For Me, Dyspraxia is Normal!

Yet again the family member has automatically tried to dismiss my Dyspraxia as if trying to play down a giant zit someone has suddenly acquired. They have done this my entire life – before I was diagnosed but knew something was different about me and now even after.

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I set my alarm and actually got ready an entire hour earlier than I needed to because I got confused when trying to calculate when was the best time to visit the bloke, how long the journey would take, how long my getting ready would take and what time that I needed to get up at. After all you work backwards when trying to do these things, which can sometimes very difficult for me. So I lost track of 60 minutes somewhere.

Notice I’m using the words ‘I’ and ‘me’ instead of ‘my brain’ because my brain isn’t some dysfunctioning separate entity. So when someone creates a little story explaining – no dismissing – why someone with Dyspraxia or Asperger’s or Dyslexia etc behaves the way they do, it’s essentially dismissing the condition the person has and, in part who that person is. I’m not saying my Dyspraxia totally defines me but seeing as I’ve had it my entire life and it effects the way that I see the world, how I deal with it, my emotions (good and bad), my logic (good and bad), my creativity and empathy, I think it has massively shaped my personality and the person that I’ve become. I’m not me despite of the way I am, I’m me because of the way that I am. To me this is normal.

I wanted to scream ‘will you stop making f*&%ing excuses for me!’ but instead I took a deep breath and with gritted teeth asked “Why do you always dismiss my Dyspraxia, why don’t you ever just accept it’s a part of me?” and the answer which really surprised me was “because then it’s won.” I was pretty gobsmacked at this. I explained to them (as I’ve done a million times before) that Dyspraxia is not a nasty illness that can be or even needs to be overcome, I’m not at war with my own brain, it’s just wired differently (notice I said ‘differently’ and not ‘wrongly’) that’s just the way that I am and have always been don’t you see?

Then I immediately faced the usual avoidant shpeel from them about “Oh I don’t care (about this subject), go away it doesn’t matter, I’m not bothered (about this subject).” to which I replied “I AM bothered!” and then I got the usual fake “Oh, I’m tired, I want to be quiet….blah blah.” from them. All of this basically means ‘No I won’t listen to the fact that my attitude upsets you. No I can’t be bothered even trying to understand your point. No I won’t have an adult conversation about this. I’m going to sulk instead because I can only think about how I feel’. It was like trying to reason with a child that stubbornly refuses to listen because it doesn’t suit them. Honestly, I barley got a grunt out of this person (when trying to inform everyone about other news and general chit-chat) for nearly an hour, they just sat and sulked! When I was leaving they grunted a goodbye to me. At least I assume it was “goodbye”. So now I’m meant to feel shitty for hours about how mean I was to them but for the life of me I can’t think why I should.

It was like they thought I was being ungrateful for not appreciating that they were making the best out of this awful situation. It wasn’t awful though, I was trying to fathom out in my own upside-down style of logic how on earth I’d managed to misscalculate. I wasn’t remotely upset that I have Dyspraxia I was just surprised and confused that I’d miscalculated by an entire hour!?

It’s not like I have some terrible curse cast on me for heavens sake. ‘Ooh let’s pretend everythings fine and politely avoid talking about this terrible thing that’s happened to this poor unfortunate retch.’ Erm, excuse me, I’ve totally accepted and actually quite like who I am, quirks and all, so would you mind not being quite so bloody condescending – cheers!’ If someone repeatedly behaved in a nasty spiteful way people would not automatically excuse it by saying “Oh I’m sure they are just over tired.” So why should someone make excuses for someone behaving in a neurodiverse way, when they that’s who they are!?

Next time I’m just firmly going to say “You’re making excuses for me again, I don’t need any. Thank you.” to try and shut them down before they start with this attitude yet again.

So to everyone who is neurologically diverse and who’s brain and therefor personality works in a rather individual way – you might be awesome or a total dick, I don’t know but either way:

You do not need to be fixed because you are not broken.

You are who you are and there is nothing essentially wrong with being you – ever!

If people can’t accept that, then that’s a problem with them, not you.

You have nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

Don’t ever feel like you have to make excuses for yourself.

Don’t ever feel that you have to be submissive/grateful when others are making excuses for you.

Maybe they are thinking Dyspraxia is a terrible illness like MS? The MS just happened to me out of the blue, let’s be honest it’s one of the more worrying illnesses which is often progressive. Where as, being born with Dyspraxia is my version of normal, it shapes the way I think and even feel, my quirky version of normal is very very different to the illness MS. This is the difference between the two things that this person is clearly refusing to understand. I say ‘refusing’ because if you can’t even have a basic grown-up conversation with someone then they aren’t exactly trying to understand are they? Every other person I know seem to just accept that I’m Dyspraxic, just as they accept I’m British and have green eyes.

To anyone who can relate to my point of view or possibly to the other person’s view – then I’d love to hear from you. Teachers noticed something was different with me in Junior school and since high school I’ve been trying to figure out what it is. That’s why it’s so surprising to me that I’ve been trying to get this person to accept I have dyspraxia for nearly four years! So to still be doing a similar thing, with the same adult who should know (me) better is totally exhausting. At least they accept that my Dyspraxia is actually real now – maybe in another four years or so they will come to realise it’s not such an awful curse.

Chrissie xx

18 thoughts on “For Me, Dyspraxia is Normal!

  1. I’ve run into this so many times. If you don’t think, literally think, as others think you should, then there must be something wrong with you especially if you embrace your own way that is counter to their sense of normality.

    I can agree with them if my way is truly harmful to myself or others but if that’s not the case, I really wish that people would stop trying to shoehorn me into some mode of thinking and behaving that only makes them feel comfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so very true and really well put. So many people are very narrow minded when it comes to what is ‘normal’. The person I was talking about does actually like that I think in a ‘quirky’ way but I don’t think they realise that’s partly due to Dyspraxia and being Neuro-diverse. I think they are finally starting to get the idea now though.

      I know in places I’ve worked some people just thought I was weird because I was different, however I think being very individual is why I’ve had so many fantastic friendships with some very cool, kind and interesting people.

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  2. I just wanted to write having read your blog! I went to uni as a mature student, and with my writing being awful, I did my exams in capital letters so examiner could read my answers! Missed out the whole last question as ran out of time, and it was my tutor who saw something so sent me for education psycilgist test and that’s where I was diagnosed. All through school I was considered lazy, clumsy etc so to actually have the answers was a relief. My friends were all so supportive of me at the time, and since then its been so good to know the reason why I’m me a d to say I’m not lazy, I’m not clumsy, I’m just me 🙂 great blog 🙂

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    • Ah thank you :o) I was exactly the same in exams (missing out entire questions either because I ran out of time or miss-read the list a skipped one) and having people think I was lazy and clumsy or just taking my sweet time and holding everyone up. It really is nice to finally understand what the heck is going on absolutely! I’m glad your friends were supportive. All of my friends and my parents/family were always supportive and very patient with me as well before my diagnosis. They seem to be a tad confused pre-diognosis though ironically! I think maybe because Dyspraxia doesn’t effect intelligence and if you REALLY concentrate a lot of the time you can achieve the thing you utterly messed up an hour ago etc. so I suppose we are kinda complicated! :o)

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  3. I was very lucky to have been diagnosed with Dyspraxia when I was 7 and still in primary school. The way I see it is that my Dyspraxia is a part of me, not the other way around.

    I work at a hospital and when someone is looking for a patients file they give me the id number, this is where my Dyspraxia is most evident as I’m rubbish at remembering numbers so they often have to repeat it or they just let me look at the bit of paper with the number wrote on it.

    However, if one of my colleagues knows a patients name (some come in quite a lot and/or are interesting cases) but can’t remember the back story then I can just reel it off although I’m not to good at explaining things but my colleagues now understand what I’m going on about.

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    • That’s exactly how I feel to about my Dyspraxia. I think I’m just unlucky that my schools had nothing in place regarding learning difficulties and the staff hadn’t had any training apart from vaguely knowing about dyslexia. I’m terrible with numbers and my short term memory is shocking (even with people I know) yet I can remember films and TV shows from decades ago incredibly well, including the actors and directors. Wonderfully weird isn’t! lol

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  4. What a positive attitude you have to your dispraxia and it’s not a curse it’s just a different way of seeing and coping with the world around us. Here’s hoping to more positive attitudes in future as people get more educated about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting to hear of Dyspraxia. It seems a lot like Dyscalculia, which I’m pretty certain describes me. I understand how people can be. Our normal is not their idea of normal for them. So, everyone is different in some way, and we make the best of it. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome! I have been this way forever, so it’s just me being me. Throw in my ADHD and there you have it. My family gets it, gets me, so that’s what matters. Just enjoy being yourself, no explanation needed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • By looking at some charts it seems there is a lot of overlap between all these, with the way people are effected by dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, dyslexia, and others. It’s all interesting to me, seeing as I’d never heard about any of them until not long ago. But, reading about them, they describe how I’ve always been. Guess I’m lucky that no one has ever made an issue of the way I do things. There is no reason to apologize to anyone, for being yourself.

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  6. Reblogged this on Teachezwell Blog and commented:
    Chrissie has nailed it again! Her post is a terrific essay on self-validation. She is not cursed and not broken. Chrissie comments that at least people now acknowledge that dyspraxia is REAL, after a long struggle to be acknowledged and accepted as she is. I especially admire how she appreciates the unique hardwiring of her brain, reminding us that we are all wired differently. Go, Chrissie!

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  7. My son is dyslexic and currently going for testing for dyspraxyia. The way I explained it to him is his brain is just wired different. Everyone else takes a straight path from a to b. He has to go through the maze. However this is good as he sees, feels and notices more on his way and still gets to b. His way just takes a bit longer.
    With dyslexia and dyspraxyia people who know you have it knows it means you do certain things a certain way. It’s not that they are ignoring you it’s just they’ve come to expect certain things. I know my son is disorganised and needs help and reminding. He has no idea about time. If you tell him 5 mins he can’t picture it or know how long it will be. I know I can only give him 2 instructions. Anymore and he forgets them all.
    As a mum I’ve told him what he has and why but I also teach him that it won’t stop him doing what he wants to do but it’s just a bit harder to get there.
    All I want from my son is for him to embrace who he is and enjoy it.
    I hope you can find the same peace.
    Sue

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    • Thank you so much Sue. That is the best way to think of Dyspraxia and a wonderful attitude to have! He is very lucky to have you as his Mum. That is exactly what it’s like yes and you do notice lots of little things others don’t, maybe too much which can make it difficult to process all of it. I was exactly the same as a child/teenager with the concept of time and my memory. My memory has actually got to that point now, where it’s no more two things at a time please. I always have a little notebook and pen with me, or write a to-do-list on a giant post-it-note in the living room. I was diagnosed late at 32 (my Neurologist agrees but I’ve still not managed to get tested because they don’t seem to be bothered with adults) but if I’d have been diagnosed much younger I think my relative might think of it as ‘normal’ for me (as I do) rather than this terrible thing to battle against.

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