Being paralyzed has lots of negative emotional/physical side effects on your mind/body, from things like depression and kidney stones to the relentless nerve pain that is ever present. It's not all bad, though, and there's even a few upsides to paralysis. I'm a firm believer that there are positives to be found in every situation, no matter how bleak. I thought I'd make a little list of some of the perks of paralysis in order to prove my point.
- Not ticklish: I've always hated being tickled. Now that I'm paralyzed I'm no longer ticklish. I actually did a little experiment and I had Chandra tickle my stomach. I could feel her wiggling her fingers on me, but it didn't make me laugh like it would've before I was paralyzed.
- Handicapped parking: it's so nice to have disabled license plates that allow me to park in handicapped parking. It's close and convenient!
- My shoes never get dirty and never wear out: I only wear shoes if I'm going to in public (which is just once or twice a week), so my shoes don't get a lot of use. I don't walk around, so my shoes stay clean and never get dirty. I could probably wear the same pairs of shoes for the rest of my life if I wanted, but what's the fun in that it?!
- Fan mail: I love, love, LOVE getting emails from people, telling me what they get out of my blog and what they think of specific posts.
- The kindness of strangers: over the past 10 years I've had lots of experiences where perfect strangers have been so kind to me. It's usually something simple like a smile or someone holding a door for me, but it's always very refreshing.
- Getting nearly all of my prescription medication for free: I'm on a bunch of medications and it would cost a pretty penny (hundreds and hundreds of dollars each month) if I had to pay for all of them out of my own pocket. Thank goodness for insurance!
- I can spend my days doing what I want: most days I'm able to stay at home and I have all day to basically do whatever I want (which happens to be using my computer to work on different projects). It's so nice to have the luxury of doing what I want to do and not having to go out and a living. I can spend my time doing the things that bring me joy.
- I can buy pretty much whatever I want (and I do!): I am by no means well off, but I do have everything I need and I'm pretty much able to buy whatever I want without having to worry about how I'm going to afford it. (There's obviously lots of things I'd like that I can't afford, but I know that, so I don't feel like I'm going without, if that makes sense.)
- Never having to help with chores: I'm obviously off the hook when it comes to helping with chores. (Although I would be more than happy to help out if I could, because believe it or not, I've always actually enjoyed cleaning.)
- Never getting sore feet: I never have to worry about my dogs barking anymore since I can't walk/stand. I remember how badly my feet used to hurt after working an eight hour shift where I was on my feet pretty much the entire time. (When I first started working at the movie theater my legs/feet would just ache after standing on a cement floor for hours and hours. Gradually, my feet got more accustomed to standing for long periods of time, but would still hurt at the end of the day.)
I know I'm a "glass half full" type of person, but I think there are positives to be found in every situation, no matter how difficult it is. I think you'll be able to find a few perks in your own challenges/trials if you look at the big picture. And if all else fails, use a little humor and creativity!