Friday, December 31, 2010

Dyspraxia.

I guess I haven't posted about this before. It's sort of a weird topic, because it's something that on the one hand I consider "minor," not worth making any big kerfuffle about, and on the other hand it affects me literally every day. I have Developmental Dyspraxia.

For me, this mostly means that I have tremendous difficulty thinking about spatial relationships, including the ones relating to my own body. I walk into doorframes because I don't know how wide my shoulders are. My handwriting and drawing are terrible because I can't figure out which way my hand should move to make the shapes I'm thinking about, and I have to hold my pen a weird way. I am absolutely useless at any form of sport or dance, and I... kinda walk funny.

Mentally, I can't estimate the size or distance of objects. I mean, I can tell the difference between a skyscraper and a pencil, I'm not The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, but I can't necessarily tell three feet from six feet. And I have some sensory weirdnesses; certain sounds and textures give me an intolerable case of screaming meemies for no good reason. (The worst thing: chewing gum. Ugh. I freaking hate gum.)

All this was a lot worse when I was a kid. Back in elementary school I would freak out or even throw up when I couldn't handle certain situations, and my lack of coordination was to the point where my ability to stay upright was pretty tenuous. If I was startled or upset or even just laughing too hard--hello, floor. I couldn't really handwrite until about fifth grade.

I'm better now. I had some occupational therapy, and a lot of practice just learning to exist in the physical world. I don't have grace--I'll never have grace--but I do fine at work and at most of the activities I want to do, and the impacts on my daily life are more of the "gosh I'm clumsy and quirky" variety than anywhere in "oh crap I'm disabled" territory. (While I was writing this post, I got up to get some milk out of the fridge. I tried to open the wall next to the fridge. Oh well, quick readjust. I probably shouldn't be a surgeon.)

Maybe the only weird thing is how other people perceive me. If someone pays attention, they can tell that I'm a little different, but they don't usually make the "oh, this is an actual disorder" connection. More often they characterize it as a part of my personality--positively that I'm silly, or negatively that I'm careless. Much as people tend to perceive my frizzy hair as some statement that I'm wacky and free-spirited, instead of just being the way it grows, people perceive me walking into stationary objects as some strange form of self-expression. The idea that I'm just, you know, the goofy absent-minded walking-into-tables type seems to characterize me. And I don't usually bring up that no, I really wasn't able to tell that I was going to hit that table. Most of the time I'd rather be a doofus than a special-needs kid.



In terms of sex, it hasn't been that big a deal, since by the time I was old enough to have sex I was compensating pretty well for the major stuff. It would certainly be nice for certain activities to have a better sense of rhythm and coordination, but I do okay. Likewise I might be attractive to more people if I could present my body in a less flailing manner, but there's more than enough people who are indifferent to or charmed by a little flailing.

Also, if you tell me your penis is twelve inches long, I'll have no way of knowing that it isn't.

22 comments:

  1. I used to run my shoulders into doorframes all the time because I acted like I was only as wide as the distance between my eyes. Lots of years of martial arts cured me of that, and that and shooting has really helped my distance estimation skills.

    Before you spend too many years in martial arts, I'd like to take the opportunity to point out that my penis is twelve inches long!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mousie - I used to be deaf, but then I started listening to things really carefully and it helped so much!

    ...No, no, actually practicing various physical activities is good for me and does make a difference, but it's not going to erase the fact that there are certain things I can't think about. For example, I can't learn what three inches looks like--I can't, it's not a matter of practice--but I can remember that my fingers are three inches across. I don't know if martial arts would help me with that kind of adaptation or not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I cannot tell a lie: my dick is [i]barely[/i] ten inches.

    Whew! Feels good to get that off my chest!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was out with some friends last night at a club, and somehow, after a few drinks, some of the women started sharing cock shots their guys had sent. Either those guys knew their most flattering angles, or cellphones add 10 lbs, because the other women were all convinced the guys were huge, when the women who'd seen them in person weren't especially impressed (one seemed especially disappointed).

    Also, a woman took a shot up her dress and shared it with the group. (Pink polka dots.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bruno - I think the "flip it up against the stomach, hold the camera by your knees" angle adds a bit perceptually, because it makes you subconsciously count the taint towards the total dick length.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry. It's just that what you describe sounds exactly like a worse version of what I grew up with. I was useless at sports, I missed the refrigerator handle, I knocked over something next to anything I was reaching for. Good luck with it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow! I had never heard of this, but match a lot of the symptoms. More mild than you, definitely, but I remember I remember a lot of elementary school visits to some non-regular teacher to work on my fine motor control, and I still have handwriting like a fifth grader. And that article lists so many things about me that I hadn't thought related!

    Thanks for posting about this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mousie and 300baud - Dyspraxia in varying degrees is not at all rare. So although the disorder doesn't apply to every clumsy person, you may well have it.

    And 300baud, I know; it's weird reading things about dyspraxia and seeing the little details that make you go "whoa, and I thought that was just something I did." The one that got me was reading how dyspraxic kids often don't like labels on clothes, and suddenly remembering how I used to compulsively cut out all the tags on my shirts. Eerily specific.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I used to do a lot of dyspraxic stuff, too (grabbing at the air next to an object, etc.), but I already know it was caused by social anxiety. When you're in a state of high panic, your depth perception ain't the greatest.

    My own weird revelation came from doing a self-test online for OCD. I (and most of the world, probably) always thought OCD referred to extreme germophobia and constant hand-washing, but that's just one form it can take. My thing where my brain keeps replaying a horrible, horrible thing (usually what it would feel like to get hurt in some awful way) is also OCD. And this is why I always hated gory movies: I would picture what everything felt like and not be able to stop feeling it for days or weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hershele OstropolerDecember 31, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    it's weird reading things about dyspraxia and seeing the little details that make you go "whoa, and I thought that was just something I did."

    I have the opposite reaction, usually, in that circumstance (not with dyspraxia in my case, but the same sort of context); I go "I always thought that was just normal, not a sign of a disorder."

    ReplyDelete
  11. cock shots their guys had sent

    Has any good ever come of d00ds taking cellphone pictures of their dickes?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have that issue with textures too. Velvet and vagina and hotel blankets....do not like.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Huh. I thought it was 'cause I have amblyopia, and hence not much depth perception---but this makes so much sense, it's scary.

    Especially the texture thing....

    ReplyDelete
  14. A bit of clumsiness can be quite endearing and flailing can be quite erotic at the appropriate time. He's thinking "Wow, she thinks I'm so hot that I'm distracting her to the point where she is bumping into things".

    ReplyDelete
  15. if you tell me your penis is twelve inches long, I'll have no way of knowing that it isn't.

    Actually, you own one of the best devices for measuring a penis.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Don't feel bad, I have a hard time telling how tight a pussy is from pictures too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very pleased I just got sent a link to your blog- and always interesting to read of other dyspraxics. I used to have special remedial PE classes because to this day I can't catch or throw (Or tie shoelaces, read clocks, understand directions or get too close to cotton wool without freaking out!)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Not exactly the same, but it took me YEARS to find out that I was not actually lazy, stupid, and incapable of getting good grades. I actually had narcolepsy! According to my psychiatrist the reason I was never diagnosed was because, rather than being stupid and unfocused, I was apparently too smart- I'd come up with so many clever coping solutions that my teachers never pegged me as anything more than a bit slow. Now I try to let employers and other people in charge know about my problems (mostly the narcolepsy, so if they find me asleep at my desk they'll know it's time for me to take more adderall, not fire me for laziness) but DAMN it's hard to admit these kind of things about yourself! I applaud you for going so far as to write a whole blog post about it. Thanks for letting us other weirdos know it's not all in our heads. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Can you drive safely with this condition?

    ReplyDelete
  20. it's funny - i was diagnosed with dyspraxia when i was 12 or so [because of the texture/sound things, the TAGS ARE EVIL GET IT *AWAY!!!*, plus handwritting looks like... well, actually, a doctor's. oh, and despite 5 drawing classes, even my stick figures look like mutants. except when i WANT to draw a mutant...]
    and for YEARS i thought it was another BS thing a doctor [a psychiatrist, but a doctor none the less] made up to get me to go away. [i thought the same of fibromalgia, when a rhematologist diagnosed me with it when i was 15... i have a BAD track record with asshole doctors]

    it wasn't until 2 years ago that i found out it was a REAL THING. and i think you're the first person i've had contact with who has it [or, at least, *admits* to having it]. and i'd place a high probability that two of my sisters ALSO have it, based on the textile/sound issue ALONE.

    do you know if there's anything to be DONE about the textile/sound thing? i swear, it's getting worse and worse - i never could wear polyester, but it's getting to the point that DENIM drive me nuts! and my sheets [i had to go buy flannel sheets, because the noise isn't so loud with flannel... but !!!]

    ANY advice or help or something, to make it less bad, would be GREATLY appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Holly That must be strange. I have that only in very short periods(like a few minutes at a time). I'll lose the ability to distinguish relative sizes at all, I can't imagine being able to navigate. Good show learning how to move about!

    @Lisa Do you get sleep paralysis? I very frequently do and I know that it is only common in people with narcolepsy. I find it rather creepy and disturbing. I don't think I have narcolepsy though. I do have rather crippling daytime sleepiness most of the time but at others I also have extreme insomnia(I won't be able to sleep for days on end ).

    ReplyDelete
  22. As someone who's an ex-"special needs kid" (they don't call it that in college) I'm kind of offended by the tone taken toward disability in this post. Because as someone who has dyspraxia, autism, and diabetes - really, disability isn't always that big a deal. It can be, and i don't want to trivialize the experiences of people for whom it is. But it doesn't have to be. So really, there's nothing inherently better about being a doofus than a special needs kid, and being a special needs kid is definitely not the worst thing that could happen to you (and i'm kind of generally sick of hearing about how it is). BTW, i can't say this for a fact, but the term "doofus" probably was originally used to refer to people who are mentally challenged. just considering what i know about most of our insults - about 90% of them, from "idiot" to "moron," were once derogatory terms/diagnostic labels.

    ReplyDelete