I felt the fear, faced it and overcame itBy Niamh Duffy -
Diving down, hair floating behind me, mouth holding in every last bit of breath before I resurfaced, turning back round and doing it again. Over and over again. That was me every family holiday, at home in the pool, a true water baby. As I jumped into the pool in the Dominican Republic last year I suddenly realised that it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. I wasn’t the fish I used to be, darting left and right... I now had to focus on staying afloat.
Running round, hair sailing in the wind behind me, mind buzzing with an extraordinary sense of excitement before my Mom called me in for dinner. Over and over again. That was me every summers afternoon. As I grew older it got harder and harder, everything took a slower pace, my balance became shaky and then I fall. I wasn’t the adventurer I used to be, climbing behind the bushes in my garden pretending I was going on the adventure of a lifetime.
Spinning round, drink in one hand and wheelchair controller in the other, surrounded by my best friends, smiling from ear to ear. Over and over again. That was me every Friday night. Absolutely loving the moment, a true party animal, a typical teenager. Now I look at every drink, totalling up the units, knowing the exact level where I’d notice that my heart rate was increasing and I needed to stop before something serious happened.
This is where I notice my disability, when something I can do becomes something I could do. Could do when I was younger, could do when I could walk, could do before I had to double think everything based on if that was going to be too much for my heart.
But this isn’t me wanting a sympathy vote because what I now realise is that it just proves the human nature of adapting. Life can throw some really difficult curve balls sometimes but the way you respond is what really matters.
On a recent trip to test out our Devon Adventure holiday for 2019 I had that feeling again where I doubted my own and others ability when put in front of around 50 plastic crates and told to build a tower and climb up. But guess what? I did it. Yes there was a lot of laughing from me and Elouise, but there was also a lot of support as we clambered up together. I was lifted up, a crate placed underneath me and then lowered back down. We made it to the top. I felt the fear, faced it and overcame it.