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I have NO sense of direction AT ALL

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Showing 226-250 of 346 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012 10:22:55 AM PDT
Sorry blue,
Curmudgeon's arrived.

Posted on May 27, 2012 10:31:06 AM PDT
blueskies says:
I can see that. Apparently the map worked.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012 10:47:24 AM PDT
Treehugger© says:
TH: who are you talking about?

KING CONAN :Who was I posting with?

get a life

Posted on May 27, 2012 12:22:12 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 27, 2012 12:32:23 PM PDT]

Posted on May 27, 2012 12:32:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 27, 2012 9:25:21 PM PDT
sgns says:
You people crack me up. I was just missing the people from this thread and here we go. Anyway, everything in its right place ,., and may we all find it, whether it be by asking the way, using our gps, our internal compass or any or no method at all, putting the pieces together.

Good luck to those who are searching for medical explanations/help. There does seem to be clues that _rather_ than our brains having special kinds of faculties where everything we do takes place, our capacity for doing certain things is composed of a kind of knowledge which arises through actions that we take in the world, and other knowledge that we have. Who knows what the reason is when it does not happen though? An illustrative case is that of vision:

In a recent course that I was having, especially a reading by Alva Noë stood out, with something that he calls The Enactive approach: our eyes are not really all that good, physically speaking - they have blind spots and give sharp vision only in a little area of our field of vision. Therefore, the eyes make movements - saccadic eye movements - which we use to fill in our _sense_ of the surroundings, which is _not_ an image - what were seeing is not an image. Basically the results so far tell us that vision is NOT like a camera - it does not take one picture at a time. It is more like a momentaneous conclusion, based on existing knowledge, which we keep adding to, and revising.

Rather it is more like as if we a) have an internal model that we form of how 3d space works b) through experience and brain development we learn a great deal about what _possible_ movement would mean to our point of view, and how we can enhance our understanding of our surrounding by moving around. c) according to what we know, we learn how to very quickly, and mostly subconsciously, move around both with our body and the eyes in order to become sure about what it is that we are seeing.

For example, by tracking eye movements when people look at photos of people, we can see that there is a very characteristic pattern of looking at the faces, eyes and mouth first, whereas for example the eyes of people diagnosed with autism may look at completely different things.

So what we call the everyday world is something that only appears through certain actions that we take - most of them without thinking, and it's even culturally based and, I bet, individual. It means that the process of understanding, of arriving to the 'common sense' everyday world, is the sum of parts, like moving around, our knowledge, everything.

It is all very fascinating, and it says things about the location of 'mind' - its more of an interaction with environment than something that takes place in the brain or that is _contained_ in the brain. Noë's latest, popularly geared book about all of this, which I'm linking to below, is something that I intend to read at first convenience:

Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness

Posted on May 27, 2012 12:41:02 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
It has been my opinion that route-finding is a learned skill and some people put the effort into learning it because they like to travel, need to find places becasue they need to as part of their job or for other reasons. I feel people sometimes fear getting lost to the point that they are frozen in their world and rely on others to lead them or dont travel at all. My point is that anyone can learn to find their way around to some degree.

Posted on May 27, 2012 12:59:04 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
"Fear of getting lost may not be a clinical diagnosis, but Marques says a patient might complain of a fear of driving and a fear of unknown places.

"What that person is really afraid of is being in an uncomfortable situation that triggers the fight-or-flight reaction," Marques explains, referring to the alarm response that can make your heart race, palms sweat, hands shake and breathing quicken.

But fear doesn't only affect you physiologically; it can also cloud your judgment.

Once the alarm response is activated, you lose some ability in the rational part of your brain, explains Marques. "That doesn't mean you can't make rational decisions, but your ability to think clearly and logically in the moment becomes less and less," she says.

If a fear is significantly interfering with your life, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you get over it, Marques suggests. Otherwise, she says, the rule of thumb is to "approach and not avoid" the situation. Take small steps to expand your comfort zone, so it makes you "comfortably uncomfortable," Marques recommends.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 4:12:57 PM PDT
wildone says:
Hi _nevermind_

I experience the exact same difficulties that you described. (Although I'm good at math, it doesn't seem to cross-over to spatial relationships). In grade school (in my day) they used to have standardized tests, and one of them was called "map reading". I did miserably in this area . . . no great surprise. I can't read maps either (unless it's the kind that moves as you drive, such as GPS devices). I too have gotten lost inside of buildings, and couldn't find my way back to my office in a hospital for close to a year without asking for directions. When I use "Yahoo or Google Maps", I need to do the "text version", and to get back to where I started, I have to print out the "reverse directions", rather than rely on my memory or try to read the instructions backwards.

My father suffers from the same affliction. And my mother had a great sense of direction, as does my son. I think it's something we're born with (or without), and as far as I can tell, there isn't anything we can do about it, except to find "workarounds".

I'd suggest that you not worry about it too much, given I've reached the age of close to 60, and it's not gotten better or worse. I just live with it. (I remember going on a ski trip in my youth, and was driving on a straight highway for a zillion miles. I pull in to a gas station for gas, and head out on the same highway I've been driving on for ever, only to head BACK in the direction I'd come from. Had I been alone in the car, it would have taken my until I was almost back home before I started recognizing landmarks.)

I've accepted it as something kind of like a dyslexia, but am thankful that it's not limited me in my life more than to just navigational challenges. Hope this has been helpful. I know this all too well, and I wouldn't suggest putting a lot of time researching this or seeking "help". Other than learning individual strategies that can help you "workaround" the problem, like GPS, accept that it's a challenge that's not going to get better. Thank goodness for GPS!!!! '

Best of health

Posted on May 28, 2012 4:54:49 PM PDT
blueskies says:
I have experts in neurophysiology tell me that "it" is a bonafide learning disability, which I think they called dysgraphia or "I can get lost in a phone booth" syndrome. I also have a condition where my eyes switch dominance so nothing looks the same to me, since my vision differs greatly in each eye. I am not sure if that is the root cause of my lostitudeness but it probably doesn't help. I appreciate all well meaning attempts to school me. I have maps and by very painful study can discern a route but it is definately not my forte. GPS and Navigator on my smart phone are my salvation. I have met other people who were similarly afflicted and no amount of well meaning instruction really helped any of us. Maybe there is an evolutionary bonus to this but I am at a loss to say what it might be. Shrugs. Just something I know I have to deal with.

Posted on May 28, 2012 5:46:18 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
As a child when on family trips in the car I would navigate. I'd read the map and tell dad where to turn. I didn't even have to look at the road, in fact I might even be sitting backwards. In boyscouts they taught us map skills and I enjoyed it.

Posted on May 28, 2012 5:49:04 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
Much of using a map is considering your rate of speed so you can estimate turns coming up. A turn is to deviate left or right.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 6:15:20 PM PDT
PennyLane says:
while I have some coping strategies, this is something I've had all my life- it affected my driving ability so much I basically quit. My last marriage was to a dyslexic man who was however, ambidextrous. You should have heard us on vacation to San Jose when I tried to tell him which way to turn and he'd ask me "where are we" .. having just married, we went to the side of the road and laughed and laughed. Anyway- for me it has never really gotten better and I later developed fibromyalgia and more. I've gotten lost simply navigating a very small medical clinic- though I went there for years. It is embarassing but you know? the response to it, of ridicule or putting down my intelligence- tells me what the person I'm dealing with is about. At 60 yrs old- I expect others to accept me as they expect me to ...accept them. Also Kathy- I am not the only one in my family who has this to some extent; I've an uncle that went down a one way street the wrong way in San Francisco. He NEVER knew where he was at and we called him Mr Magoo- dig up one of those old cartoons and watch the beginning; he has the same problems! LOL

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 6:23:36 PM PDT
blueskies says:

I have lived in my apartment over a year and I still cannot find my way to the post office without my GPS. I have had some terrible moments when cloud cover kept the satellites from being available! Prior to GPS, I had to write every where I went down, and keep it in a notebook in the car.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 6:56:54 PM PDT
PennyLane says:
nod. I know how it is. My Dr had to point me in the right direction (ONLY 2 ways to go?) for years. My hub of over a decade (now divorced) attempted to help me rem where the car was and such but- hardly worked. I've friends who are aware of this issue and do try to help me too. But at 60 yrs of age and increasing health problems it's something- one learns to have humor about. Oddly- inside a house I could tell exactly what furniture will fit through a doorway, proportions of pictures (AND if they are level in a crooked room- he'd even get the leveller out) I can tell at a glance the size of a table. I am particularly bad when it comes to moving objects too though- intersections, parking etc. all of it. so many things of spatial nature. I do read and speak well, my spelling is still decent. I've a rudimentary GPS on my first tablet; and though I do not travel much did consider buying a GPS unit due to this problem. Places I shop and should know location of in my sleep- I do not. It's terrible isn't it? I am so glad this problem was brought up and this thread shows me it's more common than I thought. Thank you for all the contributors!

Posted on May 28, 2012 7:06:27 PM PDT
blueskies says:
Penny--oh yeah! I have felt like a freak of nature for a long time. So, it is comforting to know it is not just me. I did meet a woman in Denver whose whole family has the same issue. She was hilarious. One time they were all in a car together and kept going past the same freeway turnoff and never could figure out how to get to where they were going, so they just turned around and went home after many attempts. What was neat about the story was that she told it while some of my long time friends were there because they needed to know that other people besides me have this directional lack. Thanks for posting! Hang in there!

Posted on May 28, 2012 7:29:32 PM PDT
J. Wilson says:
Don't let the doctors-or anything else-worry you. I've many of the same "problems" and I'm old enough to be your grandmother, but I still get by just fine. So what if you can read well but not do math? I can read upside down, or mirror reverse, etc.-but NO math!
(I took three remedial classes before I gave up, however.) Also, I just look at getting lost as a way to see more places-although it's a pain if I'm running late. And I don't even HAVE a GPS! (And don't even think of giving me a map!) I'm technically right handed, but I do the computer mouse left handed, but also scroll down with the right hand keys and sometimes use the right had number pad.
(I can also hammer a nail in right or left handed!) So I call myself ambidexterous, and say that I have dyslexia and a math learning problem-but who cares? (I also forget a lot of things and can't stick to a schedule, but I can FINALLY blame it on old age!) I can, however, play sax, garden, read, take care of the horses and drive to the market and to Church-so I'm happy. You should just be sure to start out extra early to go to anyplace new-and relax. Being "normal" is nothing special.

Posted on May 28, 2012 7:31:38 PM PDT
blueskies says:
J. Wilson, yes! You are so right! Diversity is the order of the universe.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 8:35:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 8:48:50 PM PDT
PennyLane says:
yes, been upsetting through the years- I've had to take ppl aside and tell them privately its this SHAMEFUL thing - that's hilarious about a car full of ppl all giving up and going home but at least they had each other. It always took me longer to find where my classes were when I was in school- talk about anxiety in high school! I am going to show this thread to ppl I know who've shown varying degree of acceptance of this. I imagine those with ADD may be more likely to be this way but- this was never just a matter of "paying attention" - anyone else thinking of the ADD linking possibly? Thank you blueskies I feel better about it all now. I may even relate this thread to my doctor who I've mentioned this to, before.

Posted on May 28, 2012 8:49:47 PM PDT
blueskies says:
I don''t know if ADHD is part of the lack of directional sense or not. I do know that it is a learning disability per some neurophysiologists. I haven't done any research on it except for myself since I tend to get lost easily and have always just dealt with it. I have had many an anxious moment driving, though. Thankfully, technology has found a way.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 2:26:38 AM PDT
I couldn't disagree more strongly. I CANNOT "learn" to have a sense of direction, just as some people have emotional problems--and I don't mean you--that can exclude a lack of empathy or the ability to put oneself in another one's place. I am a people person and am considered quite literate. I'm not so hot in math: can I just "learn" to be a math wiz? No. I can walk into a large room, say a swimming pool, and not remember which way in I came. I can swim in the pool and be disoriented where I come up for air if it's in the middle of the pool and there's lots of splashing. But I'm a good swimmer so I just locate the deep end (I'm also nearsighted to that doesn't help in water) and dive down to the bottom and swim around. I'll also do laps. But when I get out using one of the ladders or steps, if I haven't placed my towel near the door I came's anybody's guess. When I leave my doctor's office, since they put me in different rooms every time, I make a special effort to say "turned left, walked down 3 doors, turned in on the right to that one. But I'm as likely to turn right again walking out that door instead of retracing my steps and going left. Literally as likely to turn in the wrong direction. Since, often, no direction "feels" right: it's not constant "fear" I live in...just the self-knowlege that I have this problem. Yet, does this interfere with my normal life? Not so much. My family and friends are very helpful and understanding and I'm not shy to tell people of this deficit I have.

There have been a few times I literally was stuck for quite a while, stopping every block to look at a map and carely determining which direction I'm going: fortunately, Milwaukee is set up like a grid to so I know if the east-west streets are getting bigger in number, I'm driving west. And on the south side, when the house numbers are getting larger, I'm going south. But I rarely have it down if the odd numbered or even numbered houses are on the right or left of a given street....even though my house is west on a vertical street.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 2:30:57 AM PDT
Oh blueskies, my husband is so annoying--he can remember how to get someone after having driven it YEARS ago. My son and I treasure one memory when he got lost driving in England, where he's from, knowing where a short cut was.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 2:33:31 AM PDT
Yeah, Penny, when I went to new schools, it was awful. I'd always try to follow someone who was in the next class. I'd ask people what was the "quickest" way to room 314 and they'd be happy to point it out.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 2:38:39 AM PDT
I still maintain it's not a "learning disability" per se but a deficit of the brain cells for sense of direction. My son has epilepsy and I had to do a lot of study of the brain because he had major brain surgery and we needed to stay on top of what a resection might cost him intellectually. Fortunately, no deficits at all except partial blindness in the right lower quadrant of each eye. Can he "learn" to get that little eyesight back? No. He's got better than 20/20 vision and turns his head more to the right than he otherwise would. But if you throw something at his face from behind the right side, it might hit him. That's a permanent loss.

It's a deficit of cells as far as I'm concerned.

Posted on May 29, 2012 6:52:06 AM PDT
blueskies says:
You may be right about a deficit in the types of brain matter needed for direction, which would be the cause of such a lack. It is just a way to identify a symptom, I think, to call it a learning disability. That simplifies it and there is some familiarity with the term with people. It might be a lack of executive function, which is also a learning disability. I don't know except to say it exists in others besides myself and in enough numbers to be something physical, maybe genetic? I'll have to try to read more on it. Thanks for posting. Glad your son is mostly OK from his surgery.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 9:47:49 PM PDT
Thanks, blueskies,
Yes, I guess I'm too sensitive to the term "learning disability." Or maybe just "disability" although that makes no sense because this is a BIG disability. Tomorrow, I'm meeting some friends at a restaurant that I've been to several times in the last few years. I asked him if I'll be able to find it. He smiled and told me, go north on this highway, go past such-and-so well-known exits, take the next exit, turn left to go west, go up and over the train bridge and it's at 124th Street on the left. I can picture it so I should just be able to's that niggling understanding of the well-laid plans of mice and...people who get lost easily.
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