‘Dyslexia is my secret weapon’
A practicing psychotherapist talks about being diagnosed with dyslexia in her 40s and the surprising success she has experienced as a result
Around 10% of the UK population suffers from dyslexia and as a learning difficulty it is often seen as a barrier to success. But a Tulip Financial Research study found that around 40% of self-made millionaires are dyslexic. This inspires me because I recently published my first book, Journey with Grace, in which I describe dyslexia as my secret weapon because once diagnosed, it bred in me determination and a strong will to succeed.
Dyslexia can be like a foot that will suddenly appear and trip me up at any point. It can steal confidence and leave a sense that I will be caught out or that I can’t complete the task in front of me. However, knowing why we dyslexics do what we do as our brains are wired differently, means that the anxiety it causes can be considerably reduced. We can learn to manage it better and learn ways around it. It is far more complex than just having problems with learning to read; dyslexia comes with a full host of issues that can hinder everyday life if left unchecked.
Growing up I had my own idenity issues linked with being the only girl in a family of boys. I felt that there was little expectation of me as I rushed around trying to catch up most of the time. I didn't need to be put down (which I was regularly) as I would always beat myself up for not being big enough, clever enough or quick enough.
In Journey with Grace I share how I have embraced my own challenges with dyslexia and how it created a passion in me to help others who find everyday life hard. A major part of this is reading, so ensuring that our publishing house imprint, Sarah Grace Publishing is ‘dyslexic friendly’ has been that first step. We also created a special font that helps those with dyslexia be able to recognise words more easily.
Finding out why I had struggled and seeing the armour I had developed over the years to cope, along with my faith in God, gave me confidence to take on challenges such as writing this book. Journaling has been a great way for me to bring my thought processes into the light and I have designed a journal to go alongside my book, called Journal with Grace in order to encourage readers to do just this.
Journalling also helps to encourage better mental health. As an experienced psychotherapist who has been through the trauma of an unsettled childhood, various illnesses, undiagnosed dyslexia and marriage breakdown, I have learned the hard way the importance of taking time out to focus on my own wellbeing. Being busy all the time is not something we should celebrate and one of the big conversations we should be having during this time is why we seek to be busy all the time. What are we trying to avoid? Helping ourselves is hard, we sometimes prefer to help others so that we can avoid looking at our own lives. But when we look deeper within, we are more able to give to others more wholly; allowing time and space to be with our emotions and feelings is essential.
Journey with Grace and Journal with Grace are both available from sarahmgrace.co.uk or your local Christian Bookshop (please do support these shops).
Dyslexia Awareness Week 2020 runs from 5 – 11 October.
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