Rick Fernandez Offers His Own Story of Living with Mental Disability, Advice for Others
At age 18, Fernandez was going nowhere fast, experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sex and cultivating an attitude that hedonistically avoided the pursuit of any responsibility. His careless attitude towards life resulted in a devastating car accident, 67 days in the hospital in a coma, and four months of rehabilitation before release.
But Fernandez counts his blessings and gives thanks to those who truly aided him in his time of need. He believes that, by aligning himself with the right group of people, he actually could facilitate a rebirth of his spirit and a renewal of purpose in his life. In discussing his fortuitous accident and his new positive outlook, Fernandez writes:
To me, brain damage has been a wonderful thing. It taught me so much more than if I would have never acquired this disability. My disability separated me from many of the factors that would have brought me down. Ironically, disability has introduced me to the real me. I was more disabled before my head injury. Let me repeat that. I was more disabled before my head injury. Disability gave me the elusive goal of making myself whole once more. It is fun and rewarding to thwart something as powerful as a severe head injury.
There is good for everyone through proper rehabilitations. I don’t waste time in grief. What’s gone is gone. I work on things that I find productive. In the same vein, this country should spend more time and money rearing its children rather than squandering it on relics of the past. This head injury has rendered the ability to turn, what most people would seem to feel as a misfortune, into something that can eventually work in one’s favor.
Ideal for readers who are mentally disabled and those friends and family who are seeking help on how to best help disabled persons, “An Uncharted Desert Isle” is both a roadmap to overcoming great odds and a toolkit for the journey toward rehabilitation.
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