All my life, I have had to personally devise ways of coping with directional dyslexia. I didn’t know what it was, (till recently of course) but I knew I had to deal with it since it wouldn’t go away, try as I may. I discussed my experience with this disability here.
Rather than risk getting lost and panicking, I will jot down the direction, pay serious attention to landmarks and signs. Of course, when all fails, I will ask people for directions. Most people are willing to help though sometimes, I end up more confused or lost from wrong directions.
Short term memory issues are also part of my directional dyslexia. I make up for that disability with writing. If I don’t want to forget instructions, ideas, thoughts, and every other important stuff, I jot them down immediately before they get lost.
To distinguish my left from my right, I demonstrate eating or writing knowing I mostly eat with my right hand. No, you won’t notice nor understand what I am doing because I’ve become a professional at the acting. I recently learnt that the hand where your wristwatch usually resides can be a pointer too.
I still have fear for driving, though GPS seems like a cold comfort. Not like I can make head or tail of maps.
I have given up on distinguishing east from west or north from south, unless of course I see the sun setting.
There are many other minor coping skills that come in handy as each occasion demands. I’m still learning too because the skills are never enough.
Being rid of directional dyslexia will beat all the coping skills. Maybe researchers can help save our souls.
Little Ochanya gave up the ghost on 18th of October at Otukpo General Hospital after unsuccessful battle with VVF.
Cause of Ochanya’s VVF – Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbaje contracted VVF due to the incessant assault on her tender anus and vagina for more than 3 years. She was raped and sodomized from 8 years old when she came to live with her mother’s relative. At 13 years old, Ochanya eventually lost the battle.
The Culprits –
Whatever name you give them, they deserve it. Mr. Andrew, 51, is a Senior Lecturer. His son Victor is a final year student. Both found an 8 year old body irresistible, they found her more alluring than all the beautiful tantalizing ladies around. The son began the raping game first but when his sister discovered it and reported to the family, the father, after paying lip servicw to the issue, joined his son. Together, they raped and ssodomized Ochanya for years, destroying her young organs in the process.
The Police arrested Mr. Lecturer earlier on, but for God knows why, he was released from custody. Not only was he released, he went right back to his lectures and his normal life. The son? No one seems to know his whereabouts.
In pursuit of education and better life, Ochanya left her village to live with her relatives – the rapists. According to her, her woes began when she was just 8. Both men took turns ravaging her.
Wondering why she didn’t seek help? If you have ever been a victim of rape, you wouldn’t wonder. Besides, the barbarians threatened her and on occasions, drugged her into submission. Despite all her tribulations, she continued with her education which the demons terminated at Junior Secondary class 1.
And Mrs Andrew?
Ochanya’s aunt, I kept wondering about her, wondering whether she was dead, insane or simply blind. But obviously, none of the above applies to her. I personally would love to hear from her. Like, ask her how she could turn a blind eye to such inhuman acts in her home. Was she watching while her men did it? Are they all perverts? What was she thinking? How could she keep mute in such disheartening and traumatic situation? Did she hate Ochanya that much?
The Nigerian Justice System – The Police arrested Mr. Randy lecturer. He was arraigned before a court, remanded in prison custody, refused bail, yet he was home and free, going about his normal business. How did he escape from custody when there was no bail and no prison break?
Randy undergraduate son was never arrested, never charged to court, not detained. How come he is invisible? Or maybe he is simply above the law.
My heart weeps for Ochanya, for all her unsown fields, for all her unfulfilled dreams. I weep for the childhood she was denied, for the trauma she underwent for years. I weep for her pains and trauma.
Will Ochanya’s death and suffering not be appeased? Will she be denied justice even in death? Will Nigeria fail her in life and in death?
I demand #JusticeForOchanya. That is the only way her death can be endured and appeased, only when the rapist family Pay for their inhuman treatment.
So yesterday was World sight day with the call to action being Eye Care Everywhere.
This one concerns each and every one of us because we all utilize our peepers greatly; rely on them for most of life’s activities. I don’t think any seeing being would like to become blind at any point in life, though sometimes it is inevitable but sometimes blindness comes because of poor eye care.
There are some common eye defects that we are used to, the myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. But many people below the age of 40 are unaware of presbyopia. I wasn’t aware of that defect till the young female ophthalmologist told me in her small quiet voice – ‘you have presbyopia’. I was like what is that? And she launched into an even more bizarre explanation.
Presbyopia is an age-related eye defect, like having aging eyes, Lolz. Further research showed me that it is a condition whereby your sight gradually loses its ability to focus easily. The eye lens loses its natural flexibility. It usually occurs in those above 40 and, so why am I diagnosed with presbyopia way before 40?
The ophthalmologist opined that it could be as a result of my lifestyle or other underlying ailment. Presbyopia before 40 is known as premature presbyopia.
Presbyopia is mostly as a result of aging but premature presbyopia could be attributed to the following factors –
- Hyperopia (far sightedness) and other eye diseases and trauma
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Poor blood flow
- Multiple sclerosis
Other factors that put you at greater risk of premature presbyopia include
- Drugs – antidepressants. Anxiety drugs, antihistamines, diuretics and antispasmodics.
- Being female
- Unhealthy diet
- Gadget Screens – smartphones, computers, television.
The last point is probably why premature presbyopia is on the increase.
Some Warning Signs of Presbyopia
- Difficulty in focusing on reading or other close-up work like knitting.
- Blurred vision during the above activities at normal distance.
- Difficulty reading fine prints
- Abnormal sensitivity to light
- Eyestrain often resulting in headache.
When I asked the ophthalmologist if the lenses she recommended will correct the premature presbyopia, she shook her head and emphatically said No, that in fact, it will deteriorate as I age. What? God forbid! It is not my portion were my exclamations. The internet yielded further ‘treatment’ as surgery.
That is why I chose to write this today – presbyopia, premature or not, has no known cure. The eyes keep getting older! Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself is to insist on proper eye care. That is the only way to postpone or even evade presbyopia.
Tips for proper eye care to avoid presbyopia
- Visit an ophthalmologist. That is the first step so as to maintain good eye health.
- Eat healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins A, C and E. Carrot works wonders for the eyes.
- Wear sunglasses or hats to minimize UV rays.
- Minimise your exposure to screen lights. Don’t stare at the screen for hours on end. Take long breaks from your phones and computers.
- Wear glasses or have screen guards on your gadgets and minimize the light especially when in a dimly lit environment.
- Avoid staring at the phone under the sun.
- Exercise your eyes often.
- Watch your alcohol intake and smoking.
Difficulty Distinguishing Left From Right, Getting Lost Too Often? – Could be signs of Directional Dyslexia.
Difficulty with directions and locations, right and left, east and west, having short term memory, losing track and getting disoriented are all signs of directional dyslexia or geographic dyslexia. It may sound simple, but it is a complicated disability.
I thought it was a condition peculiar to me. I thought it was just me that find it difficult to differentiate my right from my left. When I tell close friends and even family that it I always have to discreetly lift my eating hand before I can recognize my right, they look at me aghast. So it felt like it was a ‘me’ thing.
Imagine my joy and peace when I recently discovered (thanks to a Quora user), that there is someone else on earth that has issues with directions, locations, sequences and such. I was elated. Yes, you will not understand how weird it is to move about in fear because you are likely to get lost and disoriented at the next intersection.
I learnt it is a condition christened directional dyslexia and so I stormed Google with that information. Lo and behold, there were many others with same handicap, most groping in the dark like me with so many questions and very few answers. I laughed so hard at the experiences of the others with directional dyslexia that I instantly felt an affinity. Some experiences were way weirder than mine; imagine a whole family getting lost always or not knowing where they packed their car, a car all of them alighted from previously.
My personal experiences are shameful, embarrassing and hilarious but I live to share it for others facing same predicament.
Buildings! Large buildings are my nightmare. There is a way they construct buildings in Eastern Nigeria, Onitsha precisely, that should be looked into, seriously. Don’t ask me to explain it, how do I explain what I don’t understand? A friend will tell you that she lives on the front flat of the second floor (two front, three back, as they term it) and expect me to waltz up to the right door and just knock.
What do they know? I can barely distinguish which one is the second or third floor talk more of whether it is front or back. Lord have mercy. I cannot locate that apartment without assistance; it is as simple as that. You better come down and get me or else, I will climb a few flight of steps and call or ask, that is if there is someone around to ask. Otherwise, I might end up knocking on all the doors. This is not a one-time thing. Even homes that I have visited countless times, I find it difficult to locate the right floor and apartment without assistance.
School buildings, malls, large offices, hotels, hospitals, hostels, please number your buildings, it helps a bit. I am bound to get lost in the hallways, miss the exits (which is why I adore multiple exits), floors and rooms without assistance. Help a sister here and put some signs up. My first days in boarding house were not funny. What with all those bunks parked together, how do they expect one to know which one is her bunk or not? I got lost several times before I taught myself to look out for signs like my neighbor’s boxes and cupboards.
If buildings are this terrible, then roads are monsters especially when in a strange city.
I’d rather pay a cab to take me everywhere even if I have to pay with my last dime. Attending a conference, I step out for fresh air, I majestically stroll few blocks away from he venue, bam, I cannot retrace my steps. I try to hold the rising panic in check as I try to mentally remember my bearing. My brain goes blank till I see a familiar sign or ask someone for direction. One thing with asking though, the Good Samaritan might say, ‘go left, then turn right at the intersection, walk a few yards and turn left again’. My oh my! That’s a whole lot of information to my befuddled brain. I will try and hold on to the first information for starters – go left. Cross the bridge when I get to the next intersection because I will not recall whether it was left or right that will follow. Short term memory issues here.
Approaching a well-known destination from a different route often proves disastrous as everything looks new and different. Getting lost becomes inevitable as panic follows closely behind. And please do not remove the signs and landmarks that help me navigate even the well-known routes or I’d get confused.
Sequence and logic are aliens with horns. Deciphering simple sequence of instructions, layouts, events, locations, logic, and such are uphill tasks. Visualize the big/whole picture thing is not for me, I’d rather take it one step at a time because that is all I can visualize.
Sometimes I wake up with zero sense of direction of where I am.
I panic because I cannot locate where I am or where the doors and walls are, completely disoriented. Everywhere looks vague till I am able to see through the windows or door. This is a room I have lived in for ages.
We come for a large gathering, park somewhere and in the middle of the program, I need to go back and get something from the vehicle. Geez, no one would understand the severity of that exercise. Finding a needle in a haystack is easier than locating where that vehicle is parked except I was careful enough to mark the position with some landmark.
My personalized Coping skills and more on geographic dyslexia coming up soon.
Do you know anyone with these issues? Are you a sufferer of directional dyslexia? Share your experiences with us. Come to think of it, we should form a support group.