Thanks for visiting my page. My name is Lauren and I am 16 years old. I
live in the
I am not in the worst state of health it has to be said, but I have niggly little problems that are constantly bothering me. Some are well known medical problems, others are a bit different.
suppose the main one is my asthma. I have occupational asthma, which
means that certain chemicals can spark off an asthma attack with no
warning, I don't have to be wheezy or anything to start with, the
symptoms just appear as soon as I come into contact with one of those
chemicals, even a tiny bit can trigger an asthma attack. Aerosol sprays
are the worst. The moment somebody sprays something (and for up to an
hour afterwards), I become incredibly breathless, which is a pretty
scary feeling, and it has landed me in hospital many a time.
also have a problem with my eyes, as I am colour blind to red, blue and
green and any light colour such as yellow if it is near other colour.
This leads to great embarrassment in school. If there is a supply
teacher writing in a colour I can't see, I don't say anything because
many of the teachers are so dismissive of me or they are like 'oh my
God you're colour-blind? Really??' in the loudest voice possible. I sit
there thinking 'do you mind saying that a bit louder because I think
there's someone in
I have a lot of other medical problems, like eczema
and slightly brittle bones. I have broken many many bones which has
excluded me from lots of social activities with my friends. I’ve missed
out on a lot of fun because of this condition, and when the kids talk
about such and such a time when they all had so much fun I am left out
of the conversation. Gradually I have been pushed to the very outer
edge of my group of friends, because I never have anything to
contribute. My confidence is at absolute zero. I know maybe it is
stupid or even by my own doing by not trying to join in things, but I
am rarely invited out to places because I am no fun or whatever-I don’t
dance etc. I would LOVE to be able to dance with my friends, but I just
can’t. I literally cannot get up and dance because I am too shy and
have no confidence (and believe me, this is worse than the possibility
of my fracturing a bone or two with the activity).
eczema is a contributing factor to my lack of confidence too. My skin
is sometimes so itchy and dry and often peeling that I don’t want to
show my face in public. I can’t wear make up like my friends do because
my skin just goes crazy on me if I do. I just feel like I am a total
outsider. Apart from dealing with the usual teenage stuff I have this
extra and I hate it.
I don’t go out much I just stay inside with nothing to do. This has led
to my putting on a lot of weight. The broken bones don’t help me to
exercise it off either. So my confidence dropped even lower when I was
being teased all the way through primary school. Then I started
secondary school, a girls’ school and I didn’t get teased once. But as
I got older boys started to tease me, because the girls’ school is
opposite the boys'. I would walk home and get called names and be
taunted and so on. I lost weight too, I starved myself because I was so
depressed, so now I’m not hugely overweight or anything, but I am
bigger than average. I’m different, so I get picked on. Of everything
that is wrong with me, that is what hurts most. I can live with being
ill and having medical problems that most people can’t see because I
keep them secret, but words hurt like hell. OK, so teenage boys aren’t
exactly the most pleasant of people at times, but they need to learn to
keep their mouths shut. I never bother them, I never tease them because
of their appalling acne, but they have to tease me.
think that maybe if I didn’t have the other medical problems, being big
wouldn’t bother me so much, but I do, and it does. There are times when
I truly hate myself and it feels pointless being around because I am
limited as to what I can do, either from a medical problem or because
of my confidence issues arising from the medical problems.
a month, as I mentioned to you, I am going to a boarding school in
would say to other people though, that you mustn’t underestimate the
effects that one seemingly minor medical problem can have on someone’s
life. One thing can affect many aspects of life. Please don’t tease
people just because they are different, you have no idea how much it
hurts to be the odd one out. Just one remark from you which you have
forgotten about by that evening can have a lifetime’s effects on the
person it was directed to. It’s not an exaggeration, it’s true. Just
accept people for who they are.
I got my GCSE results, exams that you study for 2 years for, and then
have a bzillion and one papers to sit. I worked out that over the two
years I have had more than two whole terms off and yet I
managed to get 3 A*s, 2 As and the rest Bs over 9 subjects. I'm so happy that
everyone who I can possibly tell is going to know about my results!
Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing
Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468
Published: August 11, 2005
Last updated, August 26, 2005