Friday, September 26, 2014

Change, Chance, & the Frustration of Being...

People with ACC do not like change.  We prefer pattern, and repetition, and we don't do well when someone or something interferes with our ability to follow through on a task or thought.  It is almost like I hear from those with ADHD (one of the many diagnoses I received before discovering my ACC and ASD), and that I can really relate to, that "we must say what we need to say or do what we need to do RIGHT NOW, or we may forget it."  I'll often just give up in frustration whatever it was I was attempting and hate myself for having done so.

There are so many memory and thought processing issues with ACC that we seek to cling to sameness and do not do well with differences.  Even deeply ingrained habits that I have learned, I have learned to do a certain way, and if you interrupt that way, it causes confusion, frustration and even outright rage and anger.  Often it will give way to not caring and abandoning the thought or task, which only provokes more frustration and anxiety.

Thinking about my school years, I had taught myself to do division in a way that worked, that got the correct answer every time, but the school(s) insisted I do "long division."  They would fail me, simply because I refused to do this long division, even if I got the answer correct.  Does anybody besides me see a big problem with this?

This is why I have a problem with common core mathematics.  Besides the fact that it is totally confusing (I still do not understand it) it is forcing a child to learn a set way of doing things, when they might find an even more accurate and easy way to do them.  The way "no child left behind" has been implemented, it serves to stunt (in my opinion) any real growth and understanding a child may have, and forces round pegs into square holes.  

As an adult, I have circumscribed my social activities, because I don't cope well with chance, or unexpected changes.  I really dislike conflict and avoid it at all costs, because I just go on automatic defense, start yelling, and arguing and feeling the victim.  I have a great deal of difficulty dealing with customer service of any kind, if I feel that they are not understanding my needs.  This also lends to my being manipulated by people.  They peg me as intransigent without giving me the benefit of the doubt, without really listening to me and discovering what it is I am trying to say.

Shortly after my first year of middle school I went berserk.  Leaving the confines of a single classroom environment, where I felt protected, and that things were basically the same there were just too many options, too many things I had to "switch back and forth" from on a daily basis.  Very soon, I was taken out of public school and put into "special" school.  (Personally) I feel cheated, because that is when my real education ended.  Doctors and teachers not knowing how to work with me, expected less of me and demanded less.  Even my parents lowered their expectations so far that my real education ended by the time I was in 7th grade.

While I don't know what the answer is, exactly, I felt like they should have understood this rigidity in thought and process and found ways to work with it, instead of fighting against it.  My own father used my rigidity and inability to adapt to change as a source of bullying and demeaning me.  I gave up on myself so far as learning and growing.  I myself started to believe that I could never learn anything new.

For many years before my ACC and ASD diagnoses, I was hypercritical and self deprecating, "Why can't you just be like everyone else? You are broken and stupid..." etc...  I didn't have the awareness or foresight to even understand that I didn't cope well with change, and even if I had, I don't think I would have had the understanding or ability to relate this to parents and teachers.

Parents, I only want you to understand, that if you think you are frustrated with your child's seeming inability to adapt and change, please imagine what it must be like for him or her.  At the age of 52, I'm still unwinding the Gordian Knot of self blame and hatred that I created from childhood.  I still will blame myself for things out of my control.  I'm grateful to have a few people around me that understand this, and remind me of who I am, and that the only measuring stick I need to put myself against is myself.  

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