Odd Girl In

How do I fit in?

No Trigger Alert For NLD

I need trigger alerts about anxiety and black and white thinking.

There are no trigger alerts in the world of NLD. I'm not sure I have ever heard "trigger–anxiety can happen if you continue to read this."

Yet anxiety happens if I read many things. Oh, that's why there are no triggers—nobody knows what will set your anxiety off.

For so many years I passed for normal. I was an adult long before the world of the Internet and didn't know other people had problems close to mine.

I'm a compulsive reader. The Internet is filled with posts telling you "if you don't do this you will get a stroke, heart attack, dementia." Triggers all!

I'm older. I'm supposed to be wiser. I'm supposed to be positive at all costs! I'm supposed to laugh at my problems. Yet I only learned about NLD seven years ago and the help I got—it was wonderful help—was from people, on the Internet, with NLD.

In many ways I had to relearn who I was at a stage in my life I should have been celebrating growing older.

I thought I think in many shades of grey. Then I found out that people with NLD are black and white thinkers. Always. No exceptions to that one rule. So I must really not know myself well or at all. Depression trigger!

I am the fraud I always believed I was.

I thought for years and realize that I do think in shades of grey. About everybody and everything but myself. That explained so much. I jump right into worst case scenarios and never understood why when I had such a good life filled with incredible people. I always make sure they know how incredible I think they are. Does that mean I'm insecure? Wrong in my thinking? Trigger for something.

I feel too much and take things too personally. I've always known that. What I didn't know was that is part of black and white thinking. (Hate me alert—I thought I was so smart. Black and white thinking should be a problem for less intelligent people.)

I think my way is the right way. It usually is, except in physical organization, but it's another example of black and white thinking.

I care too much about the world's problems. That goes back to thinking my way is the right way. If I had my way everyone would be compassionate and care about one another—black and white thinking though really… and of course I know that's impossible.

I understand that there are Hitlers in the world and why people follow charasmatic leaders during their own tough times or the world's tough times. Still, suddenly caring so much seems childish. It's a childish trait I refuse to rid myself of.

My problems bothered me yet didn't when I was in my late teens through mid-40's. I loved my life too much to let myself stop being who I was. I was and am proud of that woman.

Something happened in my 50's. I became scared of myself. My 40's and 50's coincided with rapid advances in technology. I'm horrible in anything technical. Was that the problem? Or do people with NLD have a propensity to slow down and maybe face early or earlyish dementia?

People laugh at me when I ask these questions. They say: "Live for today." "You're fine." But I know the damage dementia does. I worked in one of the best nursing homes in the USA and I would never want to be a resident there.

When I first found out about NLD I was told, "Join this group for teenagers." Yeah. Really. I was in my 50's. Doesn't life experience count?

Apparently not in the world of NLD. Trigger: Feel mentally challenged despite the degrees and the people who believe in my intelligence. I must be mentally challenged. Why else would that be suggested?

I began this blog about an adult with NLD and her experiences for almost selfish reasons. True, I wanted to show people that you can live a successful life with NLD.

But also I wanted one psychologist to contact me—just one and say: "I can help you. You're not an anomaly. You have worked hard to achieve and you can achieve even more." I wanted to be treated with the dignity I deserved to be treated with.

That never happened. I know that a psychologist who work with kids with NLD laughed at me for talking about my experiences. He said I was wrong.

It's easier to say: "This person doesn't really exist. She's lying about her life."

I'm really a miserable slacker who lives in her parents basement, has never had a job or a lover or a life. Or so he wants to believe. 

Joke is on everyone who doesn't believe that I overcame much of my NLD, had some setbacks—as most lives do—and found my way again.

Why shouldn't my life be great when I worked so hard to make it wonderful? And damn, if you don't think figuring out the above on my own was hard work, you don't know bupkus. 

Pia Savage is a writer, journalist, and former social worker diagnosed with Non Verbal Learning Disorder.

more...

Subscribe to Odd Girl In

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.