An NLD Day

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.

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3 Responses to “An NLD Day”

  1. Renee Says:

    Hannahcamile; I am a 33 year old student with ADHD, & freshly diagnosed NLD. I feel your pain or should I say daily adaptation & exceptance of your NLD. It’s frustrating when people don’t get you. I wish my parents had looked into this when I was younger, but I’ve learned to laugh.:) I’m going to keep reading your posts.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Cool, thanks. Sorry your diagnosis was so, so late, but glad you have a good sense of humor.

    • Clementine Says:

      Renee,

      I am 30 and not diagnosed, but I exhibited many classic symptoms of NLD throughout my life including poor handwriting, difficulties tying my shoelaces, visual-spatial confusion, poor sense of direction, misunderstanding jokes, being too literal, etc. I’m always “losing” things that I didn’t see right in front of me and struggle with organization.

      How did you obtain your diagnosis? Did you seek out a psychologist who specialized in NLD? Or were you referred for LD testing that included NLD. Was there a certain measure or scale used for your diagnosis?

      When I was in grad school, I saw psychologist and mentioned the possibility of NLD to her. She referred me to her husband (also a psychologist), but he did not specialize in NLD so I was never diagnosed. The cost of LD testing was too high for me while on student loans. I sought help from the Student Disabilities Services office when I was struggling with a quantitative course and was told that since it was an Ivy League school they don’t provide math tutoring support because most of their student body scores high in quantitative reasoning. I was recommended to pay out-of-pocket for a private tutor which I could not afford.

      So I have tried twice now to get help and am in a troubling work environment where I feel I am being discriminated against due to my different learning and communication styles. I am worried about job security and feel a diagnosis may help in explaining my situation whether I continue working there (in the hopes that a forthcoming strategic planning process catalyzes some change), land a new job (I’m in the application process), am terminated (my employment contract states that they have the right to fire me at will), or the funding stream for my salary ends if the corporation does not survive its recent audit (there are other potential problems internally in the business). If you have any advice as a recently diagnosed adult with NLD, please reply! I have a new great primary care doctor who I am going to ask for advice as well.

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