Born With A Serious Medical ConditionI was born with barely enough thyroid to survive, however, this was not discovered until it was almost too late. If it had not been for my brandmother, the outcome would have been very different in a not very good way. Without a properly functioning thyroid gland, an infant will not develop normally: dwarfism and mental retardation will result if treatment is not given, the sooner the better. My grandmother insisted I be checked as I wasn't behaving like babies of a similar age i.e. eyes following ob
While my parents understood my condition at some level, it was evident they'd interpreted my mental capacity as 'not quite average'. This was particularly true of my mother who regularly referred to me as a 'slow learner'. Being told this over and over doesn't exactly build one's self confidence! I recall consistently being talked down to as they (my mother in particular) undoubtedly believed I would not understand the gist of a conversation. I was also often cut off when I attempted to add to a conversation. Although I did understand all of what was going on around me and then some, at some level I knew I would be not be listened to or be taken seriously if I said I understood. Eventually, I just stopped 'talking'...I wasn't listened to anyway. It did not help that I am quiet by nature...so throughout the years, my quietness has been mistaken as 'slowness' and 'social awkwardness' by both family and people who met me: still happens all the time. However, I am neither slow or social awkward but it's very hard to convince those whose mind is made up and refuses to see anything else.
After a period of reflection recently, realized the lack of validation and respect by others is rooted in my very early years and diagnosis of the thyroid problem. This has been detrimental on so many levels, particularly education. I was streamed into a lower level business education program in high school which I hated with a passion and never worked at. Have had a series of jobs which, with the exception of one, have been completely unsatisfying, boring and monotonous beyond comprehension. What might I have been able to accomplish if I knew I'd be listened to?
One person did cross my path along the way who suggested university. Me at university...someone with my background? Despite some reservations, I took a couple of courses to begin with. The results were astounding and I realized then the assessment of my mental capabilities and the predictions about future success....they were way wrong...so far wrong. Furthermore, those who judge me still, they are wrong and have no clues they are wrong.
The lack of validation and the judgment by others concerning my 'so-called' social awkwardness still exists. How does one begin to address such issues??