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July 09, 2007



While I’m not TOTALLY direction-debilitated I identify with most of the comments here: getting lost (I call it “turned around”) in stores, when landmarks disappear, etc. I require my wife to bring her phone when we go to IKEA or a mall or casino b/c if I lose track of her I have no idea where I am or how to get out. I have developed tricks for where to park so I can find my car, though sometimes I have to parks quite a way away from the store to allow me to park near something identifiable like the fourth light standard in the sixth row to the right. I’m seldom allowed to be first in line on bicycle or motorcycle trips with my friends unless we have all day to cover a three hour ride. On the plus side I have on occasion discovered some awesome roads and accidental “destinations.” On the plus side my riding buddies accept this (and flip me only a little bit of grief about it). Strangely, I am excellent at map-reading and -making...I just can’t get my brain to understand where I am on it at any given time.


No one can be as bad as me (that’s what I’ve always thought anyway). The first time I met my boyfriends mother we went to a restaurant and I got lost coming back from the bathroom. I hard wired the way back in my brain several times but it didn’t stick. Once I realized I was lost I got even more scared bc I didn’t know if they could see me wandering around. I acted like I needed to take a call and went outside to breathe and calm down. My boyfriend came out and found me. He knew what had happened. He didnt understand. How could he?!


I always thought there was something wrong with me because I would get lost no matter how hard I tried to pay attention to my surroundings. I would always have to stop and think about which way was left and which way was right. It always seemed like it should be the opposite of what it actually is. When I was taking my driver's test the tester wrote on my paper that I was confused about left and right. How embarrassing! I also remember when I was in school there was one girl who had the exact same schedule that I had so I just followed her but when she was absent I was in a panic. I never understood why I was this way. I thought maybe it had something to do with moving from one state to another several times when I was a kid.

lisa o

I have never posted to a comment board before, but found this place and am so happy to hear everyone's stories ... lost in parking garage for 45 minutes today after a cyber security conference ... as always so mad at myself - I had written down the level and floor on my ticket and looked over the edge of the garage for landmarks ... as you get older the panic feeling is a bit less, but still there. The left - right thing I think is crucial, have had that since a small child. Also tendency toward motion sickness and sensitivity to smells and sounds. Well the world is actually spinning, so maybe we are moving with it and just adjusting accordingly to our best abilities to improve :) thank you everyone!!

Kathleen Poetzsch

I have had this disability my whole life, and have been made fun of and ridiculed by my friends and family, that I am just "not paying attention" or just "have anxiety issues." But I have to print a map of every place that is unfamiliar to me; unless I have driven there and back about 100 times, I will panic and everything looks unfamiliar. I navigate mainly by landmarks - "the street just past the big blue sign, or the road right before the gas station" -- if someone moves the landmark, like takes down the sign, I cannot find where I have to go. I wish there was some treatment for this, as it has plagued and embarrassed me all these years. And the worst thing, is no one really believes me. I am glad to find that I am not alone, but it doesn't help solve the problem.


OMG l knew l as wired differently,everybody thinks l can improve if l put the effort ,they just can't get lm putting maximum effort already ,there is nothing l can do to find my way.

Sam Hilliard

Ah...at last, charming, bright, capable peers who also suffer from this hidden, hellish disability! Like many of you, this defect has caused me to question both my sanity and mental capabilities!

Like many of you, the sun is just "up" and North is wherever my car is facing. I've been the butt of many "dumb blonde" jokes, since I have the capacity to get lost going nearly anywhere using GPS, AND physical maps from MapQuest with huge written arrows, "Turn LEFT at the water tower, turn RIGHT at the convenience store!" My family and friends are convinced that I'm just always deliberately late to events because I don't allow enough time to get ready and arrive. I have left two or three HOURS before an event in a new location and STILL arrived late or missed the event altogether from becoming more and more hopelessly lost and panicked!

As I was brought up in Ecuador, I thought perhaps my condition was due to some confusion about whether I was in the Northern or Southern hemisphere or something related to the magnetic poles and their diminishing effects as you approach the equator. Now I know it's a condition of unknown origin that many different people, of different ages, races, sexes and locations suffer from. Thank GOD I'm not alone anymore! Thank you for your posts and words of encouragement!

Karen Berrie


I can't believe I came across this. I have been getting lost since I was little. My family would go on a picnic and I would go into the woods. It would take me forever to find my way back. I consider the GPS one of the greatest inventions of all time. People can't believe how I just can't find my way around at all. Fortunately, my husband is the exact opposite. He rarely, if ever, gets lost and can find his way back to places he hasn't been in years. Along with this, I also have some ADD like symptoms and am terrible in anything in math other than simple arithmetic. I wish there was a support group for this.


Hi, I'm a 26 year old Drama teacher and just moved house. Last night I attempted to drive the "simple" 13 journey home from my work, without a GPS. I got lost for an hour and a half, crying and screaming, pulled over and needed my mum to give me step-by-step directions to get home over the phone.
I told my colleagues at school today and I they thought I was joking.
One of them was kind and wrote directions out for me back to my house without even looking at a map.
Nothing makes me more anxious than leaving my car in a carpark and being unable to find it again - once I spent 45 minutes looking for it in a shopping centre.
I love my GPS and I would be a nervous wreck without it.
Born this way...!

Ann Bristow

I am nearly 80 years old( gosh that looks scary in print !). I have always wondered about my condition and am thrilled to read your posts. My father a physician , thought it may be to do with being on top of the bell curve in left handedness. A water diviner said my electrical fields were reversed!
Isn't it time we silent sufferers asked the relevant authorities for help.
I am adept in reading writing and public speaking so normal dyslexia does not pertain to me.



I'm with you all. I am 45, successful in business, currently doing a Masters degree - consider myself to be pretty capable. But, like you I lack any sense of where I am geographically. My problem is approaching a familiar place from an unfamiliar direction - it all looks completely new to me, as though I've never been there before. Like Avera above, I went for an important job interview in London a few years back, I had my phone giving me directions along what was essentially a straight road. I had a bit of time to spare so ducked into a coffee shop to use the toilet. Being only five minutes walk away from my destination, and feeling confident that I knew where I was (do any of you lot occasionally get this insane sense of assuredness/confidence despite your many years of getting lost??) I switched off my phone map, and swaggered towards my destination. Only, of course I was going back on myself in completely the wrong direction! After ten minutes I realised what I was doing - checked my phone and then had to sprint back the right way. I arrived at the interview sweating, confused and disappointed with myself. I didn't get the job.
I also lack any memory of routes, directions and the like - it takes me many years to familiarise myself with a route, and even then I know that at any point I might simply forget part of it. I know that my wife worries about me particularly when I'm in charge of our small children. Thank god for sat navs! It's a running joke between family and friends, but actually it makes me quite sad some of the time. I get very angry with myself, and I fear that actually it's down to a lack of intelligence. Objectively, i can see that it's not laziness, or stupidity, but more akin to an undiagnosed condition along the lines of dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia. I suppose what I really want is a diagnosis - at least then I could be sure what I'm dealing with. Anyway, good luck to you all, my brothers and sisters in abject confusion - my heart goes out to you all. and don't forget to keep your phones charged!


It is such a relief to know there are many people out there the same as me. I know a couple of people who say they are like me, but not to the same extent. I have been doing one particular journey between Scunthorpe and Sheffield ( UK-54 miles) regularly, and must have done it 160 times or more, but still get confused, and wouldn't do it without my 'navigator' husband.I am likely to take the wrong exit off the motorway, or be in the wrong lane. if there are road works on the motorway, and a lane is closed that confuses me even more. It makes me feel as though I am mentally slow, but in other things I am not.Today I did the journey again & I thought 'why can't I remember the way after all this time' Then I read all these comments, and I realise I am not alone, and it is a condition - without a name - and there are other people like me. I feel so much better!!..

Rose Kuleczko

Oh what a joy to find that there are others like me.... I can't tell you how comforting it is to know I am not alone...I can get lost anyway,even getting back to my seat on an aeroplane after going to the toilet...I thought I was going mad.It can be so frightening. Others just don't understand the fear that engulfs you when you are lost.I have a very understanding husband and laughing about it afterward does relieve some of my tension and feeling of being a failure.I am developing strategies like remembering what the people are wearing who I last pass before going down the stairs to the toilets on an aeroplane, so I look for them when I come back up the stairs.Thanks for all your postsguys, so encouraging.

Avera Yugen

I'm like that too. Actually I had a major GD (geographical disability) moment tonight on the way to a job interview and of course got lost, so I came home and called the job and lo and behold the boss was a former geography teacher so when I told him my unbelievable GD story he didn't back off and instead gave me another interview date. Geography teacher. Maybe the one person in the world who would have understood GD without having it. Hope so. Tomorrow hasn't come yet. It's important (not to put too fine point on it) that some people understand, as with any other lonely and very trying disability.


Same here..it's so comforting to know that I'm not alone in this.Just found out this fb group, and thought it might help people like us cope with this condition :)


relieved to find that I am not lost....no pun intended...and alone in this.

Kay Utting

I also can't understand how countries are on a map and where they are in relation to one another!

Kay Utting

I am so happy to have discovered everyone!!
I especially like the comments re the sun just being "up" and the north being in front of me!!!

Suzanne Clark

As the only one in my family who is directionally challenged, I have been the butt of many jokes. On my first date, I could not find my way home to the house I had lived in for over a decade. I've spent most of my 60 years in the same town, but I don't know my way around. I can sometimes get from my home to a specific location. But if I go from my son's home, all bets are off. I'll need directions. The directions can't have the words east, west, north or south as they are meaningless to me. "Going from X St towards the mall, turn right at the mall, turn right at the next light, look on the left for a big green sign" suits me better. Parking lots and buildings are also a challenge. Oddly, when I have lived in other cities, including a much larger metropolis, I was able to navigate much more easily. My theory is that in both cities I memorized the map.


Although I am sorry to hear of other people's suffering and embarrassment, I am also relieved to have found a lot of other people who are just like me! I will hold on before going to the ladies in a strange pub/restaurant just to be able to follow another member of the group there and back! My 3-year-old goddaughter has exceptionally good spatial awareness for her age (her Dad's an engineer!) and, if I take her to the toilet, I follow her back to our table lol. Does every one else have other spatial awareness problems, e.g, inability to judge speed/distance, so making driving a nightmare??!!

Candace Manger

My husband laughed when I had to align the map with the direction we were going. I always felt it was hard being me. I don't know why I get so confused and can't remember which door to exit in the mall or where my car is parked. Now I use points of reference. I always park my car in about the same place so that it in line with a fast food restaurant and when I go in the door of the department store I remember that I am going in by scarves and purses. When I bought a new car, my son asked"does it do good U turns?". Everytime I took him to a soccer game, I would have trouble finding the park, thus the U-turn. I have a master's degree in education. I am now retired but still substituting, it is a nightmare trying to find things in an unfamiliar school. If I stop at the office to ask where the playground is, they usually hand me a school map, which confuses me even more. Yesterday, I couldn't figure out the seating chart in a third grade classroom until a student explained it to me. Good to know others are plagued by this very problem.

Brenda Van Scoy

What a relief!! I'm not the only stranger in a strange land. I'm 72 and have been chronically lost for as long as I can remember; I've been lost in parking lots, hospitals, doctors' offices, parks, my neighborhood, stores, schools...Mapquest has been wonderful, but until I found this website I thought I was definitely the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD who had to print both the going and returning directions. It truly is a relief to know I'm not alone.


I am one of them too. I am 43 and I have been like this since I can remember. Funny, that my daughter's friend took her 30 minutes to get to our house that normally takes about a 5 minute walk. I knew then, that I was not alone and today I decided to search for this problem and found this Website.

Bryony's Space

I wrote much of my blog post on wanderlust and my dysgeographica! Include a humiliating story of one particular time I got lost (I feel much better for sharing it). I'm so glad I am not alone in this! http://bryonysspace.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/wanderlust/


I have found my people! I can never remember roads ever by directions, my coping mechanism is I remember them by the most prominent or striking buildings/stores/hoardings etc and find my way around :( I am a family joke and am constantly poked fun at! I got so depressed I was actually looking online for tools to develop my spatial skills and stumbled on this website...so does this mean there is no hope for people like us?? I am 28 :( I am willing to do anything within my means to improve this condition!

Wyn Kelly

I have this condition, yet my dad was a navigator/pilot in the navy and NEVER got lost. No one else in the family has this condition, just me. I am like the family joke. ...but, I am also the most lovable one, and the happiest one in the family. weird!


We all have horror stories of getting lost. I just wish I didn't have such a wonderlust. I am 67 and love to travel to 3rd world countries and am alone a lot of the time. I am always always lost and when you can't speak the language it's very hard. This condition makes you feel very very stupid because no one really understands the panic you feel unless you have it.

Keith Miller

I too have always had this problem...but mine has a cruel twist....if I try very hard to work out if I should go left or right I usually end up going the exact wrong way and this works nearly every time.
My earliest memories of this condition was in my courting days and I had to follow the relevant bus on my motorbike to ensure I got to the right place. 2 of my sons have also got this condition and we all have problems putting up pictures straight and especially shelves.


Too funny, apparently I'm in good company...if only we could find each other. I still have nightmares about finding my way through my (small) primary school. Sadly, you all know I'm telling the truth.

Dottie Doe

I thought directional dyslexia was a secret word I had made up for my lonely, confusing, embarrasing condition. I googled it never expecting to find out it is a real condition! I have had this all my life and it is so embarrasing to get lost in a mall! I can only go in stores where the exit and entrance doors are in one place. I can only drive places if someone drives me there the first few times! I am 60 now. The GPS has been a Godsend! Wish I could overcome my fears of getting lost! Once I got called for Jury Duty and almost had a heart attack! How would I find the place! OMG! Luckily they did not call me at the last moment! Is there help for this? I also need a support system!


I agree with the above comment and I also feel like I have found my people. I am always lost when i go to new places and even places that I have been to several times. I was lost yesterday coming home from new jersey and I cried because I couldn't understand why I get lost so easily and why other's don't. I feel like I need a support system for this problem because I thought I was going to have a break down because of the stress of being lost and feeling like an idiot. please help.


I am 57 years old and went t a secondary school that was a pure rectange. I had to follow people from class to class. I had to sit in on English and look around to find out who was in my next class and follow them, literally. I had my best friend take me to classes right up until I was 15! I loose my car all the time. To the lady that thinks that no sense of movement or dance has something to do with this, I am afraid she is quite wrong. In fact, I always have excelled at dance for some reason and also my hearing is too sensitive as well. Weird!
Great to know there are others and thank God for GPS!

Bill Doyle

I am 62 and have been lost for ever. I frequently get lost going to the same destination every day. once got lost in Tokyo Railway station when I stupidly put my case in a locker while I went shopping. 10 hour later and a missing plane connection was the result. My wife tells me that when I die and go heaven i am not going to find it and will be a lost soul for ever. Nice to know that my afflication is with others

Iris Kay

I feel as though I've finally met "my People"

Finally, someone understands the frustrations of being chronically lost and knows that this sad state is not caused through being too lazy to pay attention!

HaHa...I marvel at people who can anchor themselves through the positioning of the sun. My mother-in-law once gave me a compass to guide me through life...if only it were that simple!

Thanks for all of your posts.

Tricia Hoffman

Thank you for all the information about what I have called "directional dyslexia." I am 63 years old and relate to all the stories about the anxiety and coping skills for staying "on track" in life. I have no sense of direction and am one of those people who couldn't find my way out of a paper bag. I recently purchased a GPS and I always use the printed out Mapquest for my comings AND goings and keep maps in my car (thank goodness for AAA and their free maps!) And even if I've been someplace many times in the past, I ALWAYS carry printed out directions with me.
I was always a lost soul... literally. As a child I would get lost walking home from school. I never hike alone as I know I wouldn't find my way back to my car. I've gotten lost in buildings. I've lost my car. I've had trouble dancing as left and right have always been challenging. The only thing I can tell you about North, South, East and West is that from where I live, I know that Canada is North of me, Mexico is South, New York is East and the Pacific Ocean is West. So, if I'm somewhere where I'm unfamiliar with streets, forget it! Someone once told me that the sun is towards the south, rises in the east and sets in the west (this was supposed to help me orient myself). However, to me, the sun is just UP! A friend told me that I have the worst sense of direction of anyone she's ever met in her life. I do think of this as a condition that's hereditary as my father had the same affliction.
Glad to know that I'm not alone. Wishing you all happy wanderings. We should be the wondering wanderers as we're always wondering where the heck we're wandering!
Tricia Hoffman

Pat Erskine

I am a 66 year old female living in Florida. Several years ago I asked a policeman for directions to a doctor's office and repeated exactly what he said, but immediately went out of the parking lot and turned the wrong way. He actually came after me, told me to follow him and took me to the doctor's office. Where was he when I had to get back home? It is a nightmare never knowing where I am, but I became very brave (along with my GPS) and recently drove 850 miles through 6 states to visit a sick friend. Even with the GPS, I made wrong turns but got back on the right highway.

Someone asked me what route I drove from Florida to Maryland - when I told them I didn't know, I just followed the GPS directions, they thought I was kidding.

If a support group is ever formed it would be nice to meet others who understand this is very real (that is if we can find the meeting place - lol).


The adjective is actually "ligawin" (not ligawan, which is the term for courting (a noun).

Was I the reader you alluded to?

Sorry it took me time to correct this. It was only now I thought of Dr. Metablogagain, having just written a blog piece on my royal dysgeographical, for which I liberally used your blog as a resource.

You're blogs are superb. I should subscribe to them.

Valorie Peterson

Wow! Finally a name for it! Now, my theory is this. When we are "upstairs" getting our parts, while standing in line to get my love of chocolate, they called to move to the Directional line, but I decided to stay in the chocolate line to get more love of chocolate and comletely skipped the directional line. Hence, I believe all of us perpetually lost souls are chocolaholics - see if that is the link to being perpetually lost. I also can't understand why people on the South pole don't fall off. I have "solved" my lost problem by just thinking that North is wherever I face, otherwise, my head hurts just thinking about directions. And, try to turn a map around to make it go in the right direction! Impossible. Mapquest is a godsend, not the map part, but the written instructions. I have learned, though, to print 2 sets of directions, one for getting there, and then a second set for getting back because it is hard to reverse directions. I staple the 2 sets of directions together and keep them in my glovebox. And to think I have a Masters and Law Degree and can't find my way out of my own subdivision sometimes! Now I know why!

Dell Walston

Interesting! I am 72 years old and terrified of driving in the city, not because of the traffic but because of the fear of getting lost. I too can enter a building and not remember which door to exit or where I parked the vehicle.

idamarie craig

I can't begin to tell you what your words have meant to me. I am 59 years old and I always thought I was abnormal. Why couldn't I remember how to get to places that I've been to a million times. Why can't I remember where I parked my car?I thought I was crazy. But somehow deep inside I knew there was a reason. All my derams are about getting lost all of them. Thank You for putting a real name to my malady. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. Email me [lease ida

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