Sunday, February 20, 2011


When I was a youngin, and throughout my teens, I had more confidence then most my age. I knew from age four that I wanted to be a writer. I knew I wanted to go to college, graduate, get married, have kids, work full time, be an author and live happily ever after. I was going to do it. I believed that if I worked hard enough, my perseverance would pay off.

After my spinal surgery and my mother dying, all of our lives took unexpected courses. I've been trying to get back on track with my goals ever since, and I'll admit it's been a long haul. Despite being on the honor roll in high school, college was shockingly a struggle for me. My English and Pysch courses made sense and I did remarkably well. Math was a different story. Nothing made sense. This wasn't a surprise to me, since Math never made sense, but it was harder in college than before. I tried three different tutors (in addition to my father) to help me understand basic algebra (which was a non credit course that I needed to take after doing poorly on the Math section of the entrance exam.). In class I would be told ahead of time when tests were so I could study for an extra week. I'd still end up with 30% in big, red, evil pen at the top of the page. Next I attempted having the course divided in half. I took the algebra "A" section one semester and "B" the second semester, with the end result the same. I'd get the following feedback from professors and faculty (sans tutors):

"If you would have just tried harder, you could have been out of here by now."

I certainly didn't feel lazy. In fact I felt like I was pushing a boulder up a hill with a straw. I went to school at 6:15am, studied at the school for an additional 5 hours after classes, took a job at the computer lab for extra cash for the additional tuition I was spending on, and returned home at 10pm. I took a medical leave of absence a few years ago after a new injury with my back took a toll and my confidence became shaken. Recently, in spite of finding work, I began wondering if there were any answers out there that shed some light on my previous situation. It seemed like more was going on besides "You're bad at Math." I want to return to school at some point with additional knowledge and tools to help myself.

I've begun seeing a specialist to see if I have any learning disabilities, and if so, how to work around them.

I did discover recently (through my regular doctor) that my (very) short attention span, lack of organizational skills and inability to complete a task wasn't simply a character flaw like I've always believed. (In spite of others suggesting that it might be something more) I've battled these symptoms lifelong, so admitting to myself that it might not be normal was daunting. When I went to my doctor and discussed my battle to complete things, my daydreaming and losing anything that left my hands, we began our search to find the answers. After seeing her on a regular basis, the doc's discovery is that I have ADD, but I needed to see the specialist for additional testing regarding learning disabilities. It's definitely a start. I'm on a new medication, which is helping me focus a lot better. It's strange because I didn't even realize how cloudy my head was, or how it affected my daily life. I got through simple tasks quicker. Taking a shower, making my bed, folding the didn't have to take half the morning. I remember where my keys are. I sat down with my father to watch a movie and was shocked to discover just how much of the details I had missed. ("Dad I had no idea that actress was in this movie.")

I went to the movie theater with my friends and one commented that I didn't get up once and sat through the entire film. I didn't realize that I had previously left movies often enough for it to be a problem. ("Yeah, you'd only watch half of it," he replied. "It was kind of annoying.")

It still is taking getting used to sometimes. There was so much clutter in my head that quiet and focusing on my thoughts is brand new. (After: "I need to get up, get dressed, go grocery shopping and pay my bill." Before: " bill...ghguythgfb;a") The first day I noticed something was different (because the medicine doesn't take affect right away) I said to myself: "I can think! My head is clear!....Now what?" The struggle to focus was a 24/7 job, now I had to work on other things. I signed up for one class (a business course) at my old school just to try it out. I'm taking it slow, one day at a time.

Another plus is I'll probably be blogging more...and I just realized this blog was pretty long.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Katie. You explained that so well. It must be awful to live in such a "fog". I hope you find everything to be easier, especially that math class. I hate math also. I had to take that "beginners" math class too. It did not come easy.