My coping strategies - what are yours?

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hannah_2010
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My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by hannah_2010 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:55 pm

Hello, this is my first post and I'm sure there have been tons like this before, but in case anyone else is relatively new & doesn't mind going over old territory, I'd really like to share coping strategies I've found and hear about yours. I am a 28 year old writer, also studying art, and was diagnosed very recently after years of struggling with organisational skills.

Here are a few things I've found helpful recently. I would really love to hear yours!

Telling the truth
Until someone first suggested that my difficulties might be the result of a disorder rather than just laziness, I was so ashamed that I used to do my best to disguise or deny my problems. One thing that is perhaps really small but I've found hugely helpful is just being honest about my limitations. A small example: when people eg hold out their wine glasses expecting me to fill them at a party or whatever, which sends me into a mild panic about spilling, now I just say "Oh I'll probably just spill it, it's better if you do it yourself" and hand over the bottle. Does anyone else find that this is helpful?

One or two tasks is enough
Because of my fear of my own laziness/easily distractedness, I tend to massively overbook myself, so I'll set up like 10 things to do in one day and then beat myself up for failing to get even two or three done. I'm slowwwwly realising that one or two tasks -- by 'tasks' I mean everything from 'buy groceries' to 'visit gallery' -- is usually enough to take up a whole day. I think because of having to invent mad skillz to deal with being a bit behind everyone else, dyspraxics often try to overreach themselves like this, does anyone else relate to that?

Giving myself a break
Another probably super-obvious one that I'm sure tons of you do! My old style of telling myself constantly how rubbish I am, like "Everyone else can do it, I'm obviously an idiot", my new dyspraxic mantra is "this is really hard for me, but I'm going to try" -- like, if I'm tidying my room, instead of doing really bad self-talk like "You idiot, you're 28 and you can't even tidy your room properly", I think "But this is harder for me than other people" and I give myself a break and that sometimes (SOMETIMES) means I actually get it done!

Oh God this is getting really long... I'll post more later but would be REALLY interested to hear from others! Finding this site made me feel almost tearful with relief that other people go through the same sh1t. x

hannah_2010
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by hannah_2010 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:16 pm

Some more! I'm sure these are covered elsewhere but just in case anyone is here on a first-time-googling-dyspraxia adventure...

Using stuff I already have with me
I can just about manage to remember my phone, keys and wallet by chanting "phone, keys, wallet" to myself while leaving the house, but it does my head in when well meaning people suggest keeping a diary or writing lists as solutions, because I WONT REMEMBER TO HAVE THEM WITH ME. The few times I've attempted a diary, it's actually made things worse cos I find if I write something down, my brain stops trying to remember it. So I compress as much as possible into the 3 things I can remember, eg my Oyster card (bus/tube pass) is inside my wallet, and the details for my house bank account are on my mobile phone, etc.

Sometimes you just shouldn't bother even trying
This is something ace that my amazing tutor at college said to me after she saw the results of my dyspraxia assessment (I had v high scores in the verbal tests but scored miserably, in the bottom 2%, for that test where you see 3 shapes in a row and have to say what the 4th one should be, did anyone else do particularly badly in this one?). She said, "It goes to show that there are some things you shouldn't force yourself to make an effort with." I know this might sound a bit bleak to some people, but I think it's true. While I welcome advice and support about how to improve the things I struggle with, but sometimes, if you can, it's good to just stop trying. For example I would no longer try to do a job where organisational skills and punctuality were all important, and I no longer spend two hours crying over eg flatpack furniture instructions before I ask for help. I just can't do some things. Some people can't do some of the things I can do. I'm trying to learn to be OK with that.

ianpenfold
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by ianpenfold » Wed May 26, 2010 10:57 am

I Am SOOOOO glad i could be bothered to give google another try at adults and dyspraxia. I've found this. great!

I also do the thing where i obsessively check everything that i should have with me to do whatever it is i'm doing that day. Like you, i also find that if anything i am doing that day is time-dependant, then as well as finding it incredibly difficult to get to it on time, i can only manage two things with complete success per day. I also sometimes do the trying to cram as much in to one day as i think i could manage in a kind of self-challenge sort of way - its like i want to somehow be superhuman for just that one day in order to make up for how hopeless i feel sometimes.

It takes an incredible ammount of self-motivation and organisation to do something as 'mundane' as tidying up. i can tidy up, and do it well, but it takes ages. so i have found that allowing myself to just do 'a bit' and then be okay with myself to do something else if i get distracted later helps a lot - because at least i did 'a bit' of the thing that i keep getting distracted from. that way, eventually, all the bits make a whole and it's got done. anyone else looking at the way i run my homelife would find it really disorganised, but in my own way - it actually has some organisation.

I do keep a diary, it does help, but i'm in the habbit of always having it in the pocket of the trousers that i wore the day before - and thence today if i've not changed them, so i dont forget to take it with me or where it is in the house. I did however lose my last diary, because i made the mistake of putting it in front of me on the table i was sitting at in the pub instead of immediately back in my pocket. this happened because i had got it out to write down a date which came up as part of the current conversation, then invariably the conversation changed - thence what i was thinking about and so me having the diary on the table and knowing that it was there changed and i forgot to put it back in my pocket when we got up and went to the bar - where another conversation started and i went and sat at a different table. does this kind of thing sound familiar? lol

It's quite an obscure situation, but 'Coping Strategies' are sometimes what make it so difficult for anyone to assess me for dyspraxia. It's an incredible problem. When i go for an assessment, my brain somehow treats it as a 'test' and goes in to overdrive - hence i 'pass' the 'test' and am found to have 'no significant problems'. The fact that no-one has any idea what is going on in my head during that assessment, just how much obscene ammount of stress i am having dealing with the questions/tasks, why i am incredibly outwardly calm during this and the fact that i would not ever be able to cope with this for more than an hour or so is oblivious to the assessor. Not to mention that most of these assessments also include things that are similar to things i have already learnt (like playing for hours and hours every day with LEGO during most of my childhood) and i happen to (unfortunately?) be in posession of a fairly high intelligence. Getting assessed (and having some recognition) is a major problem.

rallen
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by rallen » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:32 pm

Hi I really struggle with retaining information - even if I am given instructions in just a sentance, I concentrate so hard on trying to remmember key bits that I dont take on all the instructions then I often forget bits I have concentrated on becasue I either panic or then try and work out what I have missed and get all muddled.

I need people to either give me written instructions (not easy as they find it easier and quicker to speak!) or for me to hear something several times in a row. I coping strategy I have if I am on the telephone is to prentend it is a bad line and I can't hear them properly so they have to repeat themselves (without me being embarrased or confessing it is becasue of me!) and I can write it all down.

Another strategy - though it is in reality a bad coping stragegy is that I have issues abotu the time it takes for me to process a question so I tend to blurt out or say anything so they dont think I am stupid or think for having to think about it in a slow manner - anyone else do this?

agsiul
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by agsiul » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:41 pm

I pre-empt accidents. I'll scan rooms or where I am walking and see what I could fall over or crash into. It doesn' work all the time but if I'm not tired I can minimise my accidents. Sometimes I don't listen to myself warning myself not to walk over the lead of my laptop or something...I'm a teacher so I have to watch for this kind of thing in work all the time as well.

jen d
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by jen d » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Mine is looking back on my seat when i get off a bus etc to see if I have left anything. However, I tend to forget if going somewhere different eg when going to Dorset by train for my Dad's 80th birhtday leaving a bag with all his presents in at the station!

agsiul
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by agsiul » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:36 pm

damn did you get them back?

jen d
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by jen d » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:59 am

No never got them back. I do try to be more careful now.

Another strategy I have is to keep the radio on when I am doing routine tasks at home. When I had my diagnosis the psychologist explained to me that the reason I do that is that my mind wanders constantly when I am doing things like housework, washing up etc and that is how I loose track of time. The radio is an external reminder which helps me to focus

agsiul
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by agsiul » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:51 pm

That's funny. I found that I was much worse when I'd have the radio on...of course I'd just have music on. I wouldn't have a person talking on it so wouldn't have any idea of time. I just would have the music on so that I wouldn't get bored. I do the cleaning now without music cause it was taking hours.

Catwoman42
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by Catwoman42 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:23 pm

My strategies are writing things to remember on the palm of my hand, using calendars (on the computer too), putting events in a diary.

I thought the point about not being hard on yourself was spot on; I used to get very angry with myself when I forgot to do something. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself as I know I can't help it, although I did get very angry when i tripped and almost fell in a shop recently. Ther manager is v snooty and I wanted the ground just to open up.

agsiul
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by agsiul » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:28 pm

I tried to walk through a window in a shop once. Kicked it with my foot and bounced my head off it..so embarassing. couldn't find the door. The whole bloody wall was a window and door. Had to back up and walk around the door. \:D/

agsiul
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by agsiul » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:43 pm

You know...I just thought of something. I always tell my kids that they'll be able to do whatever I'm teaching them and sometimes it just takes longer to learn it or that we might have to try a few different ways to do it. Most times I can teach them whatever topic it is but other times I'm just really struggling thinking to myself OMG they are never going to get this. I never let them know this of course and I just keep supporting them until they eventually do get it....a sort of fake it till you get it kind of thing. It's really weird but it really works. More often than not they dont' realise that they can't do it and eventually when they get enough practice they can. They are really good. They just keep working and working and doing what I want them to do even though it is really hard. Obviously I'm really relieved when they can do it.

Sometimes some of them stress because they make mistakes. I have to keep reiminding them that it is ok and that this is how we learn. It took me till I was working in learning support to start taking this in myself. I wa always such a perfectionist and would freak out if I made a mistake and make myself feel bad about it. Then when I started telling the kids this I realised that I couldn't be telling the kids this and not follow my own advice. I've no idea how this is relevent but I thought I'd share more so to remind myself.

SirDaveofDanger
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by SirDaveofDanger » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:38 pm

hannah_2010 wrote: Using stuff I already have with me
I can just about manage to remember my phone, keys and wallet by chanting "phone, keys, wallet" to myself while leaving the house
I have a tendancy of repeating 'Keys, Wallet, Phone' thing which generally i'll check all of the previous night (apart from my phone, which is used as my alarm). I got so paranoid yesterday when I went to work and found i'd left my wallet at home, it is rediculous (in retrospect); mainly as I thought i'd dropped it en route, on the 2 and a half miles I have to walk to work. (Fortunately I generally get a lift back from work most days)

I also tend to listen to music via my headphones when i'm doing general stuff (like walking to work, etc.) to make time pass (and sing along when i'm not near people: I do a great Frank Sinatra's - My Way [so i've been told])

salems24
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by salems24 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:34 am

I make a routine where everything is always in the same place this is an example:

my bus pass goes in my wallet which is attached to my keys I always keep this in my trousers apart from when im using it and then it goes straight back in my trousers again

if I put any of those things in a different place for example my bus pass in my back pocket I will be looking for it for ages

everyone says that my room is messy but to me its organized because I know where everything funnily enough I only can't find anything in my room once someone like my mum has taken it upon herself to clean my room I do love her dearly and know she only has the best intentions though :)

lulufairy
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Re: My coping strategies - what are yours?

Post by lulufairy » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:35 pm

Lots of rountines for me things like purse keys always in my bag mobile either on me or on the table at home. What really confuses me is when i change bags for ages i have to repeated check i have what i need in it. Husband has just got me an ebook so thats another thing for me to check. housework music on i sing and dance while i do it. Its not good :) . Everything gots its own place but it dont make sense to other people hubby says i live in Lulu land :)

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