Sometimes I feel like ‘neuro-normal’ people put verbal vaults in my way to imprison my intellectual and creative gifts.
I often feel like the bud above, trying to blossom in a society that relies heavily on words. I think I am a nonverbal thinker. However, most people want me to explain my plans to them. I think another issue here is my working memory. I often feel worried about going out shopping, to clubs and to appointments [sometimes I’m even hesitant about spending time with friends and family] because life and conversations rarely follow a set script.
Real life is not a rehearsal and I too often feel unprepared. I often don’t answer fast enough, causing people to badger me for my answer (or that’s how it appears to me). If I try to answer quickly the content of my statement tends not to cover everything I would have liked. So in my experience, the person I’m speaking to sees this as proof that I don’t know what I’m doing. They then start judging me and telling me what I should do. I then have a negative emotional reaction and I can’t take control of the situation.
For other people who have dyslexia this may sound rather strange: however, I believe I may have dyspraxia as well. When I was diagnosed back in the 1980s: the phrasing was something like ‘learning difficulties with dyslexic type difficulties’. My gross and fine motor skills were also flagged up as a problem, I think. My belief that I may be dyspraxic is bolstered by how hard I have to work to be organised.
I often feel like a coin in one of those charity whirlpool collecting domes. Imagine you are a 2p coin that has been rolled in through one of the wee slits in the side of the dome. Let’s think of this as a really good roll: the coin goes round and round in tight circles and covers almost every part of the ellipse. My life feels like this roller coaster ride. Round and round in circles – whilst each circumlocution may start at a different point due to what I have learned and experienced (it most often doesn’t feel like that). Occasionally as I metaphorical fall through the hole and look back at how far I’ve come I can see my progress. During these rare times where my self-esteem rises a little and I’m flying through the dark void of the unknown, I get a little respite.
However, I’m just in the space between fractals and in far too short a time I’ve hit the next whirlpool vortex. And round and round I go; feeling sick and dizzy all over again.
My creativity follows the ellipse too. My fine motor skills are not good enough for me to be a fine artist. But I’m extremely creative, I love: knitting, cross-stitching, and card marking etc. People don’t understand my creativity. I often design projects myself. The patterns are pretty useless to me. I can’t decipher cross-stitch grids or knitting patterns. I will often start a project without knowing what the finished article will be. Numerous people ask, ‘What are you knitting?’ I might reply ‘A square, for now’. They are often not happy with this answer.
I’d like to say not every journey needs a defined end point. Travelling along the path can be its own reward. Please let me ride the roller coaster of the vortex as a thrill ride for a change: rather than just feeling under-the-weather all the time!
Doreen Kelly, Dyslexia Scotland member and volunteer