Concept Breaker

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Protected: Not  A Moment too Soon — March 24, 2018

Protected: Not  A Moment too Soon

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Writing Together: Therapeutic Writing in Mental Health – 3 — October 7, 2017

Writing Together: Therapeutic Writing in Mental Health – 3

Words for Wellbeing


Rapport and group dynamics

I believe the success of small group therapeutic creative writing sessions is greatly influenced by how comfortable and supported participants feel in the group, and on the development of confidence to share writing, thoughts and feelings with each other. Writing itself is therapeutic, but writing and sharing writing in a supportive group adds another dimension. For example, some people who had probably never written creatively before, gained confidence within the space of one session, and over several sessions, in response to the heartfelt and supportive feedback they received on their writing from the group.

Rapport between facilitator and participants is vital for creating a relaxed, supportive group. Rapport and good group dynamics can be fostered in many ways, e.g., by being friendly and approachable and using only first names in the group. I try to speak to participants not as their group leader but just…

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Tell me what you can do, not what you can’t — July 19, 2017

Tell me what you can do, not what you can’t

Since I received diagnosis my dyspraxia, I’ve felt various highs and lows. Mainly though, highs seem to be increasing. I spent a day at the dyspraxia conference and realized how lucky I was that I wasn’t told I was different. I felt different but isn’t that normal for some children, in the playground there are always different groups of children or those who find themselves alone for all sorts of reasons. For me that was the case, but for me it felt normal to be abnormal.

More importantly the things I couldn’t do felt like no big deal, it just took me longer to do it, no-one really noticed I couldn’t do it only me. Needing to learn without being taught directly is something that has happened to me and must be why I have such a high self awareness. I mean you do get the odd adult who looks puzzled why you can’t do something or in some cases shouts at you.

However these days everyone is so worried about their child if they aren’t developing in the same way – this means often they are wrapped with cotton wall, they are told they are different but we will try to make you normal, which in turn just creates distance from being able to live a fulfilling life. I feel this also creates withdrawal and depression also.


The other day I went to a shyness group, mainly it was attended by people of different ages with social anxiety issues. On moving around the group I found two people with proposed learning disabilities one with Aspergers and one with Autsim. When I first started chatting to them they seemed quite low and full of anxiety. However they instantly opened up more when I told them I had a disorder too.  One person transformed before my eyes as they opened up about their own experience. Being young and their parents feeling as though something was different set about trying to get a diagnosis to explain why their child wasn’t like everyone else. At the age of over 30 the person having battled with depression had a revelation, there wasn’t anything wrong with him it was everyone else.  Now the person was battling to get out into the real world find a job, make connections and friendships and start living.

In our discussion they told me that they had high levels of depression when younger and felt it was made worse by the diagnoses which they are not sure is correct even. Furthermore they thought of it as a disability and disbelieved me when I said I don’t believe in disability.

I felt it was important to ask what they can do not what they can’t and that the interesting fact of the brain that it compensates for any weakness areas which means that those with neuro-developmental disorders like we all had often have skills and abilities that are higher then the average population. This I felt was really important to push out there.

Afterwards, It made me think, that disability is such because it is the way we create the world, rather then us inside the world trying to create. We can create the world any how we want and if you speak to anyone with any difficulties in one areas you have to find ways to get to their strengths and when you do its like a whole new person sitting in front of you, open bright and happy.

That’s the thing I’ve always found that people who aren’t like the average person tend to have such interesting perspectives, different ways of thinking. If nothing else there is a pure kindness that comes from within which is so important in todays world. Yet sadly, people who are capable tend not to find environments that allow them to thrive and all that ability goes to waste.

I feel its a ridiculous concept that some test has not defined me as disabled. I can’t fathom it, it seems so hilarious.   Furthermore what seems to get forgotten in the process having a learning disability or any disability it doesn’t mean you suddenly forgo a personality or that you don’t have emotions, which I feel is often assumed or forgotten. For instance my personality isn’t involved in my limbs or my senses or my emotions, it is linked but if I lose a limb or I can’t do a maths sum I still have a personality right – that’s how the brain works.  Everyone has the ability  to  love, have friendships and purpose in life.

For me its so important to empower others. And specifically empowering  those that have been made to feel different.  These levels of low self esteem lead  person to close in in on themselves and find it even difficult to form meaningful relationships and create what they want to create in the world. People want to feel like they are worth something to the society, to the group – its almost the purpose of life. We don’t do things alone, why would we?

Its also important to realize that engaging with anyone is fulfilling given enough patience and openness. Every time I meet someone who has something different I think about it for days afterwards. Yesterday I was working at an art centre in the membership lounge and was certain one person there had Aspergers just in the way they talked, and the questions they asked. And its so hard sometimes when you don’t have the answers because for instance he was asking why there was no classical music in August when this is a classical music venue. It made  Tt must be hard to really understand a world in black and white when there are so many grey areas. For me I find it hard to believe that there is any need of rules and regulations and things that stay the same.

Needless to say he was in the area for a while and I always offered a smile. At the end of the night he went to go and said goodbye and he asked if this was the right way for the lift down. I confirmed, off he went. Five minutes he comes back breathless, I said was it not the right way? No, I want to show you something – He got out of his bumbag a huge selection of key rings, he says – no its not there.. Then he reaches for his necklace – again a huge selection of medals and key rings ( thereby further providing further evidence of my first impression in Aspergers in regards to having obsessions and collecting things) He says, tell me who you think this is. I looked at it for a while and said Queen Victoria, I was right and he was so happy. We got chatting about his collection, how he loved the British Royal  family,his Ethiopian roots, because he says though I am British, I am clearly african also. I asked him if he family was nice and he paused for some time, smiled and said “well its not right to complain is it” with a huge smile.  I said yes families can be at times difficult but after-all they are family. The last bit set me smiling, even still 24 hours later. He said, oh by the way I don’t believe in intersexual racial relationships so you are quite safe. Of course most would be shocked but to me, I just thought that was classic, you have to expect the unexpected and that one I have not heard before. The point is engage and you will be surprised because its not the same as talking to the average population of small talk, you’ll not even know where the conversation will take you and you’ll get to peek inside someone elses world whose brain works in such a different way that is pretty incredible.

The reason why I’m telling this story is sometimes you have to try your very best to see the person themselves rather then the  label that is put upon them. A label is good in respect of knowing how to help, however often the label can lead to segregation. In creating a divide this you are missing out a whole new world of thought and imagination that really transforms your world and your ideas of it.  In fact I feel this overall that we are continually separating people with regards to race, gender or sexual preference with the purpose of inclusion yet creating exclusion all the way. Overall the most important part to remember is no matter what, everyone is an individual no matter what and everyone needs to be treated as such, no matter how hard it is for people to accept. We are individuals who are similar and actually its like what I always heard in Thailand ‘same same but different’.


Work & Career with Dyspraxia — May 31, 2017

Work & Career with Dyspraxia

I don’t want to talk about dyspraxia too much because I feel like I have a problem whereby I always need to explain my self and it doesn’t help it makes you feel worse in someways. However I wanted to share the sound cloud that I found really great pod cast where young people share their experiences.


I wanted to share my input as an adult recently diagnosed.  As a youngster I really enjoyed the education but work was a different story. I am the classic been to so many different jobs and tried so many different things. I have been sacked or just left jobs. I’ve been told I was too slow, most of the time. I struggle doing simple jobs like waitressing as I mix up orders, or messing up setting up tables, or problems with making beds.The only job I could kind of do well was call centre but it was the continued taking phone calls that made me tired and my performance was always up and down.


But, there are other avenues which I am going to explore and I’m not giving up until I find the right one. Because, I want a job, one I’m really good at, one where I actually make a real difference. I love working I just can’t do it most of the time, and get stressed by judgements of others. I’m  hoping that getting a degree will lead me to jobs that makes use of my problem solving skills and less need of practical skills.

One positive things which I heard mentioned is how stubborn people with dyspraxia  are. That’s true and if I had one things to add it would be to never give up. Learning disorders are different to say a physical disorder: Ie someone who is paralysed may never be able to walk. However a person with a learning disorder that includes motor skills will always be able to do whatever they are trying, no matter what they tell you. It just takes allot of time, practise and patience. Of course there are some things that are just so hard, for me I would love to draw and I know that is a very hard thing for me to do, but the dream is one day I will do it.  I think the biggest  trouble is that people only see how  normal brains behave. This means someone with dyspraxia also has the added pressure of trying to meet  social norms and that can lead to low levels of self esteem and depression.
I think things are changing, like they say on the podcast that social media means we can meet other people like us, who understand all the challenges we face day to day and some face more challenges then others. Again, against all diversity don’t give up, keep going.  Ever more its important for someone with dyspraxia to really know what they are passionate about. Furthermore its important to know that some companies are not worth working for, whilst others are. Some companies have patient staff and access to training. Do not be disheartened if you go to a job and the manager is mean, its the managers problem not yours that’s just poor management skills.

Overall if I can say anything its the spirit of the team, and a company that values staff where I have been able to grow the most.  To know what how a company is you need to find out as best you can in the interview. The greatest thing I ever learned was that when I am in an interview it works both ways – I need to sell myself and the company and management need to sell themselves. If the interviewer seems like someone who I don’t click with I’m wary of taking the job.
Its a struggle for sure, but with the right people and the right attitude along with a thick skin anything is possible.


Enjoy the pod cast that I found, I hope it helps.


From barely functioning to melting down — May 8, 2017

From barely functioning to melting down

Totally get this.


When I’m somewhere outside my comfort zone – anywhere new, busy, or with a lot to remember – I will go into the mental equivalent of power saving mode. I keep my head down, remain on the sidelines, or wherever it’s quietest, and withdraw into my own head.

If I have an obligation to be in this place, I will do what I think is expected, but, though polite, will not be at my most sociable. Nor my most attentive. My brain is doing only what it has to. As soon as is socially acceptable, I will recharge in the seclusion of my own room, and start to feel more human pretty quickly.

Now turn it up a notch. I’ve been in such a place too long, or there are too many demands being made, or maybe I’m in a difficult situation with a person. At this point, even power saving mode is wearing…

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Alive Again — April 14, 2017

Alive Again

Sometimes I’m so harsh on myself, often its hard for me to revise. More often then not my grades go up and down. Today I started going back in my head, nostaliga  listening to music I listened to when I was young, when I was dreaming. I remembered that I never was dreaming about anything in particular, I wasn’t setting a goal, I wasn’t wanting an end, I was just there in my mind and I love it here. Now I’m back there, and when you really get into music your realize what lives all about. What I liked most about my youth was that I lived, I lived because I felt. That’s when I realize I won’t be an amazing academic, unless knowledge floats into the dream, I can’t force my mind to be anything else. Well I could, but this is when I feel so alive when the spirit takes me. Today I looked at everyone around me and fell in love. All I have to say is that I lived, and how I know I’ve lived is when I can smile about nothing and everything. The knowledge it’ll be there, it might not come out at university, but it’ll come out for whoever really needs it and that’s all that matters.


Here, is a post that I’m going to try. I’ve been pretty quiet for a while because I have simply been overloaded with work. However, I’m improving most of the time but I’m working hard. I feel like the way I study is not healthy, I tend to go for 4 hours at a time, then I re-read the same things or re-write a whole essay, and that is not good for my mental health! So I’m going to try this one and see what happens. If anyone else has study tips please share! One Magical Way to Improve Your Grades — March 4, 2017

Here, is a post that I’m going to try. I’ve been pretty quiet for a while because I have simply been overloaded with work. However, I’m improving most of the time but I’m working hard. I feel like the way I study is not healthy, I tend to go for 4 hours at a time, then I re-read the same things or re-write a whole essay, and that is not good for my mental health! So I’m going to try this one and see what happens. If anyone else has study tips please share! One Magical Way to Improve Your Grades

It is that time of the year again! Finals are knocking at the door and I am not that extremely studious boy in class who literally nails each and every exam. In fact, I am far from that guy. For ou…

Source: One Magical Way to Improve Your Grades

Dyspraxia, Ballet and why your words still hurt me — April 17, 2016

Dyspraxia, Ballet and why your words still hurt me

It’s like someone has entered my brain!

Outsider Looking Out

About two months ago I took up ballet as a hobby. Now, as a 22 year old who’s never danced a step in her life outside of PE “dance” lessons, this might seem like a bold move. But what really surprises even myself is that I’ve chosen one of the hardest modes of dance to learn, and I have dyspraxia.

I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the end of my second year of university after years of struggling and not really realising anything was wrong. I’d always been rubbish at PE, I found it impossible to organise myself for school, and the poor quality of my handwriting lead to me being told that examiners wouldn’t bother to read my exam papers. I was also clumsy and a little bit rubbish at making friends. However, nobody picked up on this, and I didn’t even hear about dyspraxia until a boy joined…

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Losing Creativity — June 24, 2015

Losing Creativity

Roger McGough – Book Cafe

An excerpt from Book Cafe BBC radio Scotland.

Do you worry that children now don’t get the chance to be as creative and free to think?

I do, I’m quite annoyed in England now they are talking about the new baccalaureate just runing it for the arts. I am such a believer that arts should be the centre of our education.

They are saying now that 40% of children now at school, the jobs they will eventually go into are yet to be invented. So what’s the point of just pushing facts and figures down their throats so you have to train for young people to be creative and that means imaginative learning to be adaptable.

You hear people saying about sorry but librarys we need to shut them we can’t afford them, its cuts. Anyway  information is now available at the touch of the button.Yeah  of course but it’s imagination that we’re talking about and thats what librarys provide it feeds the imagination.

People just don’t see it.

So many of our polticians and councils don’t see what you talking about  when you say things like creativity or  imagination they don’t understand it.

Why do you think we are always coming up with that attitude? That the arts are like a luxury item which you append onto whatever else you have room but the rest is used for core subjects?

I think people take up jobs that control us, and they tend to be men and they tend to be men who like football they tend to call the shots and its always been this way. I’ve nothing against football but they just don’t see it, its very hard to make your points without appearing to soppy.

Friends on mine say that poetry is good but it doesn’t put food on the table, they say what’s the point.

Its all economic.

How to be good at stress — June 22, 2015

How to be good at stress

What does it mean to be “good” at stress? Does it mean you don’t get stressed out? That you stay calm under pressure and bounce back from adversity?

Actually, no. The truth of stress as I’ve researched it shows two important things. Firstly, that trying to avoid it is fundamentally counterproductive. Secondly, that thinking that we can emerge from stressful circumstances unscathed and unchanged is precisely the wrong way of thinking about things.

Instead, we need to start thinking about how to have the courage to grow from stress. This view of resilience was first described by the psychologist Salvatore Maddi, who founded the Hardiness Research Lab at the University of California Irvine. He dedicated his career to identifying what distinguishes people who thrive under stress from those who are defeated by it. The ones who thrive, he concluded, are those who view stress as inevitable, and rather than try…

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