Have you ever read a book and realize you have no clue what you read? Have you done that with a paragraph? A single WORD? Have you read a book by starting at the end, then moving to the front? Every time you pick up a magazine, you flip to the back, and find the best information is there? Have you felt your mind wander in 3 million directions, only to reach a spot that has nothing to do with the beginning? Have you written a 15 page paper the night before it is due and NEVER revise it, ONCE? Do you see words on a page as a blur? Have you sat in a room full of people and listen to the have a conversation and not have a clue as to what they are talking about (and you’ve been listening)?
Have you felt that your mind may never leave you one minute to breathe for the rest of your life…and you may never know why?
Today, I have reached a huge breakthrough. I have found out how I can let my mind FINALLY breathe. Today, I feel smart…for the first time. Most of you are saying to yourselves, “This cannot be the first time. Surely you have accomplished many great things in life that made you feel this way. Bonnie, you’re brilliant. You’re creative, and witty. You have such a great mind. Surely, this cannot be the first time.” Well, it is. In a new way. In a way I have been struggling with my whole life. Literally.
I walked into a doctors office today (this is the 7th time in a week) and let her pick at my brain. Not a counselor, nor a psychiatrist, but a woman who would look at me, when I asked,
“Does that make sense?”
and make me believe her.
“Actually, very much so.”
See, I have taken the action of going off anxiety medications (for other medical issues as well) and really find the ROOT to my problem…how to shut my mind off. How to possibly slow it down. As a struggle as it has been fighting the desire to go on/not go on medications, even when I did, I felt that there was another way “out.” Another, solution. And I found my answer today.
I took it upon myself to go through ADHD testing. I have invested $108.00 in 6 hours of testing to see why I cannot get my mind to shut off. Today, I was set for an interview with the doctor to just see where I was coming from…
“How was your childhood?”
Where did you go to school?
Who were your friends?
What did you struggle with?
Relationships with friends?
All this was from Preschool to now?”
I started to describe my constant struggle with reading. My inability to comprehend a single book. A paragraph. And most time, WORDS. I read magazines and books backwards. Not the actual words, but from the end of the book, to the front; I will skim through them to find the solution, or what the summary of the book is about. I was never scared to know the end of a story, movie, or book. It never “ruined the ending” it made it easier for me to understand if I was going to be interested in the topic or not. I procrastinated on writing papers till the very MORNING it was due. My girlfriend Nae would post in her blog, and even with 1,000 words, I would give up. (Even now, as I try to EDIT this post, I am scatterbrained) I would purchase books with the intention of reading them. I knew of the topics and was very interested in them, but I knew I would never be capable of sitting down and reading them.
Then she stopped…we both realized what I was talking about. My inability to read. Hardly anyone know this, except my mother, possibly a few friends from way back when, but I cannot read. I am not illiterate, I just cannot read a paragraph without wanting to cry. I struggle. I fight. I give up. I fail. Yes, I fail. I have to fight to get through sentences and be able to comprehend them. Sometimes even WORDS. She stopped me, (because by this time I was all over the place, I was getting emotional and frustrated…I was crying):
“Bonnie, how did you make it through school?”
And I realized I was ‘using’ my friends notes, I was taking ‘easy ways’ out. I was finding people who knew the material and ‘using’ them to get the information. Because of ‘smart people’ I was able to get my ‘dumb self’ through this, up to this very day. I have never read a full chapter book till possibly college. I have never read a full college textbook chapter. It is not that I didn’t have the time or intentions to, it was because I knew it took MORE time, more mental struggle for me to comprehend or even sit down and LOOK at the pages. With all that in my head, I realized, maybe I was dumb. Maybe my ADD was kicking in. Maybe I just am not a reader. I used every ‘excuse’ in the book. What made it even harder is, I didn’t think their was an excuse for me being unable to read. This was me. I was accepting that all my life, my many books about “Random Facts on Disgusting Things”, “The Architecture of Cincinnati”, “The Forgery of Venus”, “A Walk In The Woods,” and many more, would never be read. Never enjoyed. Possibly ever opened as well. I accepted that I was ‘normal’. I accepted that this whirlwind of a mindset was ‘normal.’ A setting on a dryer. I was going to live the rest of my life, suffocating in my own ignorance and stupidity.
I told her that I would sit through classes, not having read ANY of the 90 pages REQUIRED for the day, and listen to my classmates talk about them. Discuss them, and I would sit and listen. After getting into the discussion, I would chime in and have these great ideas or topics and not know where they came from. That is how I got through LIFE. “Bullshyting.”
She looked at me with this look of frustration. She didn’t seem upset as what I was saying, but more so upset with me, for what I had said…about myself.
“No, you must just have a brilliant mind because this isn’t bullshit.”
And I felt it. I remember being able to sing lyrics to songs I had never heard before. I was capable of finishing thoughts or ideas of people. My 6th grade Literature teacher said to me once, “Bonnie, all my life I was told that in order to be a great writer, you had to be a great reader, and I am not understanding how you can write so well without reading at all.”
I sat in my doctors chair…and sobbed.
Sobbed. I was a mess, and apologized. I was so upset for being so vulnerable about something so ‘petty.’ She just smiled and said, “Do you ever feel like you care about things and life a bit more than others? Like you care about the emotions life brings? Do you ever feel that when you cry, it’s real. It’s a way to let others know how important that was to you? Do you realize that what you just told me about your teacher, affected the rest of your life?”
I had to sit on that for a while. And I still am, but in that moment of time, I realized I wasn’t a genius. What I am saying is, I am brilliant in my own right. I have emotions that were strong. I had a passion and it was being pushed away by ‘what everyone else was telling me.’ I was letting it. I was also, human. Because of those friends from 1st grade till NOW, because of me being able to LISTEN to others after their ability to READ, I was sparked. I was influenced. I was given the BIG PICTURE to hold onto.
Read that last line again.
My mind does not work like others. It never will. Today, I have realized that in order for me to have an interest in ANYTHING, I need the end result; the big picture. Sounds sad, huh? It’s not. My mind is constantly ‘running’. It won’t stop. It can’t stop, because it has NOTHING to hold onto. I discussed my struggle with my thesis paper due in April, and she realized I don’t have any sort of guide to the “end product.” Not that I am too lazy to get it, it’s that my mind is too busy being ‘brilliant’ that it doesn’t want to settle on one thing. So I have to be simply TOLD where it should lead to. I am perfectly capable of making decisions. It’s not a fear. It’s not an anxiety. It’s a disorder. My brain is simply unable to make a decision, because of it trying to find one single thing to HOLD ONTO.
I sat in a doctors office for years, describing my relationships with men, my insecurities with personal appearance, my inability to make healthy decisions. Some of these are true issues based on their very topics. Some are more subtle, but today I figured out why I have anxiety, why I cannot breathe and why I have a fear of relying on others and being inspired by them to become successful.
I have always felt I was using people because they did the work and I didn’t. It is more that, they are mentally capable of doing the work and organizing it. I am not. With their ability to concentrate on ONE big picture, I am able to steer towards that and finally GO WITH IT. I have not figured out a diagnoses to this issue, but I can tell you this….
Today, I realized I am brilliant. That my mind is not like anyone else’s. Yes, someone will agree they have the same issues, and feel the same way, but today I realized that all my life I was never ‘depending’ on others, I was ‘letting them in’ to become successful.
I would look at the ‘end’ to find my ‘beginning.’
When you look at life, sometimes you want ‘the end.’ You want to know what it is going to entail; like a destination. I was looking at it for guidance, stability, something to hold onto. Sometimes, I would set destinations, and they very much were unhealthy, but when it comes to education, to life, to simply being able to live, I have been searching for the ‘big picture’ for hope, encouragement, stability within my mind! Now, with this knowledge, I cannot imagine how much easier life will be to breathe. To really sit back and know that me asking for someone’s help, or understanding, isn’t a weakness. It isn’t failure. It is a healthy way of accepting that everyone is brilliant in their own mind and their own heart.
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.