I’ve been keeping this diary for more than 3 years now. I started it when I was 17 and soon I’ll be 20. Over the past 3 years I didn’t just gain a physical and emotional balance thanks to MLC Scotland’s therapy for Retained Reflexes, and become able to hear clearly after Johansen IAS therapy. Because Retained Reflexes and serious Auditory Processing Disorder were no longer delaying my development and holding me back, I learned a lot of things which are important in daily life, which I previously had no idea about. Here are some things I’ve learned since 2011. I’ve come a long way. I feel like I’ve had almost 20 years of experience crammed into just 3.
- I’m not stupid after all. It’s amazing how much confidence the diagnosis of a learning difference gave me.
- Songs have words!
- Talking to other people and making friends isn’t as scary as I thought. I enjoy chatting and making friends.
- Sarcasm. It’s important.
- I won’t scare people away if I tell them that I have APD. In fact, it makes, and brings us closer because they understand why I might sometimes seem distant or confused.
- Music. Clear hearing gave music an entirely new dimension. I loved music before Johansen therapy, but now it is INCREDIBLE.
- I have synaesthesia. That explains a lot.
- I have some dairy allergies. Also explains a lot.
- Being yourself is important. I used to be happy just when everyone else was happy. Before Johansen and MLC I felt so confused and overwhelmed that most of the time I had no idea about what I thought or how I felt. I used to think that people would like me to be if I was more like them. I tried to please them too much. People can’t decide whether to like you or not if withhold everything that you think and feel. They want to be friends with someone different from them. Otherwise it would be like being friends with themselves, which would be kind of pointless.
- It’s okay to argue. Following on from the last point.
- Figures of speech. Before Johansen IAS, when friends said “I had a bad day, don’t ask”, I used to cheerfully say “Okay”, and leave them hanging.
- Orange Marches are not a community celebration in honour of the colour Orange. (I used to take things very literally).
- Being polite is important, but pointless if it puts you in danger.
- You can’t help other people if you don’t look after yourself as well.
- Toothpaste burns if you get it in your eyes.
- FCUK stands for French Connection UK. It is not people wearing a swearword on their clothes, but misspelled so that they can get away with it.
- Beanie hats. Where had they been all my life?
- Touch typing. Type up a diary entry every day for three years, and I guarantee you will have that keyboard clicking away at a rate of knots.
- The School Years are not the best years of your life. Trust me on this.
- I am a drummer! Johansen IAS therapy toned down my hypersensitive and sometimes painfully-loud hearing. This dispelled my fear of loud noises. Without Johansen IAS therapy I would never have discovered one my favourite things in the world. Soon after this musical epiphany I also learned that most families hate listening to creative and prolonged tapping on their furniture.
- Everyone has something they struggle with. Whether that’s Auditory Processing disorder or another learning/processing difference, a job they hate, a fear of spiders, or any one of an infinite list of problems. Compared to many people in the world I have had a very easy, sheltered and wonderful life. So I should shut my mouth and count my blessings when my ears-to-brain connection malfunctions and I feel like whining about it.
- I don’t have to do everything people tell me to.
- I can think outside of the box. And not just when people tell me to.
- No matter how much I love someone, I am not responsible for them or how they feel.
- I can lie if I want/need to. I used to almost literally not be able to lie, or even bend the truth when asked a question. I still hate lying. It feels uncomfortable. However, lying is an important skill to be able to have, even if you don’t use it.
- People are complicated, but that’s okay.
- “Normal” is just an average created by measuring how everyone is different.
Without Retained Reflexes and serious Auditory Processing Disorder, I can deal with the world.
The world is complicated. Before I could hear clearly, it was kind of like living inside my own little bubble. Now that my bubble has burst, the world seems huge and that can be a little intimidating. But I think that life sometimes being complicated is part of the challenge. I think (and I hope I don’t regret saying this) that if life was really simple, it might be boring. Anyway, living in a bubble, I was not going to grow. Or learn. Or experience anything. At all. Sometimes things might feel a bit scary and uncertain, like leaving home, which is the thing weighing on my mind right now. I might feel like burying my head in the sand so deep it sticks out in Australia, and watching Chuck box sets while I should be packing, but I’m not going to back out of my decision to move away to study. I want this. I want to leave home, start my own life and grow. Lots of self-help books claim to be able to tell you the meaning of your life (it’s never on the blurb, you always have to buy it first), but I think that it’s different for everyone, and more about the journey than the destination anyway. It’s okay to feel unsure about life and sometimes not know what to do, as long as you keep trying to head in the right direction. If I get through my life with as much integrity as possible, have fun, make gardens beautiful for people to enjoy, play a lot of music, and of course, raise awareness for Retained Reflexes and Auditory Processing Disorder, I will feel like I have achieved something worthwhile.
My real journey starts here.