Starting Over: Fast Facts
- While everyone faces problems and difficulties, but you might, at one point, be faced with a tragedy or setback that is truly life-changing.
- Many people, despite illness, the loss of a job, or other challenges, make a choice to start over and take back control over their future.
- Starting over is an arduous, but empowering step towards a brighter future.
One day, when he was a teenager, it all came to a halt. While skateboarding on his way home, the young Welshman was hit by a car — and nearly died.Read More
Getting Back In
Williams spent a full year rehabilitating from his numerous injuries. He had to learn to walk again as he adapted to the loss of a leg and to regaining strength in his broken pelvis. “It was so tiring just getting up and sitting up,” he recalls.
His scars took months to heal – doctors kept checking on them to make sure they closed properly. He’d also suffered head trauma, so his medical team kept a close eye on his neurological health.
Before long, though, it was clear that Williams’ mind was becoming focused on one specific goal. Dr. Siddhartha Ganguly calls this focused mindset “the eye of the tiger.” When counseling cancer patients, he tells SurvivorNet, “You have to have the eye of the tiger to go through this grueling process that is necessary these days to get rid of these virulent and aggressive cancers.”
To the surprise of his friends, Williams decided, almost one year after the accident, that what he truly wanted to do was surf again. His friends obliged him by giving him a body board and throwing him into the ocean.
To his delight, even though it felt different, Williams was once again riding the waves.
Soon, Williams became an avid athlete in the field of adaptive surfing. He relearned his skills and adapted his techniques to adjust for his missing limb. He trained relentlessly and, in 2018, he won gold at the English Adaptive Championships. The victory thrilled him and encouraged him to keep going. Eventually, he represented Wales at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Adaptive Championships.
How to Start Over
Williams had to learn one of the most difficult things humans can endure: starting over. His body had been shattered, but his spirit was not.
Starting over is arduous, but it can be done. Here’s how:
- Examine your thoughts. Take time to reflect on the tragedy or difficulty you are facing. Dr. Scott Irwin tells SurvivorNet that, often, people with cancer and chronic disease are “grieving the change in their life, the future they had imagined is now different.”
- Seek help. Irwin, who directs Supportive Care Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, adds that talk therapy can help people significantly: “It’s about meeting the individual patient where they are and their feelings, how they’ve always dealt with their body image, what the body image changes mean now in their lives and their relationships, and how they can move forward given the new reality.
- Realize that you are not the first. Study the lives of other people who have faced similar difficulties. Dr. Samantha Boardman tells SurvivorNet, “Having support we know is really critical in the healing process.” She adds there is also a benefit in “talking to those who’ve, you know, been through this process, who are maybe a couple of steps ahead of you, who can tell you what it’s like to walk in their shoes and the unbelievable wisdom that one can gain from speaking to them.”
- Visualize the future. Imagine what it will look like for you to start over. Many people find it very helpful to create a vision board. Cut out pictures or quotes or mementos that give you a concrete picture of your future. Look to it when you are feeling down or in need of a lift. The good news? It works.
Llywelyn Williams says, in Sink or Swim, “My aim is to push myself as hard as I can, as far as I can, and see where that takes me.”
In fact, he has not stopped at regaining his own surfing career. Williams has become an inspiration to many others as one of the world’s most well-known advocates for the emerging field of adaptive surfing.
He has been pleased to see adaptive surfing become more and more popular, especially as countries around the world incorporate it into their competitive sporting events. Surfers who’ve been struck by tragedy, as Williams was, no longer have to sacrifice their passion for riding the waves.
Stream Sink or Swim to learn more about Llywelyn Williams on SurvivorNetTV.
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