As I’ve grown to learn over time, opening up about any diagnosis can be a difficult task for myself and others. Whenever I do open up about my non-verbal learning disorder with my peers, I feel I can best explain NVLD when I conclude; “it’s like if someone were about to give me a high five, I would instead awkwardly go in for a fist bump”… And that’s just about as far as I ever got to opening up about this diagnosis to my peers and colleagues until now.
Beknowing NVLD is more of a social disorder, I have been rest assured of why I may altogether opt out of social engagements or rather, choose to engage in social situations from a distance. Although it wasn’t until I started college that all of a sudden, I felt socially inadequate at best. And let me tell you, pursuing a career in the music industry? An industry where engagement is everything? Needless to say, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions I wasn’t prepared to conquer had I not taken the necessary steps to hone what coping skills I’ve been able to harness over the years.
Common symptoms I’ve learned to pay most attention to when interacting in and out of the workplace vary all over the place. For example, facial expressions, tones of voice, and body posture are all quite often misconstrued one way or another. Does someone look upset? Or are they just zoned out? It doesn’t matter what the case may be, I must’ve upset them. Is someone talking extremely loud? Well, they must be mad at me… it can’t be the fact they’re trying to talk over the really loud traffic… right? Oh yeah and jokes? Right over my head! Sarcasm? Yeah, I’ll never catch on as quickly as most…
From conversing about the same things over and over again to speaking on five different subjects at once, all the while assuming what you’re saying makes sense to others, but in fact, doesn’t make sense to anyone but you. Yep, that’s NVLD for ya! The struggle to initiate relationships while being an utter chatterbox, nauseating coworkers with trivial facts, asking too many questions, disrupting the flow of a conversation, or interrupting frequently, yeah, that my friend, is called a non-verbal learning disorder, and I would be speaking quite modestly if I didn’t express the heavyweight such symptoms bear to carry.
However, at the same time, do you know what a relief it is to pinpoint these symptoms and confidently conclude, yes, these are just symptoms of my non-verbal learning disorder? Rather than going on to spend your nights tossing
and turning, wondering where you went wrong, or better yet, where you could have gone right…? Becoming knowledgeable of your disorder, studying symptoms, and gaining a strong comprehension of your disorder truly makes all the difference when it comes to how you may best be able to cope when you feel these symptoms begin to surface.
As I continue to live with NVLD, an “invisible” disorder very few have yet to even hear of, it has been a most testing difficulty to cope with, as I continuously learn to navigate this disability over the last ten years. Dancing around with NVLD’s negative & positive symptoms, I work to apply my skill sets & improve my languors every day. Nevertheless, waking up every day with a condition that has yet to be formally recognized by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has been a challenging trial in itself. Nevertheless, such trials and tribulations, quirks, and characteristics which are resulting symptoms of my non-verbal learning disorder make up who I am today as a person. Because of this, I do my very best to cope with the likes of patience, understanding, and a solid support system.
With an eager intent to contribute to what light has been shed on mental health awareness & further the progression of overlooked disorders such as NVLD, I’m beyond thrilled to have taken a leap of faith, and submitted my application to become an ambassador on behalf of the NVLD Project so that I may do my part to contribute to awareness of NVLD, and further support the institution of NVLD to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
I first came to learn about the NVLD Project while researching for a college paper I was working on about NVLD back in 2017. I was so amazed by the advocacy the NVLD Project presents on behalf of those who have been diagnosed with NVLD or better yet, those who meet the criteria yet haven’t received a proper diagnosis, and as a result, are still out there searching for answers… However, it wasn’t until about 2 years later that I found the faith to apply to become a brand ambassador with the NVLD Project. Since then, I have been so grateful for their support thanks to their many blogs, social media posts, and other engaging content that has been so informative for others like me who just want to understand. Content that made me feel understood.
With this in mind and heart, as an ambassador here on behalf of the NVLD Project, I look forward to providing further insight on what it’s like to live with NVLD, and how to both manage and grow with NVLD.
Project Social Ambassador.