Pauline wrote her story.
"Disabled by Chance, Enabled by Choice"
I’m a 32 year old with Spina Bifida. Currently employed with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia as a Co-Facilitator of a Self Empowerment Program (and love it!).
I've lived on my own independently since September 2006. I receive personal care support, but manage everything else myself.
Getting around is frustrating at times as I’m reliant on public transport, and anyone that knows the public transport system in Sydney knows it’s not one of the best!. I don't drive YET but it's one of my goals for the near future.
My family, for me, would have had to be my rock growing up, my parents, sisters and friends were/are extremely supportive in everything I do, and have always made me feel like I was just like everyone else. I have never felt like I was a person with a disability, in fact quite the opposite. The encouragement and support I’ve received has helped shape me into the person I am today.
My life hasn’t always been easy… I don’t believe anyone’s life is. We all face challenges, but I’ve been fortunate that mine wasn’t anything to do with my disability. Mine was a bout of depression and suicidal thoughts in my teens after my parents divorce.. Being the eldest and a ‘daddy’s girl’ it hit me hard. I have never seen a counselor or taken any tablets for it.
I got through it on my own, all it took was a change in mindset and more appreciation for life and my circumstances at the time… I mean there was and will always be people far worse off than me (even if I was at a low point in life). And as I said earlier it’s made me who I am today, and for that reason I wouldn’t change any of it for the world!
Life for me is different every day. Anyone that knows me personally knows that I do go out a lot. I'm hardly ever home. Whether it be to friends’ place, football (NRL), beach, city concerts or comedy shows. I love stand-up comedy. I enjoy life. Laughing is my medicine, I don’t touch any of that other pharmaceutical stuff. I like to go out and have a laugh. I crave laughter! I live my life to its fullest in my own way.
I think that living a good life is essential and it all starts with your mind and attitude. I don’t feel sorry for myself at all, I never have and I never will. Yes there are times in your life that you think, “What if I was able bodied and able to do this and able to do that,”. But I’m quiet awesome the way God made me, and I know I’m a blessing to those peoples lives that I impact in whatever which way, so as I said I wouldn’t change being born with SB for the world.
One of my beliefs is that if I can impact somebody's life for the better because of something that I have done or said, that to me is achieving purpose in my life. I used to question “Why was I born with a disability?” I now know why. A lot of people look up to me and see the way that I live my life every day being in a wheelchair. It inspires them to be better, to do better and to live better. It might make them think something along the lines of “
‘Well, I’m better off than her. Why should I whinge and complain”, I’m all about helping people realize their true potential.
Throughout my life I mixed with people with disability and I've found it hard to relate to them because a lot of them feel sorry for themselves & I didn't want to be around that. Being around negative people does nothing but bring you down!
Since being involved with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, I found that I could relate to people with spinal cord injuries because they were once able-bodied people, who had an accident and who needed the willpower, the determination and the strength to get through the challenges they’ve faced. They're strong people from the get go. They would have to be to get through it!
I once got talking to another young woman living with spina bifida who was worried about what people thought of her. I gave her some advice and said, “Don’t worry about people and what they think of you. Everyone is always going to be judged and criticized, regardless of who they are, or where they come from, just live your own life, please yourself, and always be approachable.”, “Just smile at people. Leave that door open” “Don’t close yourself off.”
It matters heaps! I have been at the opposite end of that. I was once negative. Nobody wants to know you when you're down and out, and negative. Be open with people until they give you reason not to be!.
I am proud of the fact that I do wake up every day of my life and can be there for other people. If I can help somebody every day to live their life to their truest potential well that’s my God given job done and my purpose in life.
If there’s any advice I could give anyone out there struggling with their situation or finding their purpose.. Just know that no matter what happens in life, God wouldn’t have put you through it if you didn’t have the strength, will power and determination to get through it and become the best person you can be. Never take a day of your life for granted, and just remember that “No matter what your situation, theres ALWAYS someone worse off than you”
God Bless xo - Pauline David
© Pauline David 2013. Except as provided by the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.