I’ve never been good with directions but since being diagnosed with Hydrocephalus, with all it’s mental challenges, I’d say it’s 1000 times worse. It really doesn’t matter if I’m taking them or giving them. For example, if I were to be sitting in a car and directing someone, I’d physically have to wave my hand (in front of them), in the direction of their next turn (instead of saying left or right because words don’t come so easy or fast enough). The waving of my hand is a process in itself in order for my brain to compute but more so because it’s a visual as well.
If I read the words “rear right” on my stove at home for example, my brain would break it down to read the word “rear” first, understand and then I’d have to wave my hand to know if it’s right or left. In fact, this will happen more than once especially if I need to grab a pot out of the cupboard afterwards and then place it on the correct place. It probably looks silly to the next person but it’s the only way I can tell the difference. Lord forbid if someone should talk to me while I’m trying to figure out such a simple thing! I’d have to start all over again…
Then, there’s the constant bickering between my husband and myself when I need to drop one of the kids off at a cricket game. I stress from the time I know that I’ll be the one responsible for this because he has another commitment. He insists on explaining the route to me despite my heated protests for him not to do so. By the time he gets to “When you get to the top of the road, turn left“…I’ve already lost him. (Queue left/right hand waving)
And, then he gets upset with me because I don’t listen! (I would if I knew that my brain would retain the information). I tell him time and time again that I’ll just use the Google Maps App on my phone because I know that way I won’t get lost. But, he continues directing me regardless of what I keep telling him…However, using my pet peeve string of words “It’s simple, you can’t get lost…” just infuriates me. Ugh! And he says I don’t listen…
However, there have been the unfortunate few times where I believed my memory wouldn’t fail me and regardless of having the App (and deciding against using it), I took a wrong turn. This just lead me into a maze of confusion and heated stress lingering on the brink of a panic attack! Driving around in circles leaves me near tears and feeling like a complete idiot…I’ve learnt my lesson well since then.
With my daughter in the car as well, my kids know by now that I need silence and, to listen to the “woman” directing me. Noise in general is a big problem for me especially when I’m concentrating. It’s a nightmare simply because my brain has to process the information as it comes in. Too much information at once is also not a good idea because I’m at the stage of processing only one instruction at a time (No that doesn’t mean I’ve adopted a man brain of only being able to do one thing at a time…or does it?).
For anyone who doesn’t know what this is like, picture an Adrenalin rush filled with fear and anxiety. Your pulse starts working overtime and your heart races as if it’s doing so for it’s own survival. It’s a cocktail mixture of emotion that leaves you yearning for sanity and leaves you on the brink of tears.
My eldest son, much like his father, has tried directing me down some different paths/shortcuts that, I explained to him, would require me to remember and that’s a big No, No… My son at least has empathy…and sort of gets it.
Coming back to the voice on the App. Before I think of leaving my driveway, if I don’t hear “her” voice for a while, I go into complete panic mode as well. I prefer to be lead by the “lady’s” voice on my phone, right next to me. She brings me peace of mind and comfort. Who said a woman can’t follow directions? Pfft!
All I know is, if it weren’t for GPS, I would be more lost than Dory trying to find Nemo’s Dad!
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I blog about Hydrocephalus and Selective Mutism to give a voice to the millions of people around the world with this condition and disorder. As much as these experiences are unique to me and my family, I’m sure others have experienced it too. My aim…to shine a light on it and raise awareness – simple and challenging at the same time but worth it!