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I have a hard time understanding new information

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I have a hard time understanding new information

Postby Astrangeworld » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:27 pm

Greetings,

I have a problem understanding what people say to me.

My problem is that I have a very hard time absorbing spoken and quickly-delivered new information. I often can't comprehend what people just said until I process it in my brain several times over. It's like initially what they said is just garbled, alien language. I have to ask them at least twice over to understand it. For some reason I often don't understand people the first time around - and this can be a serious problem, which I'll explain below.

The situation I'm in is very granular. Allow me to explain my story:

As a kid, other adults were always worried about me. I was a lone kid, I never spoke to anyone and I was always afraid of everyone. Why was I afraid of people? Well, ever since I was in kindergarten my peers have made fun of me, time after time. Kids misunderstood my silence for retardation and called me a retard. This has left a psychological stigma on me and left me thinking that I am stupid.

Coming elementary school, I had been sent to a mental health center for several weeks, only to discover that I didn't have any of the symptoms the troubled kids there had. I had looked at them and interacted with them and they were displaying symptoms I didn't have at all. I seemed to be perfectly fine - and surely, I was. After several sessions, my psychologists and logopedics approved me as being fully normal and that chapter in my life was closed.

A new phase had started in my life: community college. I started discovering that I wasn't dumb after all but I was in fact much more intelligent than I had led on. I began to enjoy my increasing cognitive skills, I started to read more books, get into more complex topics and so on. Given it was community college, classes were not that mind-boggingly hard for me. Finally, I graduated.

Then came university - this is where the problem picked up again. I wouldn't be able to understand about 98% of what professors were saying because my brain couldn't capture information that was delivered too quickly. I would have to record every lecture and process the recording when I got home. That's what got me through my education and that's what got me to graduate.

Work life has started - I now work at an intellectually very demanding job. The problem now has returned and it's been haunting me in this new area in my life. This is not the first time it has happened. I've been fired thrice already for not understanding things fast enough. I can't understand the most basic of instructions for some reason.
Lately, my manager gets angry with me because I can't understand or remember what he said time and time over and over again (not often enough for me). He thinks I treat him with disrespect because of that but I don't; I want to better my work, I want to, but they don't have the place for that.
My manager expects me to instantly understand what he said to me, even though I rarely have the courage if ever to ask him to repeat what he said because he's stressed and overly busy as it is. He only has about 1-2 minutes to quickly go over a task with me and even then it's too much for him, not to mention he's my direct supervisor.
He's been mocking me and so has my expert colleague. I try to - in all fear - ask him kindly to explain to me what the task is that I have to do and he just blurts out "Seriously?! I told you this 10 times in the meeting already!!". He expects me to remember intricate details of tasks, while knowing that we have several meetings per day as it is. Even if I take meeting minutes, I can't remember all the babble that has been going on and all the details of the topics that have been discussed.
In this fast-paced, result-driven and rushing industry, there is little time for patience. I've had several meetings with the general manager to better this but so far it only has been getting worse and I can't seem to fix this problem.

There are a few things I would like to tell you about myself that might provide a better understanding of who I am and how I function. Perhaps that would help in aiding me with my problem:

* I Excel at drawing, art, creative thinking and doing meticulous and precise - especially slow - work (i.e. scientific research)
* I am very skilled at memorizing what I like; selective memory; e.g. I can memorize entire movies.
* I am a failure at math and logical thinking
* Give me enough time and I'll excel at memorizing and understanding things
In other words, I can deliver to you a fantastic, awe-inspiring, highly detailed paper but if you ask me to think logically, I am back at zero; I know nothing.

A few side-questions:
* Why is it that I excel at certain things most people don't understand and even more puzzling:
* Why do I understand certain complex topics delivered at high speeds?
* Why is it that I can very quickly process and visualize certain topics but I fail at visualizing or understanding others? Is it because the synapses have already done their job in that area of the brain?
* Why does it depend on who delivers it? I don't know if the problem lies with me or with the people. I tend to believe that it must be the people because back at university I had a very intelligent friend who would have hour-long discussions with me about the most esoteric and complex topics and I would understand him. He was skilled at explaining things to people.

This seems to be it, right? I know what problem I have: I can't understand people at a fast spoken pace. I always have to pause, reflect on what was said and then I have a better chance at understanding things. That much I'm actively aware of.
What I don't know is how to fix this problem or what the problem is in my brain that's causing this mismatch between people's words and my processing them.
It seems my synapses and neurotransmitters are failing at doing their job, that being: making me instantly aware of new information.

I am asking for help here because this problem has started heavily wearing down on me pscyhologically and I am starting to get depressed because of this ever-recurring problem that everyone thinks I'm stupid.
I don't understand the 'common sense' they repeatedly seem to be hammering on about.
To me, what they think is not common sense. Even if it is common sense in the pure Aristotlean way of the syllogism, what makes sense to most people doesn't make sense to me. I seem to have my own reality of common sense, my own set of private thoughts; a private universe that explains and rationalizes to me what makes sense.

Could someone please help me understand?

Thank you for reading.
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Re: I have a hard time understanding new information

Postby seabreezeblue » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:24 am

Hi and welcome to the forum (:

I'm just popping a quick message here right now, so i remember this thread later on, and can reply properly.

In the meantime however.. you're not on your own.. i've had some similar problems myself.

out of curiosity.. have you ever explored whether you might have Aspergers and/or Dyslexia at all?
i'm not a professional, and i'm certainly not saying you have one or both of them.. but they're perhaps worth exploring a little.

back properly later though xx
Shine me a light up
and i'll run round the moon..



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Re: I have a hard time understanding new information

Postby Holodeck » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:17 pm

I have a form of auditory dyslexia (auditory processing disorder) that affects me if I don't get enough serotonin. I had the exact same issues as you wrote about. Like you, I'm smart, I'm creative, but my answers in class made it look otherwise.

Math was always hard too. I understood the concept, but the numbers never stuck in my head long enough for me to be able to work with them properly. Due to all of this, I've always thought in a rather abstract way.
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Re: I have a hard time understanding new information

Postby Astrangeworld » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:02 pm

seabreezeblue wrote:Hi and welcome to the forum (:

I'm just popping a quick message here right now, so i remember this thread later on, and can reply properly.

In the meantime however.. you're not on your own.. i've had some similar problems myself.

out of curiosity.. have you ever explored whether you might have Aspergers and/or Dyslexia at all?
i'm not a professional, and i'm certainly not saying you have one or both of them.. but they're perhaps worth exploring a little.

back properly later though xx

Hello seabreezeblue,

First and foremost, thank you for replying.

It was Aspergers and Dyslexia that I was tested against in that health center I mentioned and the final diagnosis was that I didn't have those disorders. I could also see this because the kids next to me would have trouble understanding basic things and I would just sit there wondering what was wrong with them because I understood everything perfectly.
I've known a few people with Aspergers and I very much disliked working together with them because they very much lack the emotional component I very much value. Luckily though, I don't have Aspergers.

That aside, it's pure logic I have problems with, especially making speedy logical connections. I can't immediately connect ideas to form thought processes. I am like Socrates; I sit patiently pondering for ages what an idea exactly entails and how its distinct parts are connected together.

In this ever-increasing fast-paced world, people have to think and make decisions at the blink of an eye.. and that's not my kind of world.
As an example, if my supervisor rushes up to me and says: "Yeah, make sure you incorporate the variable costs relative to the selling price so that we have a better turnover compared to last time", then my brain says: "Hold on, stop right there. Those are a lot of concepts, assumptions and causal connections going on. First of all, how does incorporating variable costs affect revenue? How does it relate to fixed costs? What does the act of incorporating entail? What happens to the selling price in relation to the turnover? What do you mean by that? Is my interpretation correct? What and why are we comparing? What is the act of comparing? How does this all relate together?".. and so on. I start to become OCD about simple things. I have to understand the idea first before I can act - and as you probably know, the world doesn't have time for that.

I even have problems understanding the simplest of instructions.
For example, I had to order a new laptop at the IT department. Letting aside that I was already anxious before I even got there, the conversation was awkward. The IT guy simply asked me to "go to a guy in the accounting department and see if his laptop was 'ok for me'". I can't begin to tell you how confusing that sounded to me. I come here asking him about ordering a laptop and all of a sudden he starts to talk about some guy on another floor in another department and that I have to check his machine? Very confusing indeed - but that's not what he meant.
Confused by this, I asked him: "You need me to go downstairs and ask him about my order..?", to which he replied in an irritated manner: "No. Go see if his laptop meets your needs, then tell me".

I hate, I absolutely hate indirect language like that. I need direct, precise, clear and mapped out instructions, or I won't understand. I hate implied instructions because they lead to a dark place of self-dialogue and communication problems.
I am like a computer or Microsoft Office spell check. Make the smallest mistake and I will misinterpret your instruction. In fact, that's the best analogy to describe my problem.

What really angers me is people at work who don't take the time to form proper sentences in their reports and write poorly (in the passive form instead of active form). Then I have to spend time deciphering what exactly it was that was going on in their heads when they wrote this lazy piece of run-on drivel to me.
Don't get me wrong, I am perfectly capable of understanding visual and social cues - but not all the time and certainly not the messy, quick-fix, incoherent ideas that are going on inside someone's head. My mind lives in a world of structure, not chaos.

Furthermore, there's a lot behind this problem: I have life traumas of being seen as stupid. I would also get punished and physically abused if I did something wrong when I was a child, much how in the 50's kids would get their hands smashed with a metal ruler, going home bleeding.
Like you may know from classic psychology, if you have a tyrannical authoritative figure and you are a submissive, scared figure yourself, then you will grow developmental problems.
For example, my Danish friend comes from a liberal culture where kids learn everything fast at a young age. I come from a repressed culture where kids are vocally and physically abused and where there is history of fascism in the country.
Thus, for my liberal-progressive, fear-free friend, things are quite easy to learn.
However, for my fear-infested, reprimanded mind, everything is hard to grasp.
When I told my friend I am proud to be able to navigate the world on my own at age 30, they laughed at me and said most kids in their culture gain that skill in their teenage years.

Oh yes, I have a very important example to show you that with the right people, I too can excel at what normal people excel at.
When I was in elementary school, I would constantly get bad grades: F, F, F,.. and it would never stop. I had no guidance, no intellectual knowledge of the world; all I knew was comic books and playing with Lego. Then I just spent one night, I tell you, one night, being tutored by my genius friend's parents and the next day I received an A grade! Why? They made the concepts of the test clear to me. If no one explains it calmly to me, if my mind doesn't make the connections, then I won't succeed. That is quite an interesting fact.

Case in point, I simply need more time than the average person to process ideas. People have this consensus of pre-conceived ideas in their head (call it culture, if you will), which I often don't have. They have walked the road and I haven't.
My brain is not accustomed to speedy, confident decisions because I also have a serious lack of self-confidence to boost that speed of thought.
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Re: I have a hard time understanding new information

Postby Astrangeworld » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:07 pm

Holodeck wrote:I have a form of auditory dyslexia (auditory processing disorder) that affects me if I don't get enough serotonin. I had the exact same issues as you wrote about. Like you, I'm smart, I'm creative, but my answers in class made it look otherwise.

Math was always hard too. I understood the concept, but the numbers never stuck in my head long enough for me to be able to work with them properly. Due to all of this, I've always thought in a rather abstract way.

Hello Holodeck,

What you described sounds to me like the most probable explanation. That is exactly what I experience; auditory dyslexia. What's more, you also talked about a lack of serotonin being linked to it and.. guess what.. that's my case exactly too. At work, if I have slept (more than) enough hours and someone comes explain something to me in a speedy manner, it only takes a second for me to relate and understand.

However, if I lack the proper sleep and if I am having a poor diet, it directly has effect on my perception abilities in a negative way. In fact, the times I had poorly slept and continuously would skip breakfast, in addition to having poor posture (that's fixed now), I would basically be a zombie that didn't understand anything at all from anyone. People would explain and explain and I would be so hazy.. so foggy.. helpless.

I hope my situation improves if I adjust my habits. We'll see.

Thank you very much for your analysis.
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Re: I have a hard time understanding new information

Postby Holodeck » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:12 pm

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Re: I have a hard time understanding new information

Postby Astrangeworld » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:08 pm

Holodeck wrote:*Boop*

https://www.google.com/search?q=foods+h ... e&ie=UTF-8

Also sleeeeeep. ^.^

Thanks!
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