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.