Friday, March 21, 2014

Ask John

If you could give advice to someone recently paralyzed that used to be very active and thinks life is not worthwhile anymore, what would you say to them? I have a resident at my work in this situation. It is seven months post-accident and they are going through therapy to try to regain some motion of the lower limbs as he has some limited feeling. He does have use of his hands, but is severely depressed.

It is natural to be be depressed at such a drastic change in your life, but if you allow the depression to take over, it will make it difficult to move forward. When this is combined with self-pity, it can make it difficult to see the good in life. You may not be able to do all the things you once did, but you can find new things to do, or new ways of doing things. Once you adapt and adjust, and realize that you are able to do more than you thought, then life will seem much better. Life is not over with a disability.  There will be challenges, and frustrations, but there will be good moments as well. As Dolly Parton said, " If you're feeling low, don't despair. The sun has a sinking spell every night, but it comes back up every morning. The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."


Michelle Franko said...

You are amazing John. What worthwhile advice. M

Mark Slama said...

Sage advice my man. I can use it for myself right about now. Thanks :)

Holly Fletcher said...

love this...thanks! Holly

Jon's Pop said...

John, I'm way behind and just catching up on your blog and this question prompted me to write. For those who've experienced a traumatic accident and are left with paralysis, I would recommend organizations like the Challenged Athlete's Foundation (CAF), Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) and United States Adaptive Recreation Center (USARC). Finding fun in our lives is as important as finding practical solutions to everyday challenges.
I remember one of the members of the USA Sit-Skate Paralympic Hockey team saying in an interview that he thought his life was over when he became a paraplegic. He had never played hockey before in his life, but was encouraged to try and found that he enjoyed the activity, the competition and the camaraderie with his teammates. It helped him redefine his life. There he was at the Paralympic Games in Sochi Russia representing his country.
I've skied with adaptive skiers who were able to find a whole new passion for life on the slopes. There are more and more options available all the time.