She battled self-esteem in her teenage years then found freedom as a young adult before a car crash left her with a serious brain injury and battling to regain a sense of purpose in life.
Jody Schloss writes about her winding journey in her first book, “From Anguish to Hope”, which was published this past February and can be purchased through various outlets.
One of the first books the Toronto equestrian rider read while in rehabilitation was about a woman who survived a brain injury.
‘’I remember thinking that I would really like to write my story to give other survivors hope to continue trying to recover,’’ said Schloss, now 49, in an e-mail interview with Paralympic.ca. ‘’I discovered that I found out so much about myself through writing. I found the process very therapeutic.’’
Schloss, a 2012 Paralympian, packs a lot of information, emotion, drama, philosophy, and compassion into her 125-page book which can be read in under two hours. Whether readers have a disability or not, Schloss shares many valuable life lessons.
The story has a unique component. The content is peppered with many extensive poems written by Schloss. Poetry is a form of therapy for the author.
‘’I wrote [parts of the book] in poetry, because a lot of what I was writing about was too emotional to write in long drawn-out prose,’’ she said. ‘’I wrote poems when I was fuming… it was a method of venting without physically becoming angry.’’
Back in 1996, Schloss’s life turned upside down when she was involved in a car crash, which left her in a four-month coma and killed her friend. Schloss was diagnosed with a brain injury. She is not paralyzed but requires a wheelchair because she struggles with muscle coordination, and also has a speech impediment.
Despite her parents’ divorce, she recalls a happy childhood and an ever-present brother Michael Schloss. Self-acceptance was difficult in her teenage years but she ‘’became a new person’’ in university. She attended the University of British Columbia and travelled extensively before the accident while on vacation.
In one of the most poignant parts of the book, Schloss describes a happy ending to a vacation in a poem.
‘’…questions could be answered just by looking at our tans,
bags filled with souvenirs from the markets,
scuba diving certificate…’’
While the story concludes in 2009, before her exploits with the Canadian Para dressage team, Schloss has always been an active person and she knew it was important to get into sports again after the accident.
The first sport she tried was Para sailing in which she discovered freedom again. Another sport that empowered the Edmonton native was sit-skiing which fulfilled her adventure needs. On September 12, 2006 she went skydiving and described it as ‘’beautiful and relaxing.’’
Schloss describes the many phases in her recovery while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English as well as a diploma as an educational assistant. She wanted to be a teacher for children with special needs, specifically deaf children and is a level 3F in American sign language. She continues to do volunteer work in that department.
Currently, Schloss is hoping to be one of the team members on the Canadian Para equestrian team for this summer’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. She is ranked third nationally.
‘’I am training and riding both of my horses five days per week,’’ she said. ‘’I go to physiotherapy two days per week, and walk on the treadmill and I still do Pilates. I also have a home exercise program that I try to do daily.
‘’I am hoping to go to Tokyo.’’
Schloss says she also plans to write a sequel on her riding career.
Schloss’s book is now available in print and as an eBook at the following links:
Amazon (Print or Kindle eBook)
Indigo (Kobo eBook)