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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: Lyn found that being diagnosed with dyslexia later in life challenged her ideas about herself.

Quite scary. Because I think there's that feeling of taboo, which I don't think ought to exist but which I fear and know does. Where you are - I don't think I've ever had a problem coming clean about my problem, or my problems. Or if I've done something wrong, or if I've made a mistake, I'm always on it to apologise or to own up. But this was owning up to a weakness, which is different in a way than making a mistake. And I think it was mental adjustment required on my part, to kind of work out what my new role with myself was, and how I was going to present myself. And the fear I think many human beings have of not being accepted. Or once you admit some things - it may not be important to you, but other people will see you in a different light.

So saying I was dyslexic, was a kind - in my mind, it was kind of akin to that's something unusual, beyond the norm, a bit of an outlier, and I wasn't quite sure how people would respond to me, and whether I would still be the same person that they had seen me the day before me telling them. That was my fear, that I would then have to work out how to represent myself to the rest of the world in the light of this. And I had to make a decision fairly early on as to whether I was going to be upfront about that, hence why I'm here. Or not, and be a kind of undercover disabled person. Because dyslexia is a hidden disability, you can't generally tell, going round looking at the world he or she is dyslexic. Or they have mental health problems, or - even a hundred and one health problems that might disable you, like rheumatoid arthritis. You don't go round looking for people with that condition. And you wouldn't be able to spot it, unless you were a trained person. So I had the option of remaining hidden, or the option to be open. And because of the kind of person I am, I like to be the same person in every situation. And to deny or to hide something about myself, to me felt uncomfortable. And I realise I'm taking a risk in being self-disclosing. And for some people that will be uncomfortable, being on the end of that. Like as I said, if I'd revealed something very personal, I would expect a reaction. But so far, I haven't really had any strong reactions. Not that I know of.

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