Pick yourself up and ride your bike. This story is based on a real client situation. It can be read as is to a teenager or altered for someone younger. It may also be used as a guide for helping a child by using the information or concepts within it.
It is designed to help a child to:
- Accept change as it will happen in life
- Acknowledging you still have past capabilities
- Accept that you can build on your strengths and abilities
- Learn that sometimes we have to take things one step at a time
- Learning to move forward from a problem
- Having confidence to pick yourself up again
Pick yourself up and ride your bike
As an adult it is difficult to imagine what it would be like to relearn walking at the age of twelve. In fact we cannot remember ever learning to walk. Our brains did not work that way at that age. We have forgotten the hundreds of times we fell, got it wrong and hurt ourselves. Lorenzo had to learn to walk again at the age of 13.
Lorenzo and his mother Margarita were very close. And on this day she picked him up from school at it was cold and raining. He was in the back seat of his mother’s car on this winter's day. Suddenly there was
a loud bang and the car was spinning off the road. It hit a kerb and rolled right over. Lorenzo was covered in flying glass and screamed with fear at the collision.
Lorenzo was no wimp. His main hobby was dirt bike racing. He was in competitions two or three times a month. He also liked doing stunts and jumps on his BMX and also did Karate once a week. So he was
quite used being hit by other bikes, falling off and getting injured in one way or another. His motto was Pick yourself up and ride your bike
He had many trophies, medals and ribbons from being placed in competitions.
This was different he really hurt. You can jump off a bike and get away. But strapped in a spinning and rolling car is different. You can't just get out. Margarita was also hurt.
It was the most frightening thing that had ever happened to Lorenzo. He wanted to help his mother but he couldn’t move. It was like he was paralysed. He felt helpless and scared that he could not move to help his mum. His head hurt and he had pains in his neck and all down his left side. Nothing was moving and if he tried it was too painful.
Help was there in moments and they went to hospital in the ambulance together. The hospital took x-rays and did other tests. They showed there were no broken bones or anything serious. Margarita and Lorenzo were allowed to go home.
But Lorenzo's pains didn’t heal with his bruises. As they faded he found it was getting worse. Now he couldn’t do any of his sporting activities. He sat watching YouTube or TV, playing X-Box, and feeling unhappy.
He found it getting harder to move every day. He couldn’t pick things up or hold them. Things fell from his hands as he could not grip them. Lorenzo got so weak he could not even open a ring-pull drink can. It got so bad he was unable to hold pen at school. At home he could not hold the X-Box controls - so even this was going out of his life.
His legs became weak and weaker so much so that he kept falling over. It got so bad that until he could hardly walk at all. Both he and Margarita thought that he would never walk properly again. Lorenzo did not want to get in the back seat of a car again. In fact he did not want to get in a car at all.
Doctors decided that Lorenzo's problem was all in his mind - there was nothing wrong with his body. But he wanted to stay in bed as he could not do anything. That word 'anything' was a key. Remember he could not do 'anything' to help his mum in the accident? That had grown to cover so many aspects of his life. He was a failure because he could not do anything. His mind took that to be true in all aspects of his life.
When Lorenzo talked about dirt bike riding he used to be all enthusiastic and excited. But not now as he could not do the things he loved.
But what if? What if Lorenzo could talk about what he did when he fell off his bike in a race? How did he feel then? How did he get back on his feet? More to the point how he got back on his bike and ﬁnished the race?
Where did the motivation come from What did it feel like. How did he control the pain?
Margarita talked about these things with him. She reminded him of his motto - Pick yourself up and ride your bike. She showed him some of his falls on video so he could see he got up and carried on. Even winning races after a fall or collision.
Lorenzo realised he had made himself become how he was during the accident. "He wanted to help his mother but he couldn’t move. It was like he was paralysed. He felt helpless and scared that he could not move to help his mum. His head hurt and he had pains in his neck and all down his left side. Nothing was moving and if he tried it was too painful".
Once Lorenzo had this insight he knew he had to get out of bed, stand and walk again. He tried to stand but his legs were thin and weak. He fell back onto the bed. His reaction was to cover himself up again. But then he got 'angry' with himself. He was a champion and champions do not get back in bed. Lorenzo accepted that simply standing up was going to need some practice. And walking would be even harder. His leg muscles were weak and not trained for standing yet. But like that little child, who had many falls to begin with, Lorenzo did not give up. Each time he fell, he got up and stood on his feet again. He was little wobbly and needed to hang on to a supporting hand, the bed or a chair. Each time Lorenzo got a little stronger until he was able to stand on his own two feet.
Again, like that toddler, he began to put one foot in front of the other, taking steps like it was the ﬁrst time. Lorenzo had some falls, but again, each time, he stood up and got stronger and stronger each time. Soon he was running a few steps and even jumping. All the time he found it hard work and took a lot of effort and concentration.
As he had no baby memories to help him he was learning all over again.
In next to no time he was going back to school.
Now it was time to ride a bike. Lorenzo got his BMX and was expecting to keep falling off. He was a bit unsteady but he stayed on that bike. He did find it was hard work as his muscles had to get stronger.
He could remember how to ride a bike and not fall. Knowing that he had done it before helped him feel conﬁdent to do it again. Physically, it wasn’t easy as he needed to gain a lot of strength and stamina. Bur Lorenzo was no quitter. He knew how to get back on his bike and win the race.
Soon he was back practicing with his mates and having fun. His next challenge was the dirt bike. He needed to Pick yourself up and ride your bike. Guess what he did.