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I’ve had trouble reading and writing for as long as I can remember. I always did well in school and even enrolled in gifted classes. I managed to keep up with the work, but at the same time I struggled with my disability. I felt ashamed and stupid. It was a secret I had to hide and I was terrified that someone would find out.

I learned to cope and hide my disability and consequently I never received help throughout grade school. I believe my fear of reading out loud has developed into a phobia, which has triggered panic attacks.

In college as an engineering student, I insisted on being tested for a learning disability, so I could receive help for my writing classes. After testing positive for a learning disability, I discovered that the aid being offered by the school was not helpful. In addition, my high school study habits of doing the minimum amount of work was no longer cutting it. I eventually stopped going to school and started seeing a therapist.

After dropping out of school, I sunk into a deep depression. I may have other problems I have not been able to pinpoint yet. Despite seeing a therapist for a long time, I have not been able to get back on my feet. I currently live with my parents. I have no job and no social life. I have little will to work on my problems and become anxious thinking about taking steps to work on my problems. I have not been able to get myself to do much of anything for about two years now. I’ve had a few therapists and a psychologist diagnose me with emotional trauma.

I wonder if you know of any resources concerning emotional trauma caused by learning disabilities. I would also appreciate any wisdom you can send my way.

Your problems are serious and I am sorry you find yourself where you are now. It is possible that your depression is the result of your years of frustration and failure. If so, this might be the theme of the therapy. Or, it might be that the same disabilities that prevented you from being successful in school continue to impact on your ability to work or handle life skills. Or, the depression might be a disorder often found with individuals who have learning disabilities.

What ever the cause, medication can help to minimize the depression. Talking therapy often does not help as much as seeking an educational or vocational counselor to help you pick up the pieces and get on with your life. Included in this help would be any remedial work for your learning disabilities as well as helping you develop compensatory techniques. The focus will also be on vocational initiatives and knowing what accommodations you might need.

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