A friend of mine drew this of me when I was living in Gainesville for college some years ago.
After my accident, and it was an accident (I wasn’t suicidal), I had to re-learn how to do practically everything. I couldn’t walk for close to a year, I had to re-learn how to eat, spit, talk, and pretty much everything else we take for granted.
Being in a wheelchair, as you can imagine, sucked. I had to go to my grandfather’s funeral in that thing, which was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I also had to go everywhere else in it, though at the time I wasn’t exactly going too many places. Doctor’s appointments and the occasional trip out to Blockbuster Video made up a good portion of the year I was in the wheelchair. I had no social life, and still don’t.
My social life was another of the casualties of this whole experience. Before I ended up in the hospital, I had a relatively active social life. I’d go bowling with friends, I’d go out drinking with the same friends, and I’d hang out at their houses from time to time. Since my accident, my friends never seem to want to hang out with me. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t know what to say to me or if they’ve moved on and found other friends. I’m guessing it’s a combination of both.
My communication skills have also suffered as a result of my accident. Where I used to not have a problem conversing with anybody, now finding the right things to say is always a difficult task. It’s made worse by the fact that I now have braces in my mouth, so that makes it more difficult to understand me. I lack the confidence to go up to somebody and start a conversation with them. I also tend to speak too quickly, which I’m sure is a result of my brain injury.
But despite all of this, I continue to improve, and will for the rest of my life.