Coping With Dyslexia

Anonymous || July 24th

How many times I've seen someone spell something incorrectly on a text, letter, social media, and seen the response...."Haha, you dyslexic or something???" Doesn't bother me, but I live with it everyday. Thing is, spelling poorly is just the tip of the iceberg! That being said, in trying to explain something that is frankly inexplicable, let's start with basic spelling.

I am writing a piece for the website REBEL. It's a difficult piece to write. Dyslexia makes the piece difficult to physically write. 

OK, in the last paragraph I used the word "Piece" 3 times. Like all children I was taught the simple spelling rule..."I before E except after C". It’s a rule with exceptions, but something we can all understand right? Well, not quite for me. You see, I know the rule, but each and every time I write the word, I have to stop and think about it. I did so three times in that short paragraph...and still got it wrong twice! Thank you spell checker. Dyslexia does not translate to stupid – it just means the brain process is getting messed up somewhere along the way.

But, if only it was just spelling! Also, in that short paragraph I completely missed out 3 words when doing the first draft and missed the end off another! Basically my brain is working way faster than my fingers when typing. What's worse is that I had to read that 3 sentence paragraph 3 times before it was correct.

Just one more word on the written word. The brain process of writing also invades my ability to read! I mean, I can read...big words and everything, 3 plus syllables even....but in any given paragraph I will almost always miss at least one sentence out completely. It can also mean on occasions I can get a basic instruction completely wrong....

I can quite easily read "can't meet you at 8 tonight" as "meet you at 8 tonight"! It's happened. It was terrible. I used to attend church on a regular basis, but was in constant dread that I would be asked to stand up and read that days Lesson...the Story of the Good Samaritan would have sounded very different with me reading it! Basically I read what I believe should be there and not what is actually there.

Now, some of you may have an understanding of what I am saying here. More often that not when I get things wrong I get a shake of the head from my family and friends. A nice "it's OK" smile. An occasional scream of frustration. Non family or friends just think I'm either lazy, stupid, weird (yes I spelt that word "weird" incorrectly at first), or a combination of all three. All of these reactions are rational responses. I get it.

But, lets delve a little deeper into the brain of a dyslexic.....

Natural process and habit.

Let me give you this example.

In the morning you get up, clean teeth, shower, shave (male). It is always done in that order. Without thought. Habit. But, not for me. I have to think every morning which of these 3 simple things I'm doing first, second and third. Every morning. The natural process simply doesn't work in my brain. Even I think that is weird! What makes it even stranger is that I will nearly always decide on the order in my bedroom, take the 3-4 second walk to the bathroom and then do all three things in a completely different order!

Working with Imagination.

I don't mean I imagine terrible things everyday. That's not what I mean at all. But, I'm having a real struggle explaining this one. It's all about ideas. I have a lot of ideas. I mean a lot! Each time I have one I have to think it through to a conclusion...or at least try to. The problem is that that one idea cascades into other ideas and so I have to try and evaluate those as well. Now, this is all well and good, but this process can take over the basic process of life.

Another example. I have a bill to pay. Money is not a problem. I have no reason not to pay it. But I have an unrelated idea, that needs thought. I have breaks from the idea and remember to pay the bill. Now I have more ideas. Two weeks later, the bill is overdue and I eventually take the 60 seconds needed to pay the bill....unless I have an idea! Everyone puts off paying a bill, but not because an idea for a "Children's Music Festival" has taken hold. Shit, I just thought of that so the gas bill can wait. Sad thing is, while you're laughing, I'm actually working it out!

(I had an unscheduled break for an hour here as I needed to work on the Children's Music Festival idea, sigh)


Order and Disorder

Naturally as a human being we are one or the other. I have very organised friends (IE again – got it wrong first time) and many very disorganised ones. I'm both. Organised and disorganised. Now, I can hear you say, "we all are a little bit". True, But you may be organised when it comes to important things and disorganised when it's rather more trivial. Important or trivial, it makes no difference to me. Important accounts – disorganised. Unimportant thing....what order to watch my various things saved on Sky + - totally organised! You see as a Dyslexic I have no concept or order...or importance.

There is so much more that I could write, but as I struggle with understanding it myself, I am struggling to put it into words. I've put a link to a website below. I remember someone close to me suggesting I look at this site when I was looking for some answers to how I am what I am. "37 Common Traits for Dyslexia". I wondered before looking if I'd be on the "spectrum"? Erm, you may say so...I have 35 of the 37!

There are more traits not listed here I have found over the years. Strange traits. "Are you good at architectural drawing?" "What?!?" Oh God, at the age of 9 I could draw a building perfectly! Ask me to draw a bowl of fruit and you're getting nothing, but ask me to draw Windsor Castle and I'm Frank Lloyd Wright reincarnated.

By the way. Don't pity us Dyslexics. What goes on in our head is roughly the same as the effect of Magic Mushrooms. At least I imagine it is.