Re-learning How to Live After Pain, with Ruthie Lindsey

Sometimes life delivers hard blows. You lose loved ones, great opportunities crash and burn, and at some point you might find yourself living a total 180 from the life you always imagined. For Ruthie Lindsey, who delivered one of the most honest and heartfelt talks on the BlogHer stage, embracing the 180 in life was her key to living. 

“At seventeen years old, I was hit by an ambulance outside of a gas station in rural Louisiana,” Ruthie said. “I broke my neck, puncture my lungs, and ruptured my spleen. Doctors performed a spinal cord fusion using wire and I walked out of the hospital within a month.”

With a new perspective, Ruthie went off to college, graduated, and later married, but life delivered a second blow years later when residual issues from the accident cropped up out of nowhere.

“I turned my head and it felt like I had been shot,” she said. “I fell to the ground and blacked out.”

Her case confounded the doctors and from there, she started her long and torturous journey to opiate dependency while physicians struggled to discover the cause. In the process, her father passed away, her husband left her, and she had to find the will to live on her own, without the aid of narcotics.

“I had to re-learn how to live,” said Ruthie. “But the great thing about pain is, it gives you eyes.”

Re-learning how to live included a step-by-step process: Get out of bed, walk to the bathroom, brush your teeth, eat breakfast. After months of moving one step at a time, Ruthie finally reached her moment of clarity.

“My pain became a piece of me, but it wasn’t who I was anymore.”

The lesson Ruthie strives to deliver to the people she meets is that, in some capacity, everyone has experienced trauma. Pain is universal.

“When I see people who are full of joy, I know they’re doing such hard work.”

It was a moment at BlogHer that left the room silent, waiting for word after word as she urged us to stay resilient and find the strength to continue on, even in hardship.


BlogHer was founded on the premise that women’s collective voices hold boundless power. From celebrities to activists, and social media stars to entrepreneurs, hundreds of women have taken the stage at BlogHer. Our Spotlight Talks feature short videos from thought leaders and are a master class in inspiration and empowerment.


Hillary Adler