The Grieving Process

Man in wheelchair with head in handsHaving a disability suddenly can be frightening and confusing.  Adapting to life with a spinal cord injury can be tough. You might worry about how your injury will affect your everyday activities, job, relationships and the rest of your life. While every experience is different, every survivor and family of the survivor will go through the process of loss.

Common stages of the grieving process can include:

  • Denial: The survivor and family don’t accept what’s happened, and pretend that everything is normal.
  • Depression: As reality sinks in, the survivor and his or her family feel profound sadness over what has been lost as a result of the injury.
  • Anger: The survivor will be mad about what has happened, and this may manifest through verbal and physical assaults on others.  Struggles with self-image and self-esteem, and fear of abandonment may all contribute to expressions of anger or isolation
  • Bargaining: The survivor and family are beginning to accept what has happened, but may still hold onto the idea that their condition is temporary.
  • Acceptance: At this point people accept a realistic view of their situation, and begin to find meaning in their life once more. They begin to think about their future.

Recovering from an SCI injury can take time and many people with SCI progress and are able to work, drive, play sports, and have relationships and families.It’s important to stay motivated and get the support you need.

Below are some tips which may help you move toward acceptance:

  • Ask for help when you need it
  • See friends and family regularly, and become involved in activities you enjoy
  • Make sure you have enough time to yourself.
  • Share your feelings
  • Find a support group and/or online discussion forums (Link to support groups and discussion forums info)

For more information on the Grieving Process see links below: