With spinal and/or nerve damage, the first few weeks are the hardest. You begin to lose hope as you’re bounced back and forth everywhere, between doctors and specialists. For me, I couldn’t even get a straight answer as to what was wrong with me. I was diagnosed with everything from arthritis to kidney disease, and I was treated for it all. With something like that, you begin to feel quite helpless.
That was my biggest problem at the beginning. It’s extremely frustrating needing to ask for help at everything. When it comes to grabbing a glass of water, you find dozens of obstacles. In my case, one arm couldn’t raise high enough to the cupboard while the other one couldn’t stay steady enough to hold the glass. Even standing long enough at the tap to fill the glass was exhausting enough to cause me to have to lie down. I broke more than my share of glasses.
All the stresses and pains begin to wear away at your mind. You begin to lose sleep, and then you begin to stop trying to get better. You have a few weeks where you work hard, where you’re determined to get better, but the energy required to keep going is beyond what the human body is capable of. At some point, you give up.
It’s an extremely humbling experience. It throws you through an existential crisis because you begin to question what the rest of your life will be like. Being unable to get up and go for a walk, or even for a glass of water, it begins to show you exactly what you are capable of at your worst. And unfortunately, depression soon follows
It isn’t some romanticized sadness; it is a genuine, crippling depression. You start to question the point of continuing to breath, and the bottles of painkillers or sleeping medicine begin to tantalize you. Most people can’t stay alone with their thoughts for more than a few hours without an activity to distract them and I was no exception.
The most important thing once life has hit such a point is to speak with people. It is a clichéd notion to speak of but it truly helps. Having friends and family to speak to, it changes your viewpoints. The unending support of your loved ones gives you something to hold onto when you feel like letting go. Spinal damage is terrible, and nerve damage is awful, but feeling the love and support of people around you...
It’s a humbling experience.
Daniel Hendrikx is a Professional Writing student from Newcastle, Ontario. Daniel grew up working on farms, and writing his own fiction. He finds time to write between playing video games and his guitar. Daniel is aspiring to be a professional writer. One day Daniel hopes to write a memoir as he draws his best inspirations from his own life.