“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” –William James
This month will mark nineteen years after my accident in October of 1994. I never mind the anniversary. Just as I never mind birthdays or getting a year older. It’s a celebration; I’m thankful to be alive.
I returned to school in a wheelchair in 1995. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I struggled with low self-esteem because of it. It was also my senior year of high-school.
Keeping a journal became part of my regular nightly routine. It helped me clear my mind. Sort out details. It gave me peace.
I held a flashlight in one hand, and a pencil and pad in the other, with music playing in the background. I would write.
This is a passage I wrote at that time:
“What’s important is self-image. Not whether I am walking or not. I mean…walking is a very admirable and practical goal that I can achieve; however, self-image is what we project of ourselves which comes from within. If we can’t love ourselves on the inside, it doesn’t matter whether we are standing, sitting in a wheelchair, running, or walking, our self-image will be poor and not positive, but negative…”
This is another journal entry I wrote at the time:
“I’ve learned that at times in our lives, things aren’t going to be the way we want them to. We have to just accept it. I have learned to accept life’s burdens. Do as much as you can to get through it, but just accept the burden and try to cherish it because after you get through, you will see how great you feel after you have overcome it.” — April 29th, 1995
Through writing, I was finding peace. I contemplated my future. I often wrote letters addressed to God at night. What would we do? How would we get through? I had suffered this tragedy. I didn’t know how to move forward and pick up the pieces. I needed him to tell me.
Have you ever gone through something tragic?
Here are a few remedies I used, that might be helpful for you. Especially if you’ve suffered a spinal-cord injury, or any other kind of physical challenge.
• Prayer – Can you get better at this? Can you cut out the television or social media for a little while, to spend time with God? Can you turn off the radio on your way to work, and talk with Him?
• Exercise – How can you improve upon in this area? Can you keep a schedule, as if it were a job? If you miss time at work, your job may be in jeopardy. It’s the same with our health. If we don’t exercise, we can risk not feeling as well.
• Determination – is anything bogging you down? Have you lost your zest for life? Examine your thoughts? Are there any defeating ones? Thinking positive thoughts can change your life.
• Outlets – friendship/family – How can you get more support? Are you extending yourself? Try joining a group. A book club. A swim club. Any social activity would help.
The ways examined above are not an extensive list, but just a few ideas to help. They are simply to encourage the mind, and think of ways we can take better care of ourselves.