My Son's Depression-He Doesn't Want To Live Paralyzed

I'm a very concerned and worried mother of my 22 year old son who has been paralyzed now 1 year as of Dec. 8th, 2008. He is paralyzed T8 down.
My son has been to counseling, also has a social worker I met who comes to the house and talks with but they have become friends and his social worker brightens him up when he comes to visit.
After my son came home from being in the hospital 2 months, was home 5 months and my husband of 23 years
decided he wanted to divorce.
My son cries alot, says he does not want to live and is not motivated at all. We cannot even get him out of the house very much.
What can I do to help my son and myself for what we are going through. He only has Mississippi Medicaid and I don't want to lose my son.

This is a Big Cry For Help.

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You posted your appeal at 2:20 am which tells me that you also don't sleep well. For the most part neither do I. Your son is having a hard time. You said that your son is not a typical SCI, but I don't think there is any
such thing, for SCI effects everybody differently.

I wish there was something magical that I could say
that would make the pain go away, but there isn't.
Bradley is young and a cure is coming and he has to believe that.

What things make Bradley happy? He has to focus on

Bradley cries and that is ok, but he also has to find
a reason to laugh. Paralysis as well as any kind
of adversity will take whatever it can, so he has to be strong.

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I feel your pain, and I am very sorry for both you and your son. However, there is hope! I have been a life long Christian, and when I had my SCI (T-12) and cerebral hemorage back July of 2006, I almost died and was in the hospital for 105 days. My family was told to say their goodbyes to me at one point when the doctors told them I was going to make it through the night. My wife went home and got my living will and delivered it to the hospital the next day, but before they could take me off the ventilator I woke up!

I am fortunate because my wife stayed with me and is my 24/7 caregiver. Very fortunate.

People look at me and can not believe I am so seemingly happy! When they ask, I tell them of my faith in Jesus Christ and how HE, along with my wife are getting me through this ordeal.

We have joined two support groups, like this one. And we are active in Church. All three support groups give me a place to share the Glory of God, and you know what? I have been successful coverting several to Christ which I would not have been able to if I weren't a para.

Help your son focus on the good things in life. Tell him that whether he knows it or not, he is lucky to be alive. He needs to take his life and use it to worship God. Get involved in a Church, and give of your (his) time to others in need. The blessing will run him down and overtake him.

When I was only 1 year after my ordeal, I too felt sorry for myself and wanted to die . . . . but that changed with the correction to my attitude. Today, when I get up, I thank the Lord for another day and ask Him to tell me what he wants me to do to Glorify Him.

The results have been spectacular, or should I say supernatural. The two of you should approach each day the same way, and in time, God will run you down with his blessings.

I know that this sounds like I'm some sort of a freak, but I couldn't be more serious.

If he is not Christian, perhaps you start slowly. Several resources are available today. For example, I watch Joel Osteen every Sunday. I get a daily devotional from him on email each day. You can learn more about his ministry by going to

You can also learn more about your purpose in life by going to and signing up for a daily devotional from Rick Warren, the man who wrote "The Purpose Driven Life" book.

Both of these resources will help him with his spirtuality . . . it will take a little time . . . . if he isn't already there or isn't inclined to religion. Be patient and ask him to be "faithfully" patient.

A third resource is, a church in Greenwood, Indiana. When you go to that site, click on "messages" and then click on "speaker" and pick Shan Rutherford. There will be a series of messages from Shan that will help in his/your spirituality and outlook on life.

I am a believer . . . . and the Lord has filled my life with unbelievable supernatural blessings.

As they say on the TV Commercials, "Try It, You'll Like It!"

If you can find a church you are comfortable with, get involved. I have met some wonderful people in church. They have introduced me to other wonderful people.

I am in a support group of para's. I've learned that many of them are just like your son. Paralized early in life. And you know what, ALL of them have beautiful, caring and sensitive wives! I can't believe my eyes when I see their wives . . . . and learn that they met one another and got married AFTER there husband had his injury.

With faith, God can make all things possible. Give Him a chance to work miracles in your lives, and he will.

Hang in there, and God Bless,


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Well said! Couldn't agree more with janders199. Your son needs to find hope b/c hopelessness is the worst state of being and true hope comes from the promise of Christ. Life does go on and we can learn to live differently. Your son will find that he can inspire and touch so many people by his perserverence. A man and his wife has mentored me since my accident (10-10-06, quad c-6-7,t-1). He had an accident at age 16 leaving him a para, so he has been in his chair for 46 years. Married at 26, adopted a son works for the tax commission and loves the Lord. He has taught me to look at the bright side of everything. Such as when I complain about something I play the "it could be worse if___________". You can always fill in the blank. Being grateful is the key to mental health. I also know that I will live in my heavenly body a lot longer than this one and that is the Hope set before me through Christ Jesus. Maybe call some of your local churches and ask someone to come visit with you both.

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I am sorry to hear of his sadness... I do not think it will ever really go away so he really needs something to do.. writing poems, drawing, putting his feelings in a journal all really was an outlet for my young daughter as well.... I think it even helped for her to take a class so that she had something to think about, study and look forward to made it better for her.

He is not alone, though that may not always be a comfort. Sometimes spiritual help works but not always, the strength has to come from within. Does he have any chores he can do? It may sound strange, but my daughter said that being able to fold just a few pieces of clothing or towels made her feel like a productive member of the family... Take care and I wish for him a better today and tomorrow....

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Your son needs to find a purpose in life. It sounds like he no longer has one. He is young and there is still so much he can do as well as the fact that a cure could be found in his lifetime. The Action Magazine has on its from front cover a spinal cord injury patient riding in motorcross races, yes on a two wheel motorcycle. You can see it online at If you are not registered with the United Spinal Association register it is free and he will get the Action Magazine free in the mail. This shows that you are only limited by what you let your injury limit you by.
I am not sure if you son was into sports before his injury, but there are so many sports that he can still do. Some SCI rehabs have events to try some of these sports. I went to a Ski Bash last summer and tried to water ski (it was free) and at an Expo played tennis. The Shepherd Center in Atlanta has their event in May and it has lots of different sports including horsebackriding. I have not been, but many from my local SCI support group have.
I would check with your closest SCI rehab to see what they have and I would see about finding a local SCI support group. Go to and look under resources for you state. It would be good for both of you as you will meet caregivers too. Maybe the person who runs the group would visit or someone from the group to give your son a personal invite. Getting connected with other SCI individuals could help your son not feel so alone and hopefully could help him find a new purpose in life.
Have you checked into a service dog for him? This could make him a bit less dependent on you and a dog can make a world of difference in his life.
You may find the secondary issue videos on this site helpful. You can watch them online or download them for free. They are very helpful and I think they maybe of help. I would also see about getting some counseling for yourself as you as the caregiver need to take care of yourself too. You are dealing with so much and not sleeping that if you don't take care of yourself you will not be able to help your son. Also if a person is around negative people they can become negative. You want to make sure you stay positive and that you are that positive for your son.
I hope that you will find some of these resources helpful. Let me know if I can give you anymore or if you would like me to talk to your son. I have some sport sites and there are resources to help get equipment if he decides he wants to get involved in one.
I pray that with what the others have shared with you that you will find what is needed to get your son motivated to live and find that drive that will make him push himself to find his new purpose in life.

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Hi, again Blondeyvonne.

I remember when I relpying to some of the question which was a little hard on your son. But I am still alive and continue to live. If you go to see all my post and question and out cry. You will fine I have ran int the wall he is hitting now. I can only share what get me thru this time. 1. I find that a little independence goes a long way. (he is free to goes any where and do what he like, eat favorite ice cream, eat favorite food delivery or eat out). 2. What I will do list when I get heal because of the new stem cell policy and advancement that is happenng. 3. My kids. In this case you are what he need to get a bright future. You are happy, you are wonderful mom, you are fun to be around, and also tell him that he going to be able to see and experience thing that you will not because he has a second chance at life. 4. I had a pastor that I met one time that pray and heal a person. He used to and pray for me to walk. But he never give up and still pray for recover. Find a person like all the above reply say that is close to you area that you can call any time if you or your son can call to pray about any thing you are not sure about. 5. Make very sure that everyday is a new day. If you can get him a new view of things/places each and everyday would erase the feeling of trap or noway out. 6. It's time for a family reunion, with all the relative, aunt, uncle, .......

Read what I post in the past when of how little I thought of myself. I am still the same, but this is a new day and that make a new me.

God Bless you and yours

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I've been disabled all of my life from spina bifida and it does get hard once in a while realizing where I am(meaning being in a wheelchair), and I have to agree with Janders that if you put your faith in God, everything else won't seem to matter as much. God has a plan and purpose for all of us and we have to believe on Him that He knows what's best for us.

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just a question for ya...
will he get on here? or other sites like facebook where he can talk to friends all the time. i got onto facebook and now have 130 friends on my list which most are from school,relatives...
he deff. needs something to do so he's not sittin round just thinkin bout what happened...
online games maybe...just some suggestions.

i hope he overcomes this...also since my accid. i have become VERY emotional. i tear up n cry to some pretty dumb things anymore :)


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Well golly - given a choice, who wants to live paralyzed? It's not a question of want - it's a question of are you going to let it beat you. Have you been in touch with your state Vocational Rehabilitation department to see about college or something. It took me about two years to kick the 'blues' after my accident. After that, I just got tired of feeling sorry for myself. T8? Still has use of upper torso? C5 here, it can always be worse.

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Twisted hit it right on. Prior to 1/25/07, whenever anyone would ask "how are you doing?", I'd always answer "could be better, could be worse". At 5:30am on 1/25/07 while having a cup of coffee, I found out it could definetly be worse. I've been in a wheelchair ever since. I felt sorry for myself for a long time, but now my response is the same it was....."could be better, could be worse." He has to realize that he's lucky. It's hard, but it will happen.
Hang in there.

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My son was injured 2 yrs ago. T7. There is so much that he can do having his upper body. Mostly, I found that my son needed his independence. He feels best when able to drive his truck (with a wench in the back for his chair) and his handcycle.

Many athletes that have been injured say that they have a freedom with the handcycle. There are groups that offer handcycles to those who will use them for no cost to you. Please check this out. I strongly believe in God, but sometimes when they are depressed they just don't want to hear it right now. For some of our young people with injuries, I think this comes later along with wisdom. My heart goes out to you...take care...Garretts Mom

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Are Bradley's friends still in touch? I'm 41 years old C7, and still in touch with alot of old friends from high school. My friends and family still treat me the same with a little help (carrying me up stairs, throwing me in pool, carrying me onto beach etc....). They do not fall all over me, cater to me, pamper etc..... Getting his life back as close to normal and being treated the same as prior to accident will really show Bradley and everyone else, that he is the same person. Don't let this dramtic change define who he is. He needs to adapt to the world around him and try to get involved in the old activities he once enjoyed.

I know in the beginning I thought everyone was staring at me and I didn't want to be noticed. I started by getting up and out to roll around my neighborhood for exercise at 6:00 AM and the more I did it, the more confidence I felt. With more confidence comes more independence which leads to a more productive and active existence. If Bradley doesn't want to do it for himself, he should at least want to do it for you.

Get him involved in school, a job, religion, social club, sports - anything to get him out of the house and not just to go to doctor or therapy. Go to the movies, a baseball game, bowling or just a nice roll through the park, bike trail, the mall. Anything to get out of house.

I hope eventually he realizes how lucky he is to have the mobility he has and how much fun life can be again.

I also hope he realizes what a special mom he has.

"Attitude Makes The Difference"

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One thing all these posts have in common, and I find with myself. We all dont want to live in a wheelchair. The thing is we dont have a choice. We must make do the best we can. Friends and family are a great support system. You will be surprised how little they mind helping you deal with the obstacles in your way. Some days are worse than others, but all in all the alternative is unacceptable. I hope he finds his moments of happiness.


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Helping our kids appreciate what they have instead of focusing on what they have lost makes all the difference. Your attitude is also very key in their recovery. You must be positive...realistic but positive and it sounds like you may be having difficulty with that right now with everything YOU are going through. My son, 19 when he had his accident, wanted to die for the first 2 months and then moved on to "I'll give it a year, mom, and if I'm not walking by then I will roll out into traffic". I tried to explain to him that he would not be in the same place or frame of mind in a year but at the time he didn't understand. Today, 2 years later he is positive, back in school, driving a new truck and looks forward to going back to visit the people at Shepherd Center where he goes around with the nurse he had in inpatient and talks to the patients and tells them how he felt when he first got hurt and how that changes and life can be good. He did finally say to me that "he is doing as well as he is today because of me and how I handled things". I know it's not easy but we have to take care of ourselves so we can behave in a way that encourages them every day and does not put up with too much feeling sorry for themselves. I've lived it every day for 2+ years so I know how much energy that takes but it is sooo worth it when they tell you how much you helped them thru the worst part. Did you meet people in rehab that you can spend time with and vent? No one understands what we experience every day unless they live it. Friends can try and be supportive but you need someone to talk to that lives it. Get any support you can to be positive and encouraging to Bradley. If our kids see that we are depressed or scared then they will act the same. My son is a quad. Bradley has his hands and upper body. Bradley needs to know and believe that he is a very lucky boy. It could be so much worse. A quad would give anything for just some of the function he has and you need to help him understand that and help him to start feeling blessed. We are blessed that my son, C6/7 is 95% independent. Not everyone with that injury level has as much function as he does. Not much hand function but he has his triceps, can do his bowel program with minimal help, alone if he has to, and much more. We thank God every day for what he has and with that going on for the past 2 years he now feels like a very lucky kid. He knows it could be so much worse. It takes a lot of energy to turn tragedy into a blessing but it can be done. God does have a plan for us all and we have to believe things happen for a reason. Jason really loves talking to kids who are newly injured. He never thought things would get better and now he likes telling other kids how things do get better and how you do get stronger and more capable as time passes. I will put you and Bradley in my prayers and keep praying for the strength you need to help your son. Does he still have his girlfriend. That should be an incredible support for him. Another blessing to be thankful for. This is not the end for him but the beginning of a new path in life. I'm hesitant to mention the World of Warcraft computer game. It's the only game he can play anymore with his limited hand function but I'm warning you that It is totally addictive and my son barely gets his homework done or gets enough sleep but if your son is as lost as he seems it may be something to occupy his time but I warn you again, you may be more concerned about him after he gets hooked on that than you are now. There should be a law against the game in my opinion but you may not have a lot of options at this point. If my son had hand function he would be playing Halo 3 or Call of Duty for xbox 360. These are not addictive like World of Warcraft. Something else to consider.
Stay positive, even if you have to force it at first. If you live it long enough it will become reality.

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Thank you all for your replies.
Family was mentioned in one person's reply. My son was in the hospital 2 months a year ago this past 12-08-09. After Bradley came home we were consumed with out patient rehab and many different doctor visits. After he was home about 5 months my husband of 23 years told Bradley he needed to decide who he was going to live with because he was getting out of our house and was divorcing me. Bradley's father stops by the house alot to check for his mail, he may come in and speak to Bradley shortly but like Bradley said He is not in the house anymore.
Since then there is barely any contact with family anymore unless his grandmother buys him clothes and drops them off. She recently bought him a new play station 3 because his other one quit working. Money just doesn't buy time spent with your loved ones. I went back to work the 1st of October of this past year because Bradley's girlfriend is here so he will not be alone. That is when he really gets depressed. Bradley does have friends who come by the house, just probably not the right type of friends.

Since I have gone back to work I don't have alot of the time to spend to try and help find anything to get Bradley involved in. He is too depressed to do anything on his own.

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Thanks for updating after all those wonderful responses. So if Bradley takes inventory, yes, he has a not so perfect situation with a variety of family members. Many of us do. Hope was mentioned as a key ingredient. Even if he can't see hope right now, he has to want to if he is to go forward. Even though I do not have a spinal cord injury, I have been in a wheelchair for 16 years, have paralysis that has caused me to have a permanent trach (I have read that it is almost like a pre-death sentence, but not so!!) I'd prefer to breath normally and smeel all the amazing aromas, but that is not in the picture. And I have a permanent feeding tube, nothing in the mouth! I've read of people who don't want to live like that . Neither did I but it sure beats the alternative. They won't eat in front of others. I get out my trusty cans of formula wherever I go. We all have to eat, some of us just do it differently than most. And I am sure not goint to miss the fellowship with aothers around the table.

Bradley's life, as with all of us, is made up of mind, heart, and body. Bradley must ask himself if he wants his mind and heart to take charge. No one else can do that for him.

Bradley, we are cheering for you, but you have to take the first step.

Cheers for life and breath. Marie

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I have to agree with you 100%. My daughter is has both a head injury and spinal cord injuries that led her to quadraplegia.
As traumatized as I was, I made sure that she saw me as optimistic as possible. She has since told me that she never would have wanted to live this way without my encouragement from the very beginning. As a parent, it is hard to hide the pain and fear, but children look to us for answers, a sense of safety and security. I am sorry that his Dad decided it was too much for him to stay. I think though it would be helpful if they could both go to the movies together or something they did before, fishing or even going out for a drive and some ice cream. My daughters friends disappeared, but in a way that was a good thing now looking back. They would not have been able to look forward as they themselves were still so young and uncertain of their own futures. His friends at 22 years of age should be at work and or school. He should be looking at what kinds of work he may be able to do. I just wanted to say that it is hard but necessary to focus on the good and perhaps get him out of the house. I am not a counselor, just a Mom... but I think positive talk and distraction really have to be a good way to go. He is really able to do so much with his level of injury. I am not sure what his interests were before his injury and perhaps those dreams can still be a reality. I agree with Mary wholeheartedly.

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As Mary 508 said "A quad would give anything for just some of the function he (Bradley) has and you need to help him understand that and help him to start feeling blessed.

My son is a C4/5 who needs help with all daily living skills. He would give anything for some wrist flexion or better yet the use of his hands.

Almost 9 years post injury he went to a second look program and they were able to work him and get more function - he is again going to attend some OT to gain even more to help him roll/pull over in bed independently.

Paralysis is a life changing injury - for everyone involved - you just gotta give it your best as Bradley has no choice not to be paralyzed.

Keep encouraging Mom and if need be walk away and leave him to do alone. I have had to do that (tough love) and it is not easy but you will be amazed. Matt is coming up on his 10 year anniversary - we won't celebrate or anything but it is a day we will always remember. And this is Matts transition year to Independent living. So if Bradley wants it he can achieve it - it just takes hard work and may take longer.

Good Luck and Positives to you both!

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Try this website, We have found for my son that the more active he stays and the more he is around people the happier he is. Laugh make life fun and try to sleep as much as you can... I still need to learn this as being a full time Cargiver you need your rest too.


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I love what you posted and how you worded it.
Thanks for sending it. So true.

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