Life can be challenging at times. When life makes you feel this way, you have two choices: sit in the darkness, drow deep inside yourself, or dig your way out of the dark. It will take time, but you will get there if you choose to dig yourself out. I have learned that if you want something in life, you will set your mind to terrible enough that you can do it. I may not know everything about CP or life, but I’m living and learning as I go with an open mind. When you have a cp, you never know minute by minute what the cp will do to you. As many know, there are different types of cp. Each cp has its unique challenges, and everyone will have their unique challenges; I learned that the only way you can get through all the challenges is through HOPE, FAITH, LOVE, AND GOD. Once I found hope and faith, it gave me the strength to get through those dark, challenging times in my fun, unique, and challenging modified life.
Having cp can be a very lonely and depressing life, but life without cp can be very lonely and depressing. It’s just that when you have cp, It will own your body, and you will own your mind. Having something else in the control of your physical body can be very cruel, and unless you know what it’s like living in a cp body, you have no idea. You can be in a group of people with cp and still only understand your cp; they can understand some of their pain, but you will never understand what it feels like to have a body you’re not entirely controlling. Understanding why I felt this was a whole another idea. It wasn’t until I started to understand the cp gave me a power that not too many understood or disagreed with me. The one thing that I hated within myself gave me the hope that I needed to see the light—many people believing in GOD, to show them the way out. For me, it’s my love-hate relationship with GOD. I don’t fully trust, so I found that if I trust in the weakest part of myself (CP), just maybe the weakest part of myself would become the most vital part of myself. (some people would disagree with me on this, but it’s what works for me.)
As much as HOPE, FAITH, LOVE, AND GOD go hand in hand, no more than of the four go together as hope and faith. You can’t have one without the other. If it weren’t for hope and faith, I would not see the light under all the negative I felt about living with a body that won’t listen to me; I have to listen to my body: this is the one thing about life I don’t like the most about cp.
Other than having all that psychological/mental depression everyone goes through as a teen, it was until my late 20’s that I remember feeling my first time drowning in the darkness of life. Many of these things aren’t talked about in the cp community. One of these things is how there can be an emotional component to cp. I remember feeling this all my life at different times, but nothing more prevalent than in my middle to late 20s. My sibling and my friends were moving on, getting out of that early 20S, college years/young adults, and turning into adults. They were starting to set up a foundation for who they would be in life and what they will be for the majority of life (such as finding careers, finding their life partners, and starting families, but emotionally, I felt like a teenager.) I remember feeling this way at a younger age, but I never realized what it was; I never really thought about the cp and how it held me back from what I should have been doing.
Looking back on my experience in life at those times, I had them just in different ways than my peers or a person with a different kind of cp. I had friends; I had a social life, but the only thing I saw in my mind was that my life wasn’t like what I saw on TV or in the movies. I didn’t have that car; I didn’t have the guy to call my own. I never had that hope and faith to know I did have it, just different from my peers and something different than what others with cp or others with disabilities only wished they had. I lost hope and faith that I would ever have this, so I put myself in my head. By putting myself in my head, I built myself this world that I got so deep in that I couldn’t bring myself back. When I thought I got myself out, I took what was in my head and tried to make it a reality. When doing this,l would see myself trapped inside my mind somewhere and know I wasn’t in the real world; I was in the world that I made up to take away from the pain of not being like others. In the end, it turned out I was only hurting myself and the people around me.
I didn’t see or understand that I was living a life I should have been living, just in a modified version—the things I should have been doing at those ages. I was going to public school, in classes that you take in school, doing activities I should have been doing, having friends, going out, having a curfew, getting into trouble as I should. I was doing more than others with cp or other disabilities. I never had the hope and faith to know I did have all that. I felt within myself that I was missing out on life instead of feeling hope, faith, and Gratefulness that I was living a more active life than others in my situation.
In many respects, my cp held me back physically than mentally; I had held myself back because I filled my mind with many fantasies and dreamed about life. After all, I didn’t want to live the reality that life had given me. I should have hope and faith that I could have done everything like others, just in a modified vision. I never had the hope and faith in myself that I was able to make my dreams and still be a person with a disability.
I felt genuinely lost in life. When I felt lost, my coping skill was to run away mentally because I could never run away physically. Running away psychologically can be worse than running away physically. The mental hurt I gave myself is a struggle to move past daily. I force myself to keep active so that I won’t find myself back in those dark places.
I spent years getting help and still get help. During the early days of getting the service, I worked on getting the skills I needed to help myself realize how I could get the skills to find the light in all the darkest I felt. At this time in my life, I felt very vulnerable to whom I wanted to be. I saw myself with two choices: to live my life in the dark place I was in and destroy myself and the people around me more than I already was, or do I succumb to the help that my loved ones helped me get. I picked number two. I worked hard to learn what I was doing wrong and find the skills to help me achieve the understanding, so if I found myself in those dark places again, I would know how to help myself find my way out.
It took several years to understand what I felt was ok but what I was doing to myself and my loved ones around me wasn’t ok. As time went on, that darkest to light. The lack of hope and faith turned into Gratefulness. I was grateful because I found the weak part in myself and turned it into a strength that people don’t feel can be their strength, but after what I felt in life, I chose to look at myself and chose to pick the weakness part of me and turn it in the strongest.
I know not everyone understands that they could do what I did, but all I’m saying is that if you find yourself in a dark place, find a life raft inside you, and cling on to it, it might lead you back to the bright side. My life raft was the one thing I saw as a weakness.