Thursday, 11 February 2016

The impact of music

Music is something which affects something millions of people around the world in so many different ways. It can connect people, bring people together and shape someones life. It's something which I've seen quite a bit about recently for many reasons from the impact of Beyonce tickets going on sale, to people learning a musical instrument and I thought it was something important which needed blogging about. Music has always been some what of an escapism throughout my life and something which has had a huge influence on me.

I recently read a blog from fellow dyspraxic blogger Alice titled "music saved my life" which can be found here if you fancy having a read: and it really highlighted the impact and value that something can have someone's life dyspraxic or not. Some people might roll their eyes and think how can something have such an impact on someone, it's only an instrument or it's just a popstar but I'm hoping this blog will open some eyes.

Growing up I experienced some very similar experiences to Alice, similar bullying experiences leading to very negative thoughts and self destructive coping mechanisms, although these are things which both of us have said we tend to not talk about in blogs the links between mental health and dyspraxia and other hidden differences/disabilities is something which is something which needs addressing.

As mentioned in previous blogs the dyspraxia is a very long acceptance journey, something I've always found a lot easier than the dyslexia journey probably down to dyspraxia being not as well known.  Realising at a young age how different you are to your peers, that you don't fit in and having a body and brain which simply do not want to work together properly no matter how hard you try, the frustration, the sheer chaos, the comparisons to other people as you see day to day tasks taking you 10x longer than everyone else around you and the impact that has on self confidence and belief.

When I was younger it was recommended by my occupational therapist to try playing a musical instrument as something to help with my co-ordination and motor skills. I decided to learn to play the flute, even though it took me a lot longer to pick up the skills needed and I'm sure it was dropped many a time over the years, it gave me a feeling of accomplishment. I began to play with my local school orchestra and for someone who was always known as "the quiet shy one" found my voice as I could play a lot louder than I could project my voice. I had found my escapism, and found I was a lot more determined and resilient over things I loved.

Around that time I also developed a love of pop music and love of going to concerts. 5 years ago I gave Mollie my first ever blog on how she had inspired me, and I told her the positive impact she had on my life and how her being open about her dyslexia had encouraged me to talk more open about my difficulties. I was met with the warmest hug, and words of encouragement and empathy which have stayed with me to this day. For the first time I felt like I could get somewhere with my life, and that I wasn't all the negative things I or the bullies in my life had told myself. 5 years on even though I've never seen myself as a writer and my mum always tells me I should be more confident about my writing, I'm really proud of the blogs I've written and the impact they have.

Liking a band/artist is so much more than just the music, it's about lifelong memories, spending time with people you don't get to see often, having an escape from reality and being given a positive boost. Through my love of music has also given me the confidence to approach and get help for the many anxieties living with dyspraxia can bring, which many take for granted.Such as: being able to travel to a new city, being able to cross a busy road, being in very crowded like a busy arena, concert venue or the transport before/after, then there's all the stairs which are in arenas often without handrails.  Although I still have a way to go managing my anxieties it's made me so determined.

Music has helped me accept myself and find people who accept me. Without music me and my boyfriend and many friends we have met up and down the UK would never met. Escapism and finding something which makes you happy and smile in life is so important, not just if you have a difficulty, difference or disability, it may not be music but something else, something you or your child connects with. The impact can be so positive not just for the person but the people around them too. Seeing me be so happy after being so down, anxious and depressed to find a little bit of purpose in life has had such an impact on my mum and the rest of my family.

Most importantly music has helped me help other people, I know if it wasn't for the words of encouragement  given to me I would never have the confidence or self belief to be able to do so much of the awareness work I do. This week I had the opportunity to go on the Victoria Derbyshire show to talk about discrimination and bullying surrounding dyslexia and dyspraxia in the workplace, inside I was terrified but determined that nobody should have gone through what I have.

For me music has given me predictability in a chaotic, overwhelming world and so much more.

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