Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Being articulate...

You're so articulate. You communicate so well.

People see these as compliments. They are compliments. They don't see the other side of them though, the struggle, the fact that, while being articulate, that's not always there, its only about what can be communicated about. They don't see that they only see what gets out, not what stays in.

People can realize that someone who's nonverbal has a challenge communicating to the world. They at least frequently don't understand what it is, or how it feels like, but that there is one. People tend to be very sight-centric and voice-centric, and push everything around those two things, so when you cannot speak, you are not communicating. In truth, someone who isn't speaking might be communicating, and someone who is speaking, also struggles.

You read my posts explaining how I am, I'm articulate. I communicate well. That's what people keep telling me.

But what about when people keep asking what I want to do, and even if I know something, its such an undefined concept in my mind, I can't figure out how to speak it. And I try to, and it gets confused and scrambled, and I get unable to understand what's going on. And people around me start getting impatient, wanting an answer, because I'm taking a long time to answer a simple question. But its not a simple question, its something that takes figuring out an answer, sorting through the details, converting it into words, filtering the words to speech, and talking. And its confusing to go through that when its forced instead of natural. And then eventually, I probably say "I don't know", because at that point I have no clue, even if I had an idea in the first place. And it likely is quiet, because my voice won't let me speak very loud.

That's fine. That's just not knowing what I want to do. But its going through and trying to deal with this mental stages of communication, that I have to go through in order to communicate when its not natural. I deal with both, natural, when I just know what to do, and unnatural, where I have to concentrate and figure out how to convert thoughts into words, and it takes time.

People usually only see the former. They don't believe the latter exists.

They don't see me crying in bed, trying to explain things, but it just being so difficult to deal with that I'm withdrawing, and crying, because crying makes it easier to cope.

They don't see week after week of trying to get the same idea across, and the problem being me, not being able to get the ideas that make so much sense in my head, to come out in words that make sense.

They don't see me explaining how to do things to people, and leaving out half the explanation as I'm mentally sorting through everything.

They don't see, that every time I go to a doctor, I end up with not having the doctor understand some of my symptoms, because I can't get them explained in words.

Words are hard. Using them, converting to them, struggling to get ideas out, when only a small fraction of the idea is coming every time you speak.

But then, it is enough. You're called articulate. Praised on how well you communicate. Told you can't understand what its like to struggle with communicating with speech.

And you go back, and try again. Maybe eventually, ideas will get through enough for others to understand. Maybe eventually, words will find their way, and it won't be stuck with needing to cling instead of use words because words are too confusing and too overwhelming. Maybe eventually, the words that come out will be ones that are understood by those around you. Maybe eventually.

Until then, its time to just keep trying to figure out ways to get thoughts onto the page, if its repeating the ideas, if its writing them, or if its clinging when needed.

And hoping, that maybe people will understand, that you can both be articulate, and struggle at the same time.

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