Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There's a lot that I DO catch...

...I'm a pretty sharp cookie most of the time, and I catch quite a bit in conversation, in classrooms and in other places where you have to be able to follow someone else's train of thought.

However...after having been in treatment for ADHD for a bit now I'm realizing something. I was missing a lot more than I realized. I'd made up for it a bit by being a good finder of knowing where and how to backtrack, in case I'd missed something.

But I had a flashback the other day. I was having a moment where I was having a hard time following someone and suddenly I felt like I was in the third grade again. There were a lot of times in class where I suddenly realized that I had no idea what anyone was talking about, but it seemed like the rest of the class was on the same page. This happened A LOT. The result is that to this day, I have skill gaps that I have never been able to fill in.

I'm not homeless and living on the streets because of it. In many ways, I was a gifted student. In many ways, I knew more about a lot of things than many of my classmates. But following class day in and day out was a challenge. I just kept quiet about it because I didn't want to stand out. Because I was embarrassed. I was also very shy. When other students would admit to not knowing things, other students made fun of them and told them they were stupid. So the social pressures of "not knowing" also made me quiet. I could sometimes mention it to a friend but even friends would think it a little odd that I didn't know what class had been about...or would just explain it and I still wouldn't quite get the explanation and was too embarrassed to admit that I STILL didn't get it. Urgggggh.

As an adult, I STILL don't follow classes well, but I have a variety of ways I get around that. Other posts have discussed some of these, and will no doubt discuss them in the future. But I really needed to write THIS post, about not being able to follow class. This is an emotional admission. It's one that I feel sadness about as I write. It's one that seems particularly appropriate, because I have three step-children going back to school right now and as big a deal as that is for them...I still get sad about things that related to school. It's one of the reasons I chose not to teach. I know that some people are compelled by adversity to return to the place where they may be able to most help others. Kids who had a hard time in school may become teachers to help others. People who endured physical difficulties may go into the medical professions, to heal others.

But when I think "school" it's such a sad feeling. My mother always seemed excited about it...but I usually wasn't. I feel so many things come back just thinking about it, things that are uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. And that feeling, in particular, of having NO idea what anyone is talking about, is really unsettling, disorienting. It's a feeling of looking at a puzzle but it needs ONE more piece so that you can tell what you are looking at, but you can't find the piece anywhere.

I slept in the other morning when one of the kids had to go back to school. Both of his bio-parents were there, so he was not unaccompanied. But...I think perhaps I should go to the next "first day" of school, for the other two. At this point, for the most part, my lack of enthusiasm for school is mostly faded to a feeling of apathy. But apathy usually hides something. And it's sometimes useful to poke at those somethings to see what they are. It's also good to engage the present, and put your own baggage aside for a moment to celebrate someone else's big day.

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