Life is a Giant Mess

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have alot of things going on that I would like some help with.Most of these seem to have been going on since I can remember. I was born blue and not breathing, also according to my mom I was a “floppy baby”. I did not sit up by myself till I was 18 months. I have never been one to say very much. I can and do talk to people, just I can’t chatter on endlessly. I was super shy when I was younger, my first word away from my parents was “I want water!” when the PreK teacher was ignoring me. I also needed physical therapy till I was in the 5th grade and speech therapy till I was 8. I have a learning disabilty that interfers with my life. I have Dyscalulia, a form of dyslexia that only effects math. I have a hard time counting money and especially change. I will know a math formula one day and not the next. I have never passed a math test in my life. Just to graduate from High School they had to waiver the math portion of the TAKS test. I scored high on all other parts. I can’t get into a college,work a cash register or do anything that involves math. I can have a calculator, formula chart, extra time, etc. and still fail a test. Ive had a teacher declare me a “vegetable”, tell me I’m making it harder then it seems, been left out of class parties and recess because I failed math tests and papers even though I had an IEP, tutoring and Slyvine Learning Center have not helped at all. I was almost killed by a friend when I was 10, she jammed her fist into my throat and I almost wnet I have also dressed and acted like a boy since I was two. I am tall and have the shoulders of a football player. When I was 9 I could pick up my teachers in a bear hug. I am extremely hyper flexible. My shoulders,ankles,knees and wrists constantly hurt. I am 19 and only have a learners permit because I am terrified of driving. I was misdiagnosed as autistic and for three years treated like dirt by Special Ed teachers. My self esteem is 0. I was touched inappropriately by a neighbor girl when I was 10. My mom is Depressed,Bipolar and Schizophrenic. Is taking hormone pills since she has a uterine issue. My dad is a workaholic, he was in the army till I was 7, didn’t see me till I was 5 months old. Was away most of my life, didn’t know what grade I was in for awhile. According to doctors I have a combination of Trisonomy X (one extra X chromosome) and Dyscalculia. Can anything be done about all this?

A. What can be done about all this? Many things but it may require professional help. Have you ever been in counseling? That’s one place to start. Therapy could help you with self-esteem and family issues. It doesn’t seem like you’ve had much support despite having to deal with many difficult issues. A therapist may be able to coordinate other types of treatment that may benefit you including speech therapy, physical or occupational therapy or could refer you to other professionals who specialize in the treatment of dyscalculia. I understand that you’ve tried many of these treatments in the past but perhaps a new set of professionals at this stage in your life could be more effective.

A therapist may also be able to connect you with a work training program. It may be difficult for you to attend college or to pursue an occupation that involves math but it shouldn’t preclude you from having a career. Perhaps a work training program could prepare you for a career that involves little or no math. You may not be good in math but you may excel in many other fields.

On the other hand, with the right help, you may be able to learn math. It may be difficult because of your learning disability but it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. Here’s a link to a Youtube video of famous individuals who had dyscalculia. The video, although short, highlights several gifted individuals who struggled from learning disabilities. Benjamin Franklin is one example. Dyscalculia may have been a roadblock at some point in their lives but eventually many of the individuals featured in the video came to lead successful lives.

A therapist may also be able to refer you to a support group with other individuals who have learning disabilities. On the Internet, there are forums you may want to join. Those forums may connect you to other individuals who have a similar learning disability. People find support groups helpful because they can connect with others who understand what it is like to have a particular life struggle.

Here is a link to Psychology Today. If you would like to search for a therapist in your community you may want to start with that website. Another idea is to call your local community mental health center to discuss the issues you are struggling with. They may have learning disability specialists on staff. Individuals who work at community mental health centers often are very knowledgeable about local resources and may be able to direct you to a good program. Thank you for your question. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Life is a Giant Mess. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/26/life-is-a-giant-mess/