Growing up not knowing why certain things or classes in school was a little bit difficult and challenging at times. Elementary school and middle school weren’t that bad looking back but when I got to high school, that’s when things changed. I was always good in math class no matter my age but other classes brought a little struggle to my life.
High school was a game changer for me and I could’ve figure out why certain things or classes bothered me. I excelled in math all my life and when I got to high school, lit and comp became a big challenge for me. It was more on the reading and having to read aloud in class. I remember my freshman year, having to read Romeo and Juliet out loud in class and the teacher continuously asking me to reread the section with more inflection and feeling. I didn’t understand what he meant. I was reading the section the only way I could and it would piss me off when it was the same comment from the teacher and he would ask someone else to read it to show how it should be done. I felt like I was stupid for not getting what he meant. Everyone on class looking at me like come on, just read it right! But in my head I couldn’t understand what they meant.
I can read and don’t have an issue understanding most of what I needed to do. But when the teacher would ask me to analyze what I just read, my mind went blank. I can read something and I couldn’t tell you what it was about. If it’s something that interests me, it sticks and I can explain. But when reading most things, you can ask me to analyze it and I have to reread it over and over because it doesn’t register what I even read. Most people like and enjoy reading for fun or relaxation but for me it’s a task and I just can’t stand doing it.
Reaching high school brought on more people, more social interaction, more mental stimulation. The halls between classes were always packed and I just tried to make a beeline to the next class, avoiding as many people as I could, getting to my desk was a relief. Lunch time at a table full of friends and I couldn’t focus because of all the people walking around, the amount of noise going on. By the time lunch was over, the next class was hard to focus because my brain was so overloaded. By the time I got to go home, I didn’t want to do anything but be in my room. I wanted to be left alone and just enjoy that silence. I always completed homework in class so I didn’t have to worry about it after. I passed high school with great grades, always making the honor roll, even getting my letterman’s jacket for academics. The one time I didn’t get honor roll, I got a C in lit and comp and I was destroyed. I had made the list every semester and this time I had failed in my eyes. I graduated with over 40 credits and only needed 32 to graduate but I still felt like this one semester haunted me.
I don’t know if knowing my diagnosis back then would have changed things because I am one that wants to be able to do everything the same as “normal” people. I learned and became very good at masking my whole life without knowing it. I wasn’t different I just needed to figure out how to fit in with whatever was going on. So I did, and it took over. High school is a challenging time in life for everyone and especially people with a disability. I am amazed that I did so well but it wasn’t easy at times. It was a big factor into why I didn’t want to go to college after. I never could figure out what I wanted to do or be in life after high school and the pressure of going to college was overwhelming. It took me till I am 31 to go back to school and I am able to succeed because it’s online and from the comfort of my home.