I was diagnosed with NVLD at age 22.
At the time, I had switched programs at college – having just failed my studies in animation, where difficulties with certain aspects of the program became a final prompt to have me checked out for a possible learning disorder.
I was relieved, finally knowing what had caused so many grievances in my life both academically and non-academically; however, the timing of the news was a mixed blessing.
See, I had transferred into a writing program, which was significantly easier on me academically, so I wasn’t really sure how to approach getting help at that point. Fast forward a couple of years to the end of the program and I found myself in the perilous situation of once again finding a job.
Finding work has never panned out for me. I fail interviews constantly, and the only conventional job I ever had, I was fired within the first two weeks. I tried getting aid in looking for a job to no avail, and eventually fought to be on financial disability for my disorder. However, since NVLD isn’t recognized in the DSM I had to get it for my anxiety, which has been coupled with the disability my whole life.
Regardless, I try to find a silver lining out of all of this. It has been made clear to me that since I have had to do things differently my whole life, I need to do things differently now – which is equally terrifying, because I have no idea what to do.
I haven’t had any luck yet, but I do think trying to forge a self-employed path that focuses on my strengths and interests is the best thing for me to do as someone with NVLD.
It is hard some days, however, because I feel like I am a walking paradox. I can speak well and seem like a normal, functioning human being on the outside; but the reality is, I have a hard time with things that seem “normal” to other people. I can’t drive due to visual-spatial problems, grocery stores are anxiety-inducing places to navigate, socializing with other people isn’t really pleasant since I am aware that I’m missing critical social cues. Overall, trying to be “normal” in this way is rather exhausting, and it is very easy to feel alone because of my NVLD. I feel like I must be vigilant of my surroundings and actions at all times and no one can understand what it’s actually like.
I do wonder sometimes, if this disorder was known a lot sooner in my lifetime – and was diagnosed with it then after having been misdiagnosed with ADHD twice as a child – if I would have had the tools to change my current outcome. However that is impossible to know and there isn’t much I can do about it anyway. All I can do now, is hopefully educate others about this little-known disability and hope for the best.
I’m a 29 year old woman with NVLD. I am an independent writer, artist and animator despite the limitations my disorder deals me and hope to one day make a possible breakthrough with one of my ongoing projects. I like animals, video games and most things horror. I’m an individual like anyone else, and just wish others the best.Share your own story