As an adult, learning that you've lived your life with a condition like NLD or AS can be shocking and liberating.
Growing up, i wanted nothing more than to be "normal". I wanted a
piece of the American dream: a job that I'm happy in and that pays
the bills, a family, a home.
But i was always different. I always thought it was something that I could fix if I just worked harder. Now, I see that I have a condition that I need to learn to accept and to live with better.
NLD explains why life was always so difficult, why I was always the odd one out, why I never fit in anywhere. I feel good about rebuilding my life on the framework of the truth about myself, and not on lies.
On the one hand, I was relieved to lean that I had a biological flaw, not a character flaw. But I was also saddened to think about what could have been if I had known earlier what I know now. I’m just glad that I now know what the problem is. I am grateful for my blessings. I think things worked out the way they were supposed to.
A disability is not something you choose, but it is something you must learn to live with and accept. The disability is a part of who I am. Accepting a disability like NLD or AS is like the grieving process when someone dies... It's learning how to move on knowing you'll never have some of the things that you've always wanted... Learning to appreciate your gifts, love life and be happy with the things that you can do. I'm trying to redefine success, trying to let old dreams die and dream new dreams.
We should be valued for what we can do, what we can contribute, and who we are. I accept that I will always have certain difficulties...they are as much a part of me as my eyes, hands, legs. Part of who I am is a person who cannot do certain things that others can do with little effort. Although there are many things I can do, and do very well.
I have accepted that I have been, and always will be "different"...and it is no longer worth my efforts to try to change who I am. Instead, I do the best I can to work on my strengths so that they might at times override my weaknesses. We are all very special people, with strengths as well as weaknesses. NLD is both a problem and a challenge. It is also an annoyance, a frustration, and a very positive set of unique strengths in the verbal and creative areas.
I have learned that i need to let go of some dreams and replace them with new ones. NLD does interfere with work issues and derailed my librarian career. But i’ve learned to be happy doing other things instead. I have a very full life.
It is important to accept that some things we can’t do, and instead, do what we can in whatever way works for us. And always remember – NLD does *not* define you - *you* define you.