I have never failed a test in my life… not really. A few times I might have dragged my ass over the finish line with a “C”, but those were the rare exceptions where disinterest, inconsistent study habits, and life drama managed to create the perfect storm. I have certainly never in my life been in the 1st percentile on any standardized test.
Until last week.
I suppose it’s ironic in some way… I’ve spent most of my life effortlessly hitting the 98th percentile or higher on any standardized test I happen to meet, and now, post head injury, I fail a simple counting test… and I fail miserably. What does being in the 1st percentile mean? It means that, statistically, more than 99% of people my age who took the same test did better than I did.
The test? TEA – Test of Everyday Attention. The test required some shape matching, looking at a map, and simple counting… adding, subtracting – completely within my ability.
But… I guess it isn’t.
One of the tests was so straightforward, yet so unmanageable, that I decided to make a video explaining how it works. ** My first video!!** Give it a look-see.
Fail. Epic fail.
It’s hard not to frame the experience in that way. Wrong. Bad. Stupid. Not good enough. Fail. Fail. Fail.
Mary, my supportive partner, reminds me that we are gathering information, important information that will be used to help me heal during the next phase of my life.
Not bad. Not good. No value judgment. Simply data.
Part of me believes her story. Part of me… well… has trouble believing that the testing really happened. There is simply no reality in my mind where I am my relatively (kinda?) functional self and I do so poorly on this standardized test. Simply no reality. There must be another reason. I must not have tried hard enough. No, I was trying hard. I must be faking it. I must be shirking my duties. But, no, I remember repeatedly straining against my brain, demanding it respond and process the information the way I know it should… and it simply wouldn’t, couldn’t, didn’t.
Damn. Mary reassured me repeatedly – it doesn’t mean I’m dumb, stupid, incompetent. It simply means I have some serious impairments in the areas tested – in this case, my ability to focus, maintain my attention, and hold on to data in the face of distraction.
And, likely, it won’t always be this way. Right? In fact, it probably won’t be this bad for too much longer. Really. Doesn’t tomorrow always offer a new opportunity at life?
So that’s my epic fail for the week. Hopefully the only one. On the plus side, I have been uber busy crocheting. I’ve gone through a lot of yarn, and a friend recently brought me more yarn because I was running out. Yay me! Here’s to my continual, incremental, daily success with Granny Squares!