Life update

It has been such a long time since I have written an update. I am sorry, my advocacy on social media takes up so much of my energy. I have connected with hundreds of people in so many positive ways, I am amazed actually.  I have been doing Facebook lives and I created a mental health group on there and it is flourishing. I am now flooded with messages and comments and it so difficult to keep up and I just haven’t had time to blog but very good things are happening.

I wrote earlier about trying to get a substitution for the required math class which was the only class I had left. I fought the school and pushed for them to either waive the class or give me a substation, I wasn’t optimistic I’d get either. I have a learning disability in math and I failed the course three times even with accommodations, I was hopeless and thought I’d never get my degree. But low and behold, after several meetings, I got a notice that they were going to substitute my math class with Astronomy, no equations or multiplication, heck yeah.  It was a miracle and a prayer answered. And not only did they substitute my class, but I also have the scholarship to help me finish school, my books and tuition are paid for, by the grace of God.

 

So today was my first class and I was anxious because I have had such difficulties the last few semesters, but I went and got through it. The teacher seemed really nice and the classroom is small plus I was able to get the accommodations I need from disability services. I just know I am going to have to really focus and study this semester, this is it, the last hurray and I really want this degree, I don’t want to piss it away, so I have to be determined and I’m going to study my ass off, that’s what I’ll do.  I am just so proud that I have come this far, I never thought in a million years that I’d be this close to a college degree but here I am, a goal realized.

Like I stated earlier, my advocacy has really grown by leaps and bounds, I am reaching more people than I could have ever imagined. I am connected with therapists. Authors, therapists, advocates, entrepreneurs and through networking, my mental health advocacy is growing every day and I feel I am making a huge difference. I have hundreds of people tell me how my words have resonated with them and I am so humbled.  I even am going to be on a mental health podcast and possibly volunteer for a mental health radio show including being a guest, I mean it’s crazy, this wasn’t even possible 4 or 5 months and here I am., I couldn’t be more optimistic.

My volunteer work has also been going well but I won’t be able to help as much because I have school on those days but I will see them at church and will visit when I can, I am so incredibly grateful for all the wonderful things happening in my life at the moment, I pray it continues. And I am going to make more of an effort to update my blog. Thank you as always for listening.

 

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My meeting with the disability counselor at school

So I had my meeting with the disability counseler today and I had my mom there for support. It went surprisingly well, the counselor was really friendly and I told her about the issues with my learning disabilities and the history pf not being taught math because I bounced around from one alternative school to another. I also told her about the trauma of losing my brother at 14 and how that impacted my learning. I made sure to point out that I am an honor student and my struggles in math were not due to lack of trying, since I have taken these courses several times. I told her about the accommodations that I needed. Apparently I was entitled to one on one tutoring but I assumed that meant the tutoring class with multiple students, not individual instruction. I again asked about using a calculator and she again stated that it was part of the curriculum, nothing she could do. I noted I was disappointed that the class was not adaptive to my needs and she said a lot students struggle with how the class is set up and that the course was designed by state level. I asked if could substitute the math course and she told me that she’d talk to the person higher up and then talk to the woman who heads the department of my degree program ( She headed the internship class and I was not fond of her) but it doesn’t usually happen. The counselor was friendly but she basically said her hands were tied when it came to getting some of help I need. I’m still frustrated but the meeting went as well as it could be, it wasn’t tense and I was calm and managed my anxiety. I felt I got my point across and I was understood and I realize there is only so much she can do from her end. I will continue to kep everyone updated and to stay positive. Thank you for all the wonderful support, friends, it means the world to me

 

Things are getting better

Anyone who has been reading my posts knows that I’ve been struggling since the loss of my job and feeling depressed with nothing to do.  I managed to get this woman’s number at work and we texted a few times but soon after; she just stopped responding and I felt rejected. It has happened so many times that it was just a sad deja vu; it just reminded of all my dating failures; I just can’t connect and it hurts really bad.  A few days ago during a windy storm; the power went out in the middle of the night and the house was pitch black. I stumbled through the dark; trying to find the light ( a metaphor perhaps) and I had nothing to do but to sit in the dark. I thought about being unemployed, trying to go back to school, what to do with all this free time, why this girl I hardly knew wasn’t interested in talking to me.  I felt the need to just pray at that moment and ask God for guidance ; when I am at my lowest point I always turn to him. I know a lot of people aren’t religious and I respect other people’s beliefs but God is a big part of my life.  I don’t use religion to judge others or moralize; I use my faith in God to have compassion and love for everyone; especially those with disabilities and the downtrodden.

Anyways I decided that I couldn’t sit in the dark all night so I went to Walmart to buy some candles in the middle of the night; it was scary, the traffic lights by my streets were off; so it was really dangerous.  What’s even crazier is that the next traffic lights worked and all the business’s were lit so it seemed like our neighborhood was the only place in the area out of power.  After Walmart; I just drove around; trying to charge my phone and just thinking; it was eerie; no cars on the road and I was trying to think about the direction I was going in my life; alone; just total loneliness.   I drove almost to where my college was ( about 30 mins); sat in a parking lot and sat for a few minutes and drove back home.  I got back to my neighborhood and to my relief the power was back on; I could finally get to sleep.  I had planned to go to bed earlier but all the stress kept me up plus I cannot sleep in complete darkness or without my air cleaner.

When I got home, I wrote a poem about rejection and went to bed.  The next day I got a message from a fellow writer on Instagram; she tweeted my poem and suggested I joined Twitter. I was weary because of all the political bullshit and bullying but I found she was part of a really positive writing community and through the pain of writing ; I found a lot of support; which is what I needed. So things happen for a reason.  I can use twitter to find support, support others and promote my writing; what a blessing.  In fact all of my social media has been growing; I am getting constant supportive messages and comments and connecting with so many writers and disability advocates; it’s been amazing. So while I felt low; all that support made the difference; I realize that that girl not liking me is pretty insignificant compared to all the people I’m reaching with my writing; I don’t have to feel alone  anymore; I have thousands of people i can reach out to; that sounds amazing when I think about; surreal; it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it. I even found out about this writers group in the area through Instagram and I will try to attend this weekend; I hope to meet fellow writers and creative people.

I also got an email this week from my college; stating that since I only had a few classes to graduate that they were offering me a full scholarship; they’d pay for my class,books and any other fees. It couldn’t be real so I met up with someone today and he confirmed it; all I have to do is sign up. I am beyond excited and blessed right now; school is so important to me. God is handing me all these opportunities and I don’t know how to express my gratitude.   I just can’t wait to be able to call myself a college graduate and get a job in the disability field; it’s my passion.  So even though my job didn’t work out; it opened to the door to this great opportunity and I am going to take it.  I think God has a calling for me and this is it. Oh and speaking of that; I am going back to volunteering with the disabled ministry this week; I missed them so much and I am sure they’ll be happy to see me. I went to church on Christmas eve and one of the young adults was there; she was excited to tell me about everything I missed.  All those young adults make my day; they are all so kind and sweet and just wonderful people who I refuse to define based on their disabilities.  So yes, things are getting much better. All I had to do was ask God for help and have faith he would take care of me and he is., I thank all of you for your wonderful support. This blog is my life at this point; I cherish it and I will continue to blog and update everyone on how I am doing.

Thanks for listening,

Dave

 

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Sad news about my job

Well, the day before Christmas; one of my my supervisors ( the one gave me the review) at work called me in to talk to him. He informed me that they would no longer need me after the Christmas season and that I would be leaving at the end of the week. I kinda of expected it but I was a little upset that they chose the day after Christmas to tell me; it hurt.   But I did tell him that I had learning disabilities and I gave it my all because I really wanted to work there. He said he didn’t know that ( I am not sure if he couldn’t tell how much I struggled)  But he said I did a good job and I may get a call back to work there in March when there are more openings; so fingers crossed on that one.  I told a few co-workers about how I was being let go and they all said I was such a good worker and they were surprised.  One lady who was really kind hugged me and said “I’ll miss you sweetheart; I enjoyed working with you”; it felt nice to be appreciated. So I kind of was of moping to myself; feeling I was singled out and wondered what I was going to after this. I am trying to look at the bright side; this means I can go back to school and finish my degree and I can also spend more time with the disabled ministry.  I also planning on other volunteer opportunities while I look for another job. I also realized that I can write more and maybe attend some writing workshops that I could never make due to work. So yes, I’ll be alright; if I keep a positive attitude.  So while I was moping to myself one of my other co-workers who came in with me said she was also cut and then all of a sudden about 5 or 6 people said to me they were cut as well. I realized I wasn’t the only one and I felt less bad because they pretty much had cut everyone and  you know what, they all seemed to have a calm attitude about it.   I realized that everything was ok and not to worry.   Just wanted to update you guys; thank you for all support regarding the job; it means a lot

Dave

My mountain Trip

Well I just got back from a 3 day fall retreat to the mountains with the disability ministry  that serves those with special needs.  I was taken aback when the leader asked me to go on this trip since I’d only been there a few weeks. I guess she could see how well I interacted with the young adults and how much they liked me.  I was concerned about some of my physical issues but I learned to manage them because I was determined to make this trip a success and not let it get in the way of being there for the young adults we were helping.  And by the way; in the short time that I have known them; I have really grown to care about them and I hope the feeling is mutual.   I get along with them great and I have stated earlier but they all are so kind and gentle; with the biggest hearts of anyone you’ll ever going to meet.  It was touching to see how happy they were and how much they cared for one another; when others were down they made such an effort to cheer them up; at one point praying over someone; I was amazed.

This trip was also good for me because it has been a stressful and painful few weeks with a lot going in my life; I needed a break and this trip kept me so busy that I forgot my troubles for a short while and focused on being a part of this ministry instead.  And we were really busy; we did all sorts of things like cooking meals, bible study; hot dog roast, apple picking, out to dinner and exploring the mountain city; it was busy busy busy but they really seemed to enjoy themselves; they were very excited everywhere we went. One of the more frustrating parts of the trip was that a few times I noticed people giving us funny looks and that made me sad. These young adults are so cool and funny and sweet and yet the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. But you obviously can’t react so you  talk to the person next to you and continue eating your chicken fingers; pretending not to notice the people staring at us. But for the most part; people were accepting of them and that made me smile.

When I joined this group I was also looking forward to getting to know some of volunteers and I felt that I was able to connect with most of the people there; really well.  Oh and I have always managed to get to know some of the parents of the young adults and I can tell some of them really like me; I really try to get to know them and hopefully they can realize how much I care. Anyways while I get along with a lot of the people; .  I am exhausted and I finally have a day off; so I am taking this day ( how did i get Saturday off?) off to rest and recover from this positive yet emotionally draining trip.

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Going back to school

So it has been a rough few days for me but I have been moving forward and I refuse to allow my anxiety to take over. Today I had an appointment with a disability counselor at school and it actually went pretty well; I let her know I had various learning disabilities and how I struggled with math problems; focusing, getting frustrated etc; she seemed to understand that.  She told me that because of class rules I had to abide by the no calculator rule ( which to be honest I was a disappointed) but she told me I could take tests in a smaller room with less distractions and have extra time for tests; I also could have someone write me notes in a way I could understand. I thought that was fair; I am not afraid to ask for help because I am determined to get this degree, man; like I want it so bad.

I made a post about this earlier on Facebook and a good friend of mine who works in the disability field asked if I could ever be a guest speaker at the school where she works; what an honor.  Given my financial situation; it might be difficult but I ever get that chance I will take it. God has blessed me with such wonderful loving friends and I know he is working in my life.  So while yesterday was stressful and it felt like everything was falling apart; today feels like this really is a blessing in disguise and life might work out after all. I am just so optimistic right now but I have to continue to pray and keep moving forward.

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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I will not give up ( school update)

Today has been such a frustrating day; I have been struggling with this math course. All my life I have struggled with math; I could do everything else but Math makes me want to throw a fit.  In fact I passed all of my courses with really good grades; half the time without even trying; to be honest.  If I didn’t know how to write I would have never passed my courses. I avoided math until the end because I knew that it would make me so frustrated that my other classes would suffer as a result.  I have learning and emotional disabilities and I get flustered very easily when I don’t understand something and math is my aquiles heel. In fact I am on the Autism spectrum ( or so they tell me)

I got to class today; prepared to take a few mini tests and do some vocabulary worksheets; I was pretty optimistic I could figure it out. I had written down notes from all the chapters including examples and diagrams.  Oh and I forget to mention that for the first 2 weeks of this 4 week math course; I cannot use a calculator.  I cannot multiply or divide large numbers without the use of a calculator; so  to not have a calculator only adds to the stress. A lot of my math works has to do with fractions; dividing; multiplying and simplifying ( it might as well be Chinese because I don’t fuckin get it)  I sat there; problems after problem and I couldn’t figure it out. And I could feel myself getting angry; I was muttering curse words under my breath; giving the computer a middle finger; I was obviously upset. Like a little kid I’m writing in my notes “this is total bullshit”  “fuck this” etc; because when I do math; I’m a little kid again. The girl next to me seemed to be disturbed by how angry I seemed; which really helped :(.   I closed my notebook, threw it into my backpack and walked out. I called my mom and told her I was ready to drop this course.  I sat waiting for my ride ( I’ll share that journal later) and wrote how I was feeling at that exact moment.

I got home and I talked to my mom and she contacted the disability counselor at a different campus who suggested I email someone who specifically helps those who are learning disabled in math. Since it was past 5 pm; I couldn’t get her on the phone so I sent her an email. I let her know that i was struggling; I had learning disabilities and how could she help me be successful because I only have math left. My mom also informed that if I have learning disability specifically in math then I can substitute it for a different course. I am not quite sure if I have specific disability but I know I was in LD math classes all my life; that counts for something, right. So I called work and took the day off and I am going to take care of this school thing tomorrow because I am determined to get this degree.  I just feel so frustrated at myself sometimes; I am so confident when it comes to every other subject but it hurts when I see people figuring this math shit out and I can’t get it.  I felt like crying; like less than a man.  But I will pray about this and I appreciate all the support.

But I want to end this on a positive note and say there are things I do have now that are helpful that I didn’t have before.  On my social media; I often talk to my old friends who no longer live near me; people who I grew up with. I share my struggles with them am very open about my disabilities ( aside from being on the autistic spectrum) and they have been so supportive; I get so much love from my friends and that makes a huge difference; to have that support system.  So even though they are far away and we can’t go to lunch or talk about it; I know I can post about it and I get words of encouragement; I am truly blessed. And what’s even more helpful is some of my favorite people who I were friends with are now in the disability field; they understand me and accept me for who I am; which means so much. The other resource I have is my writing and the encouragement I get from my followers; I love having this outlet to express my frustrations. It’s much better than flushing my math notebook down the toilet; which is very tempting by the way. I opt for writing about it; I hope someone can read this and understand where I am coming from. Maybe they want to give up and I hope that they try to overcome their struggles and to push themselves to do better.  Even if I have to fail this course; I want to know that I did everything I could to succeed.  I can do this and whatever it is you are struggling with you; you can do this too.

For now I am going to relax, get some unhealthy junk food in me and try again tomorrow.

 

Have a good night,

Dave