I am writing this at 2 am, deep into the night. I am in my bed cloaked by cold darkness, thinking about the last eight years of my life. The light on my phone’s screen is my only solace but it is also blindingly bright so it is tempting to shut it off and give in to the darkness but today I will try to persevere, probably for the first time in a long time.
Eight years ago I broke my neck in a car accident and I got paralyzed from my armpits down. I have been in a wheelchair ever since with no hand, bladder or bowel control. This is a compressed report about what those years have entailed. This is in no way an inspirational post, I hope I don’t evoke feelings of pity either. This is plainly me sharing a piece of myself with you in a remarkably honest way.
I wish I could fit into the constructs that society expects of disabled people. I wish I could say that I never struggled with accepting myself, I wish I could write about my triumphant rise from the ashes like the famous Phoenix, but it wasn’t like that, not by a long shot. I disliked myself immensely and I dreaded the fact that I was broken, weakened and disfigured by the accident. I am using past tense because it has gotten easier now. I am surely not out of the woods yet but just like everyone else, I am doing my best with what has been given to me.
I have a love-hate relationship with death; what it means and how it affects people. To die is more than your heart refusing to beat or air drying off your lungs. Death is also life. To be living but not being alive at all; it is struggling to see any good thing in the world and making peace with the fact that the universe and all that is in it, isn’t really for you.
I died many deaths in my bed for the two years I was bedridden after coming from the hospital, each one more piercing and menacing than the previous. I accepted it because I was tired and simply had no energy to put up a fight. “There are things that are much more worse than dying,” I would occasionally blurt out my depression to my father.
Pneumonia almost killed me a year into the injury sometime in 2015. I couldn’t breathe well for two weeks because my lungs were filled with fluid. Continuously gasping for air had an unexpected effect on me. For the first time in a while, I wanted to feel the air in my lungs, to experience blood coursing through my veins, I wanted to live, to be alive.
I know I said that this wasn’t an inspirational post but I lied. This is pure inspiration because I want to explain how time is the healer of all things. The process is often murky and hard to define but you must trust it blindly regardless of how hopeless it feels. You mustn’t give up, hold on, even if it’s just by a thread.
I am still in a wheelchair, still without hand, bowel or bladder control but now I no longer just exist, I want to truly live and it is that pursuit that gives me purpose. I am curious to discover where this road goes. Hopefully, it leads to a land of endless wonderment and adventure. If there are some bumps along the way I will be wise to absorb them as best as I can.
From Stairs To Ramps: The Moment I Started Expecting More From Life, More Was Given To Me
From Stairs To Ramps: Redefining Independence After My Spinal Cord Injury