Finally – I’m Getting the Hang of Being Disappointed


disappointedI never liked those motivational posters at the mall. You know what I’m talking about; the posters that say things like, “It’s about the journey, not the destination” or “It always seems impossible until it is done.” They’re “supposed” to be uplifting, but I’ve only found these quotes about par with annoyingly happy people in the morning.

And that’s the thing when you have a spinal cord injury. Everybody likes to throw these quotes at you, and I’m pretty sure it’s because they don’t know what else to say or do. Hey I get it – our situations are pretty heavy and it’s hard to know what to say – but cheesy quotes just don’t cut it.

There are so many terribly sad things we must go through – grieving our lost abilities, figuring out where we go next and many of us also lose our significant others (around 80% of relationships and marriage if the spinal cord injury happens to one of the counterparts of the relationship). Traveling, doing the things we love, driving, even interacting with people, everything is utterly and completely different now.

And the thing is, you can’t get around it. There’s no way to avoid most of these sad things from happening to you if you sustain a spinal cord injury.  But the good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and happiness will return to your line if you find strength and deal with the beginning months well.

Within a year of my first injury, so many disappointments occurred. School was definitely not the same; I could no longer could play my play my beloved clarinet, and I was no longer on the cheerleading squad.  I waited years for my ninth grade year to start, and when it finally did, I was in a wheelchair. Not exactly what I envision.

And that’s the thing about having a spinal cord injury. You need to get used to disappointment.  I didn’t go to prom because no one wanted to go with me, and don’t even get me started on the friend’s portion of things.  It was not good either.

It’s not easy in those first few months, but within a year you’ll finally be getting the hang of things. Also start thinking creatively about how you’re going to mentally deal with the situation; namely about how all the things you’re going to miss out all of the time. I like to focus on what I can do.

Also when I get disappointed about things I missing out on, I just remind myself how lucky I am to still be here; alive and kicking and trying to change the world. Earth may be a messy, and sometimes very hard place we live, but when the feeling of being satisfied comes, it’s one of the best feelings you can get when you have a spinal cord injury.

Have you tried to change anything regarding the status quo and disabilities since your injury?

Photo courtesy of Travel Yaari

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