I am 26/M with a mild form of dyspraxia, diagnosed when I was around 10 years old, it has got a lot better over the years but still curses certain aspects of my life.

There are pros to having this condition, I have a creative mind, love reading, I have been a paid blogger for music websites in the past and I am certainly a musical person. My friends think I am hilarious (the way my mind works because of the condition, I often see things very differently from others) and I thrive on learning new and intriguing things - I feel that because of this I am a more of a well-informed person than the average Joe my age.

What I often find frustrating however are a number of things. Since leaving university I have had a string of crummy office jobs (my degree is in sound production and engineering, not the most promising career path these days but I didn't think about that when I was a naive 18 year old). In the 3 years since I left uni, I have been fired from 80% of the jobs I have obtained. Not because I am a horrible person, I get on with people particularly well and not because I am lazy but because of this hidden condition that I usually don't tell my employers about for fear of discrimination or misunderstanding, resulting in not getting the job. I have been in the working world now to notice the patterns in my behaviour that have landed me in the 'being let go' situation many times in the past. It is mainly things like how dyspraxia affects judgement of time. I am a lot better these days but in the past I would often turn up late, scruffy and hungry - time can just slip by without me noticing and before I know it half an hour has gone and I have 5 minutes to get to work and I've yet to clean my teeth.

Other traits include coming across as slow once I have obtained the job. I am very good at getting jobs because I speak clearly, I don't use slang, I can use interesting words because I read a lot and I can make myself look very presentable - all great on the surface. But when I start the job it is only a matter of time before I am having meetings in board rooms with managers and supervisors because compared to others who started the same job at the same time as me, I lag behind, take longer to absorb information (and because of this make silly, repetitive mistakes) and just come across as 'slow and dozy' as my mother would put it!

Other aspects where it affects me is where it draws a small amount of autism into the equation. I can be prone to strange little obsessions/habits. For example, during my time at school I was verbally bullied quite a lot in year 9 and fell into depression. This added stress on top of having no friends at this point resulted in me developing this odd self-harm condition called 'Trichotillomania'. In other words; ripping small bits of hair out my head for hours until I had large bald patches which made my situation worse. Twelve years later and that part of my life is long gone, I am no longer depressed but once in a while the urge to start fiddling with my hair comes back when I am stressed. Luckily I worked out that I get the same satisfaction in my fingers (this is where the small bit of autism comes in) by twiddling and playing with a piece of thread. This was much to the dismay of my mother when I lived at home as I ruined many towels by ripping the threads out of them.

Additional things include terrible handwriting, forgetfulness and just being chaotic in general - standard fare I think for a dyspraxic person. Having a chaotic mind does still cause me problems. My girlfriend who I live with often despairs when she has asked me to do something, it doesn't get done and I usually have little or no recollection of what was asked of me - fortunately we often laugh about it but it does drive her crazy at the same time - I thank all the people who have stuck around me in my life for being so patient and understanding!

People often say 'Well, why don't you just write things down?' which I appreciate is a good coping mechanism but when you can't remember where you put your diary or simply forget to write in it anyway, I simply don't bother. Again, frustrating because there have been so many times where I have double, sometimes triple booked 2-3 events/social interactions that means I have to let someone down. People do sometimes think I am a d**k for doing this which upsets me because it is the last thing I want people to think of me. "Why can't I just seem to get it together?!" - Something I often find myself thinking.

This is all a large frustration for me as no matter how hard I try, to work in the professional world at the capacity of a 'normal' person, it requires me to use more brain power than the standard person. This often results in when being given lists of things to do, the whole thing just ends up jumbled in my mind and in a professional environment, asking what to do over and over again never looks good and I can't write neatly as it is so jotting things down quickly isn't often an option. I have heard in the past the same issue with other people who have this condition when relating it to the work place, I certainly agree when people say their employer treats them like they cannot be trusted. I have seen and experienced this many time in the past, when colleagues who start a job at the same time as me will be given more roles, responsibilities and ultimately, a much better chance than myself at promotion. I can get along with people in offices but generally I simply feel like I don't fit in, people see me as a bit of an odd ball. I am not really a 'one for the lads' type of person, I generally keep myself to myself.

I am not bitter about this however, the truth is, I don't particularly care. Sitting at a PC to do a job I dislike to earn a company money and have them pay me a pittance in return isn't my idea of a 'rewarding career', it often makes me laugh when you hear call centres and other dead end places call their jobs 'careers'. I feel that because of Dyspraxia, my mind is years younger than my physical age in certain aspects. It took me a (pretty much) wasted degree and many more years to realise what it is that I want to do.

Recently I was thinking long and hard what I want from a job/career. I adore going rock climbing, being outdoors and physical graft (hard work) so I thought to myself "Ah! Tree surgeon". A far cry from being a sound engineer but if I can't do that I know I'd rather be up a tree outdoors working my arse off (regardless if it's cold, wet, hot or windy). The matter of fact is I have never been able to keep still, I was a very fidgety child and still am, so office work is certainly not for me, to be truthful I f*****g hate it, they are oppressive (some more than others), boring as your grandmothers underwear, often low paid and office humour is just plain alien to me, but you have pay the bills some how.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though, I am fortunate enough to have generous and understanding parents who have given me a loan to go out and retrain to be a tree climber/surgeon. I cannot thank them enough for their generosity, particularly after the financial assistance at university on top of this. The next step is to make the leap from office work to tree surgeon, it will be a bumpy ride, I just hope that my chaotic mind won't mean that I make stupid, forgetful mistakes on the way, resulting in being broke and jobless.

I have to take the risk though, I hear that a fair few regrets of older people is that they did not take any risks in life. I would rather die broke having lived a life working in something I enjoy than die rich having worked too hard in something I dislike.
stvgriffiths stvgriffiths
26-30, M
Aug 22, 2014