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Hi. Can you tell me what exactly is wrong with my brain?


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Joined: Jan 06, 2013
Posts: 1
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Posted Jan 06, 2013 at 3:35:29 AM
Subject: Hi. Can you tell me what exactly is wrong with my brain?

Hi. I'm trying to write this with some brevity, but I'm feeling overwhelmed. Here is the shortest description of myself and the way my mind works that I can create:

• I'm twenty-four years old.

• I dropped out of college three years ago.

• I have an anxiety and panic disorder that has been with me for all of my remembered life, but was not diagnosed until I was twenty-two. I briefly took medication for it after my diagnoses. It was very effective, but my insurance situation changed and I can no longer take it. I frequently have internalized panic attacks.

• I have a strong ability to draw three-dimensional objects two-dimensionally.

• I have fairly strong writing skills.

• I have poor social skills. The worst of my anxiety disorder is triggered by social settings. This has been true since early childhood. However, I experience strong empathy and can interpret social cues, tone, and body language without problem. I'm very adept at understanding intent and can accurately diagnose things like problematic relationship dynamics within a few minutes of meeting a new person.

• I transpose numbers when writing them. If I try to write down numbers in sequence, say from one to ten, I often leave one out or switch two numbers.

• I can't count silently in my head, I have to count out loud.

• I often confuse two terms permanently. For example, a 'price adjustment' and a 'price change' are two concepts from my job that I cannot keep straight, literally every single time I say it, even if it's twice in one sentence. These terms are similar, but I also confuse terms that are not similar so long as the concepts behind them are.

• I have a mild form of what I believe is known as facial blindness; I can't recognize anyone's face. I have to recognize my friends and coworkers by haircuts, clothing, vocal patterns, and context.

• I am unable to track objects in space. For instance: I can't parallel park. I can't follow someone's fingers when they point to something. I can't hit or catch a ball. I can't do IQ test questions that involve revolving a three-dimensional shape in space. I can't play first-person-perspective video games.

• I experience extreme difficulty in learning new concepts. Although I am attracted to applied mathematics, I usually can't understand core concepts about it. Especially geometrical concepts. Even when the information is repeated multiple times, or in a different way. The 'easiest' way for me to learn is to read a passage describing a concept, repeat it out loud to myself, and then rephrase it. Sometimes when I'm trying to learn something, I experience what feels like a headache. I often become very angry and frustrated.

• I am strongly distracted by noise or other people when trying to focus or study. I often feel very self-conscious, angry, and self-critical when I try to study. I avoid studying and can be described as chronically procrastinating.

• I was a 'gifted' child, but around middle school my grades dropped to Cs and Ds. I spent a lot of time hiding it from my parents. In high school I felt like I was barely scraping by but graduated with a 3.8 GPA. I'm not really sure how. I missed between twenty and thirty days of school my senior year.

• I have a very strong ability to critically analyze films and books. I can pick out themes and interpret a creator's intent. I believe I started to be able to do this very early in life.

• I'm tone deaf and have no sense of timing or rhythm.

So, I guess.... Do I have a learning disorder? What the hell is wrong with me? Every day I wonder what's wrong with me, and feel frustrated with myself for not being able to complete my degree or pursue a career beyond a simple retail job. Even my retail job is complicated by my issues.

Edited for typos.
[Modified by: tellme_aboutmyself on January 06, 2013 03:36 AM]

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eoffg
Joined Sep 28, 2011
Posts: 93

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Posted:Jan 07, 2013 6:47:25 AM

Hi Tellme and welcome here,

Our brain's provide us with 3 ways of thinking, Auditory, Visual and Spatial.
Where you have already identified that you have a difficulty with Spatial thinking, and Spatial thinking disorder.

With Auditory and Visual thinking, we use words or images to represent concepts.
But the problem with Auditory and Visual thinking, is that they are just a collection of words and images.
But Spatial thinking is what the brain uses to arrange and rearrange these word and images in different ways?
Where it forms Patterns of relationships.

Though it also uses Spatial thinking to order them from first to last. Where it also provides a sense of where everything is located between them. As in a sequence.
Where a crucial element of Sequential thinking, is that we need to be able to think 'back and forward'.
Such as the difference between: 1,2,3,4,.. ?
And 2,4,5,7,9,10,12,... ?
Where we have to think back, to work out the following numbers.
Which is also called 'reversability thinking', as we think back and forward.
Though you mentioned that you have no sense of timing or rhythm? Where this uses reversability thinking.

But difficulties with facial recognition,called Prosopagnosia?
Also uses Spatial thinking. Where we don't remember faces as a whole. But rather as a pattern of parts of the face? Such as the eyes, nose and lips.
So that we match a persons face with a pattern.
But with Prosopagnosia, people don't spatially from patterns of a person face? But rather remember isolated elements, and look for them one by one.

Though you also mentioned your problem with distraction when studying? But the problem that Spatial thinking difficulties cause? Is that when people are distracted? They often have a difficulty with going back to where they were up to? So that they may have to start all over again?

But with Spatial thinking difficulties, people most often develop exceptional Auditory thinking, and can have strong Visual thinking.
So that it's not simply about finding out 'what is wrong'?
But rather with understanding your own way of thinking?

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Rod Everson
Joined May 20, 2007
Posts: 41

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Posted:Apr 01, 2013 12:44:49 PM

The following characteristics are strongly suggestive of a problem with visual skills, such as a binocular vision disorder, poor convergence ability, etc. You should see a developmental optometrist for an evaluation.

Quote tellme_aboutmyself:

Here is the shortest description of myself and the way my mind works that I can create:

Quote tellme_aboutmyself:

• I have a strong ability to draw three-dimensional objects two-dimensionally.

Quote tellme_aboutmyself:

• I transpose numbers when writing them. If I try to write down numbers in sequence, say from one to ten, I often leave one out or switch two numbers.

Quote tellme_aboutmyself:

• I have a mild form of what I believe is known as facial blindness; I can't recognize anyone's face. I have to recognize my friends and coworkers by haircuts, clothing, vocal patterns, and context.

Quote tellme_aboutmyself:

• I am unable to track objects in space. For instance: I can't parallel park. I can't follow someone's fingers when they point to something. I can't hit or catch a ball. I can't do IQ test questions that involve revolving a three-dimensional shape in space. I can't play first-person-perspective video games.

Quote tellme_aboutmyself:

• I was a 'gifted' child, but around middle school my grades dropped to Cs and Ds. I spent a lot of time hiding it from my parents. In high school I felt like I was barely scraping by but graduated with a 3.8 GPA. I'm not really sure how. I missed between twenty and thirty days of school my senior year.

Taking them in order, because you probably have extremely poor, or no, depth perception, you have had to exist in a 3D world that you are seeing in 2D. Translating a 3D world to paper is easy for you, because you've been doing it since you were an infant. Without realizing it, you understand perspective lines better than most. See my article Growing an Architect for more detail.

Transposing numbers can be a visual issue if you are experiencing what is called alternating suppression, where input from one eye is being processed, followed by the other eye, etc. This is a real phenomenon, easily detected by a developmental optometrist (but not by your regular eye doctor, who probably doesn't test for the condition.) The problem is that when the processing changes from one eye to the other, the second eye might be focused on a different location on the page than the first, back on the six you wrote two numbers ago, for example.

I'm not so sure about facial blindness, but if you have poor depth perception and alternating suppression, you'd be getting really limited information about the contours of a person's face, hence, your reliance upon flat features like hair color, style, moustaches, clothing, etc.

The not catching a ball, etc., are classic signs of someone who doesn't have good binocularity. You're seeing in two dimensions continually, rather than the three dimensions that most of us see. Every symptom you describe, except the first-person video game one is absolutely classic. See a developmental optometrist.

The school experience is also typical, but typical of a child who was lucky enough to figure out how to read in spite of a vision problem. Many kids aren't so lucky. I'm betting that it took you a while to catch on to reading, but you kept at it and were successful due to your intelligence. I'm also betting that your phonics knowledge is either relatively weak, or that someone spent quite a bit of time making sure that you acquired it. You are probably a terrible speller because visual confusion during childhood makes it difficult to detect the subtle differences in similar words. You also likely have your reading vocabulary memorized, rather than understanding the phonics content of words. You found it difficult to keep up with the reading demands as you got older because it was a struggle to learn new words and keep them straight from similar words. Eventually, your grades sank, in spite of your intelligence, because so much independent reading was required.

As for your other symptoms, when vision skills fail to develop on schedule, so do some others at times. This could explain your poor skills in the music realm, for example. The synapses required for hearing and making music properly just never developed fully. Fortunately, the brain is more malleable than once thought, so with practice, that could be overcome if it's important to you. Me, I just don't sing much, for others' sake.

The anxiety could easily be due to the confusion you feel in nearly every new situation you encounter that requires good vision to be comfortable. Walking into an unfamiliar room, for example, can be difficult because you're afraid you'll stumble over something as simple as a slight rise or fall in the floor, because with your poor depth perception you don't notice it. After enduring situation after situation where you've actually been embarrassed, anxiety over each new situation is easy to understand. Confusing faces of those you know you should recognize would add to the anxiety in any social setting.

Enough. I hope you see this, and I hope it sounds on target for you. (It might not.) If it does, see a developmental optometrist for an evaluation. You would probably benefit immensely from vision therapy. At least I hope you would, since you sound like a person with immense potential.

Two more points: First, you might now be using only one eye for near work and one eye for far work. This is one way the brain adapts to poor binocular vision skills. This too can be diagnosed by a developmental optometrist.

Second, some of what you've experienced has built skills that others struggle to acquire. If you are able to resolve the vision issues that you almost certainly have, those skills, combined with your new vision skills, might lead you on paths that few are capable of following. Think positive, but do see a developmental optometrist. Here's a start: Find a Vision Therapy Provider.

Rod Everson
OnTrack Reading

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