March 28, 2017, by Eileen O’Shanassy – You have served your country well and in addition to all the physical and emotional scars that war has left on your body, you now have to adjust to life with a disability. The shock of an amputation or mental illness comes differently for different people. Some are able to adjust to the reality quickly, and seamlessly make the necessary adjustments to live life as normally as possible. Others are in denial for a while, and let reality sink in gradually. No matter how much warning or preparation time you had prior to the amputation, it’s the sort of thing that has to be real before you can fully feel its impact.
If you feel yourself becoming depressed, with symptoms of losing interest in friends and family, decreased appetite, insomnia, irritability, or even thoughts of suicide, it is best to seek professional mental health counseling. Maybe you are still suffering from PTSD from your experiences while serving. Being healthy mentally is crucial to recovery from an amputation or other disability. Keeping a diary is another tried and true method for collecting your thoughts in times of distress.
Friends, Family, and the Public
Friends and family may react differently to you after coming home. Some might avoid you initially because they’re not sure how to react. Others may dote over you more than you might like. People on the street may look at you with curiosity or pity. Being labeled as a “disabled” may feel strange at first. It is important to focus on your strength and accomplishments. Your amputation does not define you. Focus on the people who love you and be patient with them while they adjust to your new body as well.
It’s true that there will be many things you will need help with. But there are also many other things that you can learn to do independently, especially with the help of a prosthetic or bionic device. Physical therapy will be very useful for strengthening your remaining limbs and teach you new ways of distributing the strength in your body. If you have lost your writing hand, spend lots of time practicing how to write with your other hand. It is still possible for leg amputees to drive with the right prosthetic and appropriate adjustments to the car seat. Other things you might have to accept you cannot do. For example, a Utah landscape design service might be needed to help you care for your home and yard. You might also have to accept that you cannot predict everything that might come your way. Leave yourself learning room and get help when you need it.
Be proud of yourself for your services to your country and be grateful that you have made it back alive. The road to acceptance and recovery from an amputation is not an easy one. You might go through a roller coaster of emotions like shock, denial, anger, gratefulness, and apathy. Just take it step by step and don’t worry too much about what others think. Focus on the people who are supportive of you. And remember, life goes on.
Author Bio: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.