I know posting a diagram showing the problems which dyspraxia can cause might seem counter intuitive to the tittle of this post but I think it’s the easiest way to show you what dyspraxia actually is. Personally, I have less problems with fine motor skills and more severe problems with attention, memory, sensory issues and general spacial awareness Neurologists tell me.
Before I knew what was going on with me I felt like a big dumb freak but my school friends always said “We love you because of the that you are, not despite it.” My boyfriend says the exact same thing to me. I’ve got much more confidence now and because I’ve been diagnosed later in life it’s meant I’ve had to develop my own coping strategies and I’ve started to realise that dyspraxia has shaped me in positive ways.
Creativity and a random jukebox in my mind
As my brain is always whirring around with random thoughts – especially at night – I can get really creative ideas and little revelations about life. If you follow me on Twitter you will be able to attest to this! It has also meant that I’ve never run out blog post ideas once, in the 2 and a half years that I’ve been blogging. Everyday I have a line or the chorus of a song going around my head in a loop for frequent periods. I’m reminded of some great songs from passed decades I’d forgotten about or had no idea I even knew the words to!
‘If you fail try, try and try again’ or in my case ‘and again and again…..’ this can be seriously tedious but having to persevere has made me really tenacious. Even as a child I was a really determined little thing who wasn’t easily defeated… or stubborn at all ;o)
Humour in the face of adversity
If I’m in a shitty situation I will some how manage to find humour in it. Failing at hundreds of little things everyday since childhood I’ve experienced a lot of flippant negativity. This could have made me an overly defensive, bitter bitch but I chose to have fun with a self-effacing sense of humour instead. I don’t mean I’m putting myself down constantly to get laughs, I just manage to find humour in dodgy situations. Rather than getting embarrassed after opening a packet of M&M’s in such a way they fly all over the place, I’ll make a joke like “I just thought I’d share them with EVERYONE!” Having an unrestrained imagination helps to turn the mundane into the ridiculous and therefor amusing very quickly. Anyone else made themselves laugh out loud at their own thoughts, when on a crowded bus?
I can be surprisingly focussed
I’m used to coping with difficult situations. Having dyspraxia means that I need to pause before steaming into something and instead I need to figure out a way to do it, that works for me. I’m constantly accessing situations. I’ve realised this has made me a lot more ‘on the ball’ over the years. For instance travelling to London and finding my connecting train to Cornwall in an incredibly busy station didn’t phase me. Wandering around a maze like hospital didn’t phase me. I got utterly lost like, and went around in a circle – twice – but I didn’t get stressed. Being in situations where things aren’t instantly and entirely evident to me is pretty normal. Confusing yes, but somehow reassuringly normal and not as stressful as it might be to someone who isn’t used to feeling this way. Also if someone has an accident I can suddenly become detached enough to think practically rather than panic, which is always good.
Breath and relax…
I’ve learned a level of patience I never thought possible. Loosing my train of thought right near the end of a sentence or a sum, tripping up over nothing, spending ages making a simple but perfect meal only to drop the plate face down on the floor, all of these things have and continue to test my patience but my gosh, have I developed A LOT of it! When spoilt princesses (the grown up kind) are having a full on diva fit because they didn’t get served at warp speed, I just roll my eyes. When someone is running late and everything seems to be going wrong I can calm them down, offer them a cuppa or a cocktail and say something daft to make them laugh because I understand exactly how that feels. I’ll admit sometimes you might here me yell “For f#c% sake!” and launch an object across the room but then I’m usually calm immediately after my therapeutic mini meltdown.
I’m always organised
I rule at being organised. Ok so I’ve missed many appointments because I’ve got the order of the numbers in the date mixed up or lost all track of time because I’m hyper-focussed on Grand Theft Auto. These experiences and many more have taught me that Post It notes, reminder alarms (on my laptop, phone, iPod and paper calendar),
nagging reminders from my boyfriend and Mum, simple but detailed filing systems and adorable stationary are essential.
I tend to think differently than others and sometimes I can easily solve a problem which others have been struggling with, because it just seems obvious to me. Kind of like when an adult is over complicating something and being governed by the rules of how something is meant to be done, then their child looks rather non-plussed and suggests “Why don’t you just do it like this?” I’m sorry I can’t think of any specific examples here, every time I try to think of any, they opaquely half form and then float out of my head! That’s the nature of dyspraxia and I don’t mind about my mind ;o)
Weeding out the dickheads
When you are a bit of a weirdo as I am – and I mean that affectionately – it doesn’t take long to realise who your friends are. They are the ones who don’t judge, don’t constantly make ‘jokes’ at your expense, who try to help without being patronising. Who don’t try to finish your sentences because you are apparently taking too long or simply talk over you as if you are a toddler or hard of understanding.
I’m tidier than a maid
Everything I own has it’s own place where it lives and it always gets put back there almost as soon as I’ve used it. When you put something down and forget why it’s not in your hand 30 seconds later, things need to be ordered so you can find it again. When you can scan a room four or five times for something that’s in plain site and still not see it, things need to be kept tidy. Floor space needs to be free from clutter so that I don’t trip over the stuff I’ve left there. I do hate homes that are so sparse and neat they don’t feel homely and I don’t have a compulsion to tidy, I’ve just learned how to make my space work for me.
People know where they stand with me
I’m honest to a fault. In my twenties as a temp I was so terrified of offending candidates for the position of ‘new BFF’ I over thought everything before I spoke and I mean EVERYTHING. It was exhausting and when the words did finally come out they sounded awkward and rehearsed. Nowadays I trust I’m not a total idiot or a big ol’ bitch and I just go with my instincts and “blah blah blah” away freely to everyone. Sometimes I sound a bit dumb, sometimes I’m really quick and witty, sometimes I’m a little tactless but it’s better than being anxious and paranoid. Plus 70% of people I meet tend to really respect my honesty and the other….er…..30% just need to lighten up a little, hehe!
I hope this gives people an insight into this hidden disability in general (recognised in the 1990’s) or that it helps anyone who recognises some of the symptoms, diagnosed or otherwise.
Your comments welcome as always :o)