How dyspraxia brings out mental health issues.

I’ve had dyspraxia from birth but was only diagnosed aged 9.

Dyspraxia manifests itself in many different ways but I want to focus on the mental health side as today is #WorldMentalHealthDay

Mental Health is still a bit of a taboo like sex; politics and religion, but just like those three topics, it needs talking about and it needs addressing.

It is important to note that mental health issues are more a reaction than a symptom of Dyspraxia. But I have a tendency to be stressed; depressed or anxious about things; I have difficulty sleeping from time to time; I am prone to serious bouts of low self esteem; and I have a few phobias, although I’m training myself out of those gradually. 

A prime example of anxiety occurs in my day job. Apart from being a Councillor and a school governor, my days are spent as a Team Coordinator in a large warehouse. Now I have run shifts of 30 people and reported to the duty senior leader [four pay grades above me] throughout a shift, no problem. But [I have had bad experiences with handing over to certain people] from 20:45 onwards I get terribly anxious wondering who I’m having to hand over to. This has made me hate PM shifts at work.

I hear you asking the question, how can A borough councillor with a majority of nearly 100 have low self esteem?  The truth is that I will always be trying to prove myself. When I have managers criticising what I have done and what I’m handing over, I feel useless and therefore I get low self esteem which leads to anxiety and stress and loss of sleep, where most people would walk out at 22:00 and shrug it off. 

I over think and over plan. I so determined to succeed, which is a trait of being dyspraxia, that that slightest set back becomes personal. 

There are many positives to anyone with Dyspraxia though. 

  • Determination 
  • Entrepreneurship and think outside of the box 
  • Hard work
  • Compassion 
  • Good general knowledge 
  • Very methodical 
  • Very task driven
  • Good long term memories 
  • Great problem solving skills
  • Very logical
  • Very creative and will usually take a high interest in the arts: music, painting, photography etc.

I think it’s important to talk about mental health issues. But have never opened up about how my Dyspraxia has brought on mental health issues.

Bullies made me who I am now!…

My name is Cllr Richard Harris and I have been bullied.

Yup, that’s right, from the age of 9-16 I was bullied every single day of my school life.

When I started work, I thought I’d escaped, I thought I’d found somewhere that I was accepted and for four years I was. For the last year that I was at McDonalds, I suffered it there too. 

Now being bullied has done two things to me, it made me very wary of people and it wasn’t until my latter student years that I began to trust people and make friends, but it made me turn to public service. 

Instead of being bitter about my experiences I use them to help other people. I campaign to end bullying and I work with the community to improve lives. 

I blogged earlier about one cause of anxiety and sleep loss. This is the other. 

Today, On world mental health day, my message is this: the countless bullies that I suffered in my formative years, at Cloudside; Friesland and at work made me the strong and resilient character that I am today. Bullies can cause all sorts of personal issues. Don’t let them. Talk to someone!