Lemme tell you a story and it’s gonna be a long one, so brace yourselves…
It started in JC, when I was studying everyday after school with my friend. Her father was a doctor, so she knew enough about certain medical conditions. She was the first to start noticing my inability to write and formulate sentences. I couldn’t spell to save my life. It took extra effort to keep my handwriting legible. And I couldn’t learn chinese for nuts. She suggested I was dyslexic, but my parents and I knew nothing about the condition and we brushed it off. How was it possible to have a learning disability when I have made it to one of the top JCs and subsequently into a top Uni.
Then one day in Uni, when I was really bored in class, I decided to take an online medical preliminary testing for dyslexia. And it’s preliminary diagnosis was I had severe dyslexia.
I couldn’t believe it. But the more I thought about it and read about it, I realized how evident it had been since I was a kid. But maybe not many people where aware of the condition at that time, so nobody ever picked it out.
During school time, I would try so hard to understand certain concepts but my time/effort was always more than the output. In fact I just got labelled as stupid, careless or lazy in school. I would write essays and just my spelling mistakes alone were enough to deduct all my marks until I constantly failed English.
And even up till now, it’s so hard for people to comprehend how I got through to a top Uni without realizing how severely dyslexic I was. Some still think I use it as an excuse. What others don’t see, is the multiple struggles I had with God. Struggles of inadequacy. Struggled of not being able to understand anything in class. Struggles of just not being good enough or smart enough.
And it was only by the grace of God that I survived my school days. He somehow always made a miracle during national exams. And it was so much of a miracle that my friends could only testify that there was no other way I could have passed, much less get into top schools.
Even in Uni, God provided me with friends who covered for me in projects and helped me so much along the way that I would have never passed without them. I barely scrapped through Smu, and thankfully because now I run my own business, I didn’t have to submit my resume to myself.
Well, that’s just the back story.
Recently, a whole series of misunderstandings threw me into a very bad state of confusion and self-blame. It seems like whenever I tried to communicate something, unless the person knew me well enough to understand what I’m trying to say, people always seemed to misinterpret or misunderstand me.
And I didn’t even realize how bad it was because I couldn’t read the situation at all. People asked, “didn’t you see the implications” and the truth is, I really tried, but I really didn’t see it at all. I couldn’t see it. And it spiraled the self blame again. And I started getting angry at myself for not being able to explain myself.
It got even worse at times when I felt pushed to a corner to defend myself for things I had no idea had even caused a stir already. And as soon as I didn’t feel safe, my mind goes into a lock down mode. And I can’t even speak and I can’t stop crying. And when I can’t stop crying, people take it as a sign that what they said hit the nail on the head. But it wasn’t true. More often than not, I cried out of frustration with myself for not being able to explain myself.
So it was only after this recent series of events that sent me straight back to my knees to cry out to God for help. Cause I was so drained from this being such a repeated cycle in my life. That’s when there was a sudden revelation and reminder of my condition. And I started reading up again. And true enough what I’ve been experiencing is not a unique situation. It’s a common struggle for an adult dyslexic.
I always thought dyslexia was just a learning disability, and mostly affected my reading, writing and ability to tell left and right. But now I realized that it’s a neurological disorder and it badly affects my ability to process information and articulate ideas.
To date, I have taken 3 tests and ironic enough these are probably the first tests in my life where I get full marks without even trying. In all three tests I have been consistently diagnosed as severely dyslexic.
So for now, I’m slowly coming to terms with this revelation and the truth is I’m still healing from the hurts from misunderstandings. But I’m also beginning to understand myself better. Helping me to accept that it’s not that I’m stupid or inadequate but simply that there are certain areas which are like a mental handicap and I’m learning to ask for help.
And I’m also thankful because while this journey has been an extremely painful one, it’s also the very same journey that when I emerge from it, I know that it was be a journey that will bring hope and healing to others too.
So for what it’s worth, I’m so thankful for those friends who have journeyed with me. Especially friends who have been there for almost a decade. Seeing me through my ups and downs and just being such a strength. You never judged, you just walked with me and cried with me. You all don’t know how much you mean to me. I’m so thankful that my words and acts of service are merely a small reflection of how much I appreciate you.
More importantly, it was only possible because of God. His mercies are new every morning. And I know I have been fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that full well.
God is Faithful.