Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Dyslexia and alphabet blindness..my struggle and secret

It has only been through the process of my bdd cbt that I found out that I had been suffering a form of dyslexia all my life. One of the key factors of bdd therapy is to find out what it is in your childhood that triggered it off. When I was 7 I was put in a special class because I was unable to join my writing up and I still can not do it today. I was also teased for writing my letters the wrong way..for example my S starts at the bottom. Later, when I was about 12, I was stuck in a special class for my Maths.

Reading has never been a big issue but that is because I pushed myself to read; it was decided, early on in my life, that I was not worthy of reading certain books, and even now I fear certain novels. When I do pick them up and read them I wonder what all the fuss was about. I will still come across words I do not understand but now I can look them up on line...I may not be able to pronounce them. My spelling has always been awful. Thank the humanist spirit for spell check! Grammar goes over my head...I still do not get it and gave up trying to ages ago. Tell me what a verb is 100 times and I will forget in a minute.

When I attempt my prose and poetry it is messed up by this........... dot dot dot...that will be because I do not understand where a coma should go...or a ; or a full stop.

I am lucky in that my CBT therapist was, in his past life, an educational psychologist. He stumbled on my problem by accident; after all I was there for chronic depression and bdd. He told me, about two months after meeting me that I was a very angry person....he asked me what made me angry so I gave my alphabet blindness example. I told him that if there is a certain CD or Film that I want to buy in HMV and it begins with say 'R', I will become very frustrated. I can count in, like A, B, C, D etc but once I get lost I start steaming off. I can say my alphabet, A to Z, but I can not form it in the middle...not even after E.

I was in Waterstones just yesterday; I was looking for 3 authors and it took me 35mins. I could feel myself getting frustrated and all the letters started to skew. The problem is if you go up and ask, 'where will I find Philip K Dick' you will get back...under D!..derrr..

He said to me that if I had sat in front of him, in his past role, he would diagnose me with dyslexia. I also told him about my ability to use my left hand to do things I should not be able to....play pool is one.

The refreshing thing for me is that he himself suffers exactly as I do...he is this quite brilliant Psychologist but has alphabet blindness and the other problems that I have. I am still worried about things...like application forms etc. Huge books put fear in me but I just read 700 pages in one week so I can do it. There were moments where I was frustrated but I got over them. So my bdd may have been born from this torment I received at School....teachers knew nothing of dyslexia in the 1970's. So the humiliation eat away at me.

I am as well read as anyone I know now....but it took me until the age of 45 to find out that block I had in my head.....and it makes me more proud that I picked up books, when young, and read them. Education in a class room is not what we all need....in some cases it can ruin your life and cost you so much. I kind of know that.

T Roberts London Dec 2010