This is the 3rd post of a serie of 12 by Marc from Ireland who struggles with dyslexia.
So far I have spoke about my background and why I decided to start this serie of blog posts, I did a difficult post which outlined all my difficulties and how they affect me and I even did one on why I prefer the term Learning Difficulty over Learning Disability.
Work, support and fear of failure
After 7 months my contract finally expired so it is time for me to move on, and as we went out for lunch on Friday to bid me farewell someone asked me, have I learned anything either about myself or about marketing that I wasn’t thought in college while working for the past 7 months.
I reflected on the question for a moment and then replied, its hard to say. Truth is I have learned lots about myself over the past 7 months but everything I have learned about myself are things I didn’t feel comfortable talking about at that very moment.
The working world is the next chapter of my life, but even though the next chapter would appear to be a step forward it has felt like a step backwards.
What I mean is the first chapter in my life was my childhood, my dyspraxia affected me in many ways such as the fact I was slow to learn how to walk due to my lack of co-ordination, it affected me in other ways too but at this young age its not exactly a stressful issue.
The next chapter in my life was Primary school, here my difficulties really started to affect me but due the fact I wasn’t diagnosed as dyslexic or dyspraxic I had no support or help, this chapter in my life was one I didn’t enjoy living through.
Then my third chapter felt like a step forward, I went to secondary school, I was diagnosed, I got supports, things got better for me.
The forth chapter in my life was third level. This is where I excelled but again I had my supports to put me on a level playing field with those who had no difficulties.
Now there is chapter five, the working world, and as I move forward into this chapter I left one thing behind, my supports, the one thing that removed the fear of failure, the one thing that ensured me that I could show my true capabilities.
Fear of failure has returned…
Over the past 7 months the fear of failure returned to my life, my stress levels increased again and I found myself embarrassed of the things I cant do and find difficult.
I did not want to show everyone that they employed someone who needs support to achieve to these levels. Yes I enjoyed the past 7 months and I did well, they have told me they are sad to see me go and they will give me a fantastic reference.
But the truth is over the past 7 months I have had moments where all I wanted to do was get into bed and never get out, not because I was tiered but because I was back in that second chapter of my life, the one I didn’t enjoy living through, Primary school, where I had all my difficulties but none of my supports.
The chapter where every spelling test I did I failed, no matter how hard I tried. The chapter where there was no explanation other then the fact I must be a failure.
Happy… but also fear of failure
Yes I loved working there, the people were great, the job was great, I gained loads of experience and I proved myself capable in lots of ways, I was happy there 95% of the time, but that fear of failure has returned to my life. I learned that I no longer have the safety net of my supports to catch me if I stumble.
The company I worked for have been voted one of the best companies to work for in Ireland, and I can see why, they have been fantastic.
What if the next company isn’t so nice? What if the next company is really like primary school? I fear being handed a document and being asked to do this project, but the document is pages long and my bad reading and reading comprehension mean I don’t understand what I’m being asked to do and if I admit that then the company wont want me to work for them any more.
I fear being asked to complete a report on something and hand it to my manager and then realising that I no longer have a spelling and grammar waver and my manager reads it and thinks, what rubbish is this.
Over the past 7 months it has mostly been positive points. But I found myself doing the things I normally got support doing over the past few years and I didn’t want to admit I need support, in fear they thought I was incapable but at the same time because I was doing it without support I had a constant fear of failure in my head.
I’m capable and I’m not alone
In a few weeks time when Christmas is over and I have had time for it to sink in that I am finished working for such a good company and I need to find a new job, I will also then be reflecting on everything I have learned about myself.
I have learned the fear of failure is back, I haven’t learned how to deal with it or remove it yet. I have learned that I no longer have my supports, I haven’t learned what I will do without them yet.
I have learned a deeper understanding of my difficulties as I have had to face a lot of them without support for the first time in 9 years, I haven’t learned what I can do to over come these yet.
I write this blog feeling like I have a lot more to learn about myself if I am going to make this chapter of my life a positive step forward, I do feel positive as I know that I’m capable, I just don’t know how to show these capabilities right now.
But I’m ok with this as I know I’m not alone, I started this blog as I wanted to show people who have dyslexia that your not alone and that it is still possible to achieve what you want.
I think the most import thing this blog shows is the fact that just because I’m finished education doesn’t mean my difficulties have disappeared.
I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again
The most important thing to keep me feeling positive is the fact i have been through a chapter like this in my life once already before and I survived it and then the 2 chapters that followed it were very positive.
If I have done it before i will do it again, and that’s what i hope you learn from this blog, if you have dyslexia or dyspraxia and your going through a difficult moment in your life and you feel like giving up.
Remember, you are capable and you will achieve, all you need is guidance in the right direction and for you to learn about yourself, if you begin to fully understand your own difficulties then you can begin to learn how to live with them and avoid them.
We will always face difficulties, there is no denying that but as long as we can stay positive and believe in ourselves we will always find a way of showing our capabilities and achieving what we want.
Stay positive, believe in yourself and have a happy Christmas.
Thanks for reading,