By Madeleine Darowiche, TTC Mentor
I would like to use this post to let you know that things really do get better, even when you are dealing with anxiety. I know, it is a major cliché that you have all probably heard many times when you are dealing with difficulties. I’ve been there; that spot where you think nothing is ever going to change or improve. Though it is far from easy, you can get out of the rough spots. I want to be honest though, it does take some work.
Allow me to share an example from personal experience. I rarely spoke a word during my first year in college. I was so anxious. It seemed like everything that could go wrong, definitely did. Doesn’t sound like a good start to college life, does it? It didn’t. However, there came a point after the school year had ended and I went home, when I realized there were some aspects of my challenges that I could control. I was going to have to push myself harder no matter how difficult things got. Things were not going to get better if I didn’t do something!
And that was how I got involved with mentoring freshmen students. Being in a leadership position on campus allowed me to gain confidence in myself and let me believe that things could start to look up. I never knew that someone like myself could become a student leader. Anxiety and leadership don’t exactly go hand in hand. The best part for me is that I am doing something I love. I aspire to be an educator someday, so it has been a great opportunity for me. Serving others also takes the focus off myself and allows me to lend a helping hand to students who need the assistance during their transition to college.
During my spring semester, I decided to apply for a second leadership position. Prior to applying, I learned that it would be a rather social position. Normally that would have deterred me, and honestly, it really almost did. I didn’t think I was capable or worthy to receive the position, so I thought, why try if the answer is probably going to be no? You see, I was quite used to hearing no, and just wasn’t quite sure if I could handle more rejection. However, after some long thought and insightful conversations with members of my amazing support system, I decided to go for it. This position required a series of interviews. I figured I would have the first one and then I would not make it into the following rounds. I was so excited to be notified that I had indeed gotten a second interview! When I realized that I had gotten into the last round of interviews, I decided that no matter the outcome, I would be proud of myself for how far I had gone. After receiving notice that I had received this leadership position, I was ecstatic! To me, it was an indication that no matter the things I had been through and would probably, inevitably, continue to go through because of anxiety, it was no longer ruler of my life. I was no longer chained to it. I could be free, despite its daily presence in my daily life.
I hope this personal story brings encouragement to those of you dealing with anxiety and hydrocephalus. I want you to know that the things you want are so worth working for. Stay the course, even when the going gets tough. Remember what it is you want, and never ever lose sight of that, no matter how bad the situation may seem at the time. It will most definitely get better. I’ll end with these words of support: stay driven, remember why you started towards a goal, and never underestimate the power of a support system. They will be your biggest allies when you are striving for something difficult for you. I hope all of you remain steadfast and go for your goals.
HA Resources for Teens & Young Adults
If you are a teen or young adult living hydrocephalus, or a sibling or friend, we encourage you to check out the Hydrocephalus Association’s Teens Take Charge (TTC) program.
Teens Take Charge (TTC)
HA has created a teen and young adult portal which serves as a place of information and empowerment for youth. Learn more about the resources available by browsing the different pages. Consider this a virtual hangout spot and please email us with suggestions and ideas! HA has also created a place for teens and young adults (ages 12 to 25) to talk via Facebook and Twitter; go check it out! Join us and help create a community of young adults making changes happen!
If you are interested in learning more about the TTC program or would like to become more involved, please contact Megeen White.
Publications and Online Resources
The Hydrocephalus Association has a number of useful resources and publications for teens and young adults. If you haven’t already, we hope you have a chance to read these publications and visit these other organizations online.
HA Publications and Resources
- College and Hydrocephalus
- Health Care Transition Guide for Teens and Young Adults with Hydrocephalus
- Trending Topics for Teens and Young Adults
- Community Voices
- Hydrocephalus Association Scholarship Program
- Hydrocephalus Resource Library (HRL)