Monday, March 12, 2012

Beyond Shocking!

The most startling thing has happened to me this last week. I knew I had a problem but I did not know what to call it and I never talked about it, I was far too embarrassed. Nor, did I ever share this shocking information with a doctor or others, regarding what I thought I might have. I was just what the teachers labeled me as when I started school, “You are too stupid to learn”.

Moving up to junior high was awful, I had to start over classifying new people to a whole set of criteria, since I cannot recognize faces! In high school, it was much worse as strangers from other area schools became part of the class. To me it was overwhelming and crippling I moved in a vast empty space filled with voices.

This last week I shared with my youngest daughter the fact that I am unable to recognize faces. I have had this all my life but ignored and hid it as best I could. When she told me she had a friend that had the same thing, I was shocked. Here, all these many years I just thought, “I was too stupid” to recognize faces.

If you always wear a golden colored leather coat with a brass snap at the collar and cream buttons down the front, with a hanging belt that has an unusual center-back loop, I will always know it is you. Otherwise, I will pass you like the stranger you are to me. When I hear your voice or your laugh with that little hiccup at the end of your escalated burst of frivolity, I will then be able to recognize it is you.

When told a number of years ago that I was dyslexic, it set me back on my heels, but I had my husband to lean on. No wonder, I had so much trouble reading but that did not stop the tears that rushed from my wounded heart. How could I have traveled through my life not realizing, I had such a problem with words? Because I had believed the teachers words, “You are too stupid to learn”! I did not learn to read until I was in the seventh grade, see there is more proof, the teacher was right.

Understanding that others have had this same problem and it is not just my fault, because I am too stupid to recognize faces, has taken me on a whirlwind of discovery. Yes, a chunk of what was missing for a connection in my life is now in place and I can move on from here. You see, I counted on my husband to keep track of faces. He did a brilliant job of making sure all names ended up labeled with the right person in our lives.

Prosopagnosia is the name of this disorder. Yes, I have had it all my life. I remember my uncle and my dad lining up when I but a tot, per-kindergarten, I picked my uncle as my dad until my dad spoke. Then I picked my dad and I remember saying, “That’s my daddy”.

If I have walked passed you without so much as a, "Hello", forgive me, I did not really know it was you!

I could not pronounce this disorder until I was able to hear it:

Maybe this will help explain things: