Firstly thank you so much to everyone who read my last blog and for all the positive feedback and comments it means so much. To follow on from that blog and some very valuable training I had yesterday at Get Connected where I am very proud to say I have been accepted as a volunteer. One of the main topics of discussion was how as volunteers we have to be none assuming, understanding and empathetic and it got me thinking. We all make assumptions either about other people or situations, we're human beings and it's a natural way of thinking, it doesn't make us bad people at all. But sometimes when it comes to hidden different ways of thinking or mental health issues where you can't visibly see what is wrong or how the brain is processing information. We need to see the bigger picture and try not to make assumptions, as those assumptions can be quite detrimental to a person.
As someone with dypraxia it can mean I'm often quite messy, the clothes I unpacked from mine and my boyfriends recent break away are still piled high on a pile infront of me, some which really need putting on a hanger. When I go out for a meal sometimes I end up with whatever I've been eating around my mouth or a few stains on what I'm wearing. Whenever I'm creative it looks like a glitter ball has exploded all around me and when I try and present my work it can look like the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Throughout my life there's been the assumtion that I musn't care, or haven't taken the time when I'm doing things or even been told that I'm lazy. When in reality I do care very much and the embarrassment and shame normally tinges from my cheeks when I make a mess, my brain infact is working 10x harder than most other people to process information along the wires and sometimes those connections get jumbled up. How often do we see someone who is a messy eater and assume they have bad manners or simply doesn't care.
How many times do we see someone who writes something which lots of spelling mistakes or handwriting is all over the place and assume they aren't trying their best. At school I was constantly told that I must try harder and take my time to make things look nicer, in reality I was exhausted from trying so hard and used to fall asleep for a nap when I got home. This can really dent self esteem and confidence and self perception, if you're constantly told you're not trying and people have low expectations of you, you start to believe it, you stop having a go at things you're good at and enjoy and become very anxious about making mistakes and constantly overthink when you do make a mistake.
Which leads me onto my next point the social side, the way people process information in a certain way can mean people can struggle in social situations. I support some incredible students who are on the autistic spectrum, some of them can be quite blunt, to anyone who has very little understanding of the autistic spectrum assumptions can be made that people are rude. The same can be said for mental health issues because you can't see what's going on assumption can be made and this can be very upsetting for the person who is struggling. I know when I get really anxious and panicy in social situations, my social skills can be none existent and the only thing which can calm me down is to rock in a dyspraxic un co ordinated fashion or to pace around , it's not the right way to deal with things and to on lookers people probably think what on earth is she doing? But it's my brains way of processing information. Since I've started learning self care tips and from other advice I've started building up more positive coping strategies. But to those who might not know me well assumptions might be made.
My boyfriend who isn't dyspraxic ( although has been asked much to his amusement quite a few times if he is ) can find some social situations tricky and it can make him go really quiet and anxious if you don't know him well again you would probably wonder what on earth was going on. Thats why I think it's so important that if you do see someone who might not find social situations easy whether they have a label attached to it or not, not to judge or assume or come to conclusions that someone is a bit weird or odd. We need to fight against these stigmas and by simply having an understanding view of things it can make someone feel so much better about themselves. That's not saying that there isn't interesting characters of people around but once you properly get to know someone you can tell who and what is genuine and by what kind of heart. Often if you see past someones struggles and quirks you can see what a warm big heart they have. I pride myself on being pretty selfless and non assuming, I have a pretty big caring warming heart to near enough everyone I meet, sometimes my anxiety might make me come across in a different way but that warm heart will always be there.
To finish off this blog I'm going to briefly touch on social media something which Matt has quite a bit in his previous blogs, a lot of dyslexic and dyspraxic people struggle to get their ideas onto paper which means that written articulation may be a struggle for some people, assitive technology can help this but sometimes when you can't get your thoughts down in your head how you want them onto paper or screen it's easier to use shortened or simpler ways. Socially people can make assumptions on how that comes across but it's so so so important that you see the bigger picture, put all the pieces of the jigsaw together.
I hope this blog has opened some eyes on how important it is to not make assumptions, we all do and it's fine but you never know how someones brain is wired and how that wiring can effect someone we need to keep talking about different ways of thinking as much as we can so people can make positive assumptions and see the positive things our brains can do, the end result is that there is so much more happiness. My friend Hannah or @hannanar on twitter as many of you know has just written a blog on hidden disabilities as it links in this one I thought I would share a link http://t.co/PvL6tZLYGU