Coping mechanisms Dyspraxic traits


This article was supposed to be about something completely different. I had some other ideas,but nothing was making it onto the page!I was struggling with a complete lack of motivation. In the end, I decided to instead tell you about what was bothering me so much: The death of my cat.

Ramirez had been with me for over 19 years, supporting me through the worst of times. Thus, I wanted to tell the readers of this site about how he helped me emotionally cope with dyspraxia as an adult, and why the grief I feel for him is so strong.

So, let’s start at the beginning. In August 1999 I was with my then-girlfriend, and we wanted to get a 2nd cat. My girlfriend’s
supervisor at work told us his cat had just had kittens, so we went around to his house to pick one of them to take home. I remember saying to my GF, whichever kittens comes up to us, is the one that we take home.

Ramirez was the one. He waddled up to us on that day, picking us, or me, to spend the rest of his very long, and happy life with.


Ramirez Johnson 15/06/1999 – 13/10/2018

Eventually, I split up with my GF and ended up with by then 3 cats by myself, something that I believe saved me from me in the end.
I had a rough 20’s, battling various demons, let downs, backstabbings, and fall outs withfriends. I know now that all these major mistakes happened because I didn’t know I had dyspraxia until I was 31. Thus, I did not fully understand myself, and this affected my life
greatly, and my relationships with various people.

I look back on those days, my less than easy 20’s, and I know I survived all the bad things that happened to me because of the well-being, and happiness that my cats gave me. They gave
me a reason to keep going. When you have dependents, be it children, or in my case pets, it can give you the motivation to look after yourself, and in return them. I remember times when I was at my lowest and felt like giving up. Where my dyspraxia had led to me making some stupid decisions, that resulted in a major fall out with a close friend. I spiralled into depression, and mental self-harming, and it was my cats that always got me through it. They were the ones that were there every day and night, by my side, picking me out of my dyspraxia depression, and pushing me forward.

On top of getting into bad situations, having dyspraxia can be a lonely life. We can isolateourselves through circumstances due to how we process sensory input. Thus, we tend to hide away from social gatherings. On top of that we struggle with large groups, so those coupled
together mean we avoid noisy pubs, where most people like to socialise. Also, our behaviour can come across as odd to others, which can lead to bullying, or friends turning their backs on you. We can get fixated on our hobbies and find other people’s interests not worth our time. A pet does not mind any of that! They will happily spend all day, every day, whilst you partake in your obsessive hobbies! No partner, friend, or relative would do that for you. My cats would spend all day sitting with me whilst I watched endless amounts of films. Never complaining, or suggesting we do something else.

Over the course of the next 17 years my other 2 cats, Kubrick and Odo, died. Ramirez helped me through that grief as he helped me through those other bad times. He was there when I didn’t know I had a learning difficulty. He helped me through rediscovering who I was in my 30’s and was the stability my dyspraxia needed throughout the grief I experienced after losing my
other two cats.

So, what was grief like for me?

Like everyone else we go through the 5 stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, randomly, and in no defined order. From one moment to the next anyone of those stages will manifest itself, and then be replaced byanother one, going around and around in a random pattern. Does that sound familiar?

A day in the life of a Dyspraxic is very much like the 5 stages. We really don’t know what will happen, and how we will feel from moment to moment. We dwell too much on bad things and get angry with ourselves and situations in life.My dyspraxia and grieving amplify each other dramatically. The worst aspects of my dyspraxia begin to manifest and become more emphasized. I start to get more flustered, stressed, and moody. I make more mistakes and get more confused with simple instructions. I also start to crave more time to myself, and not have to deal with other people. I start to exhibit signs of cabin fever, where I want to be around people, but at the same time I find them frustrating, and a burden to deal with. I simply want to run away. But I never ran away from Ramirez, he would be who I ran to.

He was always calm in my dyspraxia storms.Ramirez died on 13th October 2018, and my world shattered that day. My dyspraxia has made
my life a living hell some days. In my darkest times, he would always cosy up next to me on the sofa, or in my bed, and purr non-stop for hours. The sense of well-being he gave me helped me battle the depression and stress of my dyspraxia and asking very little of me in return! There is no denying Ramirez contributed massively to my mental well-being. He calmed my dyspraxia and de-stressed me daily.

I always said Ramirez was an old soul, and that there was something more to him than your average cat. Perhaps spiritually he picked me because his old soul saw that I needed help with my dyspraxia, that he would be able to keep me calm, and to keep me going when I felt like giving up! Who knows? But what I do know is Ramirez would not want me to be sad. He would want me to move on, and to keep fighting the negative aspects of my dyspraxia, and for that I thank him!

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  1. My son is dyspraxic Jonny and we have 3 cats. One hisses at him ad she is frightened by his big movements and loudness but one of them completely gets him and is a real comfort to him. I’m so sorry for your loss. Pets are children and it’s shattering when they leave us. Perhaps when you feel ready another cat will pick you.
    Very good description of dyspraxia being like the 5 stages of grief. I never thought of it like that.

  2. Very intresting article, I have dyspraxia and recently lost my cat Jinx. He was such a great freind to me and it really hurts being with out him. I cant describe the kind of bond we had. He brought out the best in me and gave me a reason to get up in the morning when i was going through some very tough times as a result of dyspraxia and depression. He provided a comfort in a way that no one else could. Its nice to hear someone else experianced the same. Its so painful losing him but he wanted me to be happy and I would have loved and lost again then to have never experianced that love at all.


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Jonny lives in London with his wife and many cats. He works in the media industry, is a major film and TV buff, and was diagnosed at 31.
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