John was just 23 years old when his invincibility came to an abrupt end. A motor vehicle collision and the resulting flames from the accident ravaged his body, leaving three of his limbs irreparable. John’s right hand and both legs were amputated.
“I never planned for a life in which I would be unable to walk. I didn’t expect to use a wheelchair or need assistance in completing everyday tasks.”
A new reality
Like many disabilities caused by injuries, John’s life changed overnight. And though it took longer for him to come to terms with his new body and new life, John quickly realized that he had two paths to choose from: “harbor the feelings of hopelessness and depression, or adapt and rise to new life,” he shares.
John chose to adapt and rise. Here’s how he did it.
1. Face the Truth and Embrace It
John says the first step to adjusting to life with a disability is accepting it. Some people are able to do this rather quickly; for others, it takes more time. John found that saying the words, ““Yes, I am disabled. I have a disability,” out loud was difficult, yet healing. He had to face the truth in order to begin moving forward.
2. Laughter Helps
If you have loved ones who are struggling to accept your life with a disability, you aren’t alone. “Your disability will often hit them harder than it hits you,” shares John. Being able to lighten the situation with humor or laughter is a path many take to helping loved ones (and themselves) more readily accept the situation. After John’s right hand was amputated following his accident, he made a humorous video and shared it with his friends. He admits that some friends were offended by him making light of a serious situation. “But the majority were impressed by my ability to do so,” shares John.
“Humor gives you power. Embrace it, even if it is at times self-deprecating. I believe you’ll be stronger for it.”
3. Be Ready for Relationships to Change
Here’s a fact: relationships change. “Our relationship cache is shaken up at each of life’s milestones,” shares John. And becoming disabled is no exception. It’s not uncommon for friends and family to be abundant when a life-altering injury happens. And typically, those friends and family thin out after some time has passed.
“Don’t fault those whose friendship you lose. Instead, look toward the future and the chance to make new friends.”
4. Happiness is Key
Being happy is a conscious decision you must make. “Unless we allow it, our disabilities cannot prevent us from being happy,” John says. You may have to search a bit to find what makes you happy, but keep at it. John says the key to happiness “is to find the joy in every moment. It’s there — I promise.”
5. Never Lose Hope
Hope comes in many forms. Looking ahead to what the future holds – the hope for a new tomorrow – can be healing and rewarding.
“Find the things that make you happy, follow them, and embrace your new life. With the right attitude and filled with hope, our human spirit can overcome anything.”
What advice do you have for people who are new to disability? Share your thoughts with us, and you might be featured on AbleThrive!