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I have NO sense of direction AT ALL

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Showing 176-200 of 346 posts in this discussion
Posted on May 20, 2012 1:28:16 AM PDT
Real217 says:
I used to think this was a joke, but I now realize this is a big problem. My gf literally cannot tell the difference between left and right even when i'm standing there telling her which is which. Before i thought she was just playing around, with time I realised if care is not taken the girl will be totally lost. She would not drive her car without the GPS inside it. she used the GPS to get to her job for at least 2 months before the directions stuck. I couldnt believe it. I honestly just try to be patient. I am an aggressive driver, so I always find 6 routes to the same place, just in case, i hate being stuck in traffic. That is a herculean task for my gf.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 2:08:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2012 2:09:38 AM PDT
widowTink says:
Yes, I think I have a similar problem. Except mine has to do with numbers. I can't keep two numbers in my head for two minutes. Math has always been a nightmare for me. I'm 57 years old and I can only add with my fingers. I think this is a type of dyslexia, as I think yours might be too. Now, I am fairly intelligent, well read and curious about stuff. I have a talent of remembering words and people's names, especially if they are unusual or have an unusual spelling. Those things stick in my head like elmers'.... My husband understands my problem and takes care of all our financial things, because I just can't get numbers to work or stick, and I would make a mess of the checkbook. But if you have an unusual name like Mayim Bialik (an actress who's name has stuck with me since the early nineties...) no problemo. I would take issue with doctors who call you stupid. Find a doctor who will take you seriously, I believe you have a valid concern. (Oh, and I had problems telling time on analog clocks until I was twenty!)

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 2:48:18 AM PDT
Wow x at least you're supportive and understanding about it. I know exactly how she feels and it's horrible being the standing joke amidst friends.

Posted on May 20, 2012 8:02:21 AM PDT
Treehugger© says:
I think for some people a fear of getting lost has developed into a lifelong problem with finding direction. Stigmatized with fear can't be good.

Posted on May 20, 2012 8:03:55 AM PDT
Treehugger© says:
My brain at 56 isn't what it was at age 28.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 2:19:52 PM PDT
You're right about that. X Fear does with it too. Petrified when driving gonna end up on the motorway and never be able to get off because the exit roundabouts are insurmountable. It's horrible.

Posted on May 20, 2012 5:37:11 PM PDT
P RUSE says:
I stumbled on this discussion a little while ago....holy CR*P! I've suffered from this directional problem my entire life! I have had trouble with math, and passed it along to my son. I can remember getting hopelessly lost in high school, almost to the point of tears. Only to finally arrive at algebra class and eventually fail!

Average IQ, generally accomplished in life, yet I get hopelessly lost on a regular basis! Even with a GPS, printed Google directions, and a Rand McNally in the car I can still (and do) get lost. This creates a tremendous amount of anxiety when I'm lost, which no doubt adds to the problem! Over the years I've learned to deal with it by using humor and self-deprecation. At fifty-something I know that it is just something that makes me "me" and I do the best I can. Trying all of the little "tricks" don't seem to cut it. So if I really need to be on time for something I will double the amount of time Google directions tells me it should take to give me a cushion. Overall, this diminishes the anxiety if I do get lost, knowing I've got extra time on my side.

Amazingly enough, this affliction does not stop me from going anywhere I want! I've lived many places independently (as in no spouse) and with no "loved one" to call for help. You may have seen me on the side of the road with my flashers on, holding the map upside down while staring at the intersection I'm facing. I'm only a menace to myself since I'm not googling directions while I drive. This is a true problem for some of us...but hey, everybodys got somethin'!

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 6:36:53 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
When you turn the map to match the maps north to the real north that's called; orienting the map. Wow you were doing this basic routefinding skill and you didn't even know it!

Posted on May 20, 2012 6:38:13 PM PDT
P RUSE says:

Does it help to use landmarks instead of GPS, maps, etc? That's how I got about. I hate it when someone gives me directions in scout-speak - - "turn east at... then north for --- miles," etc. I DON'T KNOW thoe directions when I am driving or such, just tell me "turn right at the big patch of lilacs, then left when you see the yellow fence by the red house, and the cow sign," etc.

I used to do community theater (Prop Design, program design, occasion script editing, etc.) and I knew where stage left was, but always got confused about where stage right was.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 6:56:27 PM PDT
Thomas Gann says:
Fear is never a good thing. And fear of getting lost may be a problem for some people but that really has nothing to do with the problem being discussed here. Its very clear that you don't understand the problem that we have and you don't really care to understand it either.

Posted on May 20, 2012 7:01:01 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
I feel direction finding is a skill. I guess people don't see it as something they can learn.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:06:21 PM PDT
Their brains are wired differently.

It is not a matter of lack of knowledge,

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:07:00 PM PDT
Thomas Gann says:
No landmarks only help to a certain degree. For example I may remember that I turned right at the yellow house but actually I was supposed to turn left and I just remember it as being right. Unless there is a very clear visual distinction between the 2 paths when it comes time to turn at a certain landmark it is exceedingly difficult to know which way to turn even if I have driven it a few times. The only thing that really helps is a GPS or extreme repetition of driving a certain path with no deviations at all. For me I don't really need the GPS to give me a path to follow, just having it keep track of where I am in relation to everything else around me when I turn is more helpful than any trick in the book.

Posted on May 20, 2012 7:12:46 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
If I didn't have training in map usage. If I didn't travel. If I didn't have jobs where I had to find 2-3 houses a day I might have trouble finding my way around too. If I am not focusing on finding my way, I might get lost too.

Posted on May 20, 2012 7:16:42 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
If I'm travelling on a road and have to turn on Jones street then I will memorize the 2 streets before it then I can look for them.

Posted on May 20, 2012 7:20:23 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
Obviously people who can find keys on a keyboard may be able to learn other skills

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:29:12 PM PDT
nevermind, i am a 65 year old university student who also got lost a lot until recently. I was born blind, or nearly so, and I have partially have overcame this, like you later I "found" myself and where I wanted to go with my GPS. Others, laughed at me, some did not believe me that I would try to con them to try to make them feel sorry of me. Finally, I got the attitude: "Frankly, my dear, I don't Give a 'D....'" Some of them I told them where to go. I call colors by different names other than what they are, and I am not color-blind. There is nothing wrong with me; however, being born nearly blind, and having gone to Harry Wachs (pronounced "Wax"), as he has told me that we all "learn to see." "You missed the "Window of Opportunity" to learn to see, but I can "teach you to see, as oddly as that may sound." I get lost even with maps as you said you do. Later, I realized that I do not have, like many other people have, visual images in my mind's eye. I went to many doctors, who told me, the same as you you have---"You're Stupid,...dishonest...have Infantile schizophrenia...etc." Please do not get discouraged. I think you are NOT stupid, (and I did have a time when I thought I was stupid, UNTIL I met people like Dr. Harry Wachs, in Washington D.C., and Diane E. Reddin, in Hotchkiss, Colorado.) Look them up online and call them, go see them, see what they say. Just tell them Carl W. Santy sent you to them. Hopefully they will still have my records, and also, most importantly, they can and will help you. You might get a specialist near you that can truly help you. I used to get both "lost in time and space." Also, I did not see in 3 D, and I did not even know this myself, and I had this condition. (see the book Fixing My Gaze by Susan R. Barry and Oliver Sacks (Aug 3, 2010)
Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions
I felt embarrassed when I told both of them I got lost in time and space; so I suggest, you just tell the truth and let your embarrassment go hang itself. I usually do not give my name out, nor advice; so, I hope the best for you, because I personally know I benefitted a GREAT DEAL knowing where I am going. It makes a LOT OF DIFFERENCE in my life. Feel free to give me an e-mail. I would like to know how you are progressing. if you do, please CAPITALIZE THE SUBJECT LINE, "NEVERMIND" or "EVERPRESENTMIND" whichever you may choose. More Happiness to you!

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:34:24 PM PDT
Thomas Gann says:
Direction finding is a skill that people like you can learn. But for people that are consistently disoriented it becomes something absolutely impossible to ever learn. For instance if you were walking through a building and turn right down a hallway, in order to go back out the way you came in it seems easy that you would turn around and take a left at the same turn. But what if you only thought you turned right but you actually turned left even though you can very clearly remember turning right and you were certain that you did not turn left. And what if this happened to you so often that nearly every time you make a turn that you could never trust your memory of which way you went? Then the only way to get back out of the building would be to walk around until you cam across something familiar like a vending machine or water fountain that you knew was near an exit. How easy would it be for you to develop a direction finding skill if that were the case? There si quite a difference between a direction finding skill that you develop and a sense of basic direction that you are born with.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:36:15 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
I sympathize with you Carl you are doing your best

Posted on May 20, 2012 7:43:16 PM PDT
Treehugger© says:
I just think it is normal to get lost. Just as it is normal to make mistakes. I sense some disagree.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:48:40 PM PDT
I love that!
I have determined, and this is my egocentric take on it, that this is not a "learning disability." I term it "missing a few cells in my brain." It's not faulty wiring or synapses that are firing wrong in my brain: this is simply a body of knowledge that is missing in my mind. There's not a seed of it that I can cultivate and develop: I just don't have it in me. It's a natural phenomenon to have a sense of direction just like the ability to calculate multiplication in your head. While some people can be "math illiterate" and struggle to learn how to perform such feats, there's no need for such a futile effort when calculators are available. It's much more worrisome to be reliant on the homing skills of friends or a GPS but it's not in me to "develop" a sense of direction. The blind cannot "will" themselves to make their eyes work. No matter how hard they try. They must make enormous effort to work around being blind. But only until their headlights can be repaired or replaced, they are not going to be able to see. Period.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:55:53 PM PDT
Aw heck, Thomas,
Just as I was saying to blueskies, if this stuff comes so hard or unnaturally to us, we just have to cave in and allow ourselves to be "failures" on this. I might want to be a piano virtuosa. You know what? I can't. I could practice from now till doomsday and have the finest teachers work with me for years and I will NEVER be a good piano player. I can't read both hands' music at the same time. When I was a kid, we had to take piano lessons for a few years. I did the scales with my right hand. And then much more torturously with my left hand. Then I'd clumsily put them together. I did the same thing with any song. I still remember the ONE song I memorized for a recital. That's my ultimate capacity.

Don't worry yourself about this deficit. Look to your strengths and what a good person you are. I can remember having the same problems as you describe when I was younger. I had a higher capacity to learn time than you. Big deal? No. Use digital and be done.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 7:58:23 PM PDT
Hey Real: she's lucky to have you. Please understand how compassionate you are to look at her as a person and realize this is really a problem of hers that is not her fault. What would anyone get out of falsely claiming to have no sense of direction? Be good to her.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 8:00:37 PM PDT
Hi parrot,
Isn't Mayim Bialik Amy Ferra Fowler on the Big Bang Theory sitcom?
Don't fret about your math problems. You have other strengths that your husband doesn't have. Nurture each other and be that yin-yang thing.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 8:00:49 PM PDT
P RUSE says:
Hah...funny you mention this. Yes, the landmark technique is one I often use. However, it gives me only a 50-50 chance because if I turned the the wrong way the first time I was headed for a certain destination I may well go the same way the next time. Even though it was WRONG I remember the landmark so I think, "yes, I remember that cemetary, gas station, etc., this is the right way". Then I'm lost for the second time going the exact route I screwed up on the first time! Make sense? Probably won't unless you are afflicted....
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Discussion in:  Health forum
Participants:  85
Total posts:  346
Initial post:  Jul 29, 2011
Latest post:  Aug 29, 2013

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