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What’s it like to have Dyspraxia?

Recently I decided to talk openly about having Dyspraxia. One of my best friends is dyspraxic, and although we have always both known we are dyspraxic we had never thoroughly discussed it. A few weeks ago I asked how she was doing, we compared experiences, tips and talked all things dyspraxia for hours and wow it really felt like a relief. For years I had ignored it. Only ever cursing myself for being dyspraxic when I would have horribly disorganised moments. Now that I am being more conscious about my mental health I try to tell myself to relax a little when I find myself taking friends’ jokes literally. Relax, breathe, it was not meant as pure insult. Being the youngest I do find myself as the butt of jokes quite a bit, “silly Weez”, etc. That’s fine I know it’s not meant as insult, I know they think I am slightly “out there” due to the classic “thinking outside of the box” dyspraxic train of thought. That’s ok, it takes me a few seconds to reassure myself, but then I laugh with them because yes I know my random ways can be funny. It’s when people I don’t know so well join in, or perhaps a better way of putting it is – people who I don’t communicate enough with to know that they actually mean their laughter in a loving way. I take everything literally and absolutely everything to heart. After meeting up with best friends for drinks and catch ups at which we’ve spent hours laughing, I find myself sending apologetic text messages. I spend the next few hours going through most of what we spoke about in my head and judging every word I remember saying. I judge myself on how others see me constantly. I take every word of what my friends and family say to heart, everything is taken literally. Things I know that I should laugh off I find myself mulling over for hours and feeling that horrible physical ache you get when you have your heart broken. When talking to friends I try to read their emotions. I find conversations quite hard if I can’t read their “vibe”, I find myself listening to people talk but not quite understanding what they mean. If somebody behaves in a nasty way towards me, I feel sadness and confusion instead of instant anger. I spend hours trying to work out why people behave in the ways they do. I wish I didn’t. I really wish I could be apathetic in social situations.

When I am trying to describe something or explain something to a friend, I find myself repeating what I am saying over and over again. It’s boring, and of course people get bored and speak over me, then I feel guilty that I actually spoke in the first place. This is really not great for the self-esteem. In groups of people I find it hard to know my place. If several people are talking at once I loose concentration and give up on this social situation. There are periods when a strange heavy feeling of guilt takes over my mind and I walk around feeling like I’ve done something terrible, tiptoeing around everyone, feeling like it is safer to stay on my own for as much time as possible over these periods. Recently in one of these periods I caught up with my dyspraxic friend who told me she also got these feelings. It felt really, really amazing to be able to talk and hear about someone with the same experiences. It made me feel sane.

To conquer disorganisation, list making makes me feel mentally tidier, in control and confident. Minimalism and things being tidy make me feel relaxed, however I am far from a minimalist! Haha. My balance and coordination is amazingly off point. I wobble in to walls and fall off steps frequently.

My dyspraxic friend recommended me a forum for dyspraxic adults. Ever since I started using this forum life has become a little bit easier. If you want to join the forum please visit: http://www.dyspraxicadults.org.uk/forums/