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February 04, 2008



I've been quietly hanging back my whole life!! I step aside and wait for whoever is with me to go first when I enter a new building. I follow people to the loos and back. I slow imperceptibly at corners and junctions so I can follow someone else's lead.

But alas I still get caught out. I recently had friends come to visit me in my home town. I confidently led them from A to B (a route I cobbled together from 2 other routes I actually know) only to be asked on arrival at B why we had taken such a roundabout route. I said they ought to know what they were in for following me around.

It's honestly a daily struggle. I find it stressful going for a doctors appointment or an interview as they walk you off to a different room and say "go back to the waiting room" and I honestly might as well be on the moon now for all the hope I have of getting back. But I don't like to ask how and look like a twit so I just smile and wander off and hope they don't notice me try to exit via the cupboard.
I also hate having to drive to and park at somewhere new. I follow GPS there so that's no issue but if there's no parking where I expected there to be, I can't simply "drive till I find some" since I'd never find my way back again.

Thank goodness we live in the age of GPS and smartphones though.

Ian Gordon

Please let's go with dysgeographia or something linguistically logical so as not to confuse this condition with dyslexia.


Haha-this is both hilarious and consoling. I was just trying to describe my condition to a friend (I am now in venice and lost like a mofo trying to find east-west, north-south; where the Grand Canal runs through,what's on either side of it, etc, etc. "Get a compass" was my traveling companion's advice. He has no idea how much this doesn't really help. Last year in London, I spent an entire night trying to get myself oriented with maps and in my head (even going into deep relaxtion)to get over my total 180 degree turn-around every time I went anywhere. I was amazed at how much physical anxiety "trying to get on top of the problem" brought up--actual sensation of nausea. I've been in many cities, with maps, where I would swear the map was printed erroneously with the directions opposite(south going north, etc) So, now off to google more and see if someone has a solution.


thanks! so i have "directional dyslexia" .. yay! at last .. a name.. im 25. hmm im wondering does this have to do with twisting/screwing leftwards instead of rightwards? like sometimes i turn the tap the wrong direction..


I'm not alone!!!

I have very good spatial skills in general, but a horrible sense of direction, and I've always had trouble with left & right and east & west. (I'm much better with north & south, for some reason.)


Completely on target! I moved to a suburb of London 4 years ago and my husband is a native of this town. When we walk the mile from our house to his parent's house I regularly get lost, especially if we take any route other than the one single path that I have memorised. I am usually pretty good at faking it except if the turning is on my side of the road and I forget to slow down...then he starts turning and I don't, resulting in a small collision. I often blame it on being deep in conversation, rather than having no clue where on earth I am.

Jon Brazelton

Christ, all the monuments, all the buildings, and you were lost? I've been in D.C. four or five times in my life and never felt lost. What a moron.


note than DC is on a grid with lettered and numbered streets, and quadrants

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