There is not always a tomorrow

A few months after my neck was broken in a car accident, a fellow patient at the rehab centre committed suicide.  My first thought was, 'Why did he do that?  He only had paraplegia!' To someone with my level of quadriplegia, wherein I'm happy that I still have the ability to be able to move my arms and have some functional finger control, someone who 'only' has paraplegia (lower body paralysis) is L.U.C.K.Y.  You can still do pretty much everything by yourself! Believe me, the ability to walk is not such a big ticket when you have quadriplegia.  A big thrill is to learn how to hold a cup again and get a drink by yourself.  Woo hoo! So, when this guy killed himself, I was pretty pissed off. Overtime though I've come to realise that what is a minor issue for one person can be a devastating outcome for another person.  Comparing injuries, diseases, disabilities or tragedies is not possible.  As each person is an individual, so too is their ability to deal with and make sense of whatever they encounter. This chap could not get past the fact that he believed that he would never again be an outdoorsy, rock climbing, gung ho man.  It was him.  Losing that part of him was so great that he saw no reason to live. Of course, what he thought of himself was not true.  There are plenty of bad-ass folk out there using their disability and wheelchair as a gateway to a new life and an opportunity to do something that they've never tried before. Our ability or not to cope with loss or injury is unknown and may not necessarily be predicted by the way that we've previously handled situations in our lives.  I cannot say that just because I manage to live life happily with quadriplegia that I'd be the same if I had both breasts removed due to cancer or lost both legs through injury. What I do know is that when something shit happens you have to make quick decisions about what to do.  However, don't make decisions you can't come back from.  At least give yourself a chance to see if you can handle the shit thing and don't base your future on what you think you are like now. Do you have an example of coping with something that you never thought you could?  

About Sandra E Brown

I withdrew from my Masters (Neuropsychology) to write a blog instead, and to teach English as a second language. Life is too short to be doing something you want to retire from at 65! I now live in Paris, France.
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