- Disabilities & the Disabled
Directionally Dysfunctional: Which Way Should We Go?
Don't let her drive! We'll never get there!
That's not a very nice thing to say about someone, even if it's true. I hear this a lot. In fact, I hear it whenever friends and I are about to leave to go somewhere. They are referring to me. I've learned to laugh about it, even though I don't think it's all that funny. I surrender the car keys, good-naturedly, to someone else. Actually, anyone else would be a better choice than me. You see, I have a disability.
I don't especially relish admitting it, but I am directionally dysfunctional. It's OK, we can talk about it. I finally came to the realization that this is not something you can hide for any length of time. There's no sense in clinging to denial.
It's a blatantly obvious disability and you know how people talk. The word gets out and spreads like wild fire. Next thing you know, you're wearing a label and people raise their voice to you, as though you are also hard of hearing. You know what I mean.
Growing up, the old man next door to us, did not speak or understand English. He was straight off the boat from Italy.
Our Dad, being a friendly sort of neighbor, would talk to this poor man by screaming at the top of his lungs. Back in the house, our mother would calmly tell dear ole Dad, "Ed, Mr. Carmello doesn't understand English, no matter how loudly you speak."
That's sort of what I mean about how people act when you have a disability of some kind. I guess they figure there has to be some way around it.
I'm here to tell you.....I have yet to find a way around this. Truth is, that's my problem. I literally can't find my way around.
Do you have this disability or know someone who does? Sorry to say this, but I really hope someone out there can empathize with me. Unless you suffer with this, you simply can't feel the pain.
Yes, pain. It's frightening, discouraging and very frustrating. It's brain-related. That is to say, there is a specific section of our brain that controls our sense of direction, just as with all of our brain-directed functions.
Since the portion of our brain that controls our sense of humor is alive and active in this head of mine, I do understand why my ease in getting lost, is quite funny to my family and friends. I laugh right along with them.
No sense being sensitive and defensive as well as directionally dyfunctional.
I do not intend for this to be a lesson in anatomy or biology 101. See that diagram of the human brain divided into segments, to your right? We are not going there.
Should your curiosity get the best of you, you can google yourself silly, to learn just how the brain directs us to find our way, to and from various locations. You may go in search of our human GPS, nestled somewhere within our gigantic brain.
My GPS is broken. Of this much, I'm sure.
These work well....FOR MOST PEOPLE
It happens everywhere.
This disability does not show itself only where there are many roads and turns and signs. I am also very talented at getting lost in Malls, hospitals, and pretty much anyplace that has hallways, lots of doors, different levels and where the scenery seems to all blend together.
I can't explain it and I try to remain calm when I feel the panic of realizing I'm lost. However, I have been known to sit down where ever I am and cry. In fact, more than once, I have pulled over to the side of a road and had to calm myself and stop hyperventilating. Silly, crazy, you say? Maybe it is, to you. For me and those who suffer from directional dysfunction, it's anything but silly and we know we're not crazy, thank you.
Try as I may, to conquer this beast of a disability, I've had little if any positive result. By the way, it seems the more I obsess about it, the more stressful it becomes. I suppose this is true of any issue. Best to accept, relax and deal with it as well as possible.
For instance, my husband bought me a GPS. Had he asked me if I wanted one, I'd have said, "No, don't waste your money." He didn't ask. I'm sure he was simply trying to help. I had never told him that I'd taken a test run, using my son's GPS......and got hopelessly lost.
I did try to analyze that fiasco because I was completely embarrassed. I think that trying to pay attention to my driving, focusing on the environment, all the traffic signs, as well as listen carefully to the instructions coming from the GPS, just made me a total nervous wreck. What I heard repeatedly was, "Recalculating"....... Oh NUTS! Damn it anyway. How on earth do I tell my son I got lost, despite using his GPS? Well, I did tell him and do you know what he said to his mother?? "Mom, c'mon, stop kidding. That's impossible." To which I quickly replied, "Aha! Haven't I always told you that your mother can accomplish the impossible?"
So, what's a directionally dysfunctional girl to do?
There are probably solutions to this problem. Maybe some sort of therapuetic program or exercise I should do. There must be books I can read, tapes I should listen to, meditation, accu-puncture, hypnosis? I don't know. I'm just grasping.
The reality is, I would basically be best off just accepting my disability, living with it gracefully and focus on the things that are really great in my life. Yes, that's it. That's what I should do.
Acceptance and tolerance are virtues. However, I am always open to advice and suggestion. If you've been able to conquer a disability that haunted you for years, I am all ears, my friend. Heaven knows I will welcome your comments with open arms if you suffered with this particular dysfunction!
Just a few more words before I close......and please don't worry, I do know how to get out of this article. Before I leave, I want to say how comforting it is to have all of you, with whom I can have these chats. It's a warm and fuzzy feeling, being able to just be yourself and know that you're not being judged or teased because you're not exactly perfect. You don't judge me, do you? I'm well aware you'll never ask me to drive you somewhere, but that's fine.
Thanks for letting me be myself and share some insecurities that annoy me, now and then. Until the next hub, I'll be doing things and going places. It will simply take me a little while to find those places. Don't panic much before a week or two. I'll get there.....even if accompanied by Police.