Today I’m going to share with you the emotional impact of spinal cord injury on my life. When I first got injured I did not understand the complexity of my situation. I had this strong conviction that everything was going back to normal. I was going to walk in no time then I’m back to my life. I sort of ignored so many details about my situation because I wanted to believe I was going to recover. I was just so overconfident which has never been a crime but it’s also not good at 1st when I was in hospital I thought it was only going to be for a few weeks see it was the month of December and there were so many lined up gigs and a lot of travelling I had been looking forward to it I thought in a week or two I will be back on stage and when I was transferred to rehab I thought it was going to be a month, from there I thought It was going to be for a few months kept setting time frames for a long stretch in no time a year had passed until it started dawning on me that I needed to stop putting pressure on myself and that this was beyond my control and I just had to be patient.
When a year passed that’s when depression started kicking in. .I started panicking. I felt time was running out and life was passing me by. I became an emotional wreck. I was all over the place with all kinds of feelings. I didn’t know how to deal with them .When you look at things the wrong way the result is always chaotic. I wasn’t accepting my situation. I was so scared.
All these other issues that come with having a spinal cord injury and the lifestyle it requires was all just too much for me. I was overwhelmed. I lost my self-esteem. I lost my confidence. I told myself that I was a nobody. For the longest time, I believed and I told myself I didn’t deserve to be happy. How can I be happy when I’m now this person. How could I be happy when I wasn’t where I wanted to be? Where I thought I didn’t belong. See, if I’m happy it meant that I was accepting defeat. I think that’s the cruelest thing one can do to themselves. There was so much confusion and so much grief. I asked myself what I was going to do? How I was going back to get back into the world? I couldn’t find the answer. I was terrified to not know what to do with my life. It made me feel like I’m a loser. I started questioning my existence which led me to believe there was nothing to live for. I contemplated on suicide. I thought of death so much. These thoughts stayed on for quite some time. I would pray and ask God to end my life.
Is this how you want to live your life? For how long are you going to treat yourself this way? Those were some questions I started asking myself. At some point, you get tired of feeling awful all the time. The answer was no. I also want to be happy. I want to live a better life. I wanted to heal, not just physically but emotionally and mentally too. That meant I had to change the way I see things. I needed to embrace this new life, practice gratitude and train my mind to be calm, come to terms with what’s going on with me to accept and love myself. I know I’m not walking today and that is still ok.
I learnt that I might not be where I want to be, but that shouldn’t stop me from fighting. I challenged myself to do my best to practice self-love and acceptance because I know that creates peace. I also learnt that each person comes to terms with these changes in their own way. Adjustment doesn’t happen overnight. I saw that other people seemed to be coping better than me. I thought that there was something wrong. Choosing to be vulnerable is not an attention seeking strategy, or a way to get pity. It means showing my strength, and how much I have had to endure, and how I have overcome some tough situations. These situations have left a mark that’s deep from grief. The dark days have surely been a rollercoaster of emotions. The path I’m on now is to find a fulfilling life, and embrace my new normal. That has already manifested itself. I now feel I need to speak up and share with others. I cannot say I’m fully healed. It is a long journey and continual process.