When People Still Don’t Get It After The 10,000 Time

Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it….

When you have repeatedly explained your disability, symptoms and needs to someone, in every way you can think of and they still aren’t getting it.

Breathe….

I know it’s tempting to want to strangle them or head butt the desk repeatedly or scream – actually screaming into a pillow is very therapeutic – but eventually you will have to accept it and let it go for the sake of your mental health.

Not everyone’s empathy works in the same way. Some people will instantly get it (whether they have experienced it or not) simply by listening and taking the info on board. Some people need to have experienced something similar for themselves so they literally know what you mean. Others, because it is different to their experiences will never, ever be fully onboard. Even if you have gone through something and they were witnessing it, they still won’t have learned from that past experience.

Now, that’s not to say they don’t care and don’t want to understand. It is entirely possible for a person to sympathise, yet manage to say or do something ignorant and tactless purely by mistake.

I guess what I’m saying is don’t take it personally and don’t beat your head against a brick wall (metaphorically I mean) by thinking you can change someone like that and enlighten them. Some people are all ready at their maximum capacity for understanding and empathising.

Essentially at that point, it is up to them to get their own head around what you need and how you function. I’ve arrived at the conclusions at the start of this post. Trying to make someone understand, isn’t always worth your mental health or your relationship with them deteriorating. If they obviously care about you, sometimes you just have to accept that no matter how much they try, maybe they never will really get it and you have to be cool with that.

Chrissie

Mental Health Awareness Month Has Helped Me Admit To Having Anxiety For 37 Years!

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I thought I always felt anxious just because of life. From being a kid to a teen I was dealing with everyday racism; a family member with mental health probs where I’d get blamed for ‘setting them off’ to point where it was actually enabling them; it not being acknowledged by teachers or Drs that I had learning differences and was Neurodiverse; my Dyspraxia and Hypermobilty Syndrome were undiagnosed and symptoms ignored even after multiple GP visits; I totally failed both A-levels, because of other people’s errors/and then a huge chunk of my hard work work getting lost.

As an adult, when I’d go clubbing I’d either get totally ignored by blokes (even shoved out of the way) or they’d bluntly pursue me for one thing only. Such a head-fuck! In my second job a group of people who I thought were my friends were secretly excluding me from nights out and taking the piss behind my back for a year. Then in my very next job it happened all over again with three other ‘friends’ who, after six months started trying to manipulate and lie to me, like it was a game. I didn’t trust my own judgment or perspective on anything for several years afterward.

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I’d managed to cope with the anxious feelings by talking to (actual) friends and doing lots of fun stuff (everything to the extreme) and pretending all of this was just average daily life. I was ignoring that many things were way more difficult for me to navigate than my friends, for so many reasons I couldn’t understand and that I really wasn’t ‘fine’. Not remotely. When I got overly emotional I blamed the beer I’d drank or that I was over tired. Then, when I finally got diagnosed with several chronic illnesses I was obviously relieved but understandably anxious too.

Basically, I thought it’s not the mental illness ‘Anxiety’ if I’ve always got a reason to feel anxious right? Wrong!

Now, for the past few months the fact I have and have always had anxiety has become so obvious to me, that I can’t ignore it anymore. I was so busy coping with other shit going on, oddly enough, the importance of my mental health got shuffled to the back of my mind. I’ve been having the same two upsetting dreams about being left behind or ignored; I’m stewing on negative thoughts that I can’t shake and over-thinking people’s actions; lately I’ve had a constant wobbly feeling in my tummy that either ruins my appetite or has me running to the loo because the food has flown right through me.

I realise this current anxiety is down to several situations that have all collided at once. It’s wildly skewing my perspective, making me needy and fearful and even effecting my decision making and actions. One of those things was being unable to bear going through five hours of being on my own with my wildly see-sawing thoughts, no matter how much I distracted my self with manicures, makeovers, films and ice cream, they’d creep back. It resulted in me (at least once a day) phoning and/or texting the one person I was meant to be giving a little space to, and yet somehow, never mentioning my anxiety to them. Not once.

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Hopefully now I’ve recognised all of this and having talked some of it through with that person, the anxiety will calm down a lot. They were patient and surprisingly empathetic. It turns out that they’ve had anxiety for years, over-thinking and worrying about me! Since the talk, I’ve already stopped having the dreams so that’s a lot less mentally exhausting. I also feel very relieved, although still a little uncertain. They’ve also said it’s a weight off their chest, just saying it out loud.

There are still some incredibly important things up in the air but only time – rather than numerous phone calls – will reveal how those will work out, so I’ll just have to wait. Gosh, I’m crap at waiting….

Chrissie

 

10 Ideas for a Cozy Autumn & Winter

  1. Treating yourself to a new scarf, hat or gloves
  2. Hot chocolate or spiced tea/coffee in a big mug, which you can wrap both hands around
  3. A stroll around a big indoor artisan food or craft fair
  4. Fairy lights decorating a room, before and after Christmas
  5. A candle or perfume with a comforting fragrance
  6. Extra blankets and big cushions on the settee/bed to make a nest from
  7. A thick novel or biography which really engages you
  8. Donating food/clothes to projects and charities for people who are especially vulnerable around this time of year
  9. Big, hearty homemade stews or pies
  10. Having the heating automatically turn on for a while, just before you get out of bed

Chrissie

10 Positive Things Dyspraxia Has Given Me

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.

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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!

 

Determination

‘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)

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Lateral thinking

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)

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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!

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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)

Chrissie

You Don’t Have To Hide Your Disability Or Condition

I have what is referred to as an ‘invisible disability’ because Dyspraxia is part sensory, part co-ordination and part comprehension/attention/memory related, it’s not always an obvious physical thing. Invisible Disabilities have their own problems when it comes to mingling with the general pubic (yes, I know). I’m going to list them because I like lists!

Lazy But Frequent Assumptions People Make About You

  1. People loose patience with you because they think you are being lazy or just taking your own sweet time.
  2. People think you’re just a big weird goof and make tactless observations or find it easier to avoid what/who they don’t understand.
  3. People scowl at you for using things/spaces for disabled people because you aren’t in a wheel chair or you don’t have a big neon “DISABLED” sign hovering over your head.
  4. People think you are acting precious or being a bit of a diva because you’re asking for special attention or more frequent attention compared to everyone else, who’s just ‘getting on with it’.
  5. People think you are being an ignorant arsehole. Yes, I just love loosing the plot of our conversation about your baby who’s just started walking (and who’s name I can’t remember) or literally bumping into you on the street when we’re the only two people on the pavement or over compensating and giving you a ludicrously wide birth (hilarious to watch apparently!) or struggling to join in a group conversation and then blurting out what I want to say when it’s not even relevant anymore.
  6. That you are just plain stoopid.

Talk About Your Condition/Disability! Tell people!

Don’t stop strangers in the street and regale them with details of your latest Dr’s visit like, but do get a dialogue going with people you are going to be spending a lot of time with.

In hindsight I would have found it so much easier in every college, every job and every new circle of friends I’ve made, if I’d have just had ‘the talk’ with them. Alright, back then I had no understanding of why I struggled so much but I knew which things I struggled with.

 

Yeah, I know it shouldn’t be up to the disabled person to set the standard and to feel like they have to justify their actions but explaining them might possibly make it easier for said person in the long term. Your disability shouldn’t be something you are ashamed of either.

Why Covering For Your Disability Won’t Always Work

I did an Office Administrator apprenticeship in my 20’s where I wasn’t much older than most of my colleagues kids. They noticed straight away that I wasn’t coping very well but falleveryone was lovely and they all really helped me. After a year the apprenticeship was over and I had to find a new job.

I fell in with a group of people that had started a month earlier and had bonded with each other quickly. After 6 months I still felt a little like I was ‘the new girl settling in’ and had an uneasy feeling I hadn’t meshed quite right with them. I automatically assumed it was down to my wonky social skills. Other people in the office had previously dropped subtle hints to me about ‘knowing who your friends are’ etc. but subtlety isn’t my strong point and anyway, these people were doing just enough to con me into thinking they genuinely were my friends. I think that they knew I was (intentionally) hiding something from them and something i_m_fine__by_halliova-d5jex0lwasn’t quite right, so they all thought it gave them the right to treat me like shit. I ended up leaving because of it, with no other prospect of employment on the horizon but that’s not the point. They were a bunch of knobs, obviously, but that’s not the point either….

Accept It And Own It!

The point is, I was trying to hide my condition in plane sight and failing miserably. One minute I was chatting a mile a minute and the next I was being evasive and not making eye contact. Fine not fine. Basically I was really embarrassed by my ‘weirdness’ and was bright enough to quickly be able to come up with a vaguely plausible excuse for every symptom, while t the same time feeling really rather stupid. We need to remember we aren’t wrong or broken, we just function differently. We shouldn’t be making excuses for being who we are or acting the way that we do regarding being different.Every single person on the planet has things they are good at and things they are crap at. The only difference with us is that we are more determined to give the things we know we’ll struggle with, a try in the first place.

If people notice you are acting or doing something that’s a little different don’t try to hide it,uniqueness-quotes or make excuses for it. People will see through you and wonder what on earth is going on. If you continue to behave like that, it’s pretty obvious people are going to get tired or even annoyed. It’s not fair I know but there you go. Either find a quiet time to have a casual chat or wait until someone brings it up and then just be open and honest with them about it.

 

Even if you only make your lecturer/manager aware so that they can make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help you cope. For instance, amassing angrier and angrier warnings from your boss for being late, when you struggle with time management and planning might actually be avoidable! Maybe you could start and finish slightly earlier/later to avoid rush hour?

What To Say About Your Disability or Condition

Maybe talk about specific things you struggle with, if you’ve been diagnosed with a certain thing or the reason why that condition effects you (if you are lucky enough to know) or how long you’ve had it. Go into as much or as little detail as you want but try to keep your sense of humour. At the very least it gives people a better understanding of you, and why shouldn’t they!

Admit If You Need Help WithA Task

I know with invisible disabilities it’s possible a person can keep on scraping by and covering up their mistakes or their needs but that knotted stomach feeling of dread can lead to anxiety and depression. It’s much better to ask for help or clearer guidance from your teacher/lecturer/manager/colleagues/friends from the start, even if that help is just a little more patience or understanding from them. Absolutely everyone needs help sometimes so if you are really really struggling with a task don’t feel embarrassed to ask for some!

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Being more open about it might make you feel vulnerable at first but as I’ve learned, hiding it can make you just as vulnerable. They are some awesome people out there with more empathy and understanding than you might first realise.

The more people talk about disabilities, the more people get to hear about them and gain a greater understanding of them :o)

Chrissie xx

10 Reasons Why I Love My Wonky Body

I’m going off when my body and energy levels are on good form because I’m trying to be nice to myself these days ^_^

  1. It’s got a lot of natural rhythm which makes it easier to dance without me really loving-yourselfover-thinking it.
  2. My legs are long and surprisingly strong, through them having to correct my balance constantly when I stand and walk. The Amazons have nothing on me lol
  3. I have a really fast metabolism which is great for never having to worry about getting overweight (just hangry) and it means I can totally justify ordering sides with my main meal.
  4. Being tall is pretty handy to not feel claustrophobic in a crowd and to see where I’m meant to going if it’s somewhere new.
  5. My immune system may attack me but cold and flu viruses beware, it’s effectively coming for you too!
  6. I tan quickly which is awesome after a grey winter – I mean my skin, not the weather.
  7. I have weirdly good balance if I really concentrate.
  8. Being hypermobile is actually really handy when trying to reach past a load of clutter or when the lid off something has rolled under furniture.
  9. I’ve gotten some interesting scars over the years but I also heal surprisingly quickly.
  10. I’m going to be inhabiting my body for the rest of my life so I might as well appreciate it!

Chrissie

Note: Incase you wondering, the conditions I have are Demyelination (similar to but not actually MS), Dyspraxia, Aspergers, Sensory Processing Disorder (relating to the latter three conditions), allergies, PCOS (suspected by GP), Hyperthyroidism, Hypermobilty Syndrome (including food intolerance), which can all have the symptoms of chronic fatigue/brain fog in common.

Selfcare To Do List (a fun one)

I thought I’d bump up this post as it is a Sunday – probably the best selfcare day of the week, if you don’t have the time or energy to do everything, every day.

It’s so easy to let small habits slide when we are busy, tired and/or ill but it’s those small things that, when added together make such a big difference to our emotional and physical wellbeing.

Here’s my handy list of things that I do, some of which are fun, some are simple but make such a big difference and some are selfless but not really because, let’s be honest, it feels nice to be nice. ^_^

Daily

Drink water, probably should drink a bit more

Take meds/vits

Coffee or Protein Smoothie (which still contains coffee)

Eat x3 (preferably not all at once toward the evening!)

Lip balm

Facial Serum/Oil

Fix hair (combing the beast totally counts)

Wear at least one thing I really like such as earrings, pointy boots, mascara or a sparkly pin.

Record one thing which made me happy/grateful that day, either on Instagram or happiness journal.

Take at least 30 minutes to myself with no interruptions if needed.

Drink some coconut water or aloe vera for the easily absorbed electrolytes.

Get off my ass and volunteer to make a brew/take empty plates into kitchen etc. x3

Gentle stretching/balance/co-ordination (whisper it) exercises

Weekly

Treat myself to any food I like

Have an evening totally to myself

Read part of novel (C,mon you have seven days to choose from, seven!)

Watch trashy TV shows that make me smile or laugh

Herd caterpillar (pluck eyebrow/s)

Pet or feed a cute animal (caterpillar does not count)

Some kind of grocery shopping OUTSIDE (yes, that place where there is sunlight and air)

Facemask/facepack/natural skin peel

Do a good deed

Blog/comment on other blogs

Do a load of washing

Iron (bahahaahaaaahaa!)

Hug or at least phone my Dad

Exercise on cross trainer

Get tipsy

(important to get the latter two in the right order)

Monthly

Go out for a fancy meal

Have a completely needless but totally indulgent bubble bath

Check bank statements (for possible beer induced purchases)

Trim hair-canopy back to recognisable fringe/bangs

Monthly round-up on my blog/Instagram

Drop that item off at the charity shop/food bank in supermarket

Watch a film I love

Have fresh flowers in the living room

Chrissie

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Street Art Manchester and Cities of Hope Global


The Cities of Hope project has been going on in Manchester for 9 days in the Northern Quarter, where renowned street artists from around the world came to Manchester to create art focusing on social justice including homelessness, mental health and equal rights.

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Here’s some other street art and shots from around The NQ

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Don’t know if anyone remembers me posting this piece last year but I went to check if it was still in the wall and found a little dude chilling on the stairs!

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check out the drone

Look out for more street art and general Manchester street shots in future. I intend to do one a month if poss.

Chrissie

5 Fandom Friday – 5 Ways You Grew/Changed/Evolved in 2015

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  1. I’ve started trying to be more empathetic. Trying not to take other peoples moodiness too personally and also giving them some quiet time or recognising if they are struggling emotionally. It’s easy to take others moodiness personally but we don’t always realise how much stress they may be dealing with and how much it’s actually effecting them.
  2.  I’ve learned to accept my limitations and not to push myself until I’m exhausted and therefore going from one fail to another. I’m not a super-human and it’s ok to say “I don’t have the time/energy to be able to this, I’m sorry but it’s not going to happen.” Also to do half of the things well and enjoy them rather than trying to get all of the things done in a rushed and stressed out manner.
  3. I’ve learned that even though I can struggle to find the right words for things and keep my thoughts in order, I can actually be confident, articulate, emotive and put my point across in a very specific way in front of strangers in a court room. All thanks to taking the department of work and pensions to tribunal.
  4. I’ve realised it doesn’t mean you have failed or are shit at something (ok maybe a little) if you need to ask someone to help you with something. There is persevering, practicing and learning and then there’s struggling needlessly as a result of foolish pride!
  5. I’ve started taking care of my health on a daily basis but not worrying about what may happen in the future. I mean no one really knows for sure. I love chaos theory, ha! There is no point spoiling the moment you are in worrying about the moments ahead. If I just chill and go with the flow then not only am I going to be happier and have more laughs, I’m not going to be emotionally exhausted when/if I do need to tackle a problem.

One other weird thing….I felt like I had grown a few inches and lost a little bit of weight. Turns out I’m still the same as I was before!? I have been consciously (my god, I actually spelt that right first time) working on my posture so maybe that’s it.

Any points here that resonate with you?

Chrissie xx