‘Eric’s Diary’ is a fictional health dramatization written by YEN.com.gh contributor, Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane. Naa is a level 200 Medical Student at the University of Ghana, Legon. She writes fictional stories based on medicine and her articles aim at educating as well as entertaining the public on certain issues that children with special needs face.
I am not exactly thrilled right now considering the fact that I have to relocate to a totally new environment.
Pardon me for the harsh introduction but this is the best you would get when I am forced to make visiting a psychiatrist my new year resolution. You are right, my father found the previous pink sheets so I had to get another one to serve as a receptacle for the fumes emanating from my enraged soul.
Speaking of fumes, I feel sad to announce that I came back from school one day only to realize that the place that served as my home (ever since I was born) had been razed to the ground. That was so heartbreaking.
You should be accustomed to me by now, given that you had the chance to read a very important part of my diary which went viral. However, there are still certain things I did not mention.
Why don’t I just spill the beans anyway since it’s still break time?
Well, let’s go straight to the point. My condition (ADHD) makes it difficult or next to impossible for me to get used to any new environment within a short period.
That is why my tone is a bit harsh because adjusting to something new makes me uneasy and I hate that feeling because it takes me back to tantrums and these tantrums could lead me back to the doorstep of my psychologist. I remember the time that I had to represent my school in a quiz. That was after I had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
I thank God for Ms Mensah’s life, because she knew me inside out especially on matters concerning my ADHD moments. She was the one who got me acclimatized to the quiz environment and that is why my school was able to win the trophy.
She did this by taking me to the venue of the quiz and chatting with me leisurely about the environment.
She was of great help. I guess my father is going to be needing her services again because I don’t plan on moving my 13 year old self an inch until I am sure about where I am going.
But I was wrong.
My father bundled me up and strapped me safely with a seatbelt and drove off to our new home. It was then that I realized that things would not always work out the way I want them to. At least, I learnt something new.
My new home was not bad after all and it looked like my father had already been acclimatized because I saw him chatting heartily with another woman down the street.
She paid some people off to help us pack into our new house and then organized a surprise dinner for us. If you ask me, I think this woman is too good to be true. I was introduced to Lisa during the meal. She did not strike me as a boisterous entity like I was because she did not talk much.
I did not understand why this was so but I was bent on finding out. Can I let you in on a little secret? Honestly, I think Lisa is cute but she has this ‘But-I-am-hiding-something’ kind of look. That is what I intend to figure out sooner or later.
Life continued as usual.
My father dared not change my school because he knew that all hell would break lose if he did.
I used the new year resolution about seeing a psychiatrist as collateral. It is not like I plan on doing it anyway but I know my father would compel me to if I refuse to keep my end of the deal. It looks like Mr.Morgan (my father) is having the time of his life with (Susan) the woman who had dinner with us. I have never seen my father smile like the way he did during dinner in years.
That’s good news, I must say.
One day my father asked me to engage in an activity – socialization. It’s something I have always been afraid of.
He asked me to go and talk to Lisa because her mother had mentioned that her daughter needed some help with her homework.
It was as if I had been asked to make a mountain out of a molehill. Forget about the determination I exhibited concerning what the look on her face meant. I did not have the gut to do that especially if it had to do with someone I had just met out of the blue.
Though it was just a simple suggestion, I felt like I was placed between the devil and the deep blue sea. So I just went ahead to make a move and help Lisa with her homework like I was told to do.
“I am a very intelligent person but the reason why you don’t see me teach others what I know is because I don’t have the patience to be anyone’s teacher”.Those were the words I yelled at Lisa when she could not even give me the result when nine is multiplied by eight.
I threw the book at her and stormed out because I had already repeated the answer several times but I realized she had a hard time figuring out how to write 72 down without dramatizing the fact that 7 is a number of perfection.
In summary, the number 7 could not find it’s balance on her sheet and I thought there were two reasons for this ; either she never paid attention in class or she just wanted to frustrate me. If it were the latter, then she had obviously achieved her aim.
Later in the day, her mother reported what had happened to my father.
I expected my father to be cross with me because he had tried several times to teach me how to handle my temper. Little did I know that he was doing the same thing, just that there had been a change in strategy this time.
He told me to apologise to Lisa for the outburst. If I was able to do so successfully, it would be a milestone in my life.
Lisa was just a year younger than me but three grades below me.
She was naturally an introvert – that is what I noticed.
I realized that socialization wasn’t difficult. As the days went by I ended up spending more time with Lisa than I bargained for (I would have preferred to call her ‘My girl living down the street’ if I didn’t know her name) .
I figured out that if there was something that I needed to know about Lisa, this was the time and I intend to strike while the iron is hot. Lisa literally became my best friend. Though it was not easy, I helped her or should I say practically did her homework most of the time. I always wondered why Lisa had a challenge with things concerning academics especially her homework. Looking at the brighter side of things, Susan liked the fact that I was around her daughter because she noticed a massive improvement in her daughter’s performance at school.
Lisa and I usually went out for an evening stroll. It was during one of these strolls that Lisa let me in on her darkest secrets. I expect this moment anyway because I knew that her abundant heart would eventually speak even if her mouth was not ready to do so. But little did I know that this secret was not only about her.
We sat on a bench by a lonely path where no one would interrupt us. That was when I heard Lisa speak.
The conversation was going on normally. She told me who she was, where she was from and her life before she met me. She also mentioned something about not having a lot of friends and I told her that was mutual because I didn’t have any as well. What made Lisa break into tears was my question about why she did not have any friends.
I felt so sorry for asking about it when I saw how much pain it had caused her. But said she wanted to talk to me about it because I am the only person she trusts.
These are the exact words she uttered as the tears rolled down her cheeks:
“When I was 5 years old, I had an accident while travelling to Akosombo for a picnic with my family. My father died on the spot and my mother sustained very serious injuries. Comparing my injuries to my mother’s, I daresay mine should have been more fatal.
“My mother even thought I was going to die after the brain surgery but fortunately for her, I survived. But unfortunately for me, the brain injury was deeper than I thought. At first I was thought to have amnesia because my mother felt I was just being forgetful.
“Later on, I was diagnosed with dyslexia (a reading and learning disability characterised by spelling problems, reading quickly,writing figures or words despite the person’s level of intelligence and this may have been caused by brain injury or may be simply genetic).
“I prefer to say that I have alexia because I was once as smart as you. I could host a talk show with the rapport of a newscaster.”
“I lost a lot of ‘friends’ after my brain injury, some went away because they felt I was of no use to them academically since I could not even help myself out of the battle for the penultimate position and others thought that I had cheated to ace my previous tests and resorted to gossiping behind my back. They were simply gobsmacked about the instant transition.”
“My mother withdrew me from the school and paid for a private tutor to help me.
However, when she realized that home-schooling was a more expensive option than she had bargained for, she sent me to the School for Special Kids where (at least) attention was guaranteed.
This was a decision I was not too happy about. I wish the accident had never happened so that I could continue being the normal smart girl that I was. But the impossibility of turning back the hands of time and my futile attempt to be as smart as I was turned me from being a 5year extrovert to a 12 year introvert over the years, coupled with the degrading remarks made by people who dare to challenge my level of intelligence with all impunity. That was why I was so hurt by your outburst because you challenged my intelligence.”
For the first time in my life, I was truly sorry for an outburst and as I expressed this by giving her a bear hug.
But nothing could be compared to the guilt I felt for those tears that she shed.
I was glad that she had already forgiven me but I was also happy to learn something new – Lisa was a victim of circumstance but I on the other hand, am a victim of scientific probability.