I was diagnosed with dyspraxia in third year, but it made me more confident
The disorder affects your motor skills and coordination
Since being little, I have always been the "ditsy one" in pretty much every social situation. After a while I just accepted it and made it my thing. I can't tell the time (too well), I fall over a lot, and I am forever leaving my keys on the bus (sorry mum/housemates).
Skip forward 10 years and the number of keys I left on the bus has risen to eight sets, and I have an irrational fear of cash machines because I simply can’t read the numbers. Oh and the time issue? Yeah, I still can’t remember which is the hour hand and which is the minute hand. All these problems were mounting up, and really starting to stress me out. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t process certain information and was forever being accused of being scatterbrained and labelled as ditzy.
My problems with navigating life, along with people just assuming I was I was a bit dumb caused me to feel pretty shitty about myself. No matter how hard I tried to do things like other people and get things organised, I just couldn’t.
I was working myself into a panic constantly checking bus times or the work rota, getting confused with my uni timetable. I adopted a habit of constantly telling self-deprecating jokes in order to beat people to making fun of me. As annoying as having the piss taken out of me was, constantly putting myself down was even worse.
People mentioned dyspraxia to me again and again, often as a joke – “oh you might have dyspraxia.” After hearing this "joke" too many times, I decided to get checked out.
Even going to the doctors for a diagnosis, I was on the phone to my flatmate saying how ironic it would be if I fell over on the way, but deep down I was entering unknown territory, and I was nervous.
Initially, the doctor asked me to perform some basic movements like moving my finger from my nose to ears as fast as possible and walking backwards with my eyes closed (I was convinced she filmed this and put it on YouTube in an attempt to make a viral video).
Then she began asking me questions like “do you struggle to sleep?”, “is it difficult to differentiate between certain numbers?” and “do you bump into things regularly?”. There were about 20 questions, all to do with co-ordination and lifestyle organisation.
I have always struggled to stop fidgeting when I go to sleep, I never know what big numbers with more digits than three are, and I'm covered with bruises just from walking into a door handles and bumping bits of myself.
When I first told people, the reaction was often “oh no”, however, to me it's a huge relief and I don’t get as offended. Even better, I can keep the “ditzy” tag because I know it's not personal anymore and people can start to take me more seriously.
Dyspraxia affects your coordination abilities and is usually found in younger children when they’re developing basic motor skills. In some cases, children might require therapy to help with their speech and sleep and training or counselling to help them with emotional and social understanding. More milder cases, such as mine, can go unnoticed. Hence being the “ditzy one” most of my life.
Now I’m aware of my dyspraxia, it's really helped with my self confidence. I know I’m not just useless at things and there is a reason why certain information can be hard to process, it's not down to "my simple little brain". So although I’m still ditzy, disorganised and I may as well have a season ticket to A&E, at least I know I’m doing the best I can, and my achievements mean so much more to me now that I know I was un-diagnosed for so long.
So yeah, I may be dyspraxic, but it's part of who I am and I'm owning it.