This I Believe

juan - los angeles, California
Entered on February 17, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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Many people go through their childhood without a care in the world, but my childhood was a completely different story. At the young age of six, I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an uncommon inflammatory disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves, typically causing severe weakness and numbness that usually starts in your extremities and quickly worsens to the point that you can become paralyzed. Up to that point, I was living what you would call a typical childhood. I’d go to school, hang out with my friends, and do my homework. After I was diagnosed my life was turned upside down.

I was seen as the outcast in my class, the kid that couldn’t run, the kid that couldn’t hard and you’ll get through this. Those words became my motto for the way I live. Eleven years later after I was diagnosed, here I am still living with my disorder. Many times people put me down because of the way I walk or the shoes I have to wear. There used to be a time that those types of comments made me feel really depressed, but I have come to terms with myself that I have this quality that makes me different from other people. I have always tried to excel at everything I do despite difficult circumstances.

This past year I tried out for the swim team. This was truly a test for me because up to that point I had never really gotten involved in sports at school. Thankfully people in my family, for example, my cousin were always there for me. She was someone I could talk to about how I felt going through these experiences. She always told me, just like everyone else in my life at that time did: you just have to work a little harder. At first, I was really afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the team due to my condition. This meant I had to train twice as hard to keep up with them. I would get really tired and wanted to give up, however, I promised myself I wouldn’t back down from yet another obstacle.

While I didn’t make the team this year, I proved to myself that I could do it and this upcoming semester I am determined in trying out again and making it to at least one meet in the top 3 spots. I am confident that everything happens for a reason and this is one obstacle I have overcome. My struggles with my health have prepared me mentally and emotionally for any obstacle I might face in the future. Whether it be college or life in general

I believe in my ability to learn about myself through experience. I believe that through this long road I have made many mistakes and have gone through a lot of experiences where I wished I could have done things differently. Now that I am at the end of my high school career and I’m about to start life as a college student, I believe I can change and become a dedicated and productive human being.