Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Roundtable Discussion: How do you perceive yourself?

United Spinal Association of Northeast Ohio > BLOG > Uncategorized > Roundtable Discussion: How do you perceive yourself?

In our Summer 2022 Connections Newsletter, we introduced a brand new column, titled Roundtable Discussion.   In this column, we are interviewing people living with spinal cord injuries, asking about their tips, tricks, and learning experiences.  We want to elevate the conversation from resilience to relevant. 

For this second article, we asked a few people, “How do you perceive yourself, after a spinal cord injury?”  This is what we heard:

Autumn Nalls, almost 6 years post-injury – I feel like I am a better person post SCI.  My entrie outlook on life from a mental aspect, spirtual aspect, and being very appreciative of my new life, i am grateful for having a life.  I am engaged, have a daughter, and pregnant with a second child.  I wanted these things before my injury but was going about it the wrong way.  Once i was able to adjust to my new life, I was able to see the good in my life.  I could see that this affects everyone around me and once I was able to come to terms with that, i find myself as a better person.  I am more patient, and living life the way I see fits in my life, not how society tells me I should live. 

Damien Nickle, 15 years post-injury – I have been  going through self-evaluation over the last few years.  I feel I am very talented with home skills and at one time was very diverse.  I was able to do plumbing and electrical work at home. I was a school teacher and am a father to 2 strong boys.  I had everything.  A beautiful home and good job.  But after my accident I lost everything.  Was this due to my accident or would this have happened anyway?  I perceive myself now as a provider.  I provide for my room mate and information to my family from my years of experience as a home owner and family man.  I use my knowledge now to instruct others with life’s challenges and obstacles.  I do the best I can and am still learning about what I am able to do for myself and others.

Francine Hawkins, 45 years post-injury – After my spinal cord injury, it took about a year to “come back around” to being myself. My perception of myself  hasn’t changed.  I  had 2 young girls at the time of my injury and they gave me the motivation to take care of myself in order to take care of them.   I went out on my own right after the hospital and never looked back. I am now retired, with 3 grown children.  My children have blessed me with 7 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.  My life is full.

Don Johnston, 50+ years post-injury – ​​A  critical perception that I have carried my whole life has been that of confidence and independence.  I feel these factors are crucial as our disabilities evolve through time.  I have been able to navigate and accomplish lifestyle events with the help of great support teams, grit, desires and ideas.  Whether that comes from rehab counselors, doctors, clergy, or family members, our perceptions of who we are materialize. 

I look at myself as a team player, one who can support others while still making positive efforts toward a goal.   My diligence comes into play by wanting to keep the efforts made by me and others which maintains the quality of life I want.

So now we want to know, “How do you perceive yourself after a spinal cord injury?”  Connect with us on Instagram @norscis and send us a DM with your answer!  And, what question should we ask next?!

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