The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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Neuropsych Eval November 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 12:34 am
Tags: , ,

I am very smart.*

So when I tell people I’m stupider than I used to be, I often feel like they don’t take it as a serious thing. They think I’ve still got so much intelligence left over that what I’ve lost doesn’t impair me.

They’re wrong.

I had my neuropsych eval today. On the basic overview section of the WMS, I scored a low average.

I’ve never been low average in anything academic. I’ve never even been average. I know it violates social conventions to say that about myself, but it’s true.

I suuuuuucked at spatial addition, but that’s not surprising. Math is not my strong suit, and I’ve always been awful at anything spatial. I was surprised with how well I did with the visual (non-spatial) tasks. I thought for a long time that I sucked at visual learning because I didn’t realize spatial intelligence was a separate thing.

I did pretty well on the WAIS. Up until the math section, anyway. I was never into math because I thought I was bad at it. I didn’t have teachers who made it feel important to me or who made me feel competent in it. I made it through 12th grade precal through sheer force of will–about 2/3 of the class dropped it. That was the last math class I took, and that was 2004. I saw trig and logarithms and remembered I had learned how to do them–I just couldn’t remember how. But I’d even forgotten some of the Algebra II stuff.

They didn’t have a reading retention test, so they jury-rigged the comprehension section of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. I did well on it, but it was a lot harder than it was pre-ECT.

These are just my impressions of how I did; I go back to get the results on December 12. She’ll also have suggestion on brain rehab and school accommodations.

It’s funny–I expected this to make me feel stupid and shitty. Though I know I have some big deficits and want to improve them, I’m not beating myself up and feeling stupid. That’s pretty cool.

*For bonus points, name that sci-fi reference.


8 Responses to “Neuropsych Eval”

  1. sonamsangmu Says:

    If you’re currently depressed that can reduce your cognitive abilities. Did they test you on a ‘good day’ for you? These things can influence your outcome. I’m glad you’re not beating yourself up though!

    • weordmyndum Says:

      Yep, a good day. A run of them, actually. Not depressed, although I was sleep deprived because I didn’t notice until 300 pages into Ender’s Shadow that it was 4:00 a.m.

      She asked about depression as a factor. I told her even when I was at my lowest points of depression, pre-ECT, my cognitive function was significantly better. I really believe it was the ECT that did this, or some combination of ECT, a fairly bad head trauma, and the AVM/gamma knife. She also thinks the MTHFR could factor in, since it affects neurotransmitters, but there’s so little research on it thus far that it’ll be hard to determine if/how it factors in.

      I just hope she like challenge and complexity. Calculating the results is pretty straightforward–no interpretive tests–but interpreting them is much more difficult.

      • sonamsangmu Says:

        That must be troubling for you. I can remember the first year after my last suicide attempt the brain damage certainly affected me. It improved (my brain function) over the years but at first I felt afraid it would be altered for the worst forever. Another friend of mine overdosed and loss significant IQ points the first year following the event. After some years passed he improved so hopefully you’ll get back to where you were or close to it. Do lots of brain exercises like crosswords and reading philosophy, or anything that makes you think more than usual. That can help.
        I don’t like to sound ignorant but what does MTHFR stand for?

      • weordmyndum Says:

        Conventional wisdom is that the cognitive deficits caused by ECT don’t last more than a few months. I stopped having ECT nearly two years ago. But that’s without any sort of organized rehab. I know there’s rehab for traumatic brain injuries, and ECT is basically an intentional brain injury. I do crosswords, but reading nonfiction is a big challenge. I asked for this consult partly because I think I need some sort of organized brain rehab.

        MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. MTHFR polymorphism is a genetic disorder that makes your body unable to process folic acid, one of the B-complex vitamins. It can cause a variety of health problems–birth defects, heart disease, certain cancers, and severe treatment-resistant depression. (I could go into a long explanation of why, but I won’t unless you’re interested.) It was only identified fairly recently, so few doctors test for it and there’s little research on it. The neuropsychologist said she had never had a patient with it before.

      • sonamsangmu Says:

        Wow, that sounds serious. I hope your neuropsychologist can help you with the rehab then. I’m sort of curious now so will have to Google the condition. Medical issues interest me-especially the neuropsych ones.

  2. My mom always gave me this verbal punch into reality when I was being depressed over bad results:
    “Everyone Can Learn EVERYTHING. Not all as fast, not all as good, and only one can be the top, but never think because you’re not that one person that you can’t.”
    Good thing you’re not beating yourself up over the results. They are as they are, and in no way they stop you from achieving anything you want. They’re just statistics, and as Mark Twain used to say: “you have lies, dirty lies, and statistics” 🙂
    Head up and kick the ass of those odds!

  3. There was this scientist guy about 20 years ago who searched all over America for the smartest young people. So he gathered together all the kids who made the super high scores on the intelligence tests. He got these kids together and gave them this amazing opportunity for a better education than they normal would have got in public school. He studied these kids over the years, he watched them grow and when they became adults, most of them amounted to nothing. He had hoped that he would have a super human clan of geniuses that would change history with their special skills and as it turns out, genius is nothing. All those scores don’t mean anything. So you don’t fit in with some scholars group. Who needs those idiots anyway. They just make you feel bad. Get away from people who are making you feel that way.

    • weordmyndum Says:

      It’s not about feeling bad. In fact, the testing didn’t make me feel bad about myself. I already knew the deficits were there. The testing is so we can pinpoint the specific deficits and find a way I can work around them in an academic environment. Success may not hinge on IQ, but getting a good education is often necessary.

      It’s about being able to function in the world. Right now the cognitive deficits are so bad I can’t remember if I’ve paid my bills or taken my meds or returned phone calls. I don’t retain much of what I read. I lose memories of conversations and events. I’m not asking for a 180 IQ. I just want to be able to accomplish everyday tasks.

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