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I hope that what you have read so far has not been horribly depressing. It’s just that that was the state of mind that I was in. I promise you that it does get better… much better. So don’t feel bad for me about the condition that I am in. I think that I am a better person because of all that I’ve been through and I feel that my life has more meaning.
Writing was my way, and still is, the best therapy that I could ever find. It clears my head and helps me to put things into perspective. Before I started writing again I was lost. I spent every day focusing on the past. Once I started writing I eventually was able to focus on the future. At 1st the future did not seem to be too bright but as I wrote many people would reach out to me and tell me how my writing has changed their perspective on life. People would tell me how they realized that they were taking the little things in life for granted. This fueled me to keep going and as time went on I realized that I now was in a position where I could help others focus on what they have and to help them live a better life.
Before my accident I spent most of my time trying to keep myself happy. Now I find happiness by working to put a smile on other people’s faces. It’s time to shine light on other people and push them to take advantage of everything that God has given them. Today I still have my mind and I’m going take advantage of that and push myself as hard as I can to put it to good use. God left me with my mind for a reason. With the amount of times that I flipped my car I could easily have a brain injury. My head in the ICU was swollen up like a balloon. My family prayed that I did not have a brain injury. It was not until I woke up and my mom asked me if I knew who they were and I shook my head yes that they knew that I was still there.
In this note I was obviously still dwelling on the past. But I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was starting to realize that I could use my position to help others. Here is something I wrote on October 24, 2011 where I was contemplating my future.
by Adam Helbling on Monday, October 24, 2011 at 9:56pm ·
I wanted to go longboarding in California. I wanted to surf the waves of the Pacific. I wanted to snow ski out west. I wanted to climb mountains and kayak through whitewater. I wanted to become a professional water skier. I wanted to build lakes all over the country and ski them as I traveled. I wanted to buy a 2004 BMW M3 convertible, instead I ride in the back of a rusted out van. I feel as if those dreams have been crushed. Now it is time to dream differently but I don’t know where to begin. I had my life all figured out in my head. Life before had no limits but now the limitations are endless.
In January I received a notice that I would graduate on June 12, 2011. This was on my Grandma’s birthday, my nephew’s birthday, and the day after my Dad’s birthday. It could not have landed on a more perfect day. A few weeks later I crashed my car and,instead of graduation, I spent June 12th back home in Stow in a wheelchair uncertain about my future. I’m 5 classes away from graduating and due to my current situation I may have to take those classes at the University of Akron rather than The Ohio State University. I’ll need the help of an aide to take notes and get to class. I’ll need the support of my family and friends. If I return to Ohio State I’ll need to stay in handicap housing and transportation would be difficult to arrange. No longer can I just zip around campus on my longboard. I used to love standing out on the longboard or the Segway but I’m not going to like the attention I will get now in my bright green wheelchair. Stairs will make it nearly impossible to visit all of my friends and I feel that I will feel very alone in Columbus where I once felt so much at home. I will have to make a decision about school in the coming weeks.
The future is so uncertain. I constantly find myself picturing what I would be doing if I never had my accident. I would be coaching the water ski team. Last week I would’ve gone down with the team to Louisiana for Nationals. I would still be living on High Street in my 3rd story apartment in the heart of Ohio State right across from campus. I would have a job at this point. I would probably even have a new car. Maybe that girl that I wanted would be mine. I would still be in good shape from skiing all summer and working out. My body has gone to shit since I’ve been paralyzed and there is hardly anything I can do about it. I used to take great pride in being in great shape.
This was the 1st summer that I did not ski since I was 3 years old. Waterskiing was my passion and was a huge part of who I am. I highly doubt that I will ever do it again. This crushes me to think about on a daily basis. All summer long my boat stayed in the garage and my ski rested on the rack. My family has spent every weekend of every summer on the water for my entire life. We would camp, ski, tube, swim, and relax all weekend long on the water. I miss the Clarion River so much. I spent so much time there with so many different friends and family over the years. We spent our time jumping off bridges and flying off rope swings. I loved being the king of the slalom course. Boats would park and watch in awe as I would fly through the course. I grew up on that river. I trained like crazy to go on to be a state champion waterskier and to be part of a national championship team. Not only did I love to ski, but I also loved to drive and teach the sport. I even spent an entire summer in Maine teaching young kids how to water ski and loved every minute of it. I especially loved to drive tubers. I would laugh so hard when I would make them crash. The best was when I made a girl crap herself because she landed so hard on her butt that water just forced it all out of her. That was my claim to being the world’s best tube driver.
The question I always ask myself is why did this happen to me? I did not deserve this. I spent my entire life trying to please people. I know that it is not fair for anyone to have to go through this. They say that everything happens for a reason. Whether this is true or not I do not know, but what I do know is that I have a great story to tell and for people to learn from. Do I think that I will walk again? In all honesty, I don’t. This does not mean that I have given up hope yet, it’s just my opinion. Everyone tells you to keep a positive attitude and to work hard and that everything will be okay. I had a very serious high level spinal cord injury. The higher the level the harder it is to recover. Only .9% make a full recovery. It is a miracle for someone in my condition to be able to walk with even a walker and almost unheard of to be able to run or to water ski. There is one quadriplegic who can run and it took him 17 years to recover to that point. I’m told to be hopeful of a cure. A cure for the most complicated part of the human body. The spinal cord consist of millions of nerves that send signals to the rest of your body from your brain. Fixing the spinal cord would be like untangling 1 million wires.
I was watching True Life on MTV today. These 2 girls hated the way that their faces looked. They were both very beautiful yet one of them said, “If you were in my shoes for 2 seconds you would kill yourself.” Try being in my shoes for 2 seconds. I would rather have the face of Freddy Krueger than to be in my position. There were times in my past that I was so depressed that I could not even function. If I could go back now, knowing what I know now, I would live those days very differently. People simply forget how blessed they are to be in perfect health. To have a perfectly working mind and body. Never forget how blessed you are. Imagine if somebody took away your leg or took away both. Imagine if somebody took away your hand and left you only with one. Imagine not having a core and not being able to sit up. Imagine not being able to go to the bathroom. Imagine not being able to feel a hot shower. Imagine not being able to get out of bed. Imagine not being able to have sex. Now imagine all of this at once. That would be me. Now try living with a smile on your face.
So what should I do with myself now? I could live in self-pity for the rest of my life or choose to live the most fulfilling life I can. I guess I should choose to live. I could be a whiny little bitch or I could be an inspiration. I hope to inspire you to live a more fulfilling life. To not take anything for granted because once it’s gone you never knew what you had. Every day I find myself wanting to trade places with people around me. Whether it be the guy at the McDonald’s drive-through or a kid riding his bike or just somebody walking by. I would kill to have normalcy back again. If I could run I would run a marathon. If I could dance I would do it all night long. If I could longboard again I would do it across the entire state. If I could waterski I would do it every day like I did before. Do these things now while you can because you never know if you won’t be able to do them tomorrow!