I remember being six and feeling as if I didn’t belong. Hearing my kindergarten teacher share I was troubled.
I later learned that my parents had been told to have low expectations for me. My mother gave me a text that stated I was more likely to be depressed, not attend college, and never live on my own.
She cried and cried. But also loved me more than anything. Always trying her best.
Have I been depressed? Yes almost always. Do I live with my lovely fiancé and our dogs? Also yes!
In third grade, I was able to read Jodi Picoult’s “My Sister Keeper” and understand it and enjoy although perhaps not age-appropriate. Yet I was in reading support as I could not verbally express myself.
Tested out of my IEP… lost all support and had no clue how to manage.
Middle school was rough. I don’t tend to reflect.
In high school, I read fan fiction, swam, and occasionally socialized. I did not attend dances or proms. I overheard people say they hoped I didn’t sit with them and crawl into myself.
I went to college out of state and struggled at first. Needed to leave to come back home because I made zero friends and was all alone.
Leading to me moving home & attending school with my lifelong friend. Making more friends through her & eventually rooming together. Love her always.
I grew into myself. Studying public history, the Holocaust, and genocides post WWII.
Became president of the historical association. Learned to advocate and care for others.
Then I went for my master’s in social work, graduated, and went into medical social work.
I love my job. I work hard to support my patients & am genuinely good at what I do.
And yet I am still that six-year-old girl who never knows what is going on.
In the forty/fifty hours I work a week I am in control. I support patients through serious illness and end of life. The worst moments of their lives.
I hold so much. But outside of work, I struggle to understand my loved one’s emotions. Their implied meaning or expectations.
I try to be more on my A-game – but when do I get to relax?
All I can do each day is my best. And so that is all I ask of myself.
Dani is a 25-year-old woman who lives in Massachusetts with her fiancée Kailey & dogs Kassidy/Jericho. Proud individual with NVLD, LCSW, and medical social worker.