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Seeing, a lifeline

"Language will be her lifeline"

I've been going through a large document that details the results from the psycho-educational assessment that outlines my NVLD diagnosis, and what it indicates about the way I process. I didn't finish collecting that into a post, but today my brain has been swarmed, swarmed in an overwhelming mess. That quote, "Language will be her lifeline" comes from the results of how I understand. Today, I'm using it to drag words out of myself. They don't seem easy right now. Today is suddenly a day when everyone has something to say about survivors of assault and violence. It makes my brain feel full. Full with hope and full of fear, and full of too many feelings and not enough order or calmness to sort them.

Today, my brain is rattling trying to think how we can share difficult truths without potentially causing pain to the very people that publicizing them aims to help. I don't know the answer. Because of that, I started speeding down the track of, "Why share at all?" but this is the sort of thought that makes me (and many others) feel invisible and powerless. I have to remind myself so many times every day that relating the past is worthy.

As I went through the psycho-educational assessment, a section stood out in a scary way.

"Her Story Memory retention ranks in the 95th percentile. This indicates that the information Katie acquires is impressively well retained over time. No decay occurs over time. Not only does no data decay, it is actually consolidated with time."

This is paired with–

"Her Working Memory Index was overall at the 12th percentile" This means that when it comes to intaking information that is in the moment, I struggle to sort and find room for what I'm seeing and understanding. I'd heard my Working Memory statistic before, but hearing about Story Memory is a new and painful truth to come to see.

This weekend I had the privilege of creating a theatre piece that gathered the responses of my (wonderful!!) group on a lecture about Moral Injury and PTSD. Hearing that my Story Memory is strong doesn't seem a very good thing at this moment. Our capacity to remember and relate our histories is often a large part of distrust. When we choose to bring forward our truths years later, it can be met with skepticism. The overhaul of media volume surrounding survivor solidarity is positive in this respect.

An aspect I get frustrated with in relation to the trials of reported assault is – "what can be done" , "how will this progress healing". Something I was reminded of this weekend, and through looking over my assessment, was the power of acknowledgement. In the report on how I understand, this was phrased as– "Katie must learn to take a moment of “thinking time” to retrieve and weed through her ideas and hone in on the relevant information." This stood out to me, as it happens to be something I've been thinking about a lot recently. I think the existence of "thinking time" in terms of acknowledgement is essential to us all. Having someone say that you are seen, heard and believed is so often the goal. Acknowledgement itself doesn't solve, enhance, or progress, but it is complacency in a positive, affirming, and, most importantly, a mindful manner. When we allow ourselves space to see, we can often see more.

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