This week our guest post is from Dave Matthew Boddy. He has an amazing story and I won’t spoil it. Read on!
WHAT I FEARED, AND WHAT I BECAME
Written by: Dave Matthew Boddy
I was only four years old when I suffered my first of fifteen concussions, my father and I were play wrestling in the basement of my aunt’s house. I jumped from the chair and hit the right side of my head on the bed, which resulted in a concussion and broken blood vessels within my head. As a child growing up I never knew anything about concussions, this was in 1990 when there was not much information in regards to concussions.
When I started school like other youths I was very excited, however, I was also very nervous. I was a normal child, full of energy and very hyper. However, there were times I had issues focusing and retaining memory. This was a main struggle for me all throughout school, it was so bad that I failed ECS, and almost failed grade 6. I was often accused of being lazy, unmotivated, and a distraction to the rest of the class.
All while these accusations were directed towards me I truly had no idea why I was acting the way I did, and in grade seven I found out why. I was diagnosed with ADHD. I had a mixture of feelings when I gained the news, I was happy, and I was very angry. The reason I was very angry is I feel the whole time I was accused of many things, and not once did anyone consider thinking I had a learning disability.
As soon as I was diagnosed I was placed in a new class that was stated to help me focus due to a minimal class size. It proved ineffective as I still was struggling. There were many times in both junior high and high school where I was involved in arguments with my teachers. The worse class was math, I struggled (and still to this day) with that subject. The main issue was I would be able to have the same answer as the rest of the class, however, I did it my own way. This allowed the teachers to feel I was cheating, when in reality I was just approaching the material in a manner I understood, I never understood what the big deal was. However, due to me not doing the math their way I often failed.
School was very challenging for me with ADHD, I had issues focusing, I had issues making friends, I had issues with my memory, I spent all my time focusing on the negative of ADHD. I could have been focused on the positives such as: I am a loyalist, I am creative, I am passionate and driven. I had the ability to ignore what other felt of me as I was too driven towards my passions. I learned that every disability has its many abilities, I love living with ADHD, truly love.
Many felt I would not succeed in school, however, I graduated with over twelve extra credits, I graduated and walked the stage. I did not allow others opinions determine my reality, I ignored them and kept moving forward.
I jus focused on what I was passionate about which was professional wrestling, comics, video games, and my favorite cartoons. I used my interests as a means to ignore and maintain focus. After high school I wished to pursue professional wrestling, I at the time was unaware to the fact I had over nine concussions at the time, it was a serious risk, however, I did not care. This is what I wanted to do.
I suffered two concussions within a matter of twenty minutes apart of one another, they were intense. I had blurred vision, dizziness, and I felt nauseous. I only took two weeks off from these concussions, which later proved to be a huge mistake.
In security I suffered three serious concussions, I suffered my twelfth one in 2006. I was assaulted with a shovel and a glass mug, I was hit in the head with the shovel two times. I learned later on how this concussion affected my brain in a serious way in regards to emotional instability. This concussion also brought me into a serious depression which later escalated in thoughts of suicide.
When I told one of my best friends I wanted to end my life it shook her and my other best friend. I was serious, it was not a temporary thought, I truly wanted to end my life. I was constantly confused and had no idea where my life was headed, it was a very scary experience as I grew to fear who I’d become.
I then suffered another concussion in 2007 during a domestic dispute while I was working, and then another one in 2009 due to a male resisting arrest. My final concussion was March of 2011. This concussion was enough for me to be sent to brain injury rehab. This was where I was diagnosed with permanent brain damage that affects my vision and cognitive ability. It was where I was also diagnosed with serious depression ever since 2006, my psychiatrist was surprised I was still alive, those were her exact words.
Hearing the news of having permanent brain damage, losing my career in security, going through a separation and a divorce, and having no money due to being on support drove me into another battle with suicide. This time it was escalated, I remember grabbing numerous pills and holding them in my hand. I also had a can of beer on the table ready to be opened and consumed. As I held the pills in my hand I had a vision of my son, he was laughing and very happy. That vision broke me down, I dropped the pills on the table and just began crying.
It was that moment where I realized I needed to change, I needed to rehab myself and come back to whom I was before my concussion in 2006. I had a son who needed me, and I needed my son. Truly my son saved my life. This is when I began sharing my story to others, I decided the best way for me to heal was to help others heal with me.
I vowed to never ask for support, but to first offer it. I started to pursue my speaking career, and made my debut in March of 2012 to over 900 youths in a school. I then fell in love with the career of sharing my struggles (many I have not shared in this article, such as calling 911 on myself). I also began pursuing my acting career, and have appeared on over four television hit series. I vowed to disallow my past to ruin the future I knew I was worthy of.
I took control of my life, I stopped making excuses, I stopped seeking sympathy, I stopped finding reasons to quit, and found reasons to keep pushing through. I knew my worth, and I vowed to never allow it to be depleted for anyone else.
Living with permanent brain damage and ADHD has proven to have rough days, however, to be completely honest with you, it has made me stronger. Everyday I see opportunities to confront obstacles and overcome them, I don’t see a disability, I see only numerous abilities.
I am who I am as I was able to conquer who I became, I became someone I feared, I became someone who was not me, and I became who I am after rehab and taking care of myself. Due to overcoming all the obstacles I have, I have garnished so much experience and knowledge. I have befriended a North American recognized psychologist, and he has been helping me build a platform to share my story on concussions and ADHD, and truly, that is success to me.
Having the ability to inspire others is an ability I will always cherish.
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