Memories of a future-horrifying lifeMay 30 09:45
Picturing yourself as a disabled person if you're not disabled, can be quite the scary proposition.
And if you have the bad luck of becoming disabled mid-life through an accident or a health condition, imagining what your life will be like now that you're disabled can be one of the worst moments you may never have; unless you had the good luck of knowing a positive person with a disability before your injury, which lucky you, makes you a step ahead of the recovery came.
I remember they made me meet Debbie right after my injury, a 35 year old C5-6 quadriplegic who lived in a home that was built on her parents property. She was supposed to be someone I could look up to so I could see that a " full" life with a disability would be possible. But I hate to say it, she did the opposite.
She was a tomboy, she wasn't married and definitely didn't date, her house was pretty drab, and her personality was just....meh. She wasn't mean or anything...but her life? I didn’t want it. This was not the life I had planned for myself
Before I left, she gave me a CD of some songs by Joni Tada Ericsson (the famous Christian quadriplegic), of songs of how much she missed doing aerobics, putting her feet in the sand and yes, making spaghetti. None of this was helping. No wonder I fell into a depression for the first 3 years.
I guess the point of this blog is just to say to those who are thinking of helping a newly injured person, make sure that whoever or whatever you're bringing to them to help is aligned with their personality. A wheelchair is not a common enough of a denominator.
This is why a mentor programs through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation are so important. Things have changed a lot since 1993. It makes my heart happy seen all these young teen and twenty-something girls in wheelchairs who are so fabulous now. They must have had the right “early bird” experiences than pointed them in the right direction straightaway.
Did you have a bad experience from someone or something trying to help?
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1. Chris Jordan | Nov 29 02:21
After my accident and coma @ 19 years old I was upset and angry 2 years, but my loss of voice, disfigurement, and muscular loss was not something anyone could help with. 1 year of physical/occupational/speech therapy and realizing the old me is gone and going right back to college actually did help- when I accepted help. That gave me 2 completely different lives. I am glad I could make the best of this life these days. If someone had tried to help in the first few years after my accident I probably would have given *them* a bad experience!
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.