Invisible Disabilities

Invisible Disabilities

My Story
Fran
Fran
1458
views

Not All Disabilities are Visible.

I have contemplated and debating publishing my first article. Writing has always been something that has been therapeutic for me. I am a very confident, strong young woman with my whole life ahead of me. However, it is time for me to acknowledge something very personal to me that up until now besides my family and three of my good friends.

There is no manual on how to be a successful person with a disability. The piece about my disability I do typically disclose is that I was born with a condition called congenital hydrocephalus. The way it affects people varies. I am thankful that I am one of the people that can function on a relatively normal level—for that I am eternally grateful.

The biggest obstacle I have had to overcome/learn to adapt to involve spatial relations. What people do tend to notice are my hand tremors—which I also attribute to my mental health battle with anxiety. I also learned how to ride a bike a bit later than those the same age. To this day, I am unable to drive myself independently and at this point, I may or may not ever be able to drive a car independently. Up until now, I have been ashamed and embarrassed that I have been unable to drive independently. I have been ashamed and embarrassed by something I cannot change about myself.

I read an interesting article that I urge you to read—especially if you care about me in any capacity. I want people to understand more about hydrocephalus—there are less than 200,000 cases diagnosed in a year. I have a VP shunt which was first placed the day I was born—however; it wound up getting infected the second day and a new one had to be placed. To this day I have only had two shunt revisions. The second revision was back in 1997 or 1998 when I was two or three years old. The most recent revision was done back in December 2008. I have had this current shunt for less than ten years. Others diagnosed with hydrocephalus can go through many revisions.

I urge you to research about congenital hydrocephalus and hydrocephalus in general. I would also like to invite you to ask me questions about my condition. From this day forward, I am no longer allowing my condition to embarrass me. I am a strong, confident, beautiful twenty-two-year-old young woman who is so much more than a medical condition.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/428475352032338581/?lp=true

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
1713116
views

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

My Scare With Blood Clots Had A Happy Ending, But It Was Still A Dangerously Close Call

A close call with severe blood clots in my leg.

799
views

So, I will set the scene. I had one week in between when my spring classes ended and when my summer classes began. I was all set up to spend that week with my boyfriend at Disney World. Day one of the trip, we were headed to Magic Kingdom with fast passes for all three mountains in the park.

On the way over to the park, my leg started to feel very tight, like all of my muscles were clenched and I couldn't release them. The feeling just got worse as I was walking and my leg just felt heavier and heavier. At one point, I went to the bathroom and noticed that my leg was swollen a lot and had turned a purplish color. I told my boyfriend that we had to leave immediately.

I tried to just rest it and elevate my leg for the rest of the night. But in the morning, it was almost impossible for me to walk on it and the pain was only getting worse. I have had hip problems in the past and most of the pain was in my hip area so my boyfriend and I went to an orthopedic and my dad met us there. After X-rays, the doctor said that for the most part, my hip looked fine and he was concerned about a blood clot. I went to the hospital to get an ultrasound and unfortunately, they saw a clot and sent me to the emergency room.

At first, the emergency room doctors seemed optimistic that all they would have to do was put me on a quick blood thinner and then follow up with my regular doctor. However, with further inspection of the ultrasound and the clot, they admitted me to the hospital under the pretense that it was basically just an overnight observation. There was a lot going on and a lot of needles for testing and medicine (I am terrified of needles so this was great for me).

At first, I was started on a medicine that was given as an injection twice a day in my stomach. But after two days with little improvement, my treatment plan switched.

They started me on a much stronger medicine that was a constant drip in an IV. This meant I needed another IV and that they had to take my blood every 6 hours to see how the medicine was working. In addition to my fear of needles, I have very hard to find veins so the lab people had to come up to get my blood because it was too hard for my nurses to get. The nest plan of action was surgery.

I am generally not scared of going under anesthesia or having surgery but this one scare me a bit. There was a possibility that I would wake up from surgery and have a catheter in the back of my knee and have to be transported to another hospital for further operations. By the grace of God, I woke up from surgery without a catheter and good news from my doctor. My surgery had gone well, he was able to remove the clots that took up almost all of my leg. The bad thing was that he found something messed up in my anatomy that basically caused my artery to compress my vein and that is what could have caused my clots.

By the looks of the clots, they could have been building for up to a year. He had to install a stent in order to keep the vein open for the rest of my life.

Currently, I am at home. I was in the hospital for 6 days and went through a lot of testing and pain. I still have pain and I still might for a while. I still have some clots in the bottom half of my leg because the veins are too small to operate on there. I am on blood thinners and other medications. We still don't have the answer on what exactly caused the clots or what the rest of my life looks like in regards to the treatment of this problem.

This was a very scary experience and still is confusing and takes a toll on my brain. I worry about things such as being on blood thinners for my whole life or not being able to take estrogen due to the risk for blood clots. However, I got extremely lucky that I had no clots in my lungs and that the doctors were able to help me as much as they could.

Never ignore the signs of your body! If something feels off, get it checked out. I had a lot of aches and pains in the past few months that could have been pointing to this problem but I didn't find it until the main signs showed up. Pay attention to yourself! I was incredibly blessed to have my amazing family by my side even with the two-hour drive daily and my boyfriend holding my hand the whole way even though we missed a whole week of Disney. I was also super grateful for all the happy wishes and prayers that people sent my way.

Related Content

Facebook Comments