John Olav Ytreland

I was as a teacher, but was forced to stop working for health reasons after twelve years. Writing has become increasingly more important to me the last few years, partly because I don’t talk much.

I have some challenges known as nonverbal learning disorder (NLD/NVLD), which is so close to Asberger syndrome most people do not see the difference. I was diagnosed as late as 2010, at the age of 42, and suddenly a lot of things made sense to me. Many had assumed up until that point that I was lazy and/or stupid. NLD is not recognised in ICD or DSM yet, and to some people it’s still a phantom diagnosis, so in a way nothing has really changed. I still have to face an unwillingness to understand, but at least I know why I had the experiences I had, and why they had the consequences they had.

The written language didn’t come easily to me. I had to struggle for it. Reading and writing was difficult throughout most of my education, and this continued in college. I never gave up, and I got my teacher’s diploma at the age of 32. As I have indicated I found work life to be challenging, but it was in many ways the written language that saved me. Writing develops my thoughts and ideas, and it’s almost like doing cognitive therapy. It makes me see the solution I couldn’t before. It protects me against the negative consequences of life. It’s a sort of insulation material, much the way we insulate our houses to protect ourselves from sound and the brutal climate.

This blog has gone through several changes since I started it in 2012. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted with it. I just felt like writing. Sometimes it was about politics, sometimes it was about mental health, and sometimes I described how it was living with NLD. The world can be a puzzling place, which isn’t all bad, because puzzles can be one of the joys of life,  but life can also take us to a dark and scary place. This blog was a sort of sanctuary, a place where I could make sense of the world. I had a dream of becoming an author once, and when I finally had time to devote myself to writing, this blog changed focus as well. It sometimes provided a break from my manuscript when that was needded, and it sometimes allowed me to develop ideas I’ve used in creative writing.

I have always had a passion for books. I like reading, but I have also wanted to create magic, like my favourite authors did before me. I have some stories inside me, and if I can create an oasis, shielded from the loud and unforgiving world outside, I will write them. That is my project. I am working on an historical children’s novel at the moment, and I have several more ideas I want to work on later. I will also share some reflections on this blog, because this blog has been and will continue to be a lifeline. It’s my contact with the community I want to be a part of.

I use the blog to communicate and keep a connexion with readers and writers around the world. I live in Norway, and the feeling that Australia, America, and Britain are practically the coffee bar on the corner is amazing to me. I like the English-speaking world, but I have to say, there’s something special about England, Scotland, and Ireland. It has a lot to do with the books and TV drama I grew up with, but I suspect the proximity to Britain is also relevant. I grew up in Haugesund, Norway, and if you look it up on Google map, you’ll see it isn’t that far away from Shetland.

5 thoughts on “About

  1. I wasn’t familiar with NLD before this — thanks for sharing this video! I definitely want to learn more, especially because I’m hoping to be a special education teacher.

  2. Would you mind if I quote your byline on my site? It would make a wonderful addition to my “Someone Said” project.

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