Take your personal challenge and learn the valuable embedded lesson it may offer. I evolved as a person because I was made aware that I could be a better me after being stripped of my limited ideas of myself. I was given an opportunity to renew and rebrand myself – to live from a deeper and evolving image of who I am.
The past, the present and the future — these are all things I had a lot of time to think about when I was in the hospital. It took me a few weeks until what was happening to me started to sink in. There was so much activity surrounding me in the hospital that I got caught up in being a patient, rather than being myself. I slowly started to understand that I was a quadriplegic.
Coming to terms with your disability means losing your innocence. It is a right of passage and an initiation into a new and higher level of awareness and sensitivity. While in the initiation process the moment-to-moment unfolding of events requires one to rely on one’s self, measure the situation carefully, get information and safely guide the self through obstacles as they present themselves.
I needed to learn how to say “no” for my own welfare and to stop acting like I was OK. At that point I started to be more realistic about my time for visits. I visited with those who I knew, wanted to see, and only when I wanted to see them. It was empowering to be able to control, at last, my expenditure of energy.
Early in my disability, I turned feeling sorry for myself into an art form. Being confined not only to a hospital bed, but to a body that had no response was a completely foreign experience. It was like double paralysis. And it was taking its toll on my mind as I tried to make some kind of sense out of my situation. I found myself trying out a multitude of personality coping styles and behaviors.
Your attitude is like the breath you choose to take. If you unconsciously take shallow breath, you will feel weak, but if you consciously breathe in full, nourishing breaths, you’ll feel instantly clear-headed and healthy. You can automatically dwell on the past and scorn fate, or you can mindfully gather up what you have left, claim your strength, and go forward with the belief that not only will you be OK, but you will prevail and perhaps even inspire others to see that one can have dignity in the face of a life-changing trial.