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How to Cope With Your Amputation
The loss of a limb has distinct psychological effects as well as a significant impact on day-to-day functions. Patients and their families will begin to perceive their bodies differently. Some types of amputation will have little influence on an individual’s functionality, yet his or her body image might still suffer. After living years with the same body, having it altered can take a mental and emotional toll. If these feeling are ignored, they can have a negative effect on the amputee’s outlook on life and strain relationships with family and friends. As such, the patient must readjust to his or her new body in order to move on and continue into a happy and fulfilling life.
To begin, the feelings of loss must be dealt with. Limbs do not define a human being, but it is normal for individuals to feel attached to their bodies and appearance. Following amputation, the patient may experience emotions such as helplessness, anger, sadness and grief. It is important to note that these feelings are completely normal. Most amputees will face the full gambit of emotions during the coping process. Failing to deal with the amputation in a healthy way can cause loss of focus and concentration. It is equally unhealthy to obsess over the limb loss so a proper balance must coping and acceptance must be struck.
The essential tools in this process are patience and a willingness to reframe one’s perspective. At first, it may be helpful to look at the scars and make peace with their appearance. However, do not be afraid to move on or view at the body as a whole. The loss of a limb often has a purpose, such as to relieve pain or stop the spread of infection. Focus on the positive outcomes of the procedure. Some functionality may be lost, but creative solutions can help maintain normal day-to-day activities. Loosing a limb does not indicate a loss of self or identity, but it will take some adjustment.
Keep positive. A bright attitude can speed up the coping and healing process and make the transition into post-op life much easier. It is never too late to learn a new way of living and don’t be hesitant in asking for the help. Family, friends and physicians can all help amputees cope emotionally and physically. Having a day here and there to spend alone in the aftermath of the surgical procedure may be helpful for some. Additionally, having a strong support system is highly beneficial.
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Eric is an experienced legal advisor. You can find his thoughts at storify blog.
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