How I Went From Being In A Vegetative State To A Best-Selling Author And Rehabilitation Counsellor

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Mind over matter?” This is a very common and popular phrase, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve at least heard of it. But I love this phrase because it perfectly depicts what I went through after experiencing the worst accident of my life.

This accident happened during my teenage years back in 1987 when I was 16 years old. That year, I got my first tax return, so I decided to buy a motorbike with it because I couldn’t afford a car. And in New Zealand, you could get your motorbike license as young as 15 years old.

But on a cold winter night on June 19, I was driving to basketball – sadly, even to this day, I’m still unsure exactly where I was headed and why since I have amnesia of this night as a result of the accident. But I was on my way to basketball, and as I was going through a roundabout, my lights suddenly went out. Due to this, a car drove into me. It was a hit and run, to make matters worse, so I was left on the road badly injured.

How the Accident Left Me

Obviously, I am still alive from the accident. However, in technical terms, I actually died three times and was in a coma for three weeks because of that serious collision. And that’s not the worst of it. I was left in what’s called a vegetative state with the prognosis of expected death or vegetative state for life.

To put it simply, this is a condition that describes someone who is unresponsive but is still awake or aware. It is a common belief, even among doctors, that being in a vegetative state means you are awake but not aware consciously. Although this is true for some patients, it is not always the case. Some can still communicate in this condition with, for example, the movement of their eyes or head.

I had to relearn basic actions and movements

If you were to look at me today, you would not believe that I was ever in a vegetative state. I admit that my full recovery case is fairly rare, but my progress and improvement did not come without tremendous effort on my part. And I certainly did not become a best-selling author and current rehabilitation counselor for nothing.

The whole physical development process was extremely tough and painful, but I persevered, wanting to prove my doctors wrong and the common misconception about people in my condition. I wanted to prove to myself as well that the mind over matter principle was true. In fact, after I graduated and received my degree, I was so thrilled that I showed my neurosurgeon the result of my studies.

During my vegetative state and treatments, he was one of the many doctors and health professionals that was negative about my condition and made me feel that there was no hope for the future. This negativity led me to harbor anger towards him and the others. So after I presented my neurosurgeon with a copy of my degree, I was finally relieved from that anger. That moment of him congratulating me and proving him wrong was no doubt one of the best feelings I’ve experienced in my life.

My books helped me rekindle past connections

Writing my best-selling books has been an incredible journey. The writing was actually a wake-up call of my full potential. Not only did these books bring success and helped others who were in the same position as me, but they also helped me to reconnect with people from my past. These reconnections were very joyous and definitely a blessing.

One example is my appreciation for my psychologist during the time I was still in a vegetative state. He was one of the few doctors that were positive about my progress and assisted in my determination to get better. We were able to reconnect when he obtained a copy of one of my books. Now, we’re friends and keep in touch through LinkedIn.

The advice I give through my books and counselling

If there is one thing that I’m big on giving advice to others, it is not to lose hope and to stay close to those who support your goals. Positivity goes a long way, so if you never give in to your condition or state, you will at least gain a new perspective in life no matter what it is. Even if you don’t see any improvement, you will still be proud that you did your best and made the most of your chances.

If I chose to believe my doctors and allowed their negative influence to dictate my decisions, then I would still be in that vegetative state, if not dead. Fortunately, I was stubborn enough to prove them wrong and used that as the driving force to commit to change my condition. To be honest, I didn’t expect much at the time, but I’m glad that my stubborn nature propelled me enough to get through it all until I saw progress, which led to hope.

There are so many miracle examples out there, many of which doctors have predicted to be impossible. But if you are just determined enough and work your butt off, you never know what can happen. My life is significant proof of that, which is why I share my valuable experiences through my writing and counseling.

Final Thoughts

In today’s western world, most people tend to have a passive approach to medicine or medical help. If the doctor said that you would need to use a wheelchair for the rest of your life, most patients would respond accordingly and stay in their wheelchairs. But if you learn to defy the odds as I did, you may end up discovering your hidden strength. And just like me, that hidden strength may end up becoming a capacity to help others.

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