Living with Anxiety & Hydrocephalus, Part 3

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Identify What Motivates You and Take the First Step

By Madeleine Darowiche
Guest Blogger
Madeleine, Hydrocephalus Association Teens Take Charge blogger

I was asked a question I had never been asked before in a job interview, and I thought it was a great question. The question was: “What motivates you?” Because I did not know this person, they were unaware that I have hydrocephalus along with anxiety. The first thing that came to my mind was my struggles with both of these things. During our conversation I was able to take the opportunity to inform the interviewer about hydrocephalus a bit, along with a brief overview of my experience with it. So, although it is primarily those aforementioned struggles that really motivate me, as many people may know, living with anxiety is tough, and sometimes it can be difficult to find that motivation. I am, blessedly, in a much better place than I was about a year or so ago. I do not have those debilitating days very often now, but they were quite frequent before.  However, this interview led me to ask myself, “What motivates you during those tough days?”

My family has definitely been a large part of motivation for me. They have always been there to listen and support me no matter what. They are always just a phone call away. Their faith in me helps me to go out and do things I’d probably never do without them behind me. I have also made some amazing friends who help get me out of my comfort zone, to do things where I anticipate crowds, loudness, etc. Having them is definitely a blessing because my parents can only do so much when I don’t get to see them in person. Some of my school’s staff members have also been wonderful in supporting me and helping me to succeed despite what I may encounter.

Becoming a peer mentor for the freshmen students has also played a part in motivating me. Though they do not necessarily “need” me, being able to shift my focus to them definitely helps. When I am listening to one of them speak to me about what they have going on, I’m able to forget my anxiety and its obstacles. Having something else to focus on and people to take care of, in a way, helps keep me going.

The last thing that motivates me and helps keep me going is actually talking about my experiences. Up until the middle of this semester, I had been understandably hesitant to do so. The first time I did it in a group setting was liberating. Being honest with people helps them not only get to know your true self, but helps them feel more comfortable about being vulnerable. In sharing my difficulties, I hope to help others feel less alone regardless of what they have or are currently dealing with. I’m so proud of the way people have reacted when I’ve done things like this. I have yet to receive one negative comment or remark.

Looking ahead to my future plans after I graduate college helps me realize that whatever may be going on now will not last forever. No matter how anxiety inducing things I want to do may seem, I remember that they will be beneficial for me in the long run. They allow me to develop, grow, learn more about what I can do, and go further into what I ultimately want: a happy, successful, and fulfilling life. I find that I function best when I am busy and do not have enough time to worry about things.


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

 Other Resources

3 Comments for : Living with Anxiety & Hydrocephalus, Part 3
    • Sheryl
    • June 25, 2016

    My name is Sheryl and was wanting to know if anyone else has had a hard time with your personality being changed after shunt placement. My memory is not at all very good ?

    • Rome
    • May 25, 2016

    I have ventriculomegalia with normal pressure hydrocepfalus. Can somebody tell me what is that? and how can I live with that. Thanks.
    Rome (77)

    • Anriette
    • May 10, 2016

    Hi. I’m a mother with a daughter with hydrocephalus. Diagnosed 38weeks in uterus and 8yrs now. She has had 7 revisions, and suffering a stroke on revision nr 5 due to negligence. Your story is so inspiring. I suffer from anxiety and worry about her future continuesly. I’m in the process of starting a runners and support group for hydrocephalus. You are giving me more than courage for the future. Thank you, Annette (South Africa)

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