At the age of 18 on 24th October 2008, Max Rinneberg lost his memories and emotion due to carelessness. Since, 24th October 2008, he is suffering from retrograde amnesia – that is a memory loss which compromises my biographical and emotional memory. But this incident did not stop him..
Q: Please tell me what happened on that day?
MR: On that day, I had that accident. Everyone has already fallen down the stairs. In most cases, this is not a big deal, except some blue spots. I did not fell off stairs, but I fell three tiny steps. On my way, there were these, in my case, untameable stairs. Few seconds before the accident, I probably was stumbling and therefore fell heavily headlong on the stairs . The result was laceration, traumatic brain injury, unconsciousness and later my amnesia. A half an hour after my accident, I was found lying on the ground by my sister and my friends. At that point, I already could not recognize them – everything was unknown for me. Until that today, my brain is not able to recognize any fragments of memory. All my knowledge and memories of the life before are buried and lost.
Q: When did you decide to let go of your old life and start a new one? When did you accept the fact that you are now another/ new human?
MR: This lasted for a couple of time. At the beginning, I was hoping that everything will be okay in the end – and the doctors tried to encourage me. But, also after a helpful residence in a psychosomatic clinic and an outpatient talking therapy, my memories are still lost. After doubts and uneasiness did not fade but life gave me new opportunities, I realized that life must go on. That was the point when I started over and was able to try different things and finally found myself, therefore I am living to the here and now.
Q: What has changed since you living a new life ?
MR: A lot has change since then. I was a disciplined, organised, structured and competitive athlete. Today, I do not have a plan for every day and take things as they come. I also do not have much to do with sport anymore. Nowadays, I golf with some friends of mine when the weather is nice, at least when it must be physically active. But I Iike much more to be surrounded by nice people and eating nice food and drinking a nice bottle of wine. I also do not live in my homeland, but I try to visit my family and friend whenever it is possible. Currently, I am searching for a new place which could become my new homeland. Now, I am on the go to Spain – or to put it another way, to Mallorca. I am looking forward to work there as a sommelier.
Q: Where do you take the positivity from such an incident?
MR: The whole life is full of energy. Even bad days consist of incredible energy. Therefore, negative thoughts and emotions do also have energy. I have learned to transform these energies in something good and into positive energy. I have especially learned that nothing could be worse than it was at the beginning. At the time where I was helpless and surrounded by strangers at the bedside. I was numbed and motionless of irritation and helplessness. Every day, teaches and gives us something along the road. Usually, these things are just small details but in the end of our life, these little details form a remarkable and huge picture of our journey through life.
Q: You wrote a book about the accident. To what extent did wrinting help you to let go of your old life?
MR: Writing did not let me leave my old life behind me. Writing did help me to realize that this part belongs to my life. It was a kind of a lesson, which consisted of some tasks I had to deal with. To go further, writing helped me to realize and to face life again with a renewed courage.
Q: Would you still say that the accident had a good purpose ?
MR: In every negativity, there is also a good purpose, even if that is a call to change something. In my case, I could not change anything because I lost my memory. I had the chance to create something new. A life which I want to live, without any force and the chance to decide what I want to do.
Q: How does your family handle the situation?
MR: It was not easy for my family. I think, the incident made us stronger, even though, we had to admit some moments of weakness. But I think, even that requires strength – to talk about oneself and to talk to oneself. Nowadays, we are happy that we have each other.
Q: If you had the chance to turn back the clock, would you do that?
MR: This is a difficult question. The answer could not just be „yes“ or „no“. I have found an answer, although I am still wobbling and searching for the last details – because there still coming new questions which could complete the answer. It will be a long answer, which I will answer in my new book.
Q: Is there a chance that you will gain back your memories from the medical point of view?
MR: In this case, the answer is easy. There is always a chance, but it could be compared to the likeliness of winning the jackpot in lottery.
Q:Last question, what do you wish for your future ?
_ _ _ _ _ _
Thank you for making this interview possible. You are an incredible human being. I wish you, from the bottom of my heart, all the best for your future. I am more than sure, that this interview will inspire many people out there. You are such an inspiration. Thank you so much.