I've just come back from one of the most exhausting but exciting weekends I've had in a long time, I got to see my childhood idols S club 7, I also got to do the social media for The Dyspraxia Foundation and spend time with friends who I hadn't seen in a long time. It got me thinking about life and the people I know and how things can change for the better you just have to hold on.
In previous blogs I've talked about how lonely, confusing and isolating it can feel feeling different to everyone else. That's why to me personally it was so important for me to to a good job, it's so important that the word gets out on social media, so people know the realness of a hidden difference, especially those which are not well known such as dyspraxia.
I've never been a confident person and often can affect my anxiety and how I perceive myself and worry that I'm going to mess up or make an idiot of myself- the what ifs. The night before I felt quite poorly with anxiety which coupled with the excitement of seeing the set list for the tour- I mean who doesn't get excited over the thought of Rachel Stevens doing a solo section. My chest felt like someone had put a huge rock on it and my fingers were numb with pins and needles and from shaking so was panicking how on earth would I be able to type all day (I think it's so important people are aware of the physical effects of anxiety and how they can affect someone.) I had accidentally directed myself to the wrong hotel and was in a bit of a Rosie flap. One thing I've found about dypraxia is how deeply we feel emotion, when we're excited we feel it, when we're anxious you know it, when we worry it will bother us for hours, when we're happy we're bouncing off the walls and when we're sad you feel the sadnes too. Which for some situations in life is brilliant, it means we can be very empathetic, and loyal.
But when I arrived I was greeted with so much warmth, the ladies told me not to worry and calm myself down and that I would do a good job. The day was amazing and I would really recommend you going to a conference if you want to find out more about dyspraxia. Throughout the day I laughed along as many of the powerpoints were about me especially how little things such a leaving your phone behind can be so overwhelming for a dyspraxic/dyslexic it can throw us off. Sally Payne talked a lot about from her research how dypraxia effects teenagers and the links between dyspraxia and anxiety and depression and how a lot of people get scared of making mistakes. 95% of people with dyspraxia feel anxious, and 40% of people with dyspraxia feel anxious all the time, wih it being mental health awareness week this week it's so important that people understand these things. She also talked about finding your niche and doing things which you enjoy which can help the emotional effects.
Back in the day it was never cool to like s club, I used to get told by people I would never meet them and was called all kinds of not nice things for being a fan of them, their music helped me through some hard times and helped me beat the people who bullied me and didn't understand why I was so different and Rachel and Hannah and Jon inspired me, I honestly don't know where I would have been in life without them. This time round life life has changed so much and I've overcome a lot of goals in life. But what meant the most was spending time with people who got this. If you don't look up to a celebrity it's hard to explain what they have done for you or how they have made you smile, especially though hard times. I met people who I had been wanting to meet in years and caught up with friends from a far- even a friend coming all the way from Australia .
Which leads me onto a little bit of a guest paragraph from my friend Clairey who some of you may know, this is the first time she has talked about these in hope it might help others. From spending time with her I've realised we've had some similar experiences and even though she has no formal diagnosis of dyspraxia or more towards the autistic spectrum a lot of her feelings are similar to mine she is one of the kindest people I know and one of the most creative. It's so important that we don't judge or assume, you never know how someone might struggle in life especially when it's invisible. In her own words:
I do worry what people think of me, I find it hard to write things down and worry about what people think of me before they meet me and worry about it afterwards and it can make me shaky and feel sick. I'm clumsy and eye contact scares me and being with a lot of faces and being with a lot of people can scare me too. It means I only focus on people who I feel most comfortable with and it's not me being rude it's who puts me at ease that's why I tend to focus on one person when I meet them in a group as I struggle to communicate with them. Despite all of this she's so determined she never gives up, and even though the world can be a terrifying place for her which she doesn't understand she keeps going and puts herself in situations she hates. Determination is such a huge strength for many people who have hidden differences.
This is something which I can personally relate to especially growing up, my mum always used to tell me that's she was the person I only felt confident giving eye contact too and I can pin point starting to being a worrier right back to nursery school, and I think it's easy for many people to take for granted the ability to communicate confidently with ease and worry. But sometimes people need that chance, that little bit of understanding, to know it's ok to be a little bit different. We need to talk about hidden differences, it's nothing to be scared of or ashamed of, the more you talk the more people will know what is happening on in the brain. A little time to crack open that shell to make us feel socially comfortable, it really honestly makes a huge difference on confidence levels. I hope from sharing my personal experiences it can help Clairey feel more comfortable in a world which at times can seem quite scary to us with a different way of thinking. Clairey is at the beginning of the long journey of understanding why she is the way she is, but with the right help, support and understanding she'll go far in life. Luckily for me I have an amazing boyfreind and I have a boss for the first time undertands the emotional challenges as well as the more physical ones and tries her best to help boost my confidence. There are people who "get it" there are people who understand, just keep holding on and if you don't have a hidden difference, you may not completely get it but a little bit of kindness and empathy can go a long way in life.