Although I Have ET, ET Will Not Have Me

Posted on August 24, 2020

Each semester, the IETF awards four $1,000 college scholarships to students who have essential tremor through its Catherine S. Rice Scholarship Fund. As part of the application process, students are asked to write an essay on the topic, “how essential tremor has affected my life.” The following essay is from one of our fall 2020 scholarship recipients.

By Terrin Griffeth,
Brigham Young University – Idaho

Four years ago my entire life changed. I never realized that essential tremor was something I would need to cope with for the rest of my life.

I first noticed the tremors because when I lived in Brazil for two years, my friends and others started making comments and asking why I would always shake. As it became more noticeable and apparent, some people started laughing at me and made fun of me because of the shaking. There are some people who aren’t very understanding.

I have come to realize that people tend to laugh at that which they don’t understand, and what they don’t understand tends to make them uncomfortable. If there was a greater awareness of what essential tremor truly is, fewer people would act in such a way. I believe everyone has the power to help expand this awareness and help others understand what essential tremor is through talking with friends and through programs like the International Essential Tremor Foundation. Essential tremor is not something to be ashamed of. It is a part of me and as I have learned more about it, I have realized it’s not something to be scared of but simply something to cope with. I want to do my part and help create a bigger awareness of what essential tremor is and the effects of it.

My essential tremor has been progressively growing over time and affects my life more and more as I get older. I continue to shake more and more whether it be after I finish working out, eating or even studying. It is a constant that I have been learning to adapt to. I have noticed that holding cups and other objects is progressively becoming more difficult and that my legs always shake a lot after I work out or after any event that causes stress on my body. Writing isn’t the easiest thing as well as many other things, but I know if I put in the time and effort I can overcome any challenges that come my way.

I have decided that although I have essential tremor, essential tremor will not have me. I am determined to not use this as an excuse to hold me back from my goals and achievements in life. We determine how our circumstances affect us and I hope to make the best of the situation I am in. I like to look at essential tremor as part of me and not as an obstacle. It is something I must learn to adapt to and I know I can still progress in life just like anyone else. I believe if more people were aware of what essential tremor truly is, they wouldn’t treat those with it differently.