Monday, 13 January 2014

Dyspraxia, anxiety and me.

This is quite a personal blog to me and it's quite hard to write but I hope in by opening up to help other people as I know both are really common issues and hopefully by opening up it may help people understand why I maybe do things sometimes the way I do.

A lot of people assume that a lot of my difficulties lie with dysexia, as I have quite strong links with the Charity Dyslexia Action and am taking part in a course training to (fingers crossed) become a a specialist teacher to help others especially children who may have been experiencing the same difficulties I have and yes I do have dyslexic difficulties but my main struggles in life have been with dyspraxia. Something which not too many people have heard of. Or think of as just somebody being clumsy- my legs are a nice shade of deep brown at the moment (who needs fake tan when you have bruises!)

It's also meant that I've had many experiences with anxiety both in general and socially, on social media, out in the real world it's always seems to crop it's head at the most inconvient of places, especially as you're going to bed. A lot of people get anxious, and worry about things wheather it be about work/school or college or about a situation which you have no control over. Severe anxiety at times can feel like someone's punched you in the stomach and left it churning, your brain can't see any sense and your head is filled with self doubt and worry.

Mental health issues are often exist with learning issues and I hope this helps anyone who experiences, either or both. One of the main difficulties with dysraxia is balance it can feel like you sometimes have no control over your body, it can do anything it wants too and doesn't do as your head might tell you. Another biggie is organisation and time management, as often it can feel like you're living in chaos with so many things to try and take control of. Also fear of being "different" to the outside world, I hate the word normal and think as much difference should be embraced, a lot of people through fear of being judged fit in and are scared as being seeing different. I think difference is really important and in the long run when applying for jobs and in lots of situations in the outside world can really be a bonus. As a child I was very un-coordinated especially when I walked or ran, I used to find going up and down stairs difficult as I stuggled to balance, even now I always without fail have to hold onto the rail and take my time, making busy railway stations quite difficult. Ive also always struggled with spacial awareness, which is basically making sense of myself in relation to other people and objects. I'm that awkward person you see in a busy street when everybody is shopping who always has to say sorry when I bump into people. It's also meant learning to drive has taken me a lot longer to have the confience to do, the thought of trying to steer something into a small space or try not to run people over or run down animals. It all can be very anxiety ridden, and a lot of fear of the unknown. But it's something I'm determined to do in the long run and something which I know will give me the biggest confidence boost.

Fear of the unknown is one of my biggest issues I always over think and wonder what if might hapen especially if it's a new situation or one which I've not experienced in a long time. I always dread the first day back to work after a holiday as I have fear of the unkown about what might happen. Even though in reality most of the time it's ok. I was experiencing such bad anxiety at work last year that I was too anxious to speak and often used to sit in the staffroom at lunch fear of what I was going to say was going to be stupid or I'd embarrass myself infront of everyone. I also was experiencing some panic attacks on my way to work which for anyone who's reading this who's experienced them they aren't very nice things. The worst aspect about anxiety is the overthinking the plauguing yourself with self doubt and worry about who you are as a person and a fear of upsetting someone or hurting someones feelings. Growing up I used to really struggle standing up for myself I used to be scared I'd say the wrong thing or scared I'd hurt someone elses feelings. This is something which I strugge with today and often find it hard to see when someone may be taking advantage of me but slowly I'm starting to have the confidence to do it. When you have a panic or anxiety attack it can be a very scary experience it can feel like your heart is beating out of your chest and you can't get air everything can feel weird in the past I've had times where I've been so anxious I got pins and needles in my face/hands.

A lot of people with dyspraxia, and a lot of people without dyspraxia can struggle with social anxiety that can have a lot of different difficulties for different people, some people might struggle answering the phone, giving eye contact, going into shops, speaking infront of people to name a few. Every day to day things a lot of people take for granted. I hate speaking on the phone and will try and avoid it unless it's speaking to my boyfriend or mum or needs to be done. A few months ago I phoned radio 1 to speak to Mollie King from the satudays and ask for some advice, I felt so anxious my hands were shaking. Being open about my difficulties due to past bad experiences has always something I've felt anxious about, fear of being judged and people not understanding. But I was proud of myself for doing it and overcoming my fear and the advice really helped me. Talking about Mollie I remember once before meeting her at radio one having a full blown anxiety attack because I was worried she would be like oh it's her again or think what I made for her was a whole load of rubbish and want to bin it. Anxiety can be very weird at times and crop up really when you don't expect it.
There has been such a rise in social media over the last few years and in lots of ways it can be a really positive thing and connect a lot of people together who have shared interests.A  fair number of people with dyspraxia and other related conditions  have difficulties  with controlling emotions. I know that, for me personally, when someone or something makes me feel bad, my mind has a tendency to fixate on it for a long period of time.

It can be extremely hard to “switch off” from that when the way that your brain works is to continually focus on what has been said so that it goes round in a never ending loop, rather like a stuck record. This is why people should consider what they are saying before they say it as a trivial comment can often cause someone who has problems regulating their emotions untold distress and anguish.  Remember online you're only hearing someone communicate by typing you dont hear any verbal communication or body language. You don't know a full person by how they are on the internet or what else they may be dealing with in real life.

Here are some tips I have which work for me which may help you or a family member or friend.
Have someone to talk to who understands what you're going through who knows the triggers and knows when you're feeling anxious.
If you struggle with severe anxiety going to the doctors to can seek help can be beneficial as there are lots of professionals who are there to help you. This is something which has helped me a lot.
Think what could the worse thing that could happen if it's not going to be that bad have the confidence to go from it.
Have things to do which you find relaxing such as listening to music or swimming maybe or art.
It's ok sometimes not to be ok.
Try and limit social network usage if your anxiety is bad.
Most importantly never judge someone and how their behaviour is before understanding a situation or knowing them take the time to understand and don't assume. Anxiety can often make people come across in a way because they feel stressed or panicked or may use avoidance strategies to get out of situations which may be difficult.

On a personal note these last few months I've been trying to get well myself and as much as I love and adore helping lots of different people I've had to put myself first a bit which has been something which I've found hard. I can't always be helping people, and I have to prioritise who I help too. So please if it takes me a while to respond or if I'm absent from social media for a while etc please understand. It's important to me to feel well again and have the confidence to achive my dreams. I'm determined not to let anxiety hold me back in life and stop me enjoying the things I love doing. It's going to take a while and won't be easy but I have an incredible understanding boyfriend who has been there by my side. I really hope this blog has helped anyone who has been struggling with either condition and hopefully made people aware of the realness of anxiety and how it can effect people on a day to day basis and please try not to judge people till you're aware of their situation.
Please feel free to contact me with any comments. 


  1. Hi Rosie, thanks so much for sharing this information. I suspect my 8 year-old daughter has been suffering with Dyspraxia and its related mental anguish for quite some time. I'm trying learn all I can (now that the penny has dropped for me). How old were you when you found out you have Dyspraxia? How do I broach the subject of what it means to have it with her? Of course I will have her assessed appropriately, but I don't know how to tell her what it's for, without freaking g her out too much!
    Thanks again xx

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  4. Hi Rosie

    I'm so glad you have written this as pretty much everything you have said I have been through from having panic attacks about answering the phone at work, feeling sick and my mind going blank in meetings, feeling so anxious about returning to work after a holiday or day off! Everytime i get in the car and drive somewhere unknown i think i am going to have a crash etc!

    Its no way to live and so have been getting help. I also find it so hard to find the right words sometimes like i have to go into the attic of my brain and dig around. Simple things that seem so effortless for other people are very challenging. I have been off work for 6 months and had CBT sessions which have helped me very much.

    To anyone else reading this please speak to your GP and remember you are enough and we are unicorns.

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