Fast Thoughts: Coping with the Sideways

Just over a month ago I discussed what it was like growing up with Dyspraxia, I called it Growing up Sideways. In the same way George Michael had a name for the limit in his life, the red line, so do I realise I have one for my Dyspraxia. Here’s how I cope with The Sideways.

 Its why I have a Lancia O37 as the cover photo. Dyspraxia, whether I like or not is a part of my life in the same way it is part of driving a rally car or a go-kart. It forms a key part of who I am and without it I would not be where I am because, it is something I cope with everyday.

It’s not a chronic illness, its a learning disability. I can’t die from it in the same way I can’t die from another incurable condition, Keratosis Pilaris, but it is there in the background. There pushing the rear out.

One of the key problems with having Dyspraxia is the messages between my brain and the rest of my body are disrupted. I can’t throw or kick a ball straight. More importantly a sentence may be perfectly formed in my head, but as soon as I try and speak, it either comes out too quickly or becomes mumbled. Not ideal then if you’re a radio presenter. 

So here’s how I get around it.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

I have had, for a long time, a habit of talking to myself. Its odd and not everyone does it but I have come to use it to rehearse sentences I need to say in the future.

This might include talking with someone about something important emotionally or talking on the radio. Its my moment to quietly ‘rehearse my lines’. Most notably, with Fast Friday, I use it to psyche myself before I go live by quietly saying different versions of, “Hello. Good afternoon and welcome to Fast Friday“.

I would be lucky if this was the only way in which Dyspraxia affects my life, but it isn’t. One of the slightly more ‘dynamic’ ways in which it has an impact is emotionally. Dyspraxic adults tend to be more emotionally reactionary, hitting either highs or, more commonly, extreme lows rapidly.

This factor, combined with an inability to coherently vent feelings at times is a frustrating combination. Shattering disappointments such as breakups or job failures are harder to move on from and cope with. 

So how do you deal with a disability in which your mind goes full Lemming? In short you need coping mechanisms.

Mine is motorsport, a playlist and close friends. Suffer a shattering disappointment such as losing an important argument or being dumped/lead on/tricked? Motorsport videos on YouTube, a playlist and a chat with an understanding friend start the recovery process…

So there you have it, the main ways Dyspraxia affects my life. There are others, but those are my main hurdles. I cope with them though, and as I mentioned at the top, I would not be the same without Dyspraxia. 

It is The Sideways that keeps me pushing forward; like a go-kart in the rain.


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