Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dyslexia as an Adult - the beginging of the journey

I think I’m going to use this blog space to chronicle this for a while, so be forewarned that it’s going to be a lot of (possibly whiney) introspective ramblings, so you may want to skip it. Also, they’re likely to be long winded, there’s a lot of stuff in my brain that I have to move out of here.

I’m a wreck.

I haven’t felt this way in a long time. It’s not depression, it’s something else. I was about to say it’s something intangible, but that’s not true, I know it’s source, I just don’t know how to compartmentalize it so that it isn’t spilling out into the rest of my life.
Basically this has everything to do with my past post.

The problem is not that I’m dyslexic per se (although, I think I may have some issues floating around somewhere in my muddy brain about that too), but what that has means for me at work, and what it will mean for me in the future.

I know that my manager and director thing I’m not performing to the level I should be for the level of job I have. This is especially painful right now because I’m about to have a performance review, which is going to be wildly painful, and I suspect will involve tears (on my part, not my managers *grin*).

So, good news first.

Friday at work I broke down crying in front of one of the managers (not mine, everyone was on vacation, this was the manager who was holding down the fort and was helping me with a piece of writing I was trying to do). Now, that doesn’t sound like particularly good news, except she was really good about it and has agreed to help me through this. I told her that I have a doctor’s appointment to get myself referred to a specialist and that I’m working on coping strategies and on and on. She said that kind of a proactive approach bodes well for me, because it didn’t have to get to a point where someone had to pull me aside and say “you’re work is shit” (my words, not hers) and then have to deal with it then.

She said she would work with me through this and said (and I agree with her) that it’s probably better to have a mentor/coach for this kind of thing that is someone you don’t report to. A really good outcome of the conversation is that she said she is going to approach my manager and director and tell them what’s going on and what we have planned. I know it maybe sounds like I’m wimping out letting her do that, but I really do think it’s better. She’ll be able to talk about it in terms of workplace accommodations and point out my strengths and make suggestions for different approaches and things like that. Me, I’d just be trying my best not to cry (and likely not succeeding) and wouldn’t be able to really put things in context. So, this is a very good outcome.

And yet, even though I have this really good outcome, I’m reeling. I’m terrified of what all this means. I’m full of a feeling of failure because I can’t do the work. My confidence at work is shot. I’m so obsessed with it all that I basically can’t seem to enjoy a single minute of my day. There may have been 5 minutes on Saturday where it wasn’t filling my brain, and as a result filling me with a ridiculous amount of anxiety.

I don’t know what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid they’ll think I’m faking. I’m afraid that I’ll never be able to learn. I’m afraid I’ll be dead weight at the office. This is one of those things that I have hidden my whole life, I don’t know why, but it is. Something I’ve found ways of coping with. Hell, I even learned to write in a reasonably coherent way by just writing the way I speak (those who know me in real life and read this blog know that read this just basically sounds like what I say out loud), but writing the way you speak doesn’t help in government. I can’t write a briefing note or a slide deck the way I would speak. So it just gets jumbled and incoherent and hard to follow. It makes me want to pull my hair out. The person I spoke to on Friday (from now on we’ll call her Coach) said that she will help me with that, that she’ll sit down with me and come up with really specific detailed outlines and then I can write to those. And yes, I do use outlines already, but once I start adding the details to the outline that gets jumbled too.

Wait, where was I? I don’t know, there’s a hell of a lot of stuff going on here, but it’s a muddled swirl, I can’t seem to grab and identify the separate pieces, so it’s making it bloody difficult to pick one item out and address it.

The bottom line is I have to deal with this, and it's not going to be easy. So, I guess I'm scared.

Being scared sucks.

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