This problem seems outside of your control. It does not seem as though you’re deliberately being defiant. I point that out because of the self-abusive tone of your letter. If a friend or a family member had this problem, would you be equally as harsh on them as you are being on yourself? It’s highly unlikely. You seem to be legitimately struggling with processing certain types of information. I understand your frustration but remember it’s not your fault.
It’s possible that your brain processes verbal information differently than written information. This is not to suggest that something’s wrong with you per se but that perhaps you have an undiagnosed learning disability. It could explain why you have been struggling for years.
One diagnostic possibility is an auditory processing disorder. Its symptoms include difficulty processing and remembering language-related tasks. There are other possibilities but an evaluation would be necessary to determine whether or not you have a learning disability.
If you do have a learning disability that substantially limits a major life activity (i.e. learning, thinking, reading, concentrating and communicating), then you are entitled (by federal law) to reasonable accommodations from both your school and employer. You should consult the disabilities service office on campus. They can provide you with more information about how to seek help for this potential issue.
You should also discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician who can provide you with the appropriate referrals. He or she might suggest undergoing a neuropsychological evaluation. This type of evaluation specifically assesses how your brain functions. Good luck. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle