I am 21 years old, I have been in education all my life and whilst in my fourth year at university I have discovered that I am mildly to moderately dyslexic.
Only a few months ago I wrote an article a few months ago that described just how scared I was of failing my degree. I described myself being paralyzed by fear, that I was so scared of working on my dissertation and failing. Failing meant letting everyone who had invested in me down, I would let myself down most of all. I had found my workload so intense and so difficult it came to the point where I thought I was just dumb. I had made myself so scared to speak up about just how much I was struggling because I thought my lecturers would say “you are terrible you are off the course!” I know what you’re thinking “well that’s just stilly why did you think that?” Truth is I don’t actually know why I thought that, I guess if I could put my finger on it I guess I was just afraid of what people would think. From my point of view nobody else was struggling as much as I and I had convinced myself that it was my fault, that I was stupid for not understanding everything.
I was having meltdowns, it was really bad, my skin started to react, my health got really bad, I had to go to the dentist for an emergency appointment because I had been grinding my teeth so badly I hit a nerve. My life just seemed to be spiraling out of control, I was sinking into a stress pit of self destruction and I couldn’t see a way out…
A nerve wracking feedback meeting with my supervisor at university one day mentioned the structure of my essays and suggested I be tested for Dyslexia. I tried not to laugh and say that was ridiculous, I couldn’t be… Could I? I was 21 this would of or should of been noticed by now…
After speaking to my mum and setting up a meeting with my disability officer a psychologist was booked to come in and test me. I was going through so much at this point, my mind was racing and I thought any future career I was going to have would be over. I want to be a writer, I have so many aspirations and dreams for my life and future. At that moment they all vanished, I saw nothing but dead end jobs. Everything that could of went through my head over that week did… I really, I thought my academic career was over! I want to have a Masters at some point but it all went out the window when suddenly I thought that I wasn’t able to perform to the best.
You may be reading this and think that I am being horrid to people that have learning difficulties but I’m not. Not one little bit. Keep reading.
All through my educational life academics have said that I don’t concentrate, I lack focus, i’m lazy, I don’t apply myself… I could go on listing all the things spoken about me. They all said the same thing though, I was very bright but I just didn’t try.
I left my school with 8 standard grades and only 1 higher. I sat 4 highers and I failed so hard I wasn’t even graded for the other 3. The only one I passed was music, I got a B! To score so highly in one subject but fail SO hard at something else was strange but my teachers just said “Well we expected that, you didn’t try, what a shame you wasted your chance.” To those teachers I say BITCH I HAVE A DEGREE. They never thought I would do it but I did and boy did I succeed! I passed my HNC with a flipping A. I had never received and A ever in my life and I’m now sitting with a BA in Broadcast Production.
The day of the test came along very fast and there I was spelling and solving puzzles. I was nervous and I tried not to put myself under stress because I knew I would think and react differently. I completed the test and my gut reaction said there was a problem, I knew something just wasn’t right. I had found areas of that test very difficult.
The results came back and it said that I was moderately dyslexic but that I was smart enough to get myself to this stage without much concern. This was a massive blow and I’m still working out some of the details of it all but the main thing is…
This is not stopping me but rather this is helping me. FINALLY I know why I found learning hard, finally I understand what sort of learner I am and how I can best help myself.
To people reading this, if you’re struggling don’t do what I did and hide away from the problems. I wish I had spoken up sooner but you can’t live in the past, you have to pick yourself up and move on with your head held high.
Be Brave, I dare you.