From NWRSCIS Adjusting to a Spinal Cord Injury – Sadness, Grief, and Moving Forward

The latest e-alert from the NIDRR-funded Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System Center (NWRSCIS) just popped into our inboxes and it’s too good not to share. It highlights several resources developed by the NWRSCIS targeted toward individuals and families experiencing spinal cord injury for the first time. We are reposting it here with links to those resources. If you find this helpful, we highly recommend visiting the NWRSCIS on Facebook, following them on Twitter, and signing up for their excellent email alerts.

Dear Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System Subscribers:

A spinal cord injury can turn a person’s world upside down. In addition to the serious physical changes, SCI can be an emotional shock. In their individual ways, everyone tries to process these changes and how they will affect their lives moving forward. Sadness, grief and even depression are frequent and normal responses to this kind of trauma, both for the injured person and for family members and loved ones.

Recognizing that everyone reacts differently, most people do find support and resources very helpful. Many newly injured individuals as well as those with longtime SCI have told us the following information and videos have helped them in their adjustment.

Moving Forward After Spinal Cord Injury
This short documentary profiles a young man who sustained a spinal cord injury during his freshman year in college. As he narrates his journey with tetraplegia (quadriplegia) —the traumatic early days, the challenges and achievements—we see the images of his present day life: driving to his full-time engineering job, living in his condo, partying with friends before a football game, and continuing his passion for skiing.

Depression after Spinal Cord Injury: Myths and Facts
While some degree of sadness and grief is normal after SCI, most people with SCI go on to live fulfilling lives that include love, family, work and fun. Persistent depression occurs in about one out of five people with SCI and needs to be recognized and treated because it can keep people from getting as much function, independence and satisfaction out of life as possible. This article describes myths and facts about depression and the many approaches available for decreasing or eliminating depression so you can get on with life.

It Happened to Both of Us: Conversations with Couples
The impact of SCI is felt by the whole family, especially a spouse or partner. In this video, a panel of couples who were together before an injury and are still together talk about their experiences and what they do to stay connected and maintain a healthy relationship.

Staying Healthy After a Spinal Cord Injury: Depression and SCI
This pamphlet provides guidelines for recognizing if you or someone you know might be depressed and what to do about it.

Life after SCI: A Mother’s Story
A mother talks frankly about her reactions and feelings after her teenage son sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident.

Conversations about…living with a spinal cord injury
This video features three men and one woman, all with longstanding spinal cord injuries, who talk about their personal experiences living, surviving and thriving with their injuries. They share their initial reactions, adjustment, steps toward independence and thoughts about their injuries now.

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