When going to rehab after a spinal cord injury, one of the people on your rehab team will be a psychologist, and they can play a critical role in you getting better. Some, however, avoid psychologists after their injury, and that’s okay. However you feel about psychologists and therapists, they are trained to help you deal with the stress of sustaining a spinal cord injury and everything that comes with such a huge life change.
Going from being a fully able-bodied person to suddenly becoming disabled and physically limited can have significant mental and emotional impact on a person. The shock of returning home and going back to reality isn’t an easy transition. Talking to a psychologist or therapist after a SCI is not a sign of weakness: rather, it’s a sign of strength, showing that you’re taking the initiative to heal and take care of yourself.
If you’ve already been discharged and find yourself in need of a therapist, reach out to your family practice doctor for a recommendation. Likewise, you can ask your local rehab facility for therapists they recommend. While it’s not always possible, it’s best to find a therapist with experience helping people with disabilities—specifically acquired disabilities. This can be difficult to find in smaller cities. Use this link to search for a therapist near you: https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
The good news is that no matter how rural your area may be, you can access experienced disability therapists online. There are several online therapy sites where you can read a therapist’s background, credentials, and reviews. Utilizing an online therapist can be an easy way to see a therapist if transportation is an issue. All you need is a working webcam and mic for an online therapy session. Medicaid covers the costs of many of these providers. Amwell.com is widely considered one of the best online therapy sites. Visit their site here: https://amwell.com/
Remember that talking to a therapist means you are investing in yourself. Seeing a therapist does not make you weak; it makes you prepared for the days ahead. A therapist will help you create strategies for dealing with difficult situations. and they are one of the best equipped people you’ll meet to help you get used to your new “normal.” Mental health is just as important as your physical health and needs to be cared for.
It’s also important to note that anxiety and depression are common in many people after sustaining a SCI. The sooner these conditions are treated, the easier they are to treat. Signs of anxiety include feeling nervous, a sense of doom, breathing rapidly, trembling, feeling weak, and having trouble concentrating. Signs of depression include general discontent, apathy, hopelessness, mood swings, and a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. Talk to a therapist if you are experiencing these symptoms.