Hey Dudes! ✌🏼 Alice and Amanda are back again with another friend. Alice met Brianna through an acting gig on a Speechless episode, and has admired her ever since. CAUTION this story contains GUN VIOLENCE.
*Image Description: A GIF below shows a sign being hit into the ground. The sign reads' "CAUTION WELL".
So, without further delay introduce yourself, Brianna!
BW: Hi my name is Brianna Wheeler. I am 26 and live in Los Angeles California. I am an aspiring actor and model but my passion is being an Ambassador for the Triumph Foundation.
I run an online group for women with disABILITIES where I help other girls triumph through their life. If you're interested I always posts updates on my Instagram @Brianna.rolls.on
*Image description: An image to the right shows two vertical panels. The first panel is Brianna, wearing black and grey, in Physical Therapy. The second panel is Brianna, wearing all black, using a wheelchair on the runway.
A&A: In other words you're a complete badass!! What's your disability?
BW: My disability is a incomplete spinal cord injury and my story is a little long and complex. But, basically about 4 years ago me and my boyfriend moved to Arizona. One day we were sitting in my car with his co worker, waiting for his parents to get home, something we did everyday for the last 4 months. When a guy knocked on my window. Frightened and confused, I turned to my boyfriend wondering what to do and suddenly the co worker rolled down his window. It turned out they had met a couple weeks back. The guy was angry about a family situation and starts insisting on getting in the car to finish the story. The co worker finally gives in and scoots over to let the guy in the car. It was only about 1 or 2 minutes later that the gun went off behind my seat and the bullet was lodged into my spine at T12 and shattered L1-L5. Unfortunately, I don't know the details on how or why this happen. Although, the guy was arrested and found guilty, he still refuses to admit what happen that night.
A&A: Wow! Thank you feeling comfortable within our platform to tell your very intense origin story! How does your disability effect you?
*Image description: Below is a photo with three vertical panels. The first is a mirror selfie of Brianna before her accident. She is wearing a patterned, sleeveless dress. The second panel is Brianna in a hospital bed shortly after her accident. The third panel is Brianna in a red, spaghetti strapped dressed, posing in her wheelchair after recovering from her accident.
BW: Having a disability is extremely difficult most days. One of my biggest problems was the pain. My nerve pain is considered extremely hyper sensitive and my legs feel like they are on fire all the time. Also, because of where the bullet is in my spine, the doctors said they couldn't operate without paralyzing me from the neck down and so the fragments from the bullet is still pushing on nerves and the fractures never healed properly. Which causes extreme pain in my lower back. Because of this, the doctors loaded me with TONS of pills. The pills made me feel nauseous and exhausted all the time. They also made my mouth extremely dry and my taste buds almost non existent. Which, of course, made me not want to eat anything and I ended up losing over 50 pounds and started to look sick.
A&A : Pain pills have never worked for us either. They make us sick too. When did you discover cannabis? BW: I first discovered cannabis when I was younger but it was something I casually did for fun. After my injury is when I truly fell in love with learning about it, because of everything it helped me with.
Cannabis helps me in literally so many ways. I'm so grateful for it. First, it helps ease my pain. It helps so much, that I was able to stop taking my muscle relaxer and pain medication. Of course, finding the right strain for you is always an important step in this process.
*Image description: To the right is a picture of Brianna toking on a blunt.
The second reason I love it, is it helps me be able to eat a full meal. I remember finally smoking and feeling like crying once I realized I actually felt hungry and even more so, when I wanted to keep eating the food. That was such a huge moment for me because I wasn't sure if I'd ever enjoy food again. And I know it sounds dramatic, but the doctors had no answers or timeline for me and that was terrifying.
Third, cannabis helped me with all the mental health problems that came along with my Injury. I now had major ptsd. I couldn't sleep without my body jolting me awake every 15-30mins. I was dealing with bad depression and anxiety and it was making me someone I didn't recognize anymore. Cannabis changed everything for me. I was scared to try it again after my injury, but it has become such a blessing in my life. It helps me sleep throughout the night, it helps me be able to eat full meals, it helps calms my depression and anxiety and helps me think of solutions rather then problems. And it especially helps with the inflammation in my body which helps with the pain. It allows me to live my life to the fullest. Without cannabis my life was filled with prescription pills and saddness. I truly couldn't be more grateful for it.
*Image description: Below is a GIF of a heart taking a purple bong rip and blowing out heart shaped smoke.
A&A: That is great to hear that our favorite plant helps you so much!!! We feel the same way!! How have you been the pandemic? BW: The pandemic has been a rollercoaster for me. The beginning months I became extremely depressed. I didn't realize how much going out and being around other wheelchair users boosted up my energy. And then, having it all suddenly ripped away was so hard for me. I had multiple breakdowns and was even considering going to the doctors to see a therapist about getting on medication again. Which is something I worked so hard to get off of, and so the thought of it made me feel even lower. I decided to reach out on social media to my group of girls. This was a hard choice because I felt like I'm supposed to be the one uplifting them and I didn't want to make them feel negatively because of me. But, I realized that was just my thoughts getting the best of me and decided to do it anyways and it was the best decision. We all had a conversation about struggling with mental health during the pandemic and what we could do to make it better. I realized I needed a hobby to keep me busy. So I started researching online and I found these little miniature houses. I decided to buy one and I became obsessed with it. Doing something creative really does something magical for the brain.
I also started acting classes online. Which has been an amazing experience and attending Triumph Foundation support groups online as well has helped. These weren't easy things to adapt too, But my injury has taught me to be open minded and not to give up. Of course, I rather be out socializing in person, but if that's not an option I can't just sit here and complain about it. I need to find my new normal and I need to find it fast.
*Image description: To the right is Brianna rolling a blunt. She is wearing a stripped dress.
A&A: You are DEFINITLEY not alone in your feelings. Alice had to up her medication recently because she was having breakdowns too. It's okay to need help and to ask for it! Alice also does online acting classes every week. It's been a blessing to her state of mind as well. For someone struggling with your diaognosis what's something you want them to know. BW: Wow, this is a hard one. This injury is so complex that I think there's many categories you could be struggling with. I think the main advice I'd give is, find other people who have your disability. In person is best, but also social media is your friend. I know it can be scary but reach out. I promise 9/10 times you will get an amazing response because most of us have been through the same thing and know exactly how you're feeling. And sometimes having someone who understands you and that you can ask questions and vent too, can be life changing. And the second thing I'd say is. Your mind can be your worst enemy. Don't let negative thoughts and overthinking control your life. YOU ARE ALIVE. YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU HAVE A PURPOSE. You can't give up now. You have to keep pushing. Your dreams are possible, but it all starts with YOU!!!!! ♿💪
:*Image description: Below is a GIF of the Anchorman cast. The Anchorman is saying "Oh my goodness! That's the most badass thing I have ever heard."