When able-bodied people talk about spinal cord injury (SCI), they often talk about how they cannot imagine living “in a cage”, as if there aren’t hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. who face this reality daily. Granted, this viewpoint is based in ignorance, not any sort of maliciousness, but it fails to recognize that SCI survivors lead lives just as complex, unpredictable, and, sometimes, inspiring as those of able-bodied people, if not more so.
Living with spinal cord injury (SCI) is a lifelong journey with highs and lows, peaks and valleys, demoralizing setbacks and hard-fought achievements, moments of despair and glimmers of hope. Each day can be a struggle or a blessing. To get a better understanding of what it is actually like to live with SCI, we’ve asked some survivors to share their experiences and thoughts. Here’s what they had to say:
“Yes, every day I struggle and every day I feel the pain of remembering what my life was like before my injury. But my pain and my struggle has taught me kindness and empathy, and I am grateful for it.” – Ingrid
“I can confidently say that I am a very courageous human being. It takes me courage to get up every day, it takes me courage to maintain hope, and it takes me courage to love the world even though my own world has been turned upside down.” – Alan
“In the days following my accident, I saw the best of humanity in my friends, my family, even perfect strangers. I learned what it really means to love and to be loved. And that, I will always treasure.” – Jennifer
“An obstacle may block a path, but there are many possibilities. I’m just taking an alternate route.” – Janelle
“All of my worst fears have come to pass, and yet, here I am. You can’t get any stronger than that.” – Felicia