Those around you...
I was a young teenager when I realised the importance of people we keep around ourselves. At the age of fourteen I spent almost a year in hospital. During this time I was surrounded by adults, nurses, therapists, other patients etc. The adolescent unit had just been built so I was the only patient for a while. Even when there was a new admission they'd normally be younger than myself. It was also a small unit so there were always more nurses than patients. Yeah something you would not see these days.
With an accident and disability like mine I believe a persons mental state is really challenged. Maybe it's not in the person's control but minds can either crumble or cope. A source of strength obviously makes things easier to deal with. I believe those around you can be that source of strength. At the time of my rehab I didn't have much choice in the people around me. That's why I'll always be grateful to the staff at both the hospitals I attended. They were a great source of strength when I needed it most. From the HCA who stayed past her shift and stroked my forehead to help me sleep. To the staff nurse that made everything OK after my meltdown from dropping a CD that I couldn't pick up. They all helped me understand things maybe tough but I'll get use to it. This is my life now and I'll be stronger for accepting it.
While in hospital it wasn't the staff alone that gave me strength. Seeing other patients going through the same issues as myself also helped. Post surgery on my neck I had no movement at all and it took a few months until I developed the movement I have now. Seeing patients who remained motionless gave me strength. They made me thankful for the movement I have, I can still reach out and touch. I can still be touched and feel it, all be it mostly pins and needles or hypersensitive but that's better than numbness.
It was only after I left the hospital that I realised how much I'd changed. Not just physically but mentally. I no longer had much in common with the group I previously hung out with. We still had a laugh and got up to things we shouldn't but I could feel the change within myself. My previous school wasn't wheelchair accessible so I also think changing schools had a lot to do with my maturity. I'd gone from a sports college to a business and computing academy. No longer did I have my class mates to act the clown in front of. However I did have the special needs support staff, again adults but at this time I was getting along with adults better than people my own age.
During visits and after rehab my family continued to be a strength for me. My Dad's bluntness helped me understand it could always be worse. His military background helped install a sense of routine when needed. My Mum with her down to earth and positive attitude taught me to look at the brighter side of life. After realising these traits my attitude towards life is to prepare for the worst but expect the best. Talking of best, my best mate. His sense of humour frequently shows me that laughter can be the best medicine. I also spend a lot of time with carers, they're full time and live-in with me. Spending twenty four seven with anyone can be tough, even with the nicest of people. Being introduced to new people on a regular basis and spending that much time together, taught me that everyone can teach you something.
I've always felt the need to self progress. In work, social or personal life. Always wanting to move forward. So in general my attitude towards life has been to look for the good in people. Keep the positive close and lose the negative. I realise this way of thinking can be considered selfish. What if those with negative energy are only needing a bit of strength to see the positivity in life?
So in conclusion I try to see those around me for who they are. Take strength if needed and offer to anyone in need. Those around you can either lift you up or pull you down. The positive or negative influence they offer, is yours to accept or refuse.