7 Things to Do if Someone You Love Has Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury
If someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, you probably have many questions. You want to know what you can do to help and how the injury will affect your loved one and your relationship. These are valid questions; almost half of all spinal cord injury patients require personal assistance with at least some daily activities. Here are some ways you can offer support.
- Educate Yourself
Ask questions of doctors and nurses. Do research on your own. Learn all you can about your loved one’s specific injury. You’ll feel more at ease once you have more information.
- Find a Balance
You want to be helpful, and doctors will likely show you ways to assist your loved one after leaving the hospital. However, resist the urge to do everything – your loved one will likely want to do whatever he or she is capable of doing independently.
Talk with your loved one openly and honestly. You are both likely dealing with some strong and conflicting emotions. Listen to what your loved one is saying and feeling, and respond as best you can.
- Seek Counseling
Talking with a mental health professional or counselor can help you sort out your own feelings, needs, and desires. A counselor can also help you gain insight into how your loved one may be feeling and offer suggestions for ways you can respond.
- Take Care of Yourself
It’s not healthy for you to give yourself over 100% to your injured loved one. Be sure to take time for yourself and attend to your own physical and emotional needs, getting some space when you need it.
- Connect with Others
You’ll find there are many others in situations similar to yours. Reach out through online or in-person support groups to talk to people who understand your situation personally.
- Ask for Help
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for help from other family members and friends; they may want to help but don’t know what to do. Let them know what they can do and ask for help when you need it.