My Journey to Becoming Who I Am
By Shana Portney| Published on October 17, 2021 | 5 Minute Read
When I asked my parents what I was like as a toddler, they told me I had a speech delay. I couldn’t speak a word and would point at what I wanted. That was my way of communication. In elementary school, I was given speech therapy to help pronounce my words. It still amazes me to this day because my speech is fluent with no hesitation or delay. I do still have trouble though pronouncing certain words because of how fast my mind works.
At age 5, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I remember how others told me I couldn’t sit still. Also, having a bit of a delay in communicating, I became aggressive with specific interactions. It seemed normal for me and my brain to work in that way. At times, I still can’t concentrate as I’m doing a long-term task, so instead, I get up and refocus my direction. At age 10, I was hospitalized and diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and I remember how hard it was then for me to adjust. My teacher and classmates sent me get well soon cards. I was grateful for their support. Just missing school made me feel miserable, lonely, and bored.
In general, it was hard to fit in for most of my middle school and first year of high school. I was finally starting to go to a public high school for my sophomore year, yet my Crohn’s acted up, and I missed the majority of that year. When returning, I felt like such an outcast and didn’t know where I fit in. I barely knew anyone and felt out of place, but things did get better.
Senior year was my favorite time. I was finally at a place where I looked forward to all that was coming to me, went out of my shell, and shared two poems at a school event. I was amazed by the love and support.
I adjusted, and then junior year began. It was a very challenging year for me. I made friends, took part in clubs that interested me (Book Club), and mostly took every chance I could to be at my school’s library because I could just be myself there; plus, I loved spending time with the librarian.
Apart from having ADHD, I knew I was different. My family agreed and had me evaluated by a neurologist. I was then diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 17, which is under the scope of autism. He told me that having this diagnosis doesn’t change me, yet what matters is always education and responsibility. It gave me a better understanding of who I am, with my strengths and my flaws.
Senior year was my favorite time. I was finally at a place where I looked forward to all that was coming to me, went out of my shell, and shared two poems at a school event. I was amazed by the love and support. I’m now a college student in my final year/semester and will graduate with an Associate in Arts to start getting myself ready to apply to the nursing program.
I believe that we can all adapt to complex changes and not-so-easy times because without those moments, we cannot evolve into the person we want to be. In my opinion, just be yourself and let things happen, you will be surprised at how wonderful it can be just to be you!
About the Author
Hi, my name is Shana and I am 22 years old. I am a college student just finishing up her Associate's and my overall goal is to become a registered nurse. I want to help others and make every effort count in my life to make that dream a reality!