life · psyche

I always did well on tests

I’ve had blogs in some format since 1997. I taught myself HTML and hand-coded my first one. Then I stop after awhile, because either my life gets crazy, novelty wears off, or I suddenly have ants in my pants and move to where I’m really busy (or just chaotic). Or, I just lose interest in writing, and go onto the next thing. I call my method of hobby-jumping “cycles”. My mom does it, so it’s normal, right? Everyone obsesses over one thing for months at a time then quits cold turkey and finds something else sparkly to play with for a few months, right? Eventually I loop back. Eventually.

Unlike my twenties, I’m going to be entirely anonymous, unless you’re specifically invited here to read my insane ramblings and run-ons. Hi, family. Since this is the internet, I may or may not be female, in a relationship with a domestic partner(male, female, or other, you wonder?), living somewhere in the USA, trying to be a responsible adult for once, and struggling with problems I’ve had since I could think.

These problems are: ADHD — Primarily Inattentive; Sensory Processing Disorder (a new one for me); Delayed Social Skills (NOT a big surprise) — and maybe other things. I shit you not, that is my current list. I say maybe because right now, it is nigh impossible to get a proper neuro-psychiatric test to see what I’ve actually got instead of what my primary care thinks I’ve got.

The root of my problem is that I never was neuro-psych tested. My parents did not believe psychiatry was a “thing” and my other major health problem took up all of their time (hospitalizations, intubations, etc.) And I thought I was fine, because I always did well on tests. The world was a foggy daydream in La La Land, but at least I got mostly A’s and some B’s. (Note: I did manage to fail gym class every year).

Maybe this web site is a final plea, that somewhere, out there, is someone who can sit me down and help me answer questions about why I can’t seem to learn certain things. Things like:

  • Not being socially awkward. I’ve been a social outcast/awkward since 4 years old and although I found people to hang around with, I was never really that close. Life moves on to the point where my best friends are my partner and my family. I’m an introvert, awkward, hates small talk, prefers deep philosophical discussions, and I be intolerant of some alcohol… you see how it would be impossible to make new friends?
  • Changing my focus/attention-span AT WILL. How do you do it whenever you want? How do you guys just switch, and switch, and not lose track of notes, time, what you’re doing, where you are? HOW? My attention span is willy-nilly. There’s a fly in my house right now, buzzing from room to room and window to window. That fly is my attention span. The only way I know how to stop it is to fly-swat. Squish my brains to nothing.
  • Fixing my memory. Remembering something from either 1 minute ago to 10 years ago. If you told me a list of things, and asked me 20 minutes later, I wouldn’t even remember that you asked me! I’m like Alzheimer’s personified, yet the Memory Clinic says I’m “too young”. (You assholes, I might be a really awesome research subject for being an outlier, so we both lose out, fuckers.) This is the reason why, when I ask my mother for a recipe and she starts reciting it from memory, I scream “NO! Stop! Write it down! I can’t remember if you just TELL me!”
  • And the reason why my life is in shambles right now: According to my newish job, I simply can’t learn to prioritize, time manage, communicate, or critical think. I can write a mean well-researched paper, do well on tests, teach myself Adobe AfterEffects to do a presentation, and use Photoshop to an do honors poster project, but no, I can’t prioritize, time manage, communicate, or critical think.

I’ve tried to learn.

I downloaded and research ways in which to be more organized. And I am organized, really. My keys, wallet, etc. are always in the same place. My files are relatively ordered. I hire someone else to do my taxes. I make bill paying automatic, so I am not late (often). I use 5 calendars so at least 3 of them are updated. All my medications are divided out into their places. My clothes are divided into categories. There’s nothing anyone could tell me that I didn’t do already.

Then I think, if I could just gain some memory. If I could remember anything on the fly or even short term, it would be such a struggle. If I had memory, I could multi-task better because then I’d remember what I was doing four steps ago! But, how? I’m living that movie 50 First Dates except my memory time limit is 5 minutes, so I can’t watch a video to remind me of every 5 minutes. So, I do puzzles every day. I’m decent at concentration games. I try to add numbers on my head. These things haven’t helped at all, not in my running-around-life.

Next, I focused on communication. I won’t write long, winded messages to people at work (sorry about this long-ass post). I’ll keep it detailed, short, and sweet. But then I get complaints that these messages are not understood, as in what am I asking? Or that I’m awkward (back to square one) and said something inappropriate, like “bikini” (not kidding). So maybe I’m just completely socially unaware than some words are inappropriate to say, like “bikini” in a question to a client with skin issues. I definitely know to this day I have not said “penis” or wrote “penis” to anyone at work because then the shit will fly high. Yet I’ve known coworkers who have referred to a “vagina”/”anus” as a “coolie”. Who knew?

To sum it up: I just need to do all those bullet points on-the-go, while-winging-it, living-in-the-moment. And I just…. don’t, can’t, doesn’t happen. I am losing my job because of this. I am a person who takes pride in teaching herself skills, but I just don’t know how to teach myself these particular things. I feel like a failure.

So, to critical think all the way through this unhappy road: I am delinquent at work due to basic things everyone else can do but I can’t seem to learn to do, no matter how much I try to… My primary care and my new therapist thinks it’s something physically wrong with my nervous system, and a neuro-psychiatric test can find out. However, despite numerous calls to what feels like every psych person in this city, only two will test me at exorbitant costs, in future when it’s too late to save this job.

If I don’t work, I can’t afford the test. Therefore I am stuck knowing I’ve failed at being a responsible human being (again), unable to understand why, and with no job, possibly no way to pay for testing… not to mention overcoming all these problems.

There’s got to be an end to all this. That is one thing I know, there is an end.

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