So Giddy, I'm... ...*calm* :)

Taking the Risk - AGAIN

So, the past 3 Tuesdays, I've been visiting a place called the New Life Counseling and Wellness Center, Inc. No, this is not a pitch. And in fact, be forewarned that I am a NEW client - I have *no* authority or basis on which to make a comprehensive or generalized assessment, judgment or "report" on this place.

I CAN tell you, that I am very encouraged. But, to make this story - my story - make some sense, I have to do a little chronological development and/or give some history before I can tell you why I feel so...hopeful....today, Tuesday, August 2, 2011.

I have Nonverbal Learning Disability. I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, Executive Dysfunction (which I think is part of the NVLD but which may come via ADD (no H). And, I'm a hydrocephalic with a shunt placed back in like - '72/'73. One revision around, I don't know - age 3 or 4, and a major surgery in 3rd grade (lesseee.....90, grad hs, so 80 "grad" 2nd. Spring of 3rd would have been 1981.

I also "have" or struggle with kinda-sorta-maybe-depression-but-I-dismiss-it-'cause-who-wouldn't-be-depressed-and-once-in-awhile-suicidal-with-all-this-shit-on-his-back?! Yeah - yeah - nature/nurture, doesn't matter - it's still depression. But see - if it's a rational response to the stimuli, than is it really a disorder?

Anyway - that's another topic for another hub.

But, as any of you out there who have also travelled the "looking for SOME kind of help, SOMEwhere" un-bushwhacked trail (or so it sure as hell seems!), you know what a tortuous, *tortur ous* process this is, and have likely done battle with the "didn't know what I didn't know" and or "didn't know THAT I didn't know" minotaur many times.

It's the catch-22 that many of us with the "invisible disabilities" (hell, what do I know - maybe you folks with the more "mundane" or "less exotic", but often just as devastating illneses such as cancer, depression, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis) face every time we summon up the guts to "try this 'okay, let's really get some serious help' thing - again!"... heh, yeah - and again and again and again! Usually it's after some major healing/stewing/standing on the sidelines time waiting for the courage to COME to you - after the last desperately frustrating and, obviously, fruitless, attempt to find professional help for your illness.

For we with some of the invisibles, one of those nemeses is the meta-ignorance. We don't know how to find the words for a problem that NO google search EVER seems to "understand". I will say that this is improving - "NVLD" gets a lot of relevant pages, compared to a year or more ago. Including a couple by and/or with input from yours truly :)

"NLD" still takes you to some pretty weird (okay, not helpful) sites for the National League for Democracy, one page about some language of the Netherlands, and some graphics and printing company whose logo boasts quite the mediocre achievement "since 1997".

I doubt anyone could credibly argue that technology, and the ever-expanding variety of ways to communicate with and access each other, and a broader number of people (the more people you ask, the more answers you get, and the more likely at least one of them will be helpful) or audience, if you seek a platform to state and/or opine as much as to inquire, is growing much larger, broader, and diverse - almost by the day!

Still, if this author's experience is any indication, the prospects for this digital revolution having much positive impact on the often long and painfully frustrating search for professional services, particularly medical in nature, even more so if the issue is one of mental health, and yet STILL more elusive if it is a "new" specialty.

I say "new" in the sense of some recent (and I'll add, LONG awaited - unknowingly) serendipitous curiosity on the part of one lone researcher (or team) asking a question, doing their primary research and analysis, and publishing their findings, THEN eventually sparking interest and further research, with hopefully repeatable results - or at least results such that something is learned and the question refined, until enough data is collected, enough attention is won, and FINALLY the public in general and those who practice and ESPECIALLY who *teach* medicine, become interested enough to be available to we who have been seeking treatment for our malady and answers to our questions for longer than some very smart practicing physicians have been alive.

It's the meta-ignorance thing almost all the time. The not-knowing-that-you-don't-know. The "I know something is wrong, but I have no clue what it is, why it is, and NO spark of an idea how to fathom the words to explain it" - phenomenon.

But - enough building up of the HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE struggle it is to find adequate help for something as obscure (still) as Nonverbal Learning Disability. I know one of the reasons this has been such an arduous and nearly impossible task for me (I know now!!!) is that I think maybe I was looking for the "homerun" of clinical support, intervention and treatment.

I wanted EXPERTISE on this statistically uncommon disorder, from a practioner who accepts my sometimes unpopular (or at least, bureaucratically cumbersome) health insurance, who is within driving distance (which I have long set at something within 100 miles one way - every week). Yeah - even at gas draining my wallet faster than an uninsured counselling session - I'd make the 'yes' decision to such a trek within a timeframe somewhere between a blink and half a breath.

Well, I recently found the courage to begin this search anew, having had a couple of possibly relevant developments in the treatment I already receive, and a subsequent beginning of some control over my anxiety issues - and it is ironically an "all in" attitude toward dealing with THAT which led me to the aforementioned facility/clinician.

I did have to face the dreaded "so how can I help you today"/"what brings you to seek professional help for..."/"So, what are your goals for treatment"...yadda yadda. Ugh! But I faced it, damn it! And - one thing I can say is a benefit for being as long-winded and even voracious at the online writing/ranting/venting thing - and a very generous and blessed curiosity and willingness on the clinician's part to look some of it over after I provided the info on how/where to find it - is that it gets a lot of the weight off of a procrastinator's shoulders!

By that, I mean that just the writing of pieces like this is a cathartic and mind-clearing exercise. And the knowledge that my thoughts are put well-enough together SOMEWHERE, eases my nerves in an ironic improvement (although still not NEAR functional or adequate) in my "in real time" competence to deal with new situations (and a question you don't know is coming IS a new situation), as well as bumping into somebody out of context and thus not being able to recall who they are - IS nonetheless *relatively* promising.

So, yeah - finally getting somewhere with the whole "getting help" thing. There is still some risk involved, because let's face it, putting one's faith in anything is risky, at least and/or especially if you're particularly sensitive, thin-skinned, and have a history that justifies your lack of hope.

I dare to think, from what I've seen so far, that history is not going to repeat itself. I may have gotten past the knot of indecision and desperation of the "all or nothing" thinking to which I'm prone - thus being willing to consider the assistance who can help SOME things. But I do want the homerun, damn it! Full remission, so to speak. Or a motherload of tools and training I can use to cope.

I have found somebody willing to "talk me down" from the inevitable pain my life has and will give me. But, more to the point, I think I have found somebody who is willing and able to help me find some answers and solutions to accomplish MY goals.

I feel like somebody is on my side. And yes - that is....er...."giddifying". And calming.

Breathing is a good thing.


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