What is at least one thing you have learned or grown from because of your SCI?

ZcollieZcollie Posts: 209Moderator Moderator
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I know many people view this injury as a negative. Whether you have accepted your accident yet or not. This injury will change you as a person. It will teach you things you never would have learned if your injury never happened. What are some things that stand out to you personally?

For me one of the things that really stands out is the relationship that changed between me and my family. Before my accident I was the older brother who always caused trouble and picked on my younger siblings. My injury brought me closer to my family and I am so grateful for that. It strengthened my faith, which I never would have expected because I feel like for many people it would have pulled them father away. It changed my heart and turned me into more of a loving and compassionate person. Before my accident the only person I cared about was myself. It gave me a new direction and path. There is more I can say on this, but I would love to hear from others their opinions on this.   
Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
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  • jaarchjaarch Posts: 50Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie Aside from everything you mentioned(which I have also experienced) I think the biggest thing I have gained is patience. I have always been the type of person that attacked any issues head on and without delay. I can't do that any more in certain situations. I have learned to accept that. My communication skills have increased exponentially as well. I am now able to talk someone through fixing something, for the most part, that I know how to fix but am not able to reach.  
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 209Moderator Moderator
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    @jaarch Absolutely!! I was the most impatient person before my injury happened. My SCI has taught me soooo much patience. Very well said and great insight. 

    @Crucker I agree and definitely felt like I have gained resilience from this injury. Thank you for sharing(:

    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 338Moderator Moderator
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    Patience! So, so much patience and understanding and purpose. Being able to communicate effectively is another big one. We're all human, and patience and communication isn't something that comes naturally for some but practice makes perfect and we love our men!
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • SterlionSterlion Posts: 84Moderator Moderator
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    One of the things I've learned is who I can count on. Before I had alot of friends who were fun to hang around. Since I was mostly independent I rarely if ever asked for more than to hangout. Now that I rely on others more many of my so called friends stopped contacting me. The ones who I continue to hangout with now are the ones that I know will be around to count on when I really need them. I have learned much more on top of that but this lesson stood out to me.
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 209Moderator Moderator
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    @WAGSofSCI Absolutely agree!!!

    @Sterlion I can really relate to you on that. My injury showed me who my true friends were. I lost a lot of them, but learned who was real. I lost some I did not think I would and others stayed who I thought couldn't handle it. 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • garrisonreddgarrisonredd Posts: 130Moderator Moderator
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    One thing I have learned is to be resilient. I realized you can't let anything stop you whatever place you are in today is not going to be the place you are in tomorrow
  • SterlionSterlion Posts: 84Moderator Moderator
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    Zcollie said:
    @WAGSofSCI Absolutely agree!!!

    @Sterlion I can really relate to you on that. My injury showed me who my true friends were. I lost a lot of them, but learned who was real. I lost some I did not think I would and others stayed who I thought couldn't handle it. 
    Crazy how it works. 
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 178Moderator Moderator
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    What a great discussion topic!  I have learned so much since my injury.  I was 59 when I injured so I had an entire life of being able bodied.  One of the things I learned was to allow people to help and offer assistance.  Prior to my injury, I was always the one helping but the last to ask for it.  I realized by preventing people from helping, I was depriving them of the good feelings I enjoyed when helping others.  Secondly, I learned to "not sweat the small stuff" and that almost everything is "small stuff".  I did have some friends who I lost contact with and I don't think it was due to them abandoning me but rather their level of discomfort with my paralysis.  I think maybe the biggest thing I learned is how I changed my view of my life after I was injured.  Right after I was injured, I measured my life by all of the things I had lost.  Now, I measure my life by the number of blessings and the amount of love I still have in my life.  To me, life is still so beautiful.  
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 176Moderator Moderator
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    @Sterlion, I love that you made this comment. In addition to showing you who your real friends are, I think it can also apply to romantic partners. If a friend or partner disappears because of SCI, they weren't a real friend in the first place, and they probably would have found some other bogus reason to disappear from your life later on anyway. Here's to true friends!
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 209Moderator Moderator
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    @iamdadman Beautifully said!! I could not agree anymore(: 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • cruiseybabbbycruiseybabbby Posts: 18Moderator Moderator
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    I like to think I am a bit of a superhero now… The senses that I have are certainly heightened as is my ability to observe, dictate instructions, have patience, see both physically and mentally how to solve a problem, literally never get angry at a situation and force myself to just figure it out or move past it and to believe that no matter what happens… Everything will work out and be okay!!

     It's a beautiful thing to be able to live with your eyes truly open!!
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 178Moderator Moderator
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    @cruiseybabbby  I could not agree with you more.  Since my accident I have learned not to sweat the small stuff... and it is all small stuff.
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 209Moderator Moderator
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    @cruiseybabbby Absolutely!! Could not have said it any better!
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • trevorsendeavortrevorsendeavor Posts: 38Moderator Moderator
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    I agree most with @WAGSofSCI and @jaarch - Patience! Patience with myself, my family, with anyone I have a relationship with. Most people try very hard to understand what we all go through and experience but it's so hard at times to try and explain how things really feel or why. It has been difficult for me at times to take a step back and try to explain to my loved ones whats going on physically and mentally because otherwise they just don't know. And sometimes I don't even know what's going on. I'm not saying I'm the most patient person now, but definitely more than I was! It's a daily learning process to be patient with my body and myself as well as everyone in my life. Some days really test you!
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 178Moderator Moderator
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    @trevorsendeavor
    Trevor,

    Patience will serve you very well.  When you have paralysis, things happen very slowly if at all.  Being patient with others starts by being patient with yourself and your new body.  It's a good thing that you have recognized this.
  • Monica.TMonica.T Posts: 105Member ✭✭
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    I've learned, am still learning; that we can get through this, not because 'we have to' but "because we can" :)
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 209Moderator Moderator
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    @Monica.T Absolutely! We are always going to be learning new things (:  
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 338Moderator Moderator
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    Going to comment again on this  because I want to share what I have noticed that my husband has learned since his injury - how to expand his mind more ways than he ever knew he could. And how to enjoy the little things in life. Before his injury he was moving at a mile a minute- constantly working in a physical job and when he wasn’t working, he was climbing mountains and mountaineering. He was go go go. He didn’t ever have time to slow down and enjoy his personal life- his home life- or his friends on a deeper level. We never went on vacation. Our life was all about work. Since my hubbys injury it had forced us to slow down but also experience things we never thought were possible. We enjoy each other more. We go out more. We “yolo” more as we always say. It took about 3 years for my husband to really accept his injury to the point that he didn’t hate himself. Then he started realizing that he had so much More to offer than just his physical body. He paid more attention to developing his smarts and depth without even realizing it. All of a sudden he had all these new interests and knowledge that exceeded his expeditions. He also is more into our relationship now.. communication is number one and I am grateful for the person he is now. - brooke (wags of sci) 
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • Mnichols23Mnichols23 Posts: 42Moderator Moderator
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    @cruiseybabbby I love how you see yourself as a superhero. Being in this situation I view myself as the underdog. It just so happens underdog was a superhero also. Not only have I learned to be patient but I’ve learned how to use my disability to an advantage when possible. Whether it be taking advantage of all the possible accommodations in school or  using my mind and experience to adapt to difficult situations calmly 
  • emmelineemmeline Posts: 1Member
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    I got paralyzed three years ago at the age of 43 because of severe multiple levels of stenosis, I never had an accident..I learned not to take for granted your health and should have exercised when I was still young (had sedentary life) , now I’m learning to be patient and resilient with discomfort and pain. I am also learning to see and appreciate little things in life and not to worry on things that I cannot control .
  • CruckerCrucker Posts: 61Moderator Moderator
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    To all: here is something that might be helpful if you are still dealing with the emotional fallout of paralysis. This is a formulation created by psychologist Martin Seligman, one of the founders of the movement called Positive Psychology.  He named the three main states of mind that can inhibit acceptance of a traumatic event like paralysis, and called them "The Three P's."

    Number one is personalization, the persistent thought that we are personally at fault for ending up this way. Number two is prevasiveness, the belief that this event will affect all areas of our life. Number Three is permanence, the belief that the aftershocks will be with us forever. Personally, it took me years for me to stop blaming myself for my paralysis, even though there was never any objective evidence that I had anything to do with it. I now see that I was the unlucky recipient of a weird neuroimmunological blip. As for prevasiveness, the paralysis is always there, but it has little or no effect on 80% of my life, like family, friends, and work. After 22 years, it rarely comes up in conversation with the non-disabled world. And finally, the immediate ill effects of grief, depression, and despair -- the painful aftershocks -- pretty much left after the first two years, except for a brief interlude every couple of months where I feel profoundly sad that I ended up this way. That sadness lasts for about a day and then lifts.

    Hope this is some value to some of you.

    AR
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 178Moderator Moderator
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    @Crucker
    Good insights.  I am 8 1/2 years out and I still experience the infrequent bouts of all three of the three P's.  The first two years were the worst by far but since then, as you say, it is for the most part a non-subject.  One thing that tells me that I have accepted my paralysis is that I no longer dread the second day of the month.  I was injured on October 2, 2010.  Therefore, on the second day of every month, I would be reminded of my injury and how much I hated the fact that I was paralyzed.  These days, most months, I didn't even remember that the second had come and gone.  Good stuff Cruck...   
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 178Moderator Moderator
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    @Mnichols23
    There's  no need to fear, Underdog is here!  I loved Underdog.  He was so freakin' cool.  I remember there were two other main characters but I cannot remember their names.  I think one was a shoe shine boy and the other was a pretty female... was her first name Polly Pureheart???  In any event, I watched him every Saturday morning...

    Joe
  • CruckerCrucker Posts: 61Moderator Moderator
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    Thanks, Joe, appreciate your response. I've stopped remembering the day of the year, December 10th, that I became paralyzed. I used to mark it as a day of ritual hand wringing and regret. It's a horrible thing to have to accept something that is prima facie unacceptable. The more I accept it as simply my reality, the less power it has over me. I mostly recognize my impairment when I put myself in a position where it is apparent, like falling while transferring or when my chair malfunctions. I'd love to walk again but as my mother was fond of remaining me, "People in hell want ice water."

  • garrisonreddgarrisonredd Posts: 130Moderator Moderator
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    I have learned to accept my injury, in order to move forward I stopped worrying about the things I couldn't do an focused on the things i was able to do
  • garrisonreddgarrisonredd Posts: 130Moderator Moderator
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    @iamdadman I feel where you coming from I actually forgot the exact day I was injured.
  • Mnichols23Mnichols23 Posts: 42Moderator Moderator
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    @Crucker that’s amazing. I will never forget the day I got hurt. It’s only an obstacle. Something else to grow from. I cherish my past. It made me who I am today 
  • CruckerCrucker Posts: 61Moderator Moderator
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    @ garrisonredd and @Mnichols23
    Don't think it matters whether you remember the date or not. The point is, don't use that anniversary to beat yourself up or bemoan all that you have lost. Both of those practices are a colossal waste of time and energy. By the way, most people close to you, after a certain time, don't give a hoot whether you are paralyzed or not. They like you, not your wheelchair. To them, the chair has become invisible.

  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 176Moderator Moderator
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    @Crucker and @garrisonredd, I love that y'all have started to forget the days you were injured. I wasn't even alive yet when my brother was injured, but I do know the date. I can't help but notice things like when the clock spells out the date with numbers, but I should note that I seem to notice weird patterns in numbers. You've challenged me to try to stop obsessing over the date of injury! The date that matters most in my relationship with my brother is April 24, not because it's my birthday (it is), but because it's the day we first met and have been partners in crime ever since.
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