Sunday, 27 March 2011

How my brain works

I just finished watch 'Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid' which is still available on BBC iplayer for another day or two, or can be found on Youtube. I don't watch Eastenders, or Strictly Come Dancing, so I don't really know Kara Tointon, but I watched this on the recommendation of my sister and it really struck a cord.

I don't often think of the fact that I am dyslexic. I don't sit at work and wonder if other people find it easier. I don't look at my messy home and put it down to something wrong in my brain. I don't question why I tend to read in a darkened room. I've found ways of getting around things and I make my life work for me. When I read the definition of a disability as laid down by the government as an 'impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities', I wonder if my dyslexia counts, as I don't think it does have this much of an impact. After all, I can get dressed, feed myself, drive, hold down a job and a number of other activities. Does it have so much of an impact?

I guess I don't think about the way other people see the world, or the things they find easy which I don't. One of my main problems, that for some reason I never put down to dyslexia, is my organisation. A few years ago I asked for a diary for Christmas as I was tired of forgetting things I should be doing. I got a lovely cherry red Filofax which was brilliant. I made a real effort to remember to put important things in my diary. Then I forgot to look in my diary, so I forgot they were happening anyway. Now I have a Blackberry and I have to try real hard to remember to put stuff in it, but if I do, it flashes a reminder at me. This was my main motivation for getting a smart phone.

I have Meares-Irlen's as well - this is where light has an effect on my eyes and brain, something a lot of dyslexic's have. You know Ozzy Osbourne wears those red glasses? Meares-Irlens (or scoptic sensitivity syndrome). When I walk outside on a sunny day, my eyes hurt. When I look at words on a white page, they move around. The white stands out and the black is pushed back. I love to read and I read a lot. But I read in bed with the main light out and blue fairy lights on. It's not good for my eyes, but it means I can take it in.

I think the main reason I took to lace knitting is the lack of words. I like charts, they make sense to me. It's just a picture of what I'm supposed to be doing, so I just do that. And it means I can see what it should look like. I guess knitting with just words is like trying to do a puzzle without the picture on the box showing what it should be when it's finished.

It's hard to know how much my life is ruled by the fact that my brain works differently to other people's. It's not something people can see or that makes sense to them and because I can mostly spell and even write eloquently (or at least I hope - by the way, spell check had to correct elequontly as I spelled it phonetically - the second is how I want to spell it) so I think people forget. I know my boss does and then he gets frustrated because I haven't remembered something or my desk is a mass of papers. I'm going to ask him to watch this show and I hope he gets it.

And I know for sure that I can relate to the theme of the show; Don't Call Me Stupid. Because I have been. By myself and by others. I remember at school, trying to make a friend feel better about the score she got on a test by pointing out that I got a lower score and her response of 'But that's good. For you.' Real boost to my confidence that. That was a lot of years before I was diagnosed (I was 20 when I got myself tested) and she is one of a number of people I would like to go back to now and tell them why I wasn't 'reaching [my] full potential'.

It's hard. I don't want to use this as a crutch, an excuse, a reason to throw my head back place a hand on my forehead and whinge about how life never struck me a break. But I don't want to pretend it's not there and keep struggling with my various coping mechanisms and never admitting that things are harder and take more time for me than others.

Like much in life, it's about finding a balance. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I think I'm doing ok.

1 comment:

A Playful Day said...

Your story echoes with so many I have taught and loved. My little sister would love you too. I will be using this post for inspiration when they're having a 'I can't live up to my potential' moment. You're potential is huge and you're doing more than alright xx