Life with NVLD as Told by Those Around Me, by Stephanie

By September 26, 2018 November 12th, 2019 NVLD Bloggers

I was not diagnosed with NVLD until my mid-thirties. My tragedies and mistakes are many and I couldn’t pick one to share with you today. Rather, I will share with you snapshots of my experiences as said to me and about me throughout my life.

Words from them/you:
Your handwriting is bad because you are lazy. If you just focus, you can write better.
Why does she hang out with adults all the time?
Why can’t she get along with her peers?
Why can’t she make friends?
What is wrong with you?
Why can’t you be normal?
What made you think I meant that?
Why are you so mean? (after making a nonjudgmental observation)
How did you not get that?
You don’t seem disabled to me – you’re so smart.
I’m socially awkward too. That doesn’t make you special, you’re just an introvert.
Your monotone voice is so annoying.
You wouldn’t be so socially awkward if you got out more.
In a “lighthearted” end of school faux awards ceremony – And the award for Dr. Jekyll, Ms. Hyde Handwriting goes to Stephanie because you never know who is going to show up to class!
Why are you so sensitive?
Can’t you just get over it?
It’s just a pet. Get over it. (after pet died)
What does that face mean? Are you mad at me?
Why are you so serious?
Why are you such a perfectionist?
You’re just quirky.
You’re too young to possibly know this much about office administration
Your emails sound curt and rude. Try adding a friendly greeting at the beginning.
If you’re so lonely, why don’t you join a club or volunteer?
I always thought you were a negative jerk, because you always had some smart ass comment to everything. (I had a tendency to make unwanted observations – apparently people don’t like when you tell them what they don’t want to hear. Took me a long time to learn that one.)

Words I have said to myself:
What is wrong with you?
Why can’t you be normal?
I think I’m broken.
Why is this so hard, why can’t I figure out the right thing to do?
Why can’t I say no?
I had no idea she was manipulating me.
Why can’t I hold down a job?
Why do they hate me?
I’m not good enough.
I can’t make mistakes, because then they will figure out that I’m an impostor.
I have to be perfect.
I hate myself.
Academically, I understand the concept, but I can never apply it in real life.
I don’t understand my coworkers mind games – I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.
I’m stupid.
I should just shut up and melt into the corner, because everyone keeps talking over me. I might as well not be here.
Why don’t they like me?
Why did I do that?
I feel powerless.


I am a technology strategist and systems developer for a nonprofit in Washington, DC. I struggled for years to deal with my “brokenness,” spending most of my adult life running from myself, living in a co-dependent relationship, struggling to keep any minimum wage job, and trying desperately to find a place where I fit in. My diagnosis was a Eureka moment that saved my life. I struggle everyday to give myself acceptance and compassion, but I have never felt more successful or accomplished.

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