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Diagnosed Normal

My parents thought something was wrong with me by 5 or 6 years old. I never sought out affection, and pulled away when someone would try to put an arm around, hug, or in any other way touch me. This had not been an issue, until my brother had been born.

In contrast, he would enthusiastically run up and jump into the arms of any receptive adult. Therefore, they could only conclude the problem was within me, so one night a week or so, mom drove me to the nearest guy, in the next town.

Alright, that is a bit glib. In fact, when my mom dropped me off at the child psychiatrist, she was herself seeing a grownup version (getting her first diagnosis of Depression). And there was nothing traumatic about it, either; quite the contrary, I looked forward to the sessions. His office was full of toys I only saw on TV, and he had really awesome watercolors (alas, my paintings were derivative of those on the wall). Best of all, we began by getting hot cocoa, which was unsweetened, so I got to put as much sugar in it as I wanted.

Anyhow, my guru informed my mom that "some people are just like that," and that I was otherwise normal, maybe even a little smart. Something like that.

That may have been pivotal. He may as easily have labeled me developmentally hindered in some way, which would have lowered expectations and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My mother followed his advice in making me take part in social situations. I had to greet or say good bye, say please and thank you, look at people when speaking, etc. It was maddeningly difficult (still is, but I am more used to the discomfort).

Now, I work where I am expected to engage customers and make sales. It is one of the hardest things to do for me, but I force myself to walk up and start a conversation. Sometimes I can't even believe it's me when I'm talking to them--it's hard to explain.

Wait, "would have lowered expectations"? I guess the point is that I have chosen to lower my own expectations, and it is a right we all should have. Get a second opinion if a professional suggests your child is "impaired."
rattleschains rattleschains 41-45, M Jan 15, 2013

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