Month: April 2017

To My Blue Chair, Thank You.

I found comfort in the four wheels that made me visibly different from everyone around me……

It took me months to accept the fact that I was going to have to be okay with being different. To realize that people were going to stare, and it was going to have to be okay.

And after a year, the four wheels that once made me more self conscious than I had ever been, became my safe haven.

They were the only thing that made it possible for me to be human again. The medicine, it wasn’t a fix, it didn’t make it completely possible for me to be me, but the wheels, they gave me freedom, not the kind of freedom that ones own legs provide, but it was more freedom than I had experienced in months, and it was liberating.

I remember very vividly the first time I ever completely relied on a wheelchair, my mom and I were at the Cleveland Clinic for what we would soon find out would be the turning point in this entire journey. My body was so weak and frail, I could barely stand without instantly feeling dizzy or passing out. It became such a chore for me to walk around, that I was staying in bed most of the time, only getting out when someone was home to assist me to the bathroom. We had no idea how we were going to navigate the city of Cleveland with me not being able to make it more than a few steps. At hospitals, there were wheelchairs but we hadn’t come to realize yet that maybe, after all it was time to consider it. That day we hijacked a wheelchair from the hotel we were staying at, and my mom took me on an adventure. I hadn’t been out of the house in forever, and she knew I was struggling emotionally with it all.

I don’t remember a whole lot of that trip but I do remember my mom pushing me down a torn up sidewalk in the hotel wheelchair, Starbucks in tow. She showed me that anything I wanted was possible in this world, it might look a little different than I had planned it, and it might not be as easy, but it was possible.

We returned home from that trip, and shortly after I was the new owner of a blue wheelchair, I’m pretty sure his name was Murphy but I can’t quite remember. That wheelchair provided me for a year with the accessibility, and freedom I had longed for, for months.

To this day I find comfort in wheelchairs. An odd comfort, a safe haven, a reassurance, that I often don’t find in my legs.

I guess that after so long of your body failing you, you begin to doubt it, and search for reassurance and safety in something else, I found that in the chair.

Murphy rests in my garage at home, and most days I forget I even once relied on a chair, unless I see pictures, or spend time with my friend Mia.

If you read my blog regularly you know that my best friend Mia relies on a chair due to a stroke she suffered, as a result of proton therapy radiation. When I’m with Mia I am reminded of what it was like to be in a chair. And while most people look at her and judge her, I understand. I know what it’s like to be the one in the chair. I get it.

It’s hard to be the one on the receiving end of the criticism, and judgement that comes along with being different. Our society is rude, and judgmental to anything that is ‘different’. My best friends mom in high school always joked that I needed a sign on the back of my chair that said “I’m Fine”, because there was nothing I hated more than being stared at. Everyone wanted to know what the normal looking girl was doing in a wheelchair. And I get that, I’m nosey too, we all are, I think.

I’m not quite sure where this blog was going other than the fact that I saw a picture of myself from my best friends prom this past weekend, and I was sitting in her chair, as I often do, and it brought me a kind of comfort, that I don’t often feel. The kind that makes you feel invincible, as if you can do anything.

It’s been four/five years since the accident, and three since I’ve relied on a chair, and I would be lying if I said my body wasn’t still affected from it. I still suffer and struggle with being de-conditioned after spending so much time without reliance on my legs. But everyday I learn to trust my own body, and my legs a little more.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that what might seem uncomfortable/inconvenient at first, may eventually open you up to a world of possibilities.

I’m thankful for what my wheelchair gave me.

I encourage you to be understanding, and treat our fellow souls in chairs the same way you would treat someone relying on legs. We are all the same, and just wanted to be treated equally no matter what we use to get around.

It is okay to be different, and no one should feel ashamed or worried about how the world will react to them.


I Didn’t Get a Tape…..

I watched “13 Reasons Why”……and I also lost one of my best friends to suicide.

But I didn’t get a tape.

I never found out why.

You see that’s the thing about suicide, the almost silent killer. So often, so many people that are affected by suicide are left in the dark.

There is no answer. There is no note. There is no tape. There’s nothing.

All that is left is a body of someone that hurt so deeply, that to end their life, to discontinue all of their tomorrows, someone suffering so strongly, that to be dead seemed like a better alternative to living.

I didn’t get a tape. I have no idea if there was something I could have done, anyone could have done, that maybe would have changed things. I will never know.

I’m thankful that this series has sparked the conversation on the topic of suicide, and mental illness, because I so strongly long for this society to make it acceptable to ask for help. But it isn’t always like that.

Suicide is ugly. It’s dark, and it’s painful, and it rips a hole in ones heart, so deep that nothing can ever fill it.

For weeks after he was gone there was this pain, so unbearable, that raged inside of me. The thought of doing anything was unimaginable. Anything and everything brought back memories. Everywhere I looked I hoped that maybe I would see his face, that maybe just maybe it was all a nightmare, and he was still here.

But it wasn’t, he was gone, and there was nothing I could do to bring him back.

It has been four years since he’s been gone, and still to this day I reanalyze everything, searching for clues I missed. For things I could have done. For ways I could have prevented it from happening.

I probably always will.

I hope that when/if you watch this show, and if you haven’t lost someone to suicide you realize that it isn’t always like that. You don’t always get the answers, actually more often than not, you are left with absolutely nothing.

And if you have lost someone to suicide then I hope you know you are not alone. We are here with you grieving, and your emotions are valid. It is okay to be angry/mad/sad/frustrated at the world and everyone in it, for taking someone you loved. It is okay to feel what you are feeling. But you must be strong, and you must create better tomorrows and hold tight to those that are still in your life.

I know now that it wasn’t my fault. There is nothing I could have done to stop him.

Because when someone reaches a point so dark in their lives that they despise this earth so deeply, there is no stopping them.

I don’t blame him. In fact sometimes I envy him, because he has found his peace. I am not mad at him, because I have seen how cruel this world can be.

I wish that he was still here, and that he could leave me with his goofy forehead kisses just once more, but I know that he is free from whatever caused him so much pain, and that gives me comfort.

I wish that before he pulled the trigger though, and that before she jumped from the parking lot I could have told them this:

“Your pain is temporary, what you are feeling now won’t last forever. It is okay to ask for help, because I am here, and you don’t need to feel ashamed. This life isn’t easy. There are so many people, and things that will try to knock you down, but I will be here to pick you back up. It’s okay to fall, and fall again, and then again. One day, you will find your happiness, and I promise that it will be worth the wait. You will find the spark that ignites the fire inside of your soul, and it will make sense. Your pain will be gone, and everything that has happened in your journey will make sense. You are enough, you are more than enough. You are special, and you have a purpose. You are worth something, so much. And your life was not meant to be ended in a rash decision. There is so much more than the pain you are feeling right now, and I just hope you will trust me, and hold on a little longer, because I am here, and I know what it’s like to want to leave, but I promise it is worth staying.”

I know that I can’t make him come back, I can’t undo what he has done. But I can try to make a difference.

There is nothing more heart wrenching than picking up a patient that has just tried to end their life. Every time it reminds me of you, and I selfishly wish that it could be you. But I hope you know that I remind them all that they are enough, and they have a purpose. And I hope that maybe just maybe it is enough to keep them going.

We don’t always get a why. I didn’t get a tape. I will never know.

But, I will try my best to make things different for the rest of us, in hopes that someone else won’t be left wondering the same things.

I hope that this show makes suicide something we can discuss, I hope it makes it socially acceptable for people to ask for help. I hope that it sheds light on the fact that it isn’t the answer, and that when someone kills themselves they leave behind a world of people in pain.

I hope this show doesn’t make people glorify depression, and that it doesn’t make suicide look “cool”. Because there is nothing cool about ending your life. There is nothing heroic about leaving your family behind broken and questioning the rest of their entire existence.

I hope this show makes people realize that this is a cruel world, that everything we do/say affects someone, and that we are not the only ones with feelings.

I love you, and I hope that you know we are all doing okay. We miss you tremendously, and we still hurt, but we are doing okay.