I am a Peer Mentor and I love it!
What is a peer mentor you may be asking yourself? Well, I am a peer mentor and it is one of the most rewarding things I have done since becoming paralyzed. A peer mentor is someone who shares their experience and knowledge of living with a spinal cord injury. Going from being able bodied to having a spinal cord injury is an incredibly traumatic change. It can be overwhelming leaving someone with anger, sadness, depression, loneliness and resentment. Those types of feelings can in turn make us feel as there isn't any reason to be alive. I know for the first almost two years after my injury, I kept asking God why He didn't just let me die instead of leaving me in this blankety-blank wheelchair. It didn't help that at the time I was taking almost 30 pills per day that left me depressed and cognitively impaired. I was lucky I had an incredible wife who was also a retired nurse, three great kids, a loving family and an entire network of friends who were all ready to jump in and help. Back to the role of peer mentor though, they are people who have already been through what you are experiencing. They know the problems, first hand that others, no matter how much they love and care about you, just don't understand. Only someone else in a wheelchair can understand as no one else can. We can help with doctors, medications, therapy, pressure sores, spasticity, nerve pain, self advocacy, resources both local and nationally, adaptive sports, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and so much more. It's difficult enough learning to live life with paralysis so don't make it any harder. A peer mentor is a resource with tons of knowledge and information and equally as important, a friend.