My Dyslexia Story

I don’t really mention my dyslexia for quite a few reasons, the main reason being that in general there is sill an “oh..so you’re stupid” connotation attached to it, which quite frankly makes my blood boil. (I’ve even heard Dyslexia described (to my face) as an excuse for laziness.

And because, in my my experience, the minute you try and explain the reason you find some things difficult, far too many people start treating you like your unintelligent.

But today I want to try and talk about my dyslexia and explain why shaving my head is so important to me, and hopefully this story will help other dyslexics out there.

Most of my problems with dyslexia started when I went to school. Previously, being homeschooled, while there were things I had trouble with like any normal kid, I never had a mental block and learning was something I absolutely loved! One of my personal points of pride was reading the whole of the Lord of the Rings by the time I was 9.

But once I went to school thing like maths and spelling became extremely hard. To the point I would get migraines just by looking at numbers. Although I didn’t realise it (neither did my parents or my teachers) I was heavily dyslexic (which meant that my way of learning was with pictures and not words). It does NOT mean you are stupid, retarded or “mentally disabled” as I’ve heard so many people describe it.

Things got so bad over the years that I would have a panic attack every time I had to do maths, any kind of test/exam. Also, just the idea of socialising or talking to people would make my knees start shaking. My brain felt like I had a clamp on it permanetly.

No matter how many hours I forced myself to read, and attempt to re-read and understand what I had to learn, my brain just refused to absorbe it.  I was extremely socially awkward (I HATED looking people in the eye). If some of you go back through my old You Tube videos you can still see me struggling with so much as looking at the camera lens, and it’s still something I find slightly difficult at times.

I couldn’t do any form of Maths at all, my spelling was horrific, though reading was something I was always very good at mainly because it was something my parents always encouraged and they had taught me to read using books with pictures besides them which explained the words. I was introverted, prone to panic attacks, always seemed to be in a daze and often had to spend several minutes to be able to process a simple question or say something. Pretty much everything from when I was 9 years old (when I started school) to when I had the Davies course when I was 16 is a complete blur.

I have a few fragmented images from those years but nothing “clear” and mostly I just remember feeling alone and confused. It’s like a huge chunk of my life wasn’t there to see.

It was only when I was around 16 that a family friend recognised my Dyslexia and asked how I was coping with it. Needless to say when I realised that I was dyslexic I pretty much broke down into tears since I finally had a reason as to why things which came so easily to other people were so difficult for me. I wasn’t stupid and I wasn’t a freak.

The family friend was a trained Davies facilitator (which is someone who is trained to be able to correct the confusion which is caused by being forced into a way of learning which is not normal for Dyslexics). She offered to correct my Dyslexia and I can’t even begin to accurately describe the difference it made to my life.

I had gotten so used to having a permanent headache/migraine from the stress and constant confusion that I though it was normal.

On the second day of the course that pain suddenly disappeared, I felt like I had just realised that I’d been in an mental prison my whole life and someone had just helped me walk out the front door, moving a clamp from my head in the process.

The following days were incredible and terrifying. For a few days things which had been easy and an “escape” from the confusion, such as writing and painting, I just wasn’t able to do. I’d pull out a paper and realise that I couldn’t “see” what I wanted to draw. Needless to say it scared the life out of me! Those skills were my ‘escape’, and the prospect of not being able to use them was like someone had taken my only piece of armour and left me exposed to the world.  Then a few days after that, I picked up a paper again and I could draw but so much better! Things which previously I had found so confusing seemed to ‘click’.

A few years later I met Ronald Davies, the man who had started the course which changed my life and I just broke down and started crying while trying to say thank you which was hugely embarrassing but I just couldn’t help it (didn’t help that he nearly started crying too).

Did this course solve all my problems? Haha…I wish!

As I’m sure you have all seen either in my videos or blog, there are still basic spelling mistakes that I make, I still can’t do maths. Handeling money and expenses? Yes, I’m great with that because I can visualise the actual money. But put down a simple equasion in front of me you’d have better luck with trying to teach me fluent Greek in an hour. It took me a good 3 years to be able to overcome my fear of people, talk and force myself to look people in the eyes when speaking to them.

Sometimes my dyslexia get’s ‘triggered’ and aspects of it such as the depression, confusion and disorientation comes back. My biggest trigger is anyone elses blood because I associate it  with a lack of control and helplessness. It can send me in a spiral where for a few days (or weeks) I find myself unable to focus on one things, utterly depressed, letters seem to ‘flip’ when I read them and just metal shut down. But now because of the course I’ve learned ‘tricks’ which help me regain control, which previously I didn’t have and with each year I get better and better at managing the drawbacks.

Since I’m sure someone is going to question why I had such a strange reaction to blood yet love special effects makeup I might was well explain it: I love special effects because I know it’s not real. It’s fake, nobody is dying or in pain, I am in control and it can’t affect and disrupt my life. It gives me control.

The Davies course didn’t solve all my problems, but it gave me a clean mental slate to start on, instead of the tanged web of confusion I had before. Hopefully, now that I’m trying to raise money for this charity, I can help other people finally get out of this mental hell.

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Comments

  1. Xoun J. says

    Hi Klaire! I thought this blog post was wonderfully done. You explained everything in a way that is understandable. You have such a beautiful mind, and your heart is so kind. One of the reasons why I subscribed to you was because of your pretty smile! Your creativity shines through the makeup looks and the information you pass to us. You have so much to give to us, and I always enjoy your videos. I think what you’re doing is great and I support this. What you’re doing for other people with Dyslexia is amazing. You’re changing lives. This definitely opened my eyes to Dyslexia. Thank you for sharing your story! I hope all goes well.

  2. C6TheEpic says

    I want to hug you so badly right now. I have a learning difficulty too and because of it people always assumed I was stupid and no one ever talks about it. Kudos to you, it was so brave of you to post this.

  3. says

    your story had just made me cry, because it is so similar mine. i went through all of my school years trying to avoid the teachers picking me to read or answer a question just because of one experience where i was told to leave the class because i could not read outloud. in the second year of six form i was still going my GCSE english and maths with a total of 11 re-sits just to get a C, so nobody can say i did not try! every time i went into another exam i would puke my guts up because of the nears and had to sit in smaller exam rooms because i had panic attacks if i sat with the rest of my year. i even remember doing this in primary school doing my SATs. but yet the teachers NEVER kicked on to me being dyslexic. i luckily got excepted into a art & design uni doing costume construction biased on my portfolio, and in FREASHERS WEEK! (hadn’t even started uni yet) they told me i was dyslexic. i now get a one to one hour session a week with a touter and am actually staying level with the rest of my course, even though i start my essays straight away and my friends can start them a few weeks before hand in and get the same mark. i went from being a shy anxious emotional confused reck(i still feel like this half of the time), to finishing a FdA Costume construction degree with a Distinction!

  4. Kat says

    Oh my gosh, Klaire, this brought me to tears…I’ve been a subbie for nearly 3 years, and I’ve never known how much you were suffering. I remember you’ve mentioned it several times, but I never understood how severe dyslexia could actually be. Thank you for finding the courage to share your story. I think it is amazing that you have been able to cope. You have such a beautiful heart, with a face to match, and loads of kindness and creativity. I hope that one day, you will be able to fully overcome your triggers, and be able to spread the word more. :)

  5. Vico says

    I am studying Psychology and Dyslexia it’s something that we learn about and I understand all what you said in your blog, we study the feelings and emotions that you guys feel and we know that people with dyslexia are not freaks or something like that, just are normal people with a different way of learning, and there are a lot of methods.
    Donated, Klaire.
    Kisses from a Psychology student from Mexico City.
    P.S.: You are a brave and talented woman. Congrats for that :).
    P.S.2: I’ve poset this comment on your video, I just want you to read it, not stalk or something xD.

    Youtube account: Vicocho409

  6. LauraO says

    I’m glad that you’re much better with the difficulties that dyslexia has given you, I hope you keep improving day after day. This history has shown your courage and the beautiful person that you are, thank you for sharing it with us.

  7. beebee says

    Hi Claire,
    this is such an inspiring story, but it makes me sad that you have to PAY to get professional help for dyslexia. My brother is also heavily dyslexic, but at first he wasn’t even diagnosed, because my mum was determined that with enough practice (few hours EVERY day) his problems will get better. And they did to such an extent that doctors were seriously surprised when he was diagnosed. After that he finally got some professional help, it was more like a course you described, but thankfully in my country it is available to every child (diagnosed with dyslexia or not) that is having learning difficulties.
    I will support your cause, but it is still sad that it even needs donations.

    • Lisa McLean says

      I agree with you beebee regarding the expense of getting help.
      It is costing $2700 for 6 days of therapy for our son. We are having to borrow the money to do the course and seriously considered not going ahead with it. I wish this sort of therapy was available to everyone who needs it for a reasonable cost.

  8. Janneke says

    I have dyslexia to, but thanx to my mother they found it pretty early in my life (I was 5 or 6 years old). But even when it was descoverd people called me stupid). Now I’m studing at the university and I’m one of the best of my class! I have discoverd that I am à lot more creative then most people, and I am far better in thinking logic. My problem is writing (english is hard… I’m from the Netherlands…). And reading goes really slow.

    When I lot of people called me stupid, my goal became making my school- career succeed! Let them see what I could do.

  9. Pippa says

    Hey Klaire. I have Developmental Dyspraxia, and while it’s not the same thing as Dyslexia, it’s nice to hear a beauty blogger talking about a “cousin” disorder :) I’ve often had people tell me I’m only being lazy or trying to excuse my mistakes, when in reality my muscle coordination is horrific and I can’t change this. My worst memories as a kid usually relate to playing sport games, because my mind and legs literally could not connect and I’d up being humiliated. I also went on the Davis programme and ended up learning how to cope, which changed my life. Thank you for this post!

  10. piscolabis says

    I have to admit that I had no idea what dyslexia was, and listen to you make me open my eyes. I really hope that the educational system can realize of their problems recognizing kids with dyslexia and other mental disorders.Your story is overwhelming, and knowing whow you go on proves what an amazing person you are.
    Finally, thanks for sharing it

  11. Louise says

    You are wonderful (too ill to articulate more than that atm) – beautifully described. Well done you!

  12. Rachel says

    well done for being so brave Klaire!

    Can I ask if that was your voice at the end, if it was it sounded beautiful.

  13. says

    All our problems in life are actually our gifts.
    I bet that without dyslexia you wouldn’t be who you are now. It is a part of you and this part makes you amazing. Instead of doing boring maths you could focus on your creative side.
    I have friends with dyslexia, and ADHD, asperger…and they are the most interesting and inspiring people I know.

  14. Astrid says

    Though im not dyslexic I recognise your story so much, it’s like you described most of my life! Before I started 3rd grade I loved life and all was well, but within a year of starting all my friends were gone and half of them turned against me, and though the teachers never said it it was apparent they looked down on me. Something in the way they repeatedly stated “you dont understand”. Despite changing school the same pattern carried on for 7 years. Whatever I tried no one would appreciate me, at first I was myself and got labeled a freak. Then I tried to be more like them, which I regret most in my life. Most of the bullying stopped but like my old teacher they showed it in more subtle ways, the kind of silence and looks when I made my prescence obvious. I tried to be so many ways, but to them I was still the freak in disguise. It all changed when I started in an art school, and suddenly met people who were like me. It was all just like you described, minus the dyslexia and proffesional help. I still dont know what was wrong with me. Now school seems easier than it does for most, I still have subjects like maths, language and history but it just flows so much better. It was such a sudden change, to be able to be exactly who I am and still manage perfectly fine. Im just struggling to find myself again. I could never describe it like you did but I swear I felt exactly like that, and in some ways still do.

    • says

      Hi, you say it was not dyslexia, but if you read The Gift of Dyslexia, you might well change your mind. What you describe sounds very much like the experience of a dyslexic;)

      • Astrid says

        It’s just that grammar and spelling has always been among the easiest things in school for me, and please correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that was the biggest sign of being a dyslexic?

        • Lisa McLean says

          There are many symptoms that Dyslexics can have, and punctuation, grammar is only one of many. My son probably has about 10 of the symptoms. Aparently, no two Dyslexic’s are the same, which makes it hard to diagnose. I have the book “The Gift of Dyslexia” by Ron Davis. It may be helpful to read it.

  15. Astrid says

    I just have to add that you’re the most wonderful youtuber there is, and we will always be here for you and recognise what a bright, beautiful and absolutely amazing person you are!

  16. Maxie says

    I have dyslexia and I have now it forever. I could read all the books I wantend by the age of ten, but when a teacher asked me to spell a word, I got tears in my eyes because I did not get it.

    Because my father has dyslexia, he knew that I had / have it to. So my problem was not understanding what was goining on, it was to convince my teachers I wasn’t lazy. In elementary school they did not believe it and I had to go to anger management, posture courses and so on. And believe me, it was just a waste of time.

    But when I went to high school, they did not believe me because my teacher at elementary school said I was lazy. So I did a course to prove that I have dyslexia, but it cost my parents a lot of money.

    Now they believe me and they help me also with (for example) extra time for tests. But I often hear that it is not fair that I get more time or that I am favored by teachers. I think it should be explained in schools what it is, than understand other students (and teachers) it also.

    Klaire it’s very brave for doing this! Dylexia is not terrible, maybe annoying, but okay.
    Anyway sorry for the spelling mistakes, I’m Dutch so writing in English is a bit difficult.

  17. Laura Klinglesmith says

    Just want to say that you are an inspiration. My sons both have Asperger’s syndrome and are brilliant. School is hard for both. My youngest who will be in 7th grade couldn’t read a single word until 3rd grade. He graduated from vision therapy this year. We found out about 2 years ago that he had mild seizures that caused him to it be able to remember pretty much everything he was taught. After treating the seizures he is a straight A student. Thanks for telling your story.

  18. Tuulia_ says

    Thank you so much for this post! I was given the diagnosis last year when I turned 19. So I can relate to you when you say you can´t remember much from your childhood because of the bad and painful memories. All the bullying, bad looks, confusion and stress are finally over and I´m so relieved and ready to start a new life ! I know it will take a while but one day I will have all the pieces together. Thank you.. you are my idol.

  19. Emily says

    I just wanted to thank you for this. I’ve been in a similar situation with ADD and you’ve inspired me again. Thank you so, so, much.

  20. Tia says

    Hi Klaire! I just read your story and it touched me so much and oh my gosh,it hurts when people with a learning disability get insulted by others. Anyway,I just want you to know you are not alone. You are a sweet girl,Klaire and you’re very talented with your makeup tutorials and your artwork and you are a an amazing singer. I am not able to donate anything but I will support your cause. You are truly an angel,my friend. Good luck.:) Love and hugs,Tia.

  21. Dion says

    Its really amazing that they have special courses for students that face difficulties in their studies! I’ve never heard of it before in Asia but its really amazing that there are people that care to teach and help out others…I’m sorry if any of my words offended you in anyways but I really am surprised after watching and listening to your dyslexia story. You are doing a great thing to help out the others and I’ll always support you! (>w<)

  22. Kuro Warau says

    Hey Klaire. I just wanted you to know that I think you’re so brave to come out with it like this. It’s amazing that you have the courage to go out and tell about your difficulties in this way, and I’m sure it helps a lot of people.
    I’ve never faced any learning difficulties, I’ve always studied hard and done my things, but I’ve struggled for years with the social aspects. I don’t have any real “disorder”, but I have always needed time alone. I get stressed when I’m together with a lot of people I can’t be myself completely around, and I surround myself with few, but really close, friends and family. I’ve always suffered immensely on class trips and such, feeling horribly homesick and crying my eyes out every single night. Also, it doesn’t help that I’m a lesbian and therefore either have to hide a part of my personality completely or face certain levels of discrimination. I’m also a very sensitive person and I get easily hurt. My self-esteem is very low and I often suffer from a sort of “I can’t do this, I can’t do this” way of thinking. I live on a relatively small island with no very large cities, so when I go to large cities, after a couple of hours, I get a headache from walking around a lot of people and I have to go into a café or something to just relax and get something to drink.
    The way I cope with such is to have few but close friends, to be together with just one friend or alone in breaks at school to get a break from being together with a lot of people and to indulge in my love for writing. I write a couple of hours a day, I think, and it means that I can just sit alone, listen to some music and be myself.

    Long story short, thanks a lot for being so brave and for daring to open up about how you’ve felt and still feel. You’re just such a huge inspiration.

  23. Miriam M says

    I really admire you Claire ! I’m from Norway and I have this thing called dyskalkuli ( number blindness) maybe you got that since you don’t understand math. I’ve been going throug a lot of the same things as you, not depression in the severe grade as you but.
    I Hope you will be able to help kids that struggle, it’ like going trough hell, – I had my math exam 3 times, and failed… And I get very angry when people try to teach me.. Beacause I did not understand. When thats said I wish you the best of luck and I love your YouTube channel, you’re the best !

  24. Emily says

    Your story really made me cry, hearing you speak of problems With basic grammar just really hit home for me.
    I’ve been battling with the idea of being dyslexic for a couple of months, i had so much trouble learning my multiplications as a child, and i still really cant understand it. And just listening to your story made me want to confirm or get it denied. Thank you so much.

  25. says

    hey Klaire! I never knew you had dyslexia, when I heard I actually started to cry and my mom came into the room saying “why are you crying?!” and I said it was because of your story. it touched me because I have trouble learning with math and grammar because every time I look at numbers I start seeing double and I get mygrains. and later on I started getting very depressted and also suicidle, and it went to the point where I tried to kill myself, and I failed, thank god, but instead of trying to hurt myself I went to an alternative of playing guitar and doing art. thanks :) <3

  26. Rebecca Jeffries says

    I too have Dyslexia that is partnered with ADHD and Depression and have struggled with this for my whole life. I never received and help with this problem because I believe that all of my symptoms were blamed on my ADHD. It takes a lot of strength to share your story and Im glad that I found someone to relate to. I wish that I had, had the Davies program to help me.
    P.S. I am almost sixteen years old

  27. colette says

    Your an beautiful, creative, kind and incredibly gifted person inside out. I love watching your videos, they never fail to amaze me. Take care~

  28. Letitia Harriet says

    This was really interesting even for someone who doesn’t have dyslexia. It was really informative, so thanks!

    I also have a giveaway running on my blog at the moment. :3 Just for anyone who is interested.

    letitiaharriet.blogspot.com

  29. Sanne says

    You’ve done a wonderful job on this Klaire! You’ve explained it so nicely that I understood your brain and the brain in particular (left and right sides).

    So how do you handle horror movies and fake blood and so? And I’m sure becoming a blood donor wouldn’t be a great idea for you.

  30. Sarah says

    I am dyslexic. I was diagnosed went I was 8, but it was done privately because my school was convinced I was stupid and not dyslexic. My mum was the one who noticed that I was dyslexic, as she was working in a special needs school and was working with severe dyslexic like me. Thank you for sharing your story of dyslexia, you are so talented and inspirational that I believe that your subscribe will definitely support the Davis charity.

  31. Le Tram says

    Hi Klaire! I have been following your blog for years and you always move me in such a special way. Not only you are talented, beautiful but you are also really brave. You have big heart that inspire me so much!

  32. says

    Claire, I´m really sorry you had to be through all of that. Teachers as the one you had should not be able to teach, nobody should tell you ever that you are stupid, and kids can be so mean! You are so brave to share your story with us. My brother has dislexia, and also hyperactive so both thing made his life in school a hell :S i remeber that he became violent because of all the kids attacking him and me being 1 year old bigger than him i got so frustrated because i couldnt help him! Thank god one teacher told my mom he should go to a specialist of language and she did , and he was diagnosed with dislexia. after that he has been in courses and now he is a 24 years old man who works and studies and i´m so happy! :) I just wanted to tell you that you are amazing , and sooo talented! i love your videos! :) and i hope to see more and more !
    love from Argentina! :)

  33. Lisa McLean says

    Hi there,
    Thank you for sharing your Dyslexia story. I have a 12 year old boy who’s just been diagnosed after about 7 years of struggling at school with no help or explanation.
    I am very interested to see that you have done the Davis correction programme. At the end of this month my son is going to do the 6 day programme. I am very worried about whether or not it will be successful and reading your story, I am hopeful for my son.
    It is great that you are going to try and raise money for others who cannot afford the therapy.
    I wish you all the best in your future and thank you for making other people aware of Dyslexia and the problems that come with it, and the successes you can experience as well.
    :-)

  34. Yominis says

    This is really strange. I don’t mean the projects, they are wonderful (and your help too) but that there is any need for Davies Instructors. In my country (Czech Republic) it is the state who deals (wrong word probably but my English is not very strong) with children problems like this. I have dysgraphia and it was my parents who noticed that there is something wrong (I was about 8 years old). They consulted it with my teacher and she sent us to local institution specialized in children with learning problems, Pedagogical-psychological centre (state manages it and pays for it so it’s free). I was diagnosed there, I was going there regularly, doing exercises and therapy. My teachers in school had to act accordingly to my problem. I had more time for writing tests, they were prohibited to grade my writing style… Acting like your teachers would get them fired.
    I know that the same (and much more, my problem is quite mild) is provided for children with dyslexia.
    You don’t have anything like that?
    I think that every state should take care for their children and it is a shame that it’s not like that everywhere…
    And about being stupid&lazy: I’m in my last year in Law school and my friend, with dyslexia, is one of the most hardworking people I know, he just finished Medical school. :-)

  35. Devi says

    I honestly cannot believe that there are people ignorant enough to think that dyslexia is another term for ‘stupid’ or ‘lazy.’ o.o I’ve met many people with dyslexia who are really talented and gifted in some field. You yourself have quite a talent for the arts. Thank you for this post.

  36. Marina says

    For me, this post is very moving and touching as my mother is also severely Dyslexic. I want to share her story because it may help somebody. My mother is now 59 (well, she is going to be in a few days) and we are from Spain. She grew up in a rural environment in a village that was about 1,000 people in the middle of a dictatorship that was harded among poor people in rural areas (which she was) and when she attended her lessons she did pretty bad at almost everything (except for sports and the theatre group, which she loved). There, she was treated as shit, nobody cared about her or knew about what Dyslexia was. She was just the stupid girl in class, the one among her siblings with the lowest grades, so she should be clumsier. That’s everything she got her whole life. Her parents didn’t care. My grandmother was an illiterate woman that though that reading was useless (mainly because she couldn’t do it) and my grandfather could read and write but quite basically as the civil war started when he had just started school and as an adult he immigrated to Germany to bring money home, so he spent barely no time at home. I tell all of this so you can see how lonely she must have felt being considered stupid among her classmates, her teachers and her family. Having such a problem and only getting back really bad despising names and being constantly repeated to be stupid and clumsy. She only found out what she had when she met my father but she has not taken any kind of help and the pshychical effects of all that despising has make her think all through her life that she was stupid and worthless, she still thinks so and whenever she feels like doing something challenge and I push her towards it because I know she is able, she always says “I can’t because of my Dyslexia”. So these people have severely hurt her for her whole live and now it’s too late because all the psychological injuries she has that do not allow her to look for professional help because she thinks that there is nothing that can be done for her because she is too old and too stupid (yes, she still thinks that and nothing she could ever do and what the family could ever say will change her mind).
    I’m very sorry for the really long comment, I just wanted to share it. Thank you!