Saturday, June 18, 2011 | 9:57 am

Most people with spinal cord injuries don’t become severely depressed, but grief and sadness are common. Grief and mourning are normal responses to any significant loss. Normal grieving usually involves feelings of sadness related specifically to the lost person, object, or function. Crying spells, some transient sleep disturbance, and feelings of guilt or regret are usual. Normal grieving does not involve persistent and pervasive feelings of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, or loss of pleasure in all activities. During a period of sadness or grief, the grieving person can respond positively to comfort and support from others, can benefit from talking about the loss, and can continue to perform everyday functions such as dressing, eating, and doing chores.

Recognizing that sadness and grief are normal responses to loss, allowing yourself a period of mourning, and above all talking to your loved ones about your feelings will help you work through your loss more quickly. In the rehabilitation hospital, social workers and often psychologists can help you talk about and cope with feelings of depression before they become overwhelming. They can help you sort through your reactions to your limitations and understand any initial difficulties in performing the physical and occupational therapy tasks that are part of your rehabilitation program.

For example, is your wheelchair mobility training bogged down because of weakness in your arms, because you don’t really understand the therapist’s directions, or because every time you get into the wheelchair you are filled with feelings of humiliation and inadequacy? Are you refusing the occupational therapist’s offer of specialized splints for writing because you don’t want to pay your own bills and write your own letters or because wearing the splints puts the disability “in your face” and makes you feel ugly, different, and depressed? Are you asking for help with dressing yourself because you haven’t yet mastered the techniques for independent dressing, or because you’re too depressed to put forth the energy, or because you can’t express your need for social contact except by asking for this type of assistance?


(posted in Healthy bones Osteoporosis Rheumatic)

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