Paralysed and Positive
“I got fed up of suffering”
I spoke to Steven Webb who has been paralysed since 1991, and suffers from autonomic dysreflexia. One day Steven “got fed up of suffering” and decided to put his toxic thoughts to sleep and start living from the heart. Now Steven is an inspiration to many, he is the founder and coach of Peace of Mind, a blogger, author, speaker, spiritualist and motivator.
Steven lived life on the edge; he enjoyed being spontaneous like typical teenagers do, not knowing that one day that might change his life forever.
“I was 18 at the time, I climbed on top the wall, dived into the deep end and hit the bottom with the top of my head instantly crushing my 5th cervical bone in my neck. This crushed my spinal-cord and from that moment on there is no communication between my head and my body below that point” says 42 year-old Steven now.
Steven still remembers the moment he found out that he would never walk again. He was given the news while in intensive care, by this time Steven was critically ill, “my body had started packing up and I was no longer able to speak, I had a tracheotomy so they could start clearing my infected lungs after swallowing too much of the swimming pool” he describes.
When trying to stay alive is the main concern, then all else is a blur, that’s exactly why the news didn’t really sink in until three months after, when Steven sat in a wheelchair for the first time. “It was only for 15 minutes, I was wheeled outside and I felt the fresh air on my face for the first time in over 12 weeks. It was amazing and also terrifying at the same time.” he Reminisces
It was inevitable that life was not going to be the same, but after 12 months in hospital, 6 months of that virtually in bed 24 hours a day, Steven knew that life must go on, no matter how that played out.
Although Steven describes himself as “very independent” he needs to be under 24-hour care, Steven gets help with his personal and domestic issues. He also suffers from autonomic dysreflexia, which is a life-threatening medical emergency and can occur at any time. His friends and family support him but his “disability isn’t something that comes up with my family and my friends very often.”
One day Steven got tired of suffering, his mind would ponder and ponder upon thoughts of what is and what could have been. “My mind thinks too much, my heart feels too much and ultimately I wanted less pain and more peace.”
Steven started to look into how to find peace of mind. “You see, peace of mind isn’t just about no thinking, it is about taking control of our thoughts, emotions and connecting the mind and body and living from the heart.”
Thus ‘Peace of Mind’ was born, a platform which Steven founded in order to help himself and others to maintain a positive mindset through meditation, mindfulness and a continual practice.
Although he is an inspiration to many, “there’s two sides to this coin” explains Steven, “it’s nice to know my hard work and effort inspires others, but I am just human and sometimes I don’t want to be an inspiration because that puts pressure on me.” But “I’ve now learnt just to be who I am. Show up as that person and if it inspires somebody to shine from within because we all have the same eagerness to become something bigger than ourselves.”
“There’s a gift in everything” is Steven’s simple philosophy. If he had a chance to give advice to his younger self it would have been; great, you’re paralysed what are you going to do about it? Hopefully one day you will realise there is a gift in everything, even the most adverse horrible experiences have something for you to take home and learn from.”
Steven ends by sharing his favourite quote:
“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” – Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
“I love this quote, because we often look at a bad situation and believe the alternative would have been so much better. The reality is we simply do not know. My life could have turned out any number of ways, would I gamble my whole life by reversing what happened to me on September 1, 1991? It’s a gamble I wouldn’t be willing to take. Would you?”