My name is Sebastian Leal Buffington, I am 26 years old and I live in Mexico City. Roughly two years ago I was in a skydiving accident that left me paralyzed from the chest down. It took me several months to really understand the seriousness of my injury, I was always expecting to recover motor movement as time went by and that never really happened. Naturally, we compare ourselves to others, and seeing the rest of my peers at the rehabilitation center advance and get motor movement back while I did not was difficult emotionally to say the least. However, just as we compare ourselves to those who are more fortunate, we should never forget about those who are less fortunate than ourselves, and despite the limitations I had, I always tried to remember and focus my mind on everything that I still had, everything that I still would be able to do even if I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
I realized that I could not be angry at the person who collided with me and caused my injury, that if I went down that path of sorrow and depression I could go so deep that I might not be able to come back from it and recover my sanity and mental health. And I realized how important a role sanity and mental health would play in my recovery.
So I needed to let go of the past and focus all my thought and energy on the present, and stay positive. Thinking back, I think that having a smile on my face and staying positive was what helped me get through the toughest moments. What helped me stay positive, despite my prognosis that it was 96% likely that I would never walk again, was being thankful for my family, for my life, and hope for a better future. I was in full survival mode, and I knew that in order to survive I had to stay positive.
It was the worst time of my life, but also one that would force me to adapt, to grow, and to become a better, stronger person. I had the wonderful opportunity to spread positivity and light amidst the darkness that surrounded us all at the time and that was something else that kept me going. Something that I was gifted with after my injury was being able to change other people’s lives by setting an example in terms of confidence, positivity, resilience, never giving up. It’s been over two years since my injury, and still I do some type of therapy almost every day, to keep my body healthy and ready for when the time comes that SCI can be cured. It’s so exciting to me to think of the future, we live in the age of technological advancement where everything is possible. Someone once told me, believe your diagnosis but not your prognosis. The world we will live in 10 years from now, 20 years from now will be so unfathomably different with technology that it makes me excited and hopeful.
Advice for those who are in a difficult moment in their lives, is to stay positive at all costs, and never lose hope. You might not see the light today, but you will if you maintain a positive mindset. Thanks for listening, Sebastian. To stay connected with Sebastian and see more of what he is up to visit his Instagram page @sebasleal
AXS WORLD is an online global accessibility platform dedicated to improving quality of life for people living with physical challenges; We achieve this in part by raising awareness and shedding new light on, and offering a real glimpse into living with a disability.