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How would you live if u r paralyzed from neck down?

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Well-Known Member
This is a question based on true story. I recently saw a movie based on true story of Brook Ellison. Brook Ellison is a woman who has been paralyzed from neck down since 11 and have been living on wheelchair every day.
Despite such terrible obstacles, she went on to graduate from Harvard University and become a great , inspirational person who contributes to society.
She is truly one of the most inspirational people I have seen in my life. Her life truly made me move deeply and not take things for granted.
I pose this Q to everyone to hear what you guys think.
How would you live every day if you were paralyzed from neck down since 11? Meaning, you would need help to move, to take shower, to eat, even in bathroom.
There is no right or wrong answer. I just would like to hear candid, honest answer. Thanks in advance for any insights.


Antiquities Friend
Staff Alumni
Truly, I couldn't stand it and would fight for the right to die. To not even be able to scratch my own nose would send me insane.


SF Friend
Staff Alumni
I cannot give you an honest answer cause I would have to actually be in that situation before I could know what I'd do. Part of me would not want to live that way, part of me would hang on to life with all my strength. I cannot truly tell how I'd feel until I was in that position. I have known some terribly handicapped people, most of whom did very well for themselves, despite their handicap. Some were depressed over their difficulities, some made the best of a bad situation. I do know that I would likely have a hard time if I couldn't "do" for myself as I am used to doing.

It is so difficult to answer a question like this when you would have absolutely no idea what it would be like. However, we as humans can sometimes surprisingly adapt well to circumstance.

When I was little, I watched a movie about a family who lost a premature daughter. I was like, no way could I handle that, no way could I survive after enduring such pain. But, I gave birth to a son who was born with a very severe form of Spina Bifida, and he is paralyzed from the waist down. In his first week of life, he had already had an intensive 12 hour surgery amongst several minor ones. For his first 3 months of life, I could not hold him. Yet he survived... I survived.

It's just really hard to say how we would handle things until we are faced with it. We might even surprise ourselves.


SF Friend & Antiquitie's Friend
Staff Alumni
i really dont know how i would react. but i used to be friends with someone who is paralyzed from the nesk down.she had to stay in bed all day.she wasnt capable of sitting in a wheel chair.all she cpuld move was her head.she even had problems speaking because her voice box was partially paralyzed.even with life so difficutly she made the best she could out of her situation.she had a very large group of friends an typed a newsletter for a church organization everymonth.she typed even wen she couldnt move her hands.she would have someone sit her up in chair and we would bring her a typewriter.we would put an unsharpened pencil in her mouth and she would use it to punch the typewriter keys one letter at a time.she was a very smart and determined woman and she had a big impact on my life at that time.


I would not be paralyzed, I'd be dead. A second after realizing I was paralyzed, I trust someone would kill me.


Well-Known Member
I can't give you a real frank answer because I've never been in that situation before. Some people say they can handle anything, but as soon as you put them in a certain situation, they can't do it. That's just human nature to talk big and say you can do it all, but it takes a special person to live paralyzed from the neck down since 11 and be inspirational. I'm not saying she's "better," and that we're inferior, I'm not implying that the slightest bit. I am saying that she is a very inspirational person, and, had to go through more than the "average person," if you will.

If I were in that situation, I honestly think I would want someone to kill me. I'd have all these thoughts, brilliant thoughts, to me anyway, and I can't even write them. That's morbid, in my opinion. Then, there would be the emotional complexity of it... seriously, I could be manically depressed, and I can't even kill myself! I'd go insane no doubt, and I'd beg for someone to kill me, no matter how. If that sounds harsh, well than I guess it's better to be harsh and honest.
I don't think any one can truely answer this question unless they are in the situation. I certainly don't know how i'd react, i guess it depends how i felt emotionally, if i felt i could handle it anymore then i would fight for the right to die but if i felt somewhat happy in myself then i would try and live some kinda of life to the fullest extent that i could.


Well-Known Member
There is no way i could live like that. I would find some way to kill myself. Seriously, that would be living hell. I shudder to think about it.


Well-Known Member
I'd rather be dead than live paralyzed from the neck down. I hope I'd have the courage to live by that conviction aswell. God willing, that won't happen to any of us.
That woman is inspiring because I feel very lucky and blessed when I look at her predicament.
I think it's a story to ponder when things seem overwhelming because it can sharpen up ones perspective.


I live in a body that is healthy and strong and I can barely tolerate my existence as it is. I'm no Christopher Reeves ( an atheist, btw ) I would immediately seek to end my life by refusing to eat.
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