Paraplegic woman demonstrates how frustrating it is to be unable to move your limbs

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Paraplegic woman demonstrates how frustrating it is to be unable to move your limbs

A 22-year-old woman who was left paralyzed from the waist down after a horrific car accident is educating social media users on what it's like to be a

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A 22-year-old woman who was left paralyzed from the waist down after a horrific car accident is educating social media users on what it’s like to be a paraplegic.

Jessica Tawil from New Jersey suffered a spinal cord injury leaving her a T6 paraplegic when she was in high school, resulting in a prolonged hospital stay and months in rehab.

She has come a long way but still faces challenges, which she candidly details for her 864,000 TikTok followers. 

TikTok lessons: A 22-year-old woman who was left paralyzed from the waist down after a horrific car accident is educating social media users on what it's like to be a paraplegic

TikTok lessons: A 22-year-old woman who was left paralyzed from the waist down after a horrific car accident is educating social media users on what it’s like to be a paraplegic

Before: Jessica Tawil from New Jersey suffered a spinal cord injury leaving her a T6 paraplegic when she was in high school

Before: Jessica Tawil from New Jersey suffered a spinal cord injury leaving her a T6 paraplegic when she was in high school

Scary: It resulted in a prolonged hospital stay and months in rehab, and now she is permanently wheelchair-bound

Scary: It resulted in a prolonged hospital stay and months in rehab, and now she is permanently wheelchair-bound

Try it: Her most recent video attempts to give others a better understanding of what it is like to be paralyzed

Try it: Her most recent video attempts to give others a better understanding of what it is like to be paralyzed

In her most recent video, Jessica attempts to give others a better understanding of what it is like to be paralyzed.

She instructs viewers to put their hand flat down on a table, curling in all of their fingers and leaving just their ring finger up.

She then tells viewers to try to raise that finger — which is impossible to do. 

‘The frustration you feel from not being able to lift your finger is the same frustration I feel from not being able to move my legs,’ she said. 

The video has certainly struck a chord with those watching, and has been viewed over 13.1 million times so far. 

Jessica was a teenager hanging out at a friend’s house on November 15, 2014 when, she says, some men she didn’t know showed up with drugs and alcohol.

In her TikTok videos, she alleges that they then kidnapped her, taking her to an abandoned road’ and ignoring her requests to go home.  

Horrific: She said she was kidnapped by friends of her friend who totaled their car and left her with catastrophic injuries

Horrific: She said she was kidnapped by friends of her friend who totaled their car and left her with catastrophic injuries 

Jessica has shared candid videos of her time in the hospital, showing her screaming out in pain as doctors and nurses move her body

Jessica has shared candid videos of her time in the hospital, showing her screaming out in pain as doctors and nurses move her body

Hard to watch: Jessica has shared candid videos of her time in the hospital, showing her screaming out in pain as doctors and nurses move her body

Jessica has had to learn to do a lot of things differently, and shares her struggle on TikTok

Jessica has had to learn to do a lot of things differently, and shares her struggle on TikTok

‘When we got to this road, the driver stopped the car and put his foot on the gas and brake at the same time, doing a burnout with his wheels,’ she told BuzzFeed.  ‘He lost control of the car and crashed into a tree,’ she recalled. 

Her injuries were severe: Jessica suffered whiplash, a head injury that exposed her skull, and a spinal cord injury.

‘Paramedics said that I lost the equivalence of a “Coca-Cola bottle of blood” out of my head, and didn’t think I’d make it if they drove me to the hospital,’ she recalled.  ‘So they drove me to a nearby soccer field where a helicopter airlifted me to the ICU.’

Jessica has shared candid videos of her time in the hospital, showing her screaming out in pain as doctors and nurses move her body. 

After she recovered enough to leave the ICU, she spent seven months in rehab, and is now back at home but permanently wheelchair-bound. 

Jessica has had to learn to do a lot of things differently, and shares her struggle on TikTok. 

Caution: Jessica said she has to be extra careful moving her body: Since she can't feel pain from the waist down, she may not know if she has injured herself

Caution: Jessica said she has to be extra careful moving her body: Since she can’t feel pain from the waist down, she may not know if she has injured herself

Lots of work: She uses a plank of wood as a bridge from her chair to the seat in the car, hoisting her body onto the wood and shifting it down, bit by bit, into the seat

Lots of work: She uses a plank of wood as a bridge from her chair to the seat in the car, hoisting her body onto the wood and shifting it down, bit by bit, into the seat

Lots of work: She uses a plank of wood as a bridge from her chair to the seat in the car, hoisting her body onto the wood and shifting it down, bit by bit, into the seat

Struggles: Every day, she said, she has episodes of autonomic dysreflexia, which she describes as her body 'attacking' her 'because it is in complete confusion'

Struggles: Every day, she said, she has episodes of autonomic dysreflexia, which she describes as her body ‘attacking’ her ‘because it is in complete confusion’

When she goes to sleep at night, she has to use her hands to position her lower body, getting it out of her wheelchair, into her bed, and into a safe position.

There is no tossing, turning, or shifting her position in the night — however her body is when she goes to sleep is how it will be when she wakes up.

To get into a car, Jessica has to carefully open the door and position her wheelchair next to the front seat.

She uses a plank of wood as a bridge from her chair to the seat in the car, hoisting her body onto the wood and shifting it down, bit by bit, into the seat.

Jessica said she has to be extra careful moving her body: Since she can’t feel pain from the waist down, she may not know if she has injured herself.

Every day, she said, she has episodes of autonomic dysreflexia, which she describes as her body ‘attacking’ her ‘because it is in complete confusion.’  

Intimate: Jessica also takes the time to answer viewer questions, even though the most common ones appear to be about sex, reproduction, and bathroom use

Intimate: Jessica also takes the time to answer viewer questions, even though the most common ones appear to be about sex, reproduction, and bathroom use

How to: To urinate, Jessica uses SpeediCaths, mini catheters that go directly into her urethra to release the urine from her bladder

How to: To urinate, Jessica uses SpeediCaths, mini catheters that go directly into her urethra to release the urine from her bladder

She has been candid about sharing her struggles on TikTok

She has been candid about sharing her struggles on TikTok

Generous: She has been candid about sharing her struggles on TikTok

What it means for her is that if she doesn’t go to the bathroom on time, her blood pressure will skyrocket, she’ll sweat and turn red, and she’ll experience shortness of breath.

When she was still in high school, this would be her personal RN who accompanied her to class would take her to the nurse’s office. 

Jessica also takes the time to answer viewer questions, even though the most common ones appear to be about sex, reproduction, and bathroom use.

To urinate, Jessica uses SpeediCaths, mini catheters that go directly into her urethra to release the urine from her bladder.

As for sex and relationships, she admitted dating can be quite hard — because even the men who think they are up for the challenges that come along with dating a woman in a wheelchair don’t usually know what they’re in for. 

Unfair: Sex is tricky, too: Jessica said she can't feel it, though she can still conceive a child

Unfair: Sex is tricky, too: Jessica said she can’t feel it, though she can still conceive a child

When she goes to sleep at night, she has to use her hands to position her lower body, getting it out of her wheelchair, into her bed, and into a safe position

When she goes to sleep at night, she has to use her hands to position her lower body, getting it out of her wheelchair, into her bed, and into a safe position

Preparing for bed: When she goes to sleep at night, she has to use her hands to position her lower body, getting it out of her wheelchair, into her bed, and into a safe position

Problems: She highlights some of her problems, including thoughtless people who block handicap parking spots

Problems: She highlights some of her problems, including thoughtless people who block handicap parking spots

She explained that any time she wants to go to a restaurant, someone has to call ahead to make sure it is wheelchair accessible. There is no spontaneity, and some activities are off-limits.

Sex is tricky, too: Jessica said she can’t feel it.

‘If I engage in intercourse, I can not feel anything externally, I cannot feel anything internally,’ she said.

Her menstrual cycle hasn’t change, though, and she said she can still conceive a child. If she does, she won’t need any pain medication during child birth, since she won’t be able to feel it.

Jessica told BuzzFeed that she feels it’s important to share her story and her struggles to educate others. 

‘Not many people know too much about paraplegics and their capabilities, so I wanted to be that light to inform, educate, and even entertain people,’ she said. 

'Not many people know too much about paraplegics and their capabilities, so I wanted to be that light to inform, educate, and even entertain people,' she said

‘Not many people know too much about paraplegics and their capabilities, so I wanted to be that light to inform, educate, and even entertain people,’ she said

‘I want people to know what it’s like to be paralyzed … so that they can be a little bit more appreciative of what they have and remain humble.’

‘I also want to show people how I live my life in the present day — what is life like as a wheelchair user? — and devote my channel to being a blog where people can get to know me on a lot more of a personal level,’ she said. 

‘A lot of people are discriminatory toward paraplegics/wheelchair users, and something like this would give them a small taste of what it’s like.’  

As for the people with whom she suffered the car crash, Jessica says none of them went to jail or were punished in any way.

Since no breathalizers were used on the scene, she said, it was her word against theirs as to weather they were under the influence.

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