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Taking My Time To Fit In

Photo features post author Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads - perireads.com

I think it’s important for me during this time as I’m trying to figure out things about myself that I’m as open as possible. There’s really nothing super scary to hide but I feel like this is something that a lot of people struggle with and I wanted to make someone feel like they aren’t alone. Well for starters, I grew up with undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and while it wasn’t the worst experience I would say unknowingly growing up neurodivergent made me view myself and my experiences differently. School was a lot more work and I felt like I was behind everyone else. Even doing things that I enjoyed turned out to be work for me.

This does make for a fun imagination though. I was constantly world building without even realizing it. While other people considered me the “weird” kid, I won’t lie, when we were playing pretend games I was the one that made it interesting. Plus it explains my intense love for reading, if my head is going to be filled with a bunch of thoughts I might as well make them interesting. Then, without realizing it, I was churning out books left and right. Soon reading books became wanting to write my own and here we are. While I’m not writing a novel any time soon I will give a shout out to childhood me who actually liked paying attention in English class. Sure the writing can be a bit rusty at times but we got the right idea.

When you grow up completely undiagnosed then you start to think that these thoughts and actions were the norm but that wasn’t the case. Instead of appreciating a mind that can really do it all, I was just confused about what was going on with me. But there were also some set backs with having a brain as great and talented as mine, and her name was math. Literally the thought of doing math makes me so angry and nervous all at the same time. Even though the problems were usually explained to me before I did them I still struggled to do some basic math problems. For a while I just figured that’s how my ADHD worked as I realized it was a common problem that everyone else had. But that perspective changed when I officially test and I was diagnosed officially. And diagnosed with Dyscalculia.

Wait, what? What’s that? Well that’s the exact thought process I had when I first heard the word. Dyscalculia is a math learning disability, basically making it hard for someone to understand numbers in a certain way. To me learning math was always something that took a lot of emotional effort. But other people didn’t have the same problem as me. I felt alone in these moments and that no one could understand me. But whenever I got this diagnosis I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. There was nothing wrong with me it’s just that my brain works differently! Which is totally fine but it really is a hassle to deal with math sometimes.

So what does that mean to me now? Well first, it’s nice to be validated for all the times I’ve cried about math. It also means I have to work just a little bit harder to figure out all the numbers. But doesn’t mean it’s impossible. So there may be times where I’m trying to teach myself math but at least it’ll get done. I also learned while studying about Dyscalculia that it may effect your spacial awareness. Which honestly it’s nice to be validated again for all the times I couldn’t tell how far away something was and ran right into it. Dyscalculia can also effect you’re driving so I just have to be extra careful when I’m on the road (don’t worry I promise I’m a good driver).

For the longest time I’ve spent hiding the most interesting parts of my mind away from the world. I didn’t want people to think that I was still weird and I can be like other people. But now I realized that it’ll only make me feel more isolated the more I repress what I love. I love my “out of control” brain and all the fun daydreams that come with it. I love that it turns into reading any book into a full fledged film. I love that it make anything entertaining. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to focus, but I’d say that’s my biggest complaint. But hey, you pick and choose your battles.

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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them. 

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