Dyslexia and Me: S is for Socialising

I think I talk a lot about schooling on here and studying! Instead in this blog I am going to discuss socialising and self-esteem. I don’t think people really associate dyslexia with social interaction issues. Perhaps it’s something that is specific to me and my dyslexia, but there’s no harm in discussing this topic and see what comes back from it! This is probably one of my most personal blogs to date and I hope it comes as some reassurance to anyone else who has similar issues. 

I have found social interaction quite difficult at times. It’s lead to being bullied and having low self-esteem. How does this have any link to dyslexia? Well, there are actually a few key areas for me that link the two.

  • My brain thinking too far ahead of my writing also happens from time to time with my mouth. I’ve ended up saying a few things without actually meaning to say it out loud that has got me into trouble. Oops!
  • My inability to understand big words or use them correctly in a sentence because I’m not as well read as my peers. It’s left me feeling extremely stupid and inadequate at times!
  • Forgetting the point of what I’m trying to say leads me to waffling off topic in my own weird train of thought, which is often completely off the track to anyone elses way of thinking.
  • My mind wandering off on its own accord means that I switch off from conversations unintentionally at times. It’s embarrassing admitting that you weren’t actually listening to the conversation!
  • My ability to understand new accents or what’s being said in a loud environment also means I end up nodding at the wrong points because I couldn’t work out what was being said. Again, very embarrassing asking someone 4-5 times to repeat what they’ve said.
  • Telling the same person the same story over and over because I have completely forgotten I’ve told them it before has led me to being told off for repeating myself! I don’t even remember telling them the story the first time over, never mind it being the third time!

With the fear of saying the wrong thing, boring people with the same story, nodding at the wrong point, or completely misunderstanding what’s being said, I have become very quiet and introverted around new people or when in groups of people. There is nothing worse than putting your foot in it! It’s far easier to pull yourself out of that hole you dug by mistake with one person than it is with a group!

I also find it very hard to put into words what I’m thinking, again I put this down to not being well enough read. I have the same problem when I’m writing, so why wouldn’t that translate into my oral communication? It makes me really frustrated when people don’t understand what I’m trying to say to them! It feels at times like they think I’m talking a completely foreign language. I struggle to be tactful at times too because I don’t have the right vocabulary. I end up bottling things up that irritate me because I know I’ll end up saying things exactly how I see it rather than trying to sound like I’m trying to compromise. This leads to me getting really angry and having pretty foul mood swings. I wouldn’t say it was really a mood swing, more like a volcano exploding everything at once! Often with foul language to go along with it I’m sad to say.

I think the changing point for me was when I got onto the internet and I could use chat pages or talk through the likes of Yahoo! or MSN Messengers. I could reach out to other people and discuss topics that I was interested in without getting flustered, without completely misunderstanding (well if I didn’t understand a word there was always Google to help me out), and having the ability to pause without an awkward silence while I collected my thoughts and edited them into something that seemed to make more logical sense than what had just flowed from my head and spewed out through my mouth! It also helped me a lot with my spelling, with many friends either querying what I said or correcting my spelling. Spell check is a good buddy of mine! Especially now I blog and no longer use these forms of communication.

I’ve formed a lot of friendships with people I’ve talked to through the internet. A few of my best friends are people I met via the internet who I have later met in person. I have also met some really horrible people on the internet so there is that danger, but I guess that could happen on a night out in a pub. Whenever I did meet people I had been talking to online, I always made sure that a family member or a friend had an idea of where I was going, when I expected to be home and the person I was meeting’s mobile number just incase! There is always that fear at the back of your mind that you could be meeting a psycho! Maybe that’s the media making me jump at shadows, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

University really brought me out of my shell. Partly because I forced myself! Joining societies where you’re meeting people into similar things as you is fantastic! I managed to live my dream of being a radio presenter at uni too! Playing music that I enjoy to an audience was a brilliant experience. And I met one of my best friends through doing it. I never thought I had a chance of getting the position when it was advertised. Now I have one of the greatest friends I could have asked for who is as passionate about new music as I am! What made our show work was our team work. While my fabulous co-host had all the banter and contacts around university, I was able to find music and bands to interview through the skills I had picked up from my internet addiction over the years. Being able to talk the talk in person is so much harder than via email or through social media for me.

To think that dyslexia is restricted to reading and writing really isn’t looking at the full picture. When you can’t read the big words to put them into sentences and perhaps misheard words that you would like to use, the tormenting by classroom bullies isn’t just towards your inability to read out loud, but also towards the way you try to defend yourself. If reading and writing skills make you feel stupid, it doesn’t help when you feel inadequate in your verbal skills as well. It’s almost like being trapped under a label of being ‘stupid’ or ‘thick’ even though you know yourself that you’re not. Being able to verbally communicate your ideas when you’ve already been stamped with this label really hits your self-esteem. I often ask myself if I really am capable within an educational or a working environment.

This post is part of a series trying to help me to raise money for Dyslexia Action. You can donate as little as £1! To find out more, head over to: https://www.justgiving.com/DyslexiaAndMe

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Posted on September 1, 2014, in Awareness, Education, Personal Experience and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Based just on the description here, it seems that the “cure” for dyslexia might be similar to the “cure” for ADD. And it’s so simple! Do something you love.

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  1. Pingback: Dyslexia and Me: S is for Socialising | NYC Dyslexia Research

  2. Pingback: Dyslexia and Me: I is for I, Myself and Me | Dyslexia and Me

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