession that had begun in 73 and wasn’t going to end until 82. For the first time we had stagflation and there were more college grads than there were “suitable” jobs for especially in New York and Boston, the only two cities I truly knew.
The interview was short and sweet as the job was supposed to last six weeks. I would be coding documents on anyone or all of 40+ suits against AT&T, then the only real phone company. The largest case was The Department of Justice who was suing AT&T for being a monopoly. AT&T and its subsidiaries, especially Western Electric had factored out the coding to the company I would work for Aspen Systems. If a Western Electric employee coded documents they were paid at least $25,000 a year plus benefits. We were paid $5.00 an hour, no benefits. But $5.00 an hour was enough to pay my rent with money left over.
And together David and I were going to uncover anti-Semitism. The Viet Nam war was over; I needed a cause. My college friends in Boston had scattered all over the globe. It wasn’t that I was sick of my New York college friends, but I wanted more friends. My best girl friend Shelby had gotten every girl she knew but me a job at her publishing company. It was a gesture that spoke volumes. Our friendship had always been tempestuous. Years before, for a brief moment during the Watergate hearings we had been roommates in Sea Cliff, LI. She threw a crystal ashtray at me; I threw it back.
The ashtray had been a gift to me but she ended up with it. Like Shelby it was very beautiful. She probably thought she deserved it. I didn’t speak to her for almost two years. But like the cliff swallows of Capistrano, I seemed to unwittingly find my way back to Shelby. I was sick of it.
At 27 I was already divorced. The summer of 77 had been one of the craziest ever in New York and I was glad to be alive to talk about it.
My new temp job was downtown; across the street from Saint Paul’s. Much later it would become famous for being a refuge for 9/11 workers. Then it was the adjunct church to Trinity and a beautiful building to look at during work.
I loved training. AT&T had a well deserved rep for being one of the best corporate trainers. I was in a group of twelve; the next week we would join 228 other coders plus supervisors and managers in a large room on the fourth floor. To get into the fourth floor we needed a card key, the second I had ever seen. Our card keys had our picture on them along with identifying information. I so wish I hadn’t lost as it was the one picture ID I truly loved. I could and did look at that picture for hours.
Who was that girl? I wish I known to treasure her; to respect both her body and her mind for it was a sharp one. As usual I downplayed my accomplishments. Excelling at training? It was easy. Too easy. A trained parrot could read the documents and put the required info onto the document control sheets.
The Yankees won the 77 World Series that Wednesday. They hadn’t won a world series since the early 60′s and had been given one ticker tape parade for a series they had lost. This ticker tape parade would be the first one for a series they actually won.
I joined some coworkers and watched it from the main floor’s windows. People kept smiling at me and saying hello. This is a horrible admission but I expected people to be friendly, to want to know me. I wouldn’t have known how to start a conversation if somebody didn’t begin one with me. I wouldn’t have known that a guy wanted to date me if he didn’t blurt it out.
David was one of the few single straight men I didn’t date at Aspen. Six weeks turned into three years and then I worked for a spin off, with promotion after promotion. I forgot to look for anti-Semites as I made friend after friend, and slowly extracted myself from Shelby and her world.
This sounded so good when I wrote it in my head yesterday. The words were perfect for it so I can’t blame them. This memoir is driving me bonkers. I know so much is in my blog–needs much editing but first the HTML in the older posts needs cleaning and I’m going to have bite the bullet and pay way too much money. I really love writing fiction but won’t let myself until this is finished. I’m going to have my own NaMem__month! I’m sorry that this doesn’t flow the way I would like it to. Any suggestions are more than valued.
My book’s about an imperfect girl who lived in New York in the 70′s and 80′s and often felt that her life was one huge fairy tale. She didn’t take the roads more traveled or the straight roads with the great pavements and wonderful lighting (interstates, I guess) but the windy curvy side roads that often lead you to someplace new and not necessarily great, or even more magnificent than you could imagine. It’s also about a girl, the same one, who has an invisible disability but she didn’t know she was “disabled” until her late 30′s and didn’t know the name until three years ago. By necessity it goes into childhood to show how the problems first manifested.
I don’t want to make this a “disability” memoir as while my life was affected by the disability I lived, worked and played in an “able” society, with the “able” society’s rules. Perhaps this was unfair but I like to think it made me more interesting. Hence the problems will usually be on the side, unstated and occasionally take center stage
Thanks Thom for the words. Difficult as they are!
The tremor in my voice is palpable as I try explaining how fearful I am. My fear isn’t minute but rampant, stretching across my world like a Christo presentation.
Oh you believe in the law of attraction, thinking positive thoughts, banishing negativity and everything toxic? So did I my friend, so did I. § Read the rest of this entry…
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