Written on January 1st, 2012
Most people that have suffered spinal cord injuries suffer depression right after they suffer there injury, because of the loss of their independence and their ability to take care of themselves. They often are not motivated and do not want to get out of bed to go to do physical therapy. They often want to give up and need someone that is in there condition to visit them to give them hope that they can still have a high quality of life even after facing a spinal cord injury. Even though family members, friends and significant others may tell them that everything is going to be alright the words seem to be meaningless unless they come from someone who has suffered a injury such as they have. I was in the hospital after several weeks and only off the ventilator for an hour a day until a gentleman named John Mary came to visit me and gave me some support and motivation then the next day I was off the ventilator for eight hours. I know that it is hard for those who have recently suffered spinal cord injuries to want to get up out of bed, go down to physical therapy, work hard and then still be motivated. Having someone to motivate someone after a spinal cord injury is a key asset for that person, because it shows them that the person that is in the wheelchair in front of them has went through the hard work of doing physical therapy and have recovered to the point where they still have a high quality life.I have been a peer mentor for 10 years and I've seen the results of what having a mentor could do for someone when they are not motivated. It helps them to know that they are not alone and has someone there while they are doing their physical therapy to be a cheerleader and help them push them to the maximum limit that they can handle,so they get the maximum benefit out of every work out. Once the person doing the physical therapy sees results, they are more motivated to work harder and harder so that they can regain as much independence as possible. I'll use myself as an example even though I was paralyzed from the neck down and suffering from intense chronic nerve pain throughout my entire body,I still got out of bed and went down to the physical therapy room. You cannot let yourself start to want to stay in bed and do nothing,because you're angry or depressed about being paralyzed. It helps to have a strong support network to keep the person who has suffered the sci injury motivated,because they do not feel alone. I have not let anything stop me just because I'm paralyzed from the neck down such as I have flown to Hawaii three times. While in Hawaii I went to Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours and they picked me up out of my wheelchair,sat me on the floor of the helicopter,picked me up and sat me on the seat and then strapped me in. Then we flew around the island for two hours going over a live volcano,going over the coastline and seeing a mother grey whale with her offspring and then flying thru the mountains and looking at the waterfalls that were over 1500 feet high. We also went out on a whale watching boat which two of the crew members picked me up out of my wheelchair,carried my wheelchair onto the boat,carried me onto the boat,put me in my wheelchair and then we went out for a two hour tour to go see the grey whales. You can not let anything stop you from doing what you want to and you have to acquire a never give up attitude. For those who have suffered spinal cord injuries at a lower level that have use of their arms if I can do all that I have done while being paralyzed from the neck down it goes to show you can do the same as I have. I have been paralyzed from the neck down for 17+ years while going bowling,going out to eat,going to sporting events and flying on airplanes. Which gets to show that even though I had terrible chronic pain I was still highly motivated. Motivation is what you make it you can either bury your head in the sand and not face reality or you can hold your head up high and take on the world and accomplish anything you put your mind to.