Effects of dyspraxia: Life in Fast Forward
My life has slowed down a little bit recently; like everyone else, it’s partly due to the pandemic, but it’s also because I have recently moved on to a narrowboat. I will write more about that at some point. For now, I want to pause and reflect on why it feels like the effects of dyspraxia are like living in fast forward.
When asked what dyspraxia is, my most common response is that it is a processing delay. It is more complex than that, but it is a good starting point for explaining the effects of dyspraxia and feeling like life is sometimes in fast forward. Lockdown and spending time cut off from busier places has allowed me to spend more time processing the world around me and how I interact within it.
The calm before the dyspraxic storm
I don’t know if this is relatable for anyone reading this, but when I am about to leave home for whatever reason, I am usually calm and collected. However, it doesn’t take much for my anxiety to spike and to quickly become distracted from what I am doing. The same applies to when I am out and interacting with the world. I start calmly with a set of clear goals, but before long, I can become easily anxious and distracted by what is going on around me.
With each passing interaction, good or bad, processing becomes tiresome, and my short term working memory takes a siesta when I need it the most. I am left in a processing blur until I’ve had the time to sit and think about what has happened.
By the time I am home again and calm, I feel like I have been in a movie that I can remember the beginning of, was present for the end of, but had the middle part on fast forward.
Tornado like effects of dyspraxia
A friend once described me as a tornado. After some thought, I could see the parallels between the effects of dyspraxia and that of a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud. I have felt like a tornado of anxiety and enthusiasm tearing through daily interactions, smashing all in my path, unable to process any potential damage caused until the wind has petered out, and things are calm again. This feeling could be attributed to the effects of dyspraxia. It also could be attributed to the effects of another neurological condition like ASD, ADHD, or past traumas.
Whatever the explanation for it, feeling like I am constantly living in fast forward makes me defensive and or, in some cases, aggressive and emotional in my interactions. This can easily lead to feeling isolated.
Tips to cope with living in fast forward!
In my experience, being organised and well prepared for what is in front is the most useful tool to remain calm throughout daily interactions. That could mean creating a schedule, making a checklist, or mentally picturing what you have to do the day before.
Living in fast forward, so to speak, is not all bad. I, like many other dyspraxic people, have a great ability to improvise and be pragmatic in fast-moving situations. It just takes more time for me to process what has happened, often only properly processing events once they have finished.
Even though I still sometimes feel on fast forward, life isn’t always hectic. Interactions aren’t always chaotic, and I even sometimes manage to explain to the barber how I want my haircutting.