Thursday, 9 June 2016

Celebrating small accomplishments

Sometimes life can feel overwhelming, like one huge storm or huge bowl of tangled up spaghetti, we feel trapped or caught up in it all and don't know how to move forward.

When you think in a different way, have a disability or a mental health condition whether
you're an child, young person or adult it can be very easy to compare yourself to others and see others progressing a lot faster than you or find tasks which others find easy either terrifying, time consuming or in short just really hard. It can affect your self esteem, motivation and confidence.

It can be very hard and simply overwhelming knowing where to start tasks especially if you struggle with anxiety or being organised and easy to avoid doing the task completely. My boyfriend always says I'm the worst procrastinator he's ever met, when I feel overwhelmed it's safe to say time literally flies by and I wonder where all the hours have gone. Whilst avoidance can initially make you feel better, once you start overcoming those little hurdles and break down the big things into more manageable chunks they can seem a lot less overwhelming. If we are proud of the little things we can achieve it can give us the confidence to take the next steps and the next piece in the jigsaw.

I think it's important to remember, and also any of the parents who read my blogs, you or your child will have your/their unique milestones, your/their own victories no matter how small they may seem.
Dyspraxia affects day to day tasks many take for granted so, it could be making a sandwich, being able to put your socks on, being able to give someone eye contact or manage to clean the house. As you go through life the challenges which approach us change over time, location and situation, so what might challenge us as a  dyspraxic child might change slightly over time as to as a dyspraxic adult. There are also other factors to consider such as: late identification and other differences or mental health issues.

In my last blog I discussed the impact anxiety has on my self doubt and confidence. For me even though I have many coping strategies for my dyspraxia, I have quite a way to go anxiety, but the more anxious I get the more my dyspraxic coping strategies seem to When trapped in that cycle of self doubt it can make everything seem never ending. As someone who if there is something to worry about, I worry about, and knowing where to begin and what to face when sometimes even leaving the front door is a challenge is terrifying in itself can be terrifying, but sometimes you have to go back to basics. When you’re beating yourself up over everything, it’s really hard to be patient and kind with yourself, but you can’t just flick a switch to for these anxious feelings or to feel more confident. Take small steps, and congratulate yourself when you do.

How you go about celebrating these is personal to the person, some people may keep it private, others share on social media, some in facebook groups where people know others will "get it." Children may find things like stickers or certificates helpful, for young people and adults doing something you enjoy or treating yourself. I think it's really important to remember everyone is different and as hard as it is, not to compare yourself or your journey to others.

One thing which might help to write down (or type into a phone or laptop) the good things that happen to you or your child or put together a memory scrapbook or box. It can be things you’ve enjoyed doing, nice things people have said to you. Breaking challenges and tasks into more manageable chunks or lists either written or pictorially and the feel good factor when you tick or cross something off once you've achieved it. Memory can be a huge issue for dyspraxics/dyslexics and having things written down can help give a structure. They don't to be a major achievement – jot down or stick down the tiny things so when you're struggling or feel low you have things to look back on. They can also be a lovely way for you/your child to see how far you have come and how those pieces of the jigsaw I talked about earlier in the blog slowly start to piece together to form the bigger picture.

If you can’t find anything positive to say about yourself, maybe someone else can do it for you. Now I've always been awful at accepting compliments and think people are just being nice but asking a loved one to write down what they see as your positive qualities might give you a boost, maybe you could think of doing the same for someone else. A little bit of kindness and encouragement can go such a long way. I'm so grateful for the kindness in the words of those who have nominated me for a National Diversity Award, when voting finishes (in less than 2 weeks) I plan on printing them off to look at when I don't feel so wonderful. If any of these blogs have helped at all, it would mean a lot if you considered nominating me.

Confidence isn't something which grows on trees, and you might not have much of it right now, but you can start planting some seeds. With the right self-care, your confidence can slowly start to grow again. If nobody has told you this today, I'm proud of you!

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