Problems with reading

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Snookiebookie2

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Problems with reading
« on: July 30, 2020, 05:40:14 AM »
Hi

Not really sure how this post will turn out. Or even if it has some relevance to CPTSD.

Those who are familiar with my posts will know that work is my biggest trigger.  And that I struggle heavily with perfectionism and the world ceases to exist if I make a mistake.

I've come to realise that a lot of the mistakes I make are actually down to missing  things. Overlooking things. Especially when reading or looking at text.

I have a good vocabulary and a good understanding of language.  But I can often misread things. 

I've often done s complex piece of work, getting the impression that a document says one thing, only to revisit it a few weeks later to find it says something slightly different.   This can be quite unsettling for me. 

Or what usually happens is I read a document and when I reread at a later date I see new and additional information.

I have been aware most of my life that my written work will be missing words and not make sense.   I often end up reprint letters and documents repeatedly as a spot more and more errors.  This can lead to frustration and self loathing.

I often come across old emails with typos and words missing, that don't read smoothly.  And I feel shame.

Recently I discovered that you can have these documents read aloud to you, and this helps me spot those errors.

At the beginning of lock down  the agency we used issued guidelines to us. It fell to me to disseminate that information to everyone.   This was before I knew about the read aloud function.  I really struggled to understand it.  I understand the words quite well, but struggled with the overall meaning.  And struggled with composing an email to everyone - checking and redrafting and spotting more and more errors. It overwhelmed  me.

I can accept, as I work in the legal industry, that a lot of what I am dealing with will be worded in language that isn't plain English - it can all be legal terminology.  But it can happen in my home life.

Recently my husband got his car renewal quote. It was very high so he cancelled and moved to a new company.  His old insurer sent two letters. One was an automated letter to tell him they'd renewed his policy. The other much shorter letter said the same thing. I compare both - and was surprised that they were renewing despite him phoning to cancel.  I put both letters to one side for when he came home. But that evening, when we discussed the letters, I notched tge shorter letter confirmed they'd cancelled the policy as requested.  I was shocked.  I thought that I'd read that one, and that it said they'd renewed it. I felt stupid. I felt ashamed.   No harm had come of it, but I'd got it wrong.   I clearly hadn't read it properly.

If this had happened at work, in front of a colleague or supplier, then I'd have felt really really bad. I have made some mistakes at work with poor reading though.   But probably not as many as I believe.

So, how does this link to cptsd? Maybe it doesn't.  But I think there's a panic reaction going on. I'm in a constant state of mild panic, alarm and alert.  I also think I mild dissociated most of the time. My mind is rarely fully present, and nor does it want to be. I often just want to get something done and move on, rather than dwell on the here and now and concentrate on what happening.   That lack of interest and focus can cause me to miss information.

I also wonder about elements of ADHD or autism.  I'm think theres co-morbidity with cptsd.  I think reading/understanding skills with those conditions can be affected.   But I  am not sure that I have other symptoms of those conditions though.

It is written communication that seems the most difficult, - composing without errors and understanding whats written.  If its read out to me I take in the information much better and I immediately spot areas where I've missed things or made errors.

So is there a cause? Or am I slack, slapdash, useless, crazy?  Not sure, but I am conforted to find a similar root cause for most of my errors.  And now that I'm aware of this I can try to take steps to avoid it - and I can use the read aloud function on my computer.

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Blueberry

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 10:14:30 AM »
So, how does this link to cptsd? Maybe it doesn't.  But I think there's a panic reaction going on. I'm in a constant state of mild panic, alarm and alert.  I also think I mild dissociated most of the time. My mind is rarely fully present, and nor does it want to be.

Panic, alarm, alert + mild dissociation most of the time? Sounds like cptsd to me. I have no idea about ADHD or autism except that if you don't have some of the other symptoms it's not likely to be them.

So is there a cause? Or am I slack, slapdash, useless, crazy? 

You are neither useless nor crazy. I doubt highly that you are slack or slapdash either. Based on my own experiences as well as what you've written, I'm sure these are just cptsd symptoms. If you're mildly dissociated most of the time and/or in mild panic mode, you don't have enough energy to concentrate non-stop which you need for that type of work. I translate (sometimes, when I'm feeling well enough) and that's non-stop concentration. I also know that really comprehending texts isn't necessarily as easy as some people believe. It's not till I start translating a text that I can say if I really, really comprehend it and that I can be 100% sure on the interpretation. Sometimes it even takes me to the end of the translation to really comprehend the overarching meaning. I don't know if that's normal for translators. I've never discussed with colleagues because I too feel ashamed. otoh deep down I know there's nothing to be ashamed of. We all have a brain injury on here and do the best we can inspite of it.

And now that I'm aware of this I can try to take steps to avoid it - and I can use the read aloud function on my computer.
:cheer: for becoming aware and for finding out about the read aloud function!

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Three Roses

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 01:48:39 PM »
Language is difficult for me. I can be speaking and right in the middle of my sentence experience dissociation or panic or something and all my words fall to the ground like spilled beans or something.

I know that researchers have been able to see, via fMRI, one of the language areas (Broca's area) in the brain go offline when the subject goes into an EF, while the visual centers light up.

I'm a visual person and think mainly in pictures, and where pictures are not applicable, I think in feelings. Translating those into spoken or written language is work, sometimes hard work, and sometimes I just feel too tired to be able to do it. I guess it's possible, given that our abuse and the effects of it are highly individual, (see it just happened again... Now I'll have to sit and struggle while I try to grab my train of thought by the tail, lol) (OK... Minutes later, got it back) that my abuse has created a language impairment or something in my brain.

But I'm thankful for neuroplasticity. Brains can be repaired, rewired.

I agree with you, at least for me this is true, that there is some sort of panic or dissociation or something like that causing this.

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Rainagain

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2020, 11:58:11 PM »
Hi,

I have noticed that I cannot focus on reading when I am having a particularly difficult time, after a few weeks or months it seems to ease. Not sure why.

There is also a condition called hyperlexia which might be worth looking up.

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BJeanGrey

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2020, 06:58:00 AM »
I'm sorry that this is so frustrating for you, Snookiebookie2. Regarding autism, I've had people think that I have autism - because I oftentimes have trouble speaking and because I have trouble reading body language and voice tone. But, the reason why I have trouble speaking is because of exactly what you wrote about being in a constant state of mild panic and hypervigilence. And, my trouble with reading body language and voice tone is because I read everything as a threat, not because I can't read it at all.

I did a little research on my own, and it turns out that autism and CPTSD share some similar symptoms - so much so that they can be misdiagnosed for each other. I even took a psych test for autism, and it came back that I had many indicators of autism. Two big factors that rule out autism though, I'm extremely empathetic, and I have no problem with understanding other people have minds. In fact, trauma kinda forces us to become mind readers - to be alert to what other people are thinking so as to protect ourselves. With that said, if you're empathetic or if you have no problem understanding that other people can think and feel, then it's probably not autism.

I wish you peace.

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Slim

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2020, 06:28:45 AM »
Hi
I agree that some days, i dont recognise the person writing. My tone and attitude change. Dissociation has been a real pain for me, and led to feelings of embarrassment, and shame. I now do Left-hand (non-dominant) writing to get in touch with my other selves, and I can report the initial response is good.
Slim

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jamesG.1

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2020, 06:35:40 AM »
Hi Slim,

I'm a writer/author, and I worked in publishing for many years and yes, CPTSD gave me a lot of trouble like this.

The good news is that it's an easy one to square away if you step back and relax a little. It happens because your brain is going to feel, because of your trauma, that the concentration on work is not its priority, so it will keep taking breaks from the task at hand and rushing off to deal with flashbacks, hypervigilance and all sorts of nasties, making holes in what should be focus.

The answer to this is....

1. Accept it. It's a symptom, hating yourself for it is going to give yourself more of the same, not less.

2. Look at just how bad most of the emails you get are, the world is not full of literary giants, just people in a hurry. They don't care about your errors, just as you don't really care that much about theirs.

3. Get Grammarly. Grammarly will catch all the stuff you miss. I also find that Natural Readers, or some other text to speech programme really helps and I run whole novels through it. Again, it's a backstop.

4. Make perfectionism an enemy. You will be just as good without it as you are with it, just happier.

5. Ask yourself who's voice your perfectionism is speaking in. Often it will be some destructive person from our past who is still working on us even now. That outer critic will undoubtedly have failed to deliver in their own life, so why do you need to take their insecurities into your life.

so, relax, be tight up to reasonable levels and no more, use all available software and help, and accept the realities as you need them to be.


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rainydiary

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2020, 12:04:00 PM »
Snookie, I’m glad I read your post because what you describe with reading happens to me sometimes and I didn’t recognize it before as being connected to CPTSD.

I would say this most often happens to me at work.  It also happened to me at school - this is taking me back to a time in 3rd grade when I didn’t understand an assignment and my dad was “helping me” (aka berating me) with an assignment that seemed straightforward.  I often struggle with comprehension of long, technical texts.  As I think about my brain, it is constantly trying to make meaning and integrate what I am reading sentence by sentence.  I get overwhelmed real quick.

My job is also extremely triggering to me.  I work with students with disabilities.   The dynamic between parents/authority figures and a child/childlike figure triggers me regularly. I dread checking my emails because I often misread the tone of them (or perhaps accurately pick up on the intentions of the writer and get triggered).  I also really struggle to communicate verbally with some parents/authority figures, especially when I perceive them being critical of their child. 

Because I want to do my best for the students I work with and help them develop self advocacy, I am trying to “ride the waves” of being triggered at work.  I have honestly disclosed my challenges with a few trusted people which has helped me so far.  I have also decided to “face” parents/authority figures more head on and try to communicate with them in ways that feel more comfortable to me.  As much as I hate reading other people’s emails, writing is so much easier for me to use to communicate (although I often spend a lot of time crafting my message to be just right). 

I’m not sure how all of this is working.  My hypervigilance is pretty high right now.  My mind feels different though so hopefully my body will start to feel better too. 

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C.

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Re: Problems with reading
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2020, 09:20:29 PM »
I'm glad you brought up this topic.  I had forgotten and didn't realize it happened for other people.

At the peak of my symptoms, in 2012 I couldn't read for a few months.  Now I read, but I feel like there's been a mild shift in my level of enjoyment...i prefer technology reading now over books...

for me there might be some triggering w/FOO overemphasizing reading, like quote the source and if you cannot then your idea is wrong,..