The University of Findlay is taking the month of March 2018 to recognize four students with disabilities. An article will be presented each week that will showcase their commitment, resiliency, unique personalities, optimism and hopes for the future.
Disabilities are often thought of as visible, easily noticeable. However there are some disabilities that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Nick Lamb, a junior sport and event management major at the University of Findlay has an invisible anxiety disorder, which affects his everyday life.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an anxiety disorder is, “a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.” For example, Lamb’s uneasiness and apprehension started in elementary when he was in the classroom taking tests with other students.
Anxiety is a substantial and increasingly common issue today, especially when it comes to college students. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 11 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 24 have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety.
When Lamb’s mother first pointed out his disability, Lamb was still too shy to ask a teacher if he could take his tests in a different room separated from the other students. But once he took that brave step forward, Lamb’s disability did not bother him nearly as much.
“Knowing I learned in a different way has helped me come out of my social shell,” says Lamb.
Now, as a college student, Lamb appreciates having the Testing Center here at the University of Findlay to help him with his anxiety while taking tests. Lamb enjoys going there to take his tests because it helps calm his nerves.
Lori Colchagoff, the Director of Disability Services at UF, has had a lot of experience with college students like Lamb, who deal with anxiety. In fact, she says that invisible disabilities are the highest disability she registers at Disability Services.
“The mental health issue is really increasing among young adults,” said Colchagoff. “It’s important we can help them in that avenue”.
To Lamb, his disability is something that he takes pride in. He believes that our differences are our strengths, not our weaknesses.
“This disability for the most part has helped me realize who I am,” says Lamb, “And many people experience different things with this disability.”
His anxiety doesn’t stop Lamb from living his life. During the spring 2017 semester Lamb studied abroad in Australia, where he was able to connect with other students from 30 different countries as well as dive right into the culture. Lamb explained that he was very grateful for this trip because it allowed him to come out of his shell even more. He now sees himself as a social butterfly.
This is just one example of how a disability does not define a human being or stop them from truly living the life they want to live.
“I feel like that sets me apart because I feel like I am not like anyone else on campus, but in the same way I fit into the family perfectly,” says Lamb.
Only 34.2 percent of college students who have anxiety report it, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The University of Findlay Counseling Services has a great team of counselors who are always available to help. The 24-hour 7-day-a-week hotline is 1-888-936-7116.