My graduating high school class had their 20 year reunion recently. Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Where does the time go?” I kind of go back and forth on my time in high school. School in general was not a pleasant experience. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work. It was the social aspect of school that kept giving me problems as I bounced around different groups of friends trying to fit in, dealing with all the cliques and the infighting.
I knew there was only so much that any of the teachers could do about stuff that would come up in the classroom, that there was only so much my parents could do about it. So I mostly just suffered in silence. I don’t have very many fond memories of my senior year. By that point, I had mentally kind of checked out a little bit. Technically, I could have aged out of the school system at 20 and graduated in 2006. But there was no way I was going to give that school another three years of my life if I didn’t absolutely have to. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
On the plus side, I graduated in the top 10% of my class. And project graduation at a nearby YMCA was fun, even though I knew it would probably be the last time I would see most of these people again. In general, I got a decent education out of it. But for the most part, I haven’t kept up too much with people I graduated high school with, and maybe there’s a reason for that.
During my senior year, I had a neuropsychological evaluation (sometimes shortened to neuropsych eval). I’ll admit I wasn’t in the best frame of mind going into it. I mostly kept a lot of things to myself because I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone to be honest with them about the issues I was dealing with back then. I was kind of just going through the motions trying to get through each day just trying to survive without going completely crazy.
So for the longest time, I despised the man who conducted this neuropsych eval for his analysis of me. It’s been so long now, and he’s probably seen so many different people for neuropsych testing over the years that he probably doesn’t even remember half of what he said about me back then. But I sure remembered him, and I still remember what that neuropsych eval said. And it felt like getting hit with a football in the groin, like “Kick me while I’m still down, why don’t you! Everybody else has!”
That neuropsych eval read like a character assassination / hatchet job from someone who didn’t really know me well enough to form an opinion one way or the other. He’d had me pegged as a future convict. And to be fair, I was a lot angrier back then because I felt grossly misunderstood, like no one was willing to see the world the way I saw it. And I felt like I had a lot to prove to myself and everyone around me as the youngest of my graduating class who grew up an only child and a relative nobody who didn’t have the same kind of connections that other people did.
So when I went to a recent medication management appointment and noticed that man’s picture hung up in the hall with everyone else who worked there, it initially brought up some of those hard feelings from senior year, like “How does he still have a job? I thought he’d be retired by now.” But then I was able to reflect on how much I’ve changed since then, and I realized how I’ve mellowed out and matured over time. I guess at this stage in my life, I’m pretty much done being mad at this man. I doubt he’ll actually get to see this and he probably doesn’t even really need to know that I’ve held this grudge against him for so long.
But at the end of the day, I don’t think his assessment of me from that neuropsych eval my senior year really applies to me anymore, mostly because I’ve spent so much of these last 20 years working on myself and becoming a better version of myself now than I was back then. I honestly didn’t think I’d have my driver’s license or be a handful of classes away from a Bachelor’s degree 20 years after I graduated high school, so I guess sometimes working on yourself in silence for extended periods has its advantages.
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