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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5 Things That I Need My Differently Abled Friends To Know

Being your friend has truly been a privilege.
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I have been lucky enough this semester to be placed as a Young Life leader for students with disabilities in the Mid Miami Valley. I have always had a huge love for students with disabilities. In high school I loved hanging out with them, I loved getting to know their big hearts, and I loved just being their friend. And now that I am a Young Life leader for these amazing people I am able to connect with them on a deeper level.

I now get to be their friend and get to walk with them on their journeys with Christ. It has been truly the highlight of my semester and probably freshman year of college!

So here are some things I want to say to my amazing friends with special needs,

1. You are not broken in any way.

You guys were made just the way you are by God and, yes, you may have a few more barriers or look different than most people our age, but that does not make you any less of a person.

2. You bring so much joy to the world.

You guys have so much to offer everybody and you have a way of being a light in so many situations thanks to your big hearts.

3. I am sorry if anybody has ever called you the "R" word.

The word "retarded" is toxic and demeaning and should be considered a cuss word. If anybody has ever used that word to describe you, I am deeply, deeply sorry. You are so much more than that.

4. You are SO loved.

There are so many people on this Earth that love and adore you guys, so never ever be discouraged if there are some people that just don't see how great you are. I love you and God loves you so much and more than anyone on this Earth ever could.

5. I see Christ in you more than anyone else.

You guys have a way of carrying yourselves that shows love to all people and you have a way of finding so much happiness in the little things.

I love my friends with disabilities so much and I am so proud to be their friend. They have more barriers to living a normal life than your average person, but it makes them stronger and they are not in any way less human than the rest of us. They inspire me every day and being their friend has truly been a privilege.

Song of the week: "Cry Pretty" - Carrie Underwood
Cover Image Credit: Sydney Fowler

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How To Take Care Of Yourself When Sick At College

Mom can't always hold your hair back and make you soup.
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Being a freshman in college is difficult enough, but what they don't tell you about being a first year is that you will get sick many many times throughout the course of the year. it's the first time in your life you are sick and your mom is not there to bring you soup, check your temperature, take you to the doctor, etc. Its taken me some time, but I think I have finally figured out some tips and tricks to make yourself feel better when you're sick and on your own:

1. Daily Vitamins

Vitamin C chewables are so easy to get and don't taste like death like some vitamins do. I recommend taking 2 a day to prevent feeling like crap.

2. Chicken Soup

I have made soup in my dorm room before, so know that it is indeed, possible. Just make sure you get the canned type that's easy to open, because, I don't know about you, but I don't have a can opener lying around my room.

3. Getting rest, but still doing things

You should nap whenever you can. Sometimes a lack of sleep is what can get you sick in the first place. However, that doesn't mean you should stay cooped up in your bed all day every day. You should get up and do some activities every once in a while like making food for yourself, doing your laundry, organizing, just so you don't feel like a potato and make your sickness worse.

4. Tissues and cough drops everywhere

Tissue packets that you can put in your backpack are the key to going to class while sick. Also, always have a travel-sized hand sanitizer on you. Cough drops are also a really easy and efficient way to stop your throat from hurting if you don't have time to sit your butt down and drink tea or do that crazy throat spray.

5. Showers

Never underestimate the power of a good long shower. Sorry to my floormates, but the past 2 times I've been sick this year, I took showers and would stay in them forever. I don't know if this scientifically correct, but I always felt as though my nose cleared up so much after I showered.

6. Hydrating

You should do this anyway, but make sure you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day; it can help you feel better. It also helps, if you are trying to lose weight, to drink a gallon a day. You'll have to pee a lot but it clears up your skin and just overall makes you feel better.

7. Call home

Yeah, your mom can't do anything to help this time around, but she can make you feel better with her words and advice. Whoever it is at home who has helped you with the flu, colds, and sore throats in the past, it doesn't hurt to talk to them to get some advice and just feel comforted.

Cover Image Credit: flicker Creative Commons

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