I’ll admit, I’m a little late to the party on this one. I hadn’t realised until a couple of days ago that it was Mental Health Awareness Week. Today marks the last day of this important week. But that doesn’t ever mean awareness raising comes to a standstill.
For me, having Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be extremely exhausting and can really wear me down.
This is added to the Neurodiversity side, as it also affects how my Dyspraxia is (to my knowledge) perceived by others.
One situation in particular which causes me anxiety, is having conversations with people. Might come across as a bit vague but hear out. What makes having conversations more difficult for me is the fact that I don’t understand social queues and never know when to stop once I start.
This has recently been an issue, where someone asked me something about myself and I was rattling off words like there’s no tomorrow. But then I sort of subtly got the message that the recipient of my words was probably getting bored.
This sort of idea has an impact on my mental health because of the way my Dyspraxia affects me. I can’t help that I don’t understand when to stop speaking. But I guess I kind of feel like I wish other people had more to say. But then, I guess I also have to understand that other people may not have so much to say. Complex stuff isn’t it?
Well, in all honesty, this kind of situation affects my anxiety levels, as I feel like nobody would really want to talk to me because I don’t let the other person speak. Again, I can’t help this. It’s part of my condition.
Sometimes, as part of my conditions, how other people’s words come across to me also has an impact on my mental health. If I’m told that I’m maybe not doing something quite right in the gym for example, it really knocks my self esteem. Everyone else’s natural response is “don’t give up” or something like this. But what I don’t feel is understood, is just how crippling the anxious thoughts can be. They can be in my head for days on end. I might think “I’ll never do that exercise in the gym again because there’s 15 other people watching me embarrass myself.”
What I really do need more of, is people who will listen to me. However difficult it might be for others to show empathy or to listen to me rattle hundreds of overthinking patterns out of my brain, all I ask for is a listening ear.
I’m sure many others who have a mental health problem could relate to this too. My problem with accepting advice from other people, is the fact that I struggle to consistently act on the help other people try to give me. So by listening to my story rather than offer advice, surely the listener will not feel disappointed if they just listen and try to understand rather than say “Do this!” Or “Do That!” It just doesn’t work. It comes across to me as stubborn and I’d rather do the things I enjoy doing and go my own way rather than try and do things someone else’s way. Because where’s the uniqueness in that.
Sometimes I do feel like I’m just surviving in a world where I’m mostly interacting with neuro-typical people and having to adjust to their ways. Rightly or wrongly, it’s basically a given that I conform to these such environments because otherwise things become more challenging. But wouldn’t it be great if everybody, whether they have Dyspraxia and Generalised Anxiety Disorder or any other diagnoses with Neurodiversity added to the mix, could thrive rather than survive? I’ll leave you with that question.