Living as an adult with dyslexia

I’ve been diagnosed with dyslexia since I was 8. In my head I always thought that eventually the symptoms would dissipate. Dissolve into nothing as I grew older. But in fact it’s been quite the opposite. I’m more aware of my weaknesses and have little safeguards to prevent them from disadvantaging me in the adult world. Not every person with dyslexia will be the same but when your brain works slightly differently it’s going to have an effect. 

I don’t want to make excuses: but sometimes I make a mistake and it’s directly linked to being dyslexic, sometimes I make a mistake and that’s all it is. When I feel I need to explain why an issue arose I hate saying “I’m sorry I’m dyslexic”. I never liked using it as an excuse at school and I don’t like using it now quite often I just smile and say oops sorry! But sometimes yes, that’s the reason I’m struggling with a task.

There are somethings I can’t do as fast as others: I’m almost 25 and I can’t read an analogue clock at a glance. Yes, I know children can do it (I have taught children to do it!) but for some reason my brain takes a lot longer that everyone else’s to do this particular task… so I always carry a digital one! It will take me longer to read a list of instructions and I’ll double check, check again and do a final check to make sure I have gotten it right (and in the right order). Sometimes it’s the double checking that’s more time consuming than anything else. I may have to revise the sequence of a task before I carry it out even if I have done it 100 times.

I may not remember: I may not instantly remember your name and if it sounds like a similar name to someone I know you have no hope; I’ll keep getting it wrong… and I’m sorry! My short term memory isn’t great and similar sounding words can get muddled in my brain.

My solution to the problem may not be the same as yours: People with dyslexia often have well-developed creative thinking and problem solving skills but as my brain works differently you may not be able to see things from my approach. Neither of our ways are necessarily the best but sometimes it’s good to give different a go and see what happens. I’ve spent most of my adult life having to problem solve and re-adjust so that I can work at the same level as my peers and colleges.

Don’t call me stupid: I read a word wrong or make a mistake copying something down and ‘ping’ the S word props up. I’m able to take ‘banter’ better than most. I’ve never been one to take joke insults to heart, I used to work with children who had been excluded from mainstream schools, I’ve worked in kitchens and I’m the wife of a soldier. I’ve heard it all! But there is one thing that drives me insane: calling me stupid. I’m not stupid, I’m daft at times but not stupid. Don’t call me it or act like I am stupid. That word will always strike a nerve with me.

I’m verbally more intelligent than I am on paper: This is just a reality! I wish I had been allowed to talk my way through my degree (although a 2:1 isn’t bad). Verbally I know my stuff but explaining it to you in a note or an email = stress city. Sometimes I’ll just phone you. However, I am fully capable of composing an email; I just proof read it ten times. Sometimes I just avoid having to write certain words I may spell wrong.

Getting into a routine can be hard: I struggle to remember what order things need to happen in and therefore may disrupt the routine but eventually I’ll get there.

I’m self-conscious of my work: Imagine being 9 or 10 and working on a project, doing your hardest and it’s still not good enough as you can’t even spell the topic you studied, or knowing no matter how hard you tried on an essay your teacher would still take it apart because of structural and grammatical errors. This caused me to be anxious and self-conscious of any work I do and tasks I complete: I automatically assume I have done poorly even if I haven’t had to write, read or spell a thing.

Texting quick is not my friend: I often make mistakes and send total rubbish, I won’t blame you if you have to ask me what on earth im on about, sometimes it makes no sense at all. 

I won’t let it hold me back: Even if have to work twice as hard… I’ll put the work in.

Dyslexia affects people into adulthood, I’m lucky that the effects I feel are minimal in comparison to others. But it still effects how I view myself and my work in day to day life. 

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