Thursday, June 25, 2009

Process This

Do you ever have those moments when you know what you want to say, but your brain can’t process it fast enough to find the words at that instant so that you can articulate how you truly feel? Do you have moments when all you have is a bunch of emotions and crazy confusion brewing inside your head, and you literally feel like too much is happening at once and that you might just go insane?

Ok… so ‘going insane’ might be a little over-exaggerated, but at times I really do feel like there may be something terribly wrong with me. I feel slow, stupid, and incredibly inadequate. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that some people can quickly come back with smart answers when I’m still stuck debating the issue in my head. Obviously, I was never asked to be on a debate team in high school or college! :)

It gets even worse when I am in highly emotional situation. A lot of the time I feel like I’m being attacked by the other party/parties because my brain has not yet comprehended the conversation going on in front of me. At times I even feel lost and confused about how the conversation even got to that point of emotional interference. I normally never have anything good to come back with, which in turn puts me automatically on the defensive. My brain is still thinking “What the heck just happened?” But if you give me 30 minutes to an hour to put my thoughts together, I can normally come back with a logical point of view and sometimes a freaking awesome rebuttal! NORMALLY… but I’m not perfect.

As you can see, trying to understand my brain and how it works has been something I have struggled with my entire life. In 1st grade I was given a number of tests and an I.E.P that labeled me with dyslexia. It has always been a constant battle and I have always done my best to compensate for my less-than-average learning ability. In no way am I calling myself stupid, because I know that I’m not stupid. I actually believe that I’m quite smart.

Crazy Side Note Banter - Yes, I was one of those kids labeled “Special Ed.” Goodness, I hate that word! Don’t get me wrong, I know that schools have come a long way since I was there, but when I was in school the label “Special Ed” … well … to simply put it … it was social suicide! Why couldn’t they call us something different, something more uplifting like the “Gifted” kids had… maybe something cool like “Style Ed” since it is all about your learning style anyway, right? All in all, Special Ed helped me, but I had to work VERY hard.

But my brain is my brain and unfortunately there are things I will always have trouble with, things which at times still frustrate me to no end. Spelling, grammar, comprehension of things, and most importantly, how slowly my brain processes things compared to other people.

I know we are all unique and our brains all function very differently, but I’m slowly and sadly realizing that if people don’t struggle with an intangible thing such as a learning disability themselves, they almost never understand how hard it is and how frustrating it is for that person living with the problem. Your brain works faster than mine… but it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and telling my brain “Move a little faster, you’re falling behind!”

I’m finding that when people don’t understand, they tend to be cold and ignorant to what others go through. They believe that the problem is just something you made up in your head, something they’re not even going to attempt to empathize with at all. Unfortunately, that mind-frame soon breeds judgment. The person decides that “it’s just who you are.” They decide that a person will never change (like they can help what is going on inside them?). Judgment stems from false assumptions, and perceptions soon become fogged. I too am guilty of the very same ignorance that people sometimes bestow on me.

For instance, my mom has a disease called Fibromyalgia. My family likes to tease her (kiddingly of course) about this neurological disorder we really know nothing about. But because I don’t know what it feels like to be in pain ALL the time, it’s hard not to think sometimes… “Is this neurological complication really real?” I sit here writing this totally convicted and ashamed that I am not more compassionate, as I’m asking others to be more compassionate regarding how some people’s brains work.

How wrong am I to question that, when I too have a problem that no one can see! My mother has never once thought my dyslexia was made up, or just a ‘lazy side’ of Lyryn. Why would I ever think my mother could even make up such a thing as this disease that she lives with on a daily basis? Pure ignorance, that’s how! I don’t know what it’s like to live with that, but I do know what it’s like to live with something others can’t understand.

Because we are human and so perfectly imperfect, I think every one of us is guilty of being blind to another person’s personal struggle - especially those struggles which are unseen. I expect others to see where I’m coming from, yet pay little attention to the others around me. Being uncompassionate toward a fellow brother or sister’s weakness is just foolishness, and in no way are we walking our lives like Jesus would. I challenge not only myself but also you, this week, to search inside for something you feel like others can’t really understand about you. When you come across someone you can’t empathize with, put yourself in their shoes. Let’s start seeing their struggle from Jesus’ eyes and not our own.



Leigh said...

Very interesting post. I am reminded of two things while I read this. The first is the frustration that I feel towards my younger sister EVERY time we interact. I have often wondered if maybe she does have some sort of learning disability, which makes her just a little more slow on the uptake. (She's never had tests nor have my parents every suggested that may be the case)...If I were to learn that she was in fact dealing with something like dyslexia...then man! how horrible would I feel for treating her the way I have all these years?

The other thought is a memory of my dad. We were sitting at the dinner table, I was in high school, and was suffering from allergies caused by our two cats. My brother was much more allergic than me, but I still got swollen, itchy eyes and asthma if I pet them or got my face close to them. I'll never forget my dad, in a supremely condescending tone of voice, telling me that it was "all in my head", that essentially I was being a drama queen, and that I was choosing to give myself allergies.

My blood boils still every time I think of that conversation.

So one example where I am the bad guy guilty of ignorance and another example as victim...very interesting indeed.

Alicia said...

Great post, very well said! Thanks for coming by and visiting by blog. I apologize that I am just now getting around to commenting I was on a bit of a blog hiatus. :) Happy Thursday!

Sarah said...

Slightly different situation but do you remember the scene from "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan is talking about how she can never think of just the right quip in a conversation/conforntation and then can't stop thinking about it and of course, comes up with the perfect come back hours later? Yeah, totally me. You're so not alone in that!

As for the rest of it - HUGE pat on the back for you working so hard to accomplish what you have done. I've seen too many people who coast because they think they have an excuse but my respect for people who didn't use it as an excuse is through the roof.

Mika said...

Great post, and very well put.

Jenna said...

I was going to leave a huge comment, then decided to just post it on my own site instead. Thank you for the reminder of how selfish I can be. God used you today! :)

Kait said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kait said...

Shoot, I accidentally clicked delete on my comment :(

Great post! What a wonderful reminder that we all need to be more accepting of others gifts :)

Elizabeth Marie said...

Wow amazing post. I think you write beautifully. Such a good reminder that we all have our struggles! XO

Broken said...

I wish I could explain just how much I understand. It is so hard to watch my husband be in so much pain every day, when every doctor tells us they have no idea why he's in pain, or that he shouldn't be in pain, or that there is nothing else they can do for us. I can't tell you the amount of times my brain has wanted to ask him 'are you sure you really hurt that badly?'. How horrible of me, but I think my brain can't comprehend how he can be in so much pain, and no one can figure out why. So, You're not alone, again. BTW, he's dyslexic, too :)

Mrs. McB said...

Great post! I have the same problem with gathering my thoughts until I sit down and can iron them out.

Summer Wind said...

very very interesting and well written post, it's a lot to think about, but you made such a great point to say that if it's really neurological or is there really pain. It's so interesting to think about that.

Jessica said...

Hey there. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting.

Great post, everything's well said. And I can totally relate with you. I know what it's like to feel as if your an inch away from going insane.

RCaitlin said...

This is a great post. I'm sorry you've had such a struggle. My little sister has learning disabilities and I've seen her struggle. I know I can not understand how hard it is for her but understand that I can't understand. Your writing is great though so it looks like you have really overcome a lot of the difficulties. I totally do the same things when I argue with people and as far as I know I don't have any disabilities so don't feel bad!!! Thanks for your Jon and Kate post. It's true that caught at my worst moments I could totally look that bad!

R. Wallis said...

This is such an awesome post and a great thought for the day! I really enjoy your blog, and thank you for stopping by mine!

morgan823 said...

Thank you! I've added your blog to the ones I follow. I love reading them!!