|I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time. I’ve started it countless times, looking at adversity from many different angles. In the end, I decided that the best way to express what I want to say about adversity and overcoming adversity is through a little tale.
Growing up I had difficulties with reading and writing because of Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. At sixteen years old, I had a reading and comprehension age of fourteen. I remember when I was younger, having to read paragraphs two or three times to get the meaning of the words. The thought of reading a book at this age, was like the thought of climbing a mountain.
I couldn’t write my name until I was ten years old. I understood what we were taught in classes, but just couldn’t write it down on paper in an organised and structured way. I got very good at talking and verbal presentation to compensate.
Fast forward to now. I have overcome adversity in relation to reading and writing. I’m always reading at least ten books at any one time. I read nineteen books last year (see Book List 2015) and I read twenty-eight books the year before that (see Book List 2014). I regularly get sent books by publisher’s publicists to read and review. Thankfully I no longer need to re-read paragraphs two or three times to understand them. I write creatively on a regular basis. I’ve recently published a short story entitled Soulmates and write for The Gay UK.
In addition to the above: I have done well academically. I have been to university twice and about to go back to university to complete a further module. I have gained a HE Diploma in Children’s Nursing and a Honours Degree in Nursing, graded at a 2:1.
The reading, the writing and the university wouldn’t have been possible without overcoming adversity. But what’s really interesting is that I’ve learned some fundamental things that were required in order for me to overcome adversity. These included:
- Grit or determination. Not giving up. Continuing to read and write, even when I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall.
- The support of others. My mum fought the education authorities to get the professional help I needed to learn to read and write. Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Volunteers all spent countless hours teaching me to read and understand what I was reading. My mum fought the health authorities to get the practical support from a brilliant and professional Occupational Therapist. And of course my mum helped and supported me in so many other ways: spending time reading with me, taking me to my Occupational Therapist appointments, just listening when I needed to vent my frustration, etc.
- Practice. Repetition is the key to learning and the way of getting good at anything. Think of when you learned to ride a bike as a child.
- Being driven by my love of literature. Even with my difficulties in reading and writing, I used to be captivated by the stories my mum would read to me at bedtime. By how words could ignite my imagination and make me feel very real emotions.
- People having belief and faith that I could overcome my reading and writing difficulties. This includes both family and friends.
- Believing in myself, or at least hoping that I could overcome these reading and writing difficulties.
I would imagine that these fundamental things are essential for anyone trying to overcome adversity. I wanted to share these thoughts, for anyone currently struggling with adversity. If you have overcome adversity, how did you do it? What did you need in order to overcome adversity? Leave a comment below.