I am just making this short and sweet
For as long as I can remember I have had pretty bad depression…that only seemed to get worse as more things continued to hurt me in my life
I always struggled to believe in myself and thus had a hard time playing the sports that I loved at the same time. I always put a lot of pressure on myself, and to me, nothing I did was ever good enough. I started distancing myself from school and sports and put on a front that I didn’t really care about anything, just so that I wouldn’t have to face the things that were really going on in my life.
No matter what, I have always worked extremely hard. I used to help my mom clean houses when I was younger and started doing landscaping and cleaning houses on my own as soon as I was old enough.
I always knew I wanted something more in life…I just didn’t know what it was.
When I was 18 I was in a motorcycle accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down, and I was even further lost.
I struggled to keep it together. I signed up for community college classes five months later, because I needed something to force me to wake up in the morning.
I still felt completely lost.
I had no idea who I was…or what the point of life was.
The pain I was feeling, physically and emotionally, was unbearable. I had so much regret for all of the things that I did not do, when I had the opportunity to do them.
I was so mad at myself that I did not appreciate the things I had, when I had them.
And the thought that I may feel that pain… and regret…and sadness… forever…,that I might never be happy again…it was scary. The life I had was over. The only life I knew. It felt like the girl I was had died…and yet I was still alive and I had to go on.
I didn’t know if I had the strength to do it. I wanted so badly to escape from it all. I was so angry inside! I wanted to smash the TV, throw a brick through the window…I would pray that I would get cancer…I wanted to know that there was an end to it all. I wanted to die…but I knew I was not going to kill myself. I knew that I had to figure things out and make things better…because I could not live like that for the rest of my life.
A year later I found out about some guys that get together in Tacoma and play wheelchair basketball. I went and checked it out…and although it was extremely hard and extremely frustrating, mentally and emotionally (in so many different ways: not being good-was a really sucky feeling, not having the right equipment…and needing at least $3,000 if I wanted a basketball chair that actually fit me and actually allowed me to play well, not having acoach to teach me how to play, not having different options of teams and skill levels, and not having other teams to play…unless we traveled to other states.) The hardest part was running my HUGE chair into another HUGE chair over and over again as I tried to get to the basket, hearing the loud noise of METAL! METAL! METAL! When all I wanted to do was get up out of that chair and run around that person and get to the basket! I DIDN’T WANT TO BE IN THAT STUPID CHAIR! I HATED BEING IN A WHEELCHAIR! I WANTED TO PLAY SOCCER AGAIN! …But I couldn’t…and I would never be able to play it again. And I had to accept it.
Although I loved sports…and Wheelchair basketball WAS the funnest thing I had done in a long time…When I played wheelchair basketball, it was a constant reminder of how much I hated the way things were in my life …yet at the same time I knew deep down that wheelchair basketball was my second chance at life. This was my opportunity to overcome the horrible regret that I felt. …And it was my way out of the sadness. I knew that if I stuck with it, things would start to get better. That once it finally clicked…and I was able to just play as if it came naturally…that I would have overcome the accident…I just had this feeling. And so, it once again gave me motivation and something to work towards.
A year later, I graduated from Community College with my associates degree. And although I did not know what I was doing…I knew I was moving in the right direction.
Soon after I graduated I learned that there were colleges that actually had wheelchair basketball teams and even offered scholarships. I found out what I needed to do to get in and I went back to community college to take the classes I needed to transfer in as a Psychology student.
I worked even harder at wheelchair basketball, staying at the gym until it closed every night! I applied for the University of Illinois, Alabama, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
Out of all of them, I knew, that for me, the University ofIllinois was the best choice I could make…but also the hardest…which is why it was the best (if I did not push myself…I would regret it…and I would never be happy)
As I did all of this…I still struggled everyday to just be okay, to get through it and to push myself and continue to move forward. I still cried almost every single day and I still wished that there was an end in sight to all of my pain.
I remember going on my recruiting trip to the University of Illinois…and as I was on my way to this thing that should be exciting and should make me feel good about my life and what I was doing,…I was hoping that my plane would crash…because it was ALL so hard… I didn’t want to have to keep fighting.
That winter one of my best friends, who was struggling with alcoholism and depression…killed herself.
This was really hard for me to take in…we had always encouraged each other, she was always so proud of me…she was always there for me…but she never told me she was sad. And now she was gone…and I still had to go on. She had given up on something I was still struggling to believe was possible…happiness.
At her funeral, my other best friend was acting very distant, and when we went out to dinner he called to have his mom pick him up from the restaurant we were at.That night he called me to tell me about scary hallucinations he was seeing and believed were real. He was soon diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was in and out of the hospital for six months.
Whenever he was in the hospital…his mom told me that he always asked for me. He almost always found a way to get to a phone and call me to tell me what was going on in his mind. And all I could do was listen. I didn’t know what to say. I felt numb.
I did not know how to handle it all…I still had to finish school… and continue to work on getting better at wheelchair basketball…in order to get the scholarship that I needed to be able to go to college. …I was still extremely sad about being in a wheelchair…. and I had just lost my one of my best friends. ..and I was scared of losing him.
But I had to keep moving forward. I had to be selfish, I had no choice.
A few months later I was offered a scholarship to play Wheelchair Basketball at the University of Illinois.
And a few months after that …he killed himself. Some think he was trying to go to another dimension to save the world. He had called me the night before…
A few weeks after losing him I had to go to an extremely hard wheelchair basketball camp at the University of Illinois…and I needed to show the coaches that I could handle it all.
We had three long sessions each day, and in-between each one I hid in my room and cried.
Two months later I moved to Illinois, and left everything and everyone I knew behind. It was hard. But I knew I had to get away. I had to start over and I needed to find myself.
My first year there…my family was scared for me. I called them every single day crying. After every practice, In between each class, after each lifting session…I went to my room and cried. I felt crazy…pathetic, weak, and I once again didn’t know if I could handle it all.
I didn’t understand how I had even gotten to where I was…I thought maybe it was all a big mistake. I didn’t deserve the scholarship! I was not that good. I had just started playing. I had no coaching. I thought they were going to realize that I suck and take the scholarship back and tell me that they didn’t want me on their team. I put that pressure on myself every single day, not understanding that the scholarship was given to me because of the potential they saw in me, and the belief they had in me…that I still did not have in myself.
I thought I was going to flunk out…I didn’t think I was smart enough for college and I didn’t think I belonged there.
I was getting between 4-6 hours of sleep a night…waking up at 5:30 every morning for 2 and 3 hour practices, lifting three times a week and taking a full load of classes.
I am not sure if I will ever get to the end…and be able to send this to you…unless I quit going so in-depth. Haha so we are going to speed this up a bit.
The funny thing was…I ended up making the Dean’s list my first year there, earning a starting position on the team…and three years later…making the USA Women’s national Team.
I just recently graduated last spring with my Bachelors degree in Psychology and just today I have started my first day of grad school. And I am the first in my entire family to ever go to college.
Before I went to college, I had a really hard time understanding the world…but I have learned so much about who I am and who I want to be…and my life is so much better today…because of the accident.
The accident forced me to wake up and to push myself to be better.
Of course I still have hard days…but they are fewer and fewer each year. It is not going to happen overnight…but it is going to happen.
I am going to grad school for Social Work…so that I can help others get through the hard times and make their lives better as well. And it is because of all of those things that I have experienced…that I will be better able to help them.
And I was right…playing Wheelchair Basketball did help me overcome my accident…and for so many different reasons.
A big reason being…I got to be surrounded by so many other people also living with disabilities…but living their life to the fullest…and they showed me the ropes and taught me how to have fun again!
Good things continue to happen in my life…and I truly believe that Josh Lodholm, Jordan Anderson, Whitney Schaefer, Tony McCane, Grandpa Jack and Grandpa Ricketts …all have something to do with it. I think they are all watching over me and helping to continue to guide me in the right direction and overcome all the obstacles in my life. They were all the most amazing people, they all knew what was important in life and they knew how to treat others. They all made the world a better place. I think they are still making the world a better place. I know they made my life better. It comforts me to believe they are still a part of my life and can see the things I am doing in it…because I know they all wanted me to succeed.
I hope you’ll continue progressingOH, 4/5 hours IS ALL I GET TOO!!! Grrr, it suucks
AND, why do you think you and I, never got to hangin out! I kind of figure we were just never THAT good of friends in High School, I was too nervous to ask, as I thought fir SURE you’d think i was all “makin it up” ha AND your sister uuh SHAE, I met/ran into her with other people one time…again I GOT NERVOUS! sooorta diggin the girl, too hahah
*twas the past, yarr both cared about ladies, I think there’s a third sis?Brother, brother TOO?? eh, ok well take it easy hun *Jesus/check Him out aand I hope to kick t with yuh when I return, from Thailand and/or Canerda!
-the lady OWAYS wins the option of where to live in a marriage, so I’m told