Invisible Disabilities

Invisible Disabilities

My Story
Fran
Fran
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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

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Poetry On Odyssey: A "Break" At Work

Breaks at work aren't always what you think.

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There are times during work where the stars align, and I'm right in their sights to get supremely screwed over. If things get slow and quiet enough, and I've just finished something I've been focusing all of my energy on, something...happens.

I break.

I don't know if I would call it a panic attack, since it's less fear of dying and more sudden hyper-awareness and inability to deal with anything, but it sucks all the same. It completely swallows me into a dark pit of brokenness.

One of the things I do to try grounding myself is messaging those close to me. I structured this poem similar to what one of those conversations was like. During all of the edits, I decided to keep it mostly short and disconnected because that's exactly how I feel during these moments—disconnected and unable to keep a coherent thought.

I hope you never have to experience something like this; I hope this poem gives all you need to know about what these "breaks" are like.


Break at work, everything to think about
Chores, writing, apartment
Chores, writing, apartment

Can't do any of it
Can't move
Can't hear

Everything
Too
Much

Panic attack?
Don't know
Not good

Bathroom? Fresh air?
Not possible
Can't move

Breathe?
Bra too tight
Suffocating

Deep breath anyway
Ignore the constricting
Actually focus on it

Water?
Cold and hurts
Drink more anyway

Food?
Nauseous
Can't eat anyway

What do?
Don't know
Can't think

Cry?
Can't do
At work

Nails in palms, eyes shut tight
Focus on breathing exercises
Focus on chest pain

Focus
On
Pain

Deep breath in
Hold it
Slow breath out

Ignore how it stabs
Ignore the tightness
Focus on the rhythm

Inhale
Hold
Exhale

Keep eyes shut
Until breathing
Is stable

Open eyes
Blink because it's bright
Inhale, exhale, breathe

Hear the quiet of work
Everyone doing their own thing
Oblivious to what just happened

See the sharpness of screen
Blink it into focus to see
Everything I have accomplished

Drink some more water
It's necessary, it's good
Not cold, not hurting, just soothing

Inhale
Hold
Exhale

Breathe in relief, it's over now
The world has returned
To what it ought to be

Whatever it was
That break
Was not a break.

Cover Image Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-light-bulb-bulb-heat-40889/

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