modify the process, not the outcome.

My friend Mike started a thing called “Mirror Mantras”, where he posts a positive or motivating phrase on his bathroom mirror to keep him inspired throughout the week. Here’s mine–grown from a realization I had on Friday, in the midst of sorting a lot of stuff out.

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modify the process, not the outcome: assessment results . . . and hope.

i’ve got scars i’m willing to show you / you had heart that i’ll never see / she had answers to all the wrong questions /  it’s funny, these answers are all that i need.

[…] we end up regretting the things we don’t try.

caldecott tunnel, something corporate

Multiple times, including Wednesday, this song came on my iPod via shuffle on the bus when I was returning from evaluation-related appointments. Unplanned, but appreciated–for some reason, in that frame of mind, the level of resonation was so much higher than it had been in previous situations listening to Caldecott Tunnel.

When somebody climbs into your head with a variety of questions and tests, it is certainly a strange experience–the questions they then ask after acquiring a basic knowledge of what is going on in there then start to lead you to believe that they understand what is going on.  It’s been crazy, and it’s sure as hell been emotional–but answers? I’ve got some of them.  I’ve also got more questions, but those will sort themselves out . . . because I’ve got solutions, too.

It’s been a flurry of activity in my brain . . . about my brain. Which is totally weird.

Now, if you are internally saying “Kerri. Cut with the preamble here!”, then you know how I felt when I got a bunch of pre-results preamble from my student therapist.

The testing for ADHD was inconclusive. I have a very significant inattention component, but very little hyperactivity [I am sure some of you will be surprised by that!]. Thus, they could not confidently give a diagnosis FOR or AGAINST ADHD.  So, I have considerate inattention symptoms, but also a low processing speed. Jay shed some light on this in an e-mail the other night [for which I am very appreciative, because holy acronyms batman.]

It’s the processing speed and the working memory that are of the greatest challenge for you which slips into the attentional difficulties category, yet makes sense that a full Dx of ADHD was not there and not ruled out.

The primary findings are that I also struggle more significantly with visual memory than I do with auditory, and to work with that. It is also recommended that though I could not receive OR discount a diagnosis of ADHD, that I consider discussing medication with my doctor to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD I do experience, which I am going to do in a couple of weeks.  I am still not sure of my thoughts on meds, and I do not want to be on something all the time, but as my friend Sara pointed out yesterday, and Jay agreed with, it could potentially be helpful for certain things. For example, attending lectures [longer days especially], studying, staff meetings, etc. These are kind of things I peg as having more structure, and thus not so conducive to having my brain wandering a significant amount and thus missing important things. Other things though, like downtime, and the nature of my job, are things that I don’t feel I require medication for, and I would rather not be on it all the time if that is an option.

Very cool, though, is I have a very concrete map of what things look like within my own learning style, and suggestions on how to maximize on that.  The testing revealed I struggle significantly with visual memory [which has been a surprise to many of my friends!], so it is recommended that I audio record my lectures, and use audiobooks for textbooks. Interestingly, my vocabulary and writing scores were very high [not to brag, but totally to brag–90th percentile, over here!], but my reading comprehension scores were significantly lower than expected [which could very much explain my dislike of English, but my love of writing]. When I read for fun, obviously reading comprehension is not such a big deal, but academically, it makes things harder. They also assume that because my language abilities are high is why I am achieving significantly more than the tests predicted–which, of course, is a really good thing!  (Because my processing speed is considered to be “Extremely Low to Borderline”, this would have negatively impacted my “full scale IQ” score, so they were unable to give me a nifty IQ number, which was disappointing! :]).

Currently, academically is where things require balancing out. And we’re working at that.

I had an appointment with Accessibility Services at my university yesterday morning, the [my?] Accessibility Advisor was absolutely fantastic!  They are truly going above and beyond the recommendations to hopefully make this school thing more successful for me now that we know what is going on.  Because I am getting my results really close to the end of the term, I figured we likely would not be able to get my accommodations in place for my upcoming April exams, but they are going to do their best! I have an exam on April 2nd during my class period that is obviously coming up soon and does not give us a lot of time to work with.  Accommodations for upcoming terms will include audio recording my lectures and having a volunteer note-taker in class so that there is less of a chance that I miss something in lecture. Finally, I’ll be getting audio versions of textbooks so that I can listen to readings and hopefully gain more information from them that way.  I found one of my textbooks this term has an online component, so I tried using that tonight paired with the screen reader. It will take a bit of getting used to, but I finished a chapter–with notes–in about two hours–this is a big deal! Prior to this discovery, it would take me significantly longer to get through readings without taking notes!

Everybody’s been asking me how I’m feeling about this. As I told the student therapist when she gave me my results (and she once again used her sixth sense like Dr. B did with the klneenex on intake day), because no i am fine this is totally a good thing, and oh my God you are explaining my life. Because lets face it, it’s been twenty-one years. It’s been more years than I ever let on to anybody that I felt something wasn’t right–how I felt that how I was working wasn’t working for me–especially this last year feeling like I should be doing better, but not knowing how I could possibly be working any harder than I was and still not doing well at all academically.  In reality, I think the culmination of things did not click fully until the accessibility advisor kept referring to this collection of whatever as your disability. That was an interesting concept to wrap my head around.

As I questioned in the aforementioned post: “What gives?” This. Now . . . we have pinpointed things. We are working at this.  And . . . I am finally feeling good about what is to come.  Whatever it is, it’s just me. This is how it’s always been. That is the interesting thing about this–there is nothing different about me pre- and post-asessment/diagnosis. The only difference is, we know where I’m at. And hopefully this helps to get me where I’m going more effectively.

It’s modifying the process, not the outcome. Hopefully though, through modifying the process, the outcome comes sooner and perhaps looks brighter.  I have no idea how the classroom accommodations are going to play out, how they are going to work for me, but I very much hope I start feeling some more success, as well as seeing it.  To that effect, I bought an iPad. I am hoping that between the audio textbooks and continuing to use Evernote and the text-to-speech feature on my Mac, that I can also incorporate some other technology, like textbooks via iBooks and Penultimate for the diagrams that are necessary, to intersect with my learning style, and what I need to learn effectively, better.

Finally . . . I am hopeful. I am hopeful that school will no longer make me feel completely defeated. I am hopeful that this opens up more options to me for whatever may lay ahead. I am hopeful that though I have learned a lot through this process . . . that I will learn even more as a result of it.

I am hopeful. And that . . . is a good thing.

i wait.

It’s not every day you wait impatiently for PRIVATE NUMBER to be displayed on your caller ID–for the better part of two or three weeks, I have been doing just that; most often sitting in the Starbucks at school, phone beside me, hoping for the above to materialize on the display.  It got to the point where I was expecting that I was going to get this call at a really inconvenient time, or worse, miss it and require phone tag playing.

But today, sitting in the Starbucks, the elusive PRIVATE NUMBER appeared on my Caller ID.

“Hi, is this Kerri?”

It’s funny how relatively little time it takes for somebody’s voice to become familiar on the phone–I knew as soon as the caller ID popped up, though, that it was the practicum student doing my psychoeducational assessment. My mom went in a month ago; I haven’t been in for six weeks.

“We have your report ready from your assessment–when are you free to come in?” [My free hours are as tightly-scheduled, often between things, but still flexible, as much something can be simultaneously. I have open time in pretty much any available slot at some point during the week.]

“When are YOU free for me to come in?”

Tomorrow at 10:30, this process will begin to end, and another will begin. In whatever direction, whatever form it may take.

My appointment is scheduled for an hour–the same amount of time they scheduled me in for to determine my entire life story so far–for setting the course for the next part of the story.  In the mix of anticipation, though, I have been a bit more settled about the whole thing emotionally over the last several weeks–and with a lot of help from a lot of good people around me listening to my ramblings, reading my e-mails, and supporting me through their responses. Knowing whatever the outcome, that I’ll understand more about where I’m at–and that understanding more will help me figure out where I’m going next–and how best to get there.

I cannot imagine they are bringing me in for an hour to tell me that they found absolutely nothing in my evaluation.

I want things to make sense. I want to understand myself better. I want to, perhaps, end a bit of this frustration that I’ve been feeling within myself in a bunch of different places.

I wait.

I wait for freedom from my own thoughts that simply cycle back to this continuously.

I wait with anticipation; I wait with this same craving for answers intensifying within me minute by minute.

I wait impatiently, another 15 hours to go, for what has been in the making for a long time.

Let’s do this. Let’s continue the story.


shooting for the stars / desperately reaching for something in the dark / pictures of memories, buried in my heart / lie awake and dream of the endless possibilities / catch my breath and go for it. / take apart everything that’s holding me down / make a point to pick a new direction / to make a new connection.

is this what it feels like finding out / that i’ve got the guts to say anything? / feels like, breaking out / when I can give up my reputation / finally, i can see, honestly / i’ve got the guts to say anything.

bold enough to fall / flat on my face / when i walk as they crawl / slowing down is just a waste of time to let go / tapping my fingers to the rhythm of a metronome / counting opportunities. / take apart / a gravity that’s holding me down / make a point / to find a resolution / to be my own solution.

if i’m gonna go down then just let me go / let me go down / let me go / let me go.

guts, all time low

 

change the way you think about things, change the way you feel about things

My friend Mike started a thing called “Mirror Mantras”, where he posts a positive or motivating phrase on his bathroom mirror to keep him inspired throughout the week. Here’s mine for the week–one of my favourite quotes that has ever arisen out of a lecture and has stuck with me for over a year. Thanks Jay!

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12 of 12 – march ’13!

On the 12th of each month, a bunch of bloggers from around the world take 12 pictures of their day and blog them.  Here are my pictures for March 12th, 2013!

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7:28 am – work. Walking into work. Because it is EVERY DAY that you see a giant fake rock when you walk into work. [This is the joy of needing to walk through a drama room to get to my job in the morning. It is mildly interesting about 80% of the time.]

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9:48 am – starbucks. The annex that includes the Starbucks at school gets its floors cleaned more times a day than the rest of the university does in a year. New project is to stealthily take pictures of the annex floor cleaner, and tweet them at Bryan.

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2:06 pm – kitchen. My parents got home from Florida today. Since I didn’t get to go, I got lots of presents. Like this Peeps tumbler! (And yes, whenever I type “tumbler” I have to double check to ensure I didn’t type “tumblr”.)

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4:07 pm – bathroom. Yes, you’ve probably seen this already if we are friends in some sort of internet-y capacity. As I finally post this on Sunday, it’s just about time for another one!

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7:21 pm – kitchen. Fitbit needs charging. This thing requires charging so infrequently, it’s a wonder I don’t accidentally run the battery dry more often.

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8:55 pm – kitchen. Having a nice chat with my buddy Mike on Twitter.

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9:30 pm – bathroom. About to scrub the hell out of this pen to get it off of my leg. And arm. And the side of my tummy from yesterday’s body comp lab. The pen on my subscapular area, however, is a mystery to me whether it is still there because obviously I cannot reach, nor see, there. Also, if you look closely you can see one of my knee scars [out of four].

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10:40 pm – kitchen. This is not going to be done today. Especially with working in a daycare, where we obviously do not do post-“expiry” dairy, I can’t bring myself to do milk anything more than the day after the best before, even if it’s still technically good. It just weirds me out.

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10:56 pm – bedroom. Thank God I don’t have to set my alarm for this time tomorrow–6:50 is early enough.

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11:05 pm – bedroom. Been living out of this bag for ten days. Good to be home.

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11:13 pm – bathroom. Bedtime meds. [Yes, I did have a boring day and yes, i am desperate for pictures at this point.]

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11:18 pm – bedroom. Sleeping in my own bed for the first time in over a week, instead of my grandparents futon. Like I said, good to be home. [Actually, I had a nap here one day last week. Sleeping on a futon is not apparently great for the energy levels.]