A year ago I felt like my life was falling apart. I would cry every single day to my mom. I felt like my dreams were shattered and everything that I ever worked for was now over. I had never been so depressed in my entire life. Sure I definitely had reason to be this way. I felt like everything I had ever loved was taken away from me. It was an adjustment that I think most people could not handle. Somebody once told me that God would never put you in a situation that you cannot handle. It’s hard to think of many things that would be this difficult to deal with. So many terrifying thoughts would run through my head every day. The thought of never being able to walk again was something that would never leave your mind.
It was not just walking that I stressed about. It had to do with how my future would play out. I’ve always wanted to have a lot of kids but now I cannot even take care of myself. So how in the world would I be able to take care of my kids? Also, who would fall in love with a guy who could not take care of himself? I was starting to believe that I would be alone for the rest of my life. That I would never have a family of my own. That I would never find love. Who would want to date a guy in a wheelchair? Who would want a guy who could not have sex? There was so much that would run through my head.
Things started to look up when I began to put myself out there again. I started writing and I began to reach out to people. I could not keep my story to myself and I could not hold my feelings inside. The positive responses that I received were overwhelming. I spoke nothing but the truth and people reacted in all sorts of ways. Every day I would receive messages on Facebook from people that I had not heard from in years. They would tell me that I completely changed their perspective on life. They realized not to sweat the small stuff and that relatively their problems were not that great. This gave me a great deal of confidence because I realized that after all I had been through I could now reach out and help people. Even though I was now in a chair I had greater purpose in my life than I could ever imagine.
My writings at 1st were kind of depressing. It really was just how I was feeling at the time and I had to put it all out there. As time went on and people continued to contact me and tell me that I made a difference in their lives my attitude slowly changed. I started to realize that maybe being in a wheelchair was not that bad and maybe there was a reason behind it. When I was back home my confidence was at an all-time low. I felt like a burden to others and I felt like people had to go out of their way to accommodate me. I was not used to being the guy in the wheelchair nor the awkward smiles or stares that I would get. I felt self-conscious and nothing like the guy that I used to be. Before my accident I was on top of the world and I was not afraid to talk to anyone. I was a social butterfly and I had all the confidence in the world. I felt like I could get any girl that I dreamed of.
When I was back home I was not really meeting too many new people. It was not until I got back down to Columbus that I was surrounded by new people to meet. A lot of my friends that I had before my accident had graduated and moved on. Most of the friends that I had I had met through an activity such as skiing or a student organization that I was a part of. But now those outlets had changed. I went to class and I was forced to sit at the front of the classroom at a table in my wheelchair. I did not really get the social interaction that I got in classes before where I sat at the back of the room. I felt isolated and alone and I felt that everybody knew me as the guy in the wheelchair. I felt as if no girl would be interested in me. But as time went on I realized that the wheelchair made me less intimidating and more approachable. Everyone wanted to know my story and they wanted to know why it was in the chair. It made me that much more interesting. I felt like more people in the hallways would say hello to me and the teachers gave me extra attention.
As I went around campus I would go to stores such as 7-Eleven and I realized that the wheelchair made me memorable. Not only that, but I felt that if I had a smile on my face and kept a positive attitude I would make people feel good about themselves. The change in attitude came out in my writing and people could finally see that the old Adam was coming back. I was starting to once again love myself and because of that I felt like people were finally being drawn towards me. I made a promise to myself that I no longer was going to live in a life of self-pity. There was no reason for me to live that way no matter how hard I had it. I was also now living at a place where I was surrounded by people with spinal cord injuries. I saw how many of these people had been injured for 20 or nearly 30 years and they were still bitter about their situation. But I also met many who have accepted their situation and moved on with their lives. I wanted to be one of those people and that is what I strived for. I had been injured for only a year and I felt like I had a better attitude than most of the people there. I thought this was a huge feat and I promised myself that I would live my life this way.
As I continued to gain confidence and realized that life itself was not over it was like a new awakening. There was no reason that I could not find love. There is no reason that I can’t have kids one day. There was no reason that I could not find a way to support myself. I promised myself that I would not live off a disability check for the rest of my life. That I would not live in government-subsidized housing for the rest of my life. One day I will have my own house and my own family. I’ll have a wife that I love more than anything and I will provide her with everything she needs.
As time went on I realized my purpose. It is to share my story and help others realize what they have. Because even though I have lost a lot I too know that I have so much to live for and so much to look forward to. I started doing public speaking this year where I shared my story with several different audiences. They were blown away by all that I had been through. I hope to continue to reach out to new audiences in the future and soon enough I will have a book where I hold nothing back and I hopefully shock the world.
I thought that I was so far away from love and maybe I still am but I think I’m on my way. I recently met someone who I attracted through my writing. It made me realize the power of my words just how fortunate I am to still have a beautifully working mind. Maybe I don’t need the body or physical capabilities that I used to have to attract someone. Words can be more powerful than anything and this girl is helping me realize that. She’s a beautiful girl with a very bright future which is exactly what I’m looking for. Who knows… maybe it will lead to something but at the very least it has shown me that I’m still capable of being loved and being there for someone else. Being in a wheelchair is not a death sentence. There still is life after a spinal cord injury and I am living proof of that. Even though I am in the chair I still love myself and I love everything I stand for. I feel that I am a better person because of my accident and I had a better head on my shoulders that I have had in my entire life. There is so much that I can give to this world and I will continue to keep on giving.
If I make a great deal of money I’m going to do great things with it. I can’t drive a fast car nor can I waterski so you won’t be seeing me buy a boat anytime soon. There are so many frivolous things that I would’ve bought before my accident that I no longer have a use for. So now with the money I would use it strictly to help people. The people in my life would benefit just as much as I would. I already have everything that I need and I’m living off $700 a month. Money is not what is important in life to me at all. Surround me with good people and that is all that I need. I want a girl that I am madly in love with and a family that I can call my own. Life has been so incredible to me so far and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me. There is no way that I will stop now.
4 thoughts on “Finding Love, Loving Life, and Loving Myself”
Adam, you are such an inspiration with your positive attitude, beautiful words, and sharp mind. You make me want to give you a big hug and tell you I love you. You have proven that God did not give you what you could not handle. He is also using you as His spokesperson for that. You’re the best.
I hope I get to see you some day. Mrs. Denton
“if you keep your heart open, love will always find a way in” …im so glad you started writing again! i have missed it and can say i am one of those people that you daily put things in perspective for me. dont rush love 😉 or dating…but believe me, you have more heart and personality and love to give than probably every guy ive ever known or met. any girl would be lucky to be adored by you, in my heart i no you really understand the purpose of life and what matters most. youre going to be great father and husband! i can confidently say this about you. a wheelchair doesnt define you, its your mind and your heart people fall in love with.
You are quite the charmer, always have been. I’m sure you’ll build the family you deserve some day! I remember someone telling me that you panicked because you thought I was going to ask you out and ruin our friendship… Good times!
“Hello, Good Morning” by Diddy came up on my ipod the other day, and it reminded me of our trips to the river and White Sulphur… and how you drove all the way to Van Wert without listening to even half a song before changing to the next one