I don't mean this thread to sound like I'm gloating or that 'I have all the answers'. I just wonder if anybody else feels the way I do.
A bit of background for those who don't know me. I became a complete C5/C6 quad at age 7. Over the last 24 years (I'm 31 now) life has certainly been a struggle. After my SCI I went back to the school I had been at and thrived - God bless those nuns, they really did love their students. I had so much love and attention from my family and friends, especially in those early days, that I barely knew what to do with it all.
My first 'big' emotional test came at 18. I needed two large operations to correct my scoliosis and went into surgery exactly one week after my Higher School Certificate exams (like SATs or university entrance exams). I knew these operations were BIG. For example, in the first my right lung was temporarily deflated and 'lifted' out of its cavity to make room for the fusion at the front of my spine. The plan was to recover over summer and attend university 3 months later.
Here's the thing, a tiny part of me was worried during my HSC about the impending operations (one ended up being 9 hours long, the second was only 5). Would I survive? Would there be complications? What if I was working my butt off for nothing? But for the most part, I could just easily shut those thoughts out. I ended up doing well enough to be accepted into the most prestigious law school in Australia.
In recent years I've noticed that little seems to phase me. Two of my grandparents died (they both lived with us and co-raised my sister and I) and within a few days I was over the grief. They were old and had a good life, right?
The truth is in 24 years of SCI I've never known what depression is. In fact, I'm so damn chirpy I sometimes annoy myself. Sure I get sad - I certainly am an emotional being - but I seem to bounce back with incredible resilience and am one of those 'eternal optimists' that generally grate people's nerves.
The closest I've ever come to depression is the odd day I feel 'fatigued by life'. There are days where I feel like: "if I found out today I'm terminally ill, would I just be relieved the struggle's over?" But again, these days are rare and I bounce back like that bloody Duracell bunny.
In the past few months, especially on these boards, I've seen people I respect and admire say things that remind me most, especially following a traumatic and life changing SCI, struggle with depression. So after all of this - here's my question.
Am I unique? Am I normal? Am I emotionally disconnected from the real me? Are there others in SCI-land who feel the same way? Do I have wicked coping skills, or do I live in denial? I guess I'm just interested in the thoughts of others.