Over and over and over
I’m a fairly open person when it comes to my personal life. I’ve freely talked in the past about cutting, postpartum depression, and even the time I didn’t want to be pregnant.
One thing I’m not very open about is something I’ve struggled with since, well, forever. Reason being is mostly because I’ve had it my whole life, I just kind of jive with it, and have gotten really good at hiding it. But this past week I’ve been having a very hard time. A very, very hard time. I’ve been speaking backwards, (or as I call it, Yoda-style) while trying to instruct. I’ve been writing 3’s as E’s and E’s as 3’s. I haven’t been able to focus on verbal instructions from people. And worst of all, I’ve been having to read, reread, and read again basically everything in front of me.
I have dyslexia.
Developmental reading disorder is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. It shows itself in very different ways and different levels of severity in each individual it affects.
It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that my teacher took me aside and talked to me about what she thought I had. She looked at my school records and noticed a pattern that apparently makes it painfully obvious. I owe her a lot to taking the time to care.
But at the same time, it makes me so sad. It took until I was a senior to figure out why I wasn’t ‘smart’ like the other kids. To figure out why I couldn’t take tests very well, and why I constantly had to ask for clarification from my teachers because I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand what they were saying. I was a smart kid, and in high school, I was often mistaken to be one of the straight A kids, but that wasn’t me. I was a C average student because I just. couldn’t. understand. (And of course sometimes I was lazy.) Me trying to learn a foreign language was a laugh, but that’s another story for another day.
Once I figured it out, it made a lot of sense. Finally I understand why I couldn’t do orienteering for the Army well. Finally I understood why 6 is a 6 and not a backwards 6. Finally it made sense.
It only comes out when I’m really tired or frustrated, which makes it obvious as to why it happens when I’m teaching. But I’ve been in this fog for the past week and it’s been so incredibly frustrating. Simple things I want to say come out all wrong. Something I want to write comes out backwards. I can’t spell words correctly, and they look foreign to me.
I’m even kind of scared to post this, because I’m sure that something isn’t clicking in a sentence. I typically don’t write when I’m having a hard dyslexic day, as I call it. But why not now? When I’m most frustrated?
I think Claire has it, too. Mildly, for now. When I mentioned it to her taekwondo instructor, he said, “Oh, I’ve known that for years.” I have, too. But I think I’ve just been in denial. It’s not a huge thing, but it totally is when you’re having a dyslexia day.
Last night I sat at the dining room table with Matt after the kids went to bed and talked about how I’m seeing the signs in Claire. I explained to Matt how it was growing up. How incredibly annoying it was to not be able to function like everyone else. And mine isn’t even that bad. I have, however, been able to teach Claire tricks that took me nearly a lifetime to do. One thing is, I have her use her bookmark to isolate lines in a book if she’s having a hard time reading it, when all the words blend together. She’s a very proficient reader, but when she’s tired, the lines blur together and she has a hard time deciphering easy words like “of” and “this”. The bookmark helps her stay on task and isolate. At least, I hope it helps.
I’m having a dysleixa day. Scratch that, a dyslexia week. And it’s awful and frustrating and it makes me cry, but it’s not the end of the world. There are far worse things I could have wrong with me. I just think, that for me, it makes me sad that it took so long for me to even realize what it was. On the flip side, I was glad to know that I’m not just stupid. Because of it, I just realized I had to work twice as hard and walk away when I can’t understand what I’m looking at.