You know your body has been impacted by limb loss, but what about your mind? Losing a limb affects nearly every aspect of your life, so it makes sense that your emotional and mental states would need just as much recovery time as your body.
When you’ve lost a limb, it’s important to approach recovery in a holistic fashion. Your body’s recovery is important, obviously -- but it’s no more or less important than your mental, emotional, and spiritual recovery.
The Psychological Stages of Limb Loss
Losing a limb often triggers the well-known five stages of grief. These are:
- Denial - “I cannot believe this has happened to me.”
- Anger - “This isn’t fair. I shouldn’t have to go through this.”
- Bargaining - “Maybe if I do x, then I will be whole again.”
- Depression - “Life is meaningless now. What’s the point?”
- Acceptance - “This is my new normal, so I might as well make the best of it.”
While it’s difficult to go through this sequence of psychological responses, it’s also important to allow your mind to process what has happened in its own time. Engaging appropriately with each stage of grief gives you the space to work through your loss, deal with your negative emotions, and ultimately move into your new life with hope. There are top prosthetic companies who can help with this, too -- it’s always good to have experienced experts on your side!
It’s no secret that society’s view of beauty can be pretty narrow-minded. If you’re not a thin, toned, perfectly-proportioned supermodel with all four limbs, you may find that you don’t line up with the “beautiful people” on TV or elsewhere. And in spite of the fact that you know those standards are impossible to live up to, the idea can still take root in your mind and poison your self-perception.
The first thing to remember is that those people on TV have entire teams of hairstylists, makeup artists, wardrobe designers, and personal trainers making them look unattainably attractive every day of the week. So not only is that kind of standard completely unrealistic for anyone, it’s not even realistic for those people without an army of beauticians by their side.
The second thing to remember is that it’s more important to feel good about yourself than to worry about how you look. It might sound trite, but when you feel good about the way you look, it doesn’t really matter how others perceive you because you’ve already decided you look good -- even if you don’t match up with society’s definition of “good.”
(Who came up with that definition, anyway? Maybe it’s time to redefine beauty completely.)
Getting Support from Family and Friends
A vital part of working through the psychological impact of limb loss is surrounding yourself with a support network. Friends and family who will love you, challenge you, and encourage you can make all the difference in processing your new normal and living a joyful life. Additionally, calling in the experts at one of the top prosthetic companies can help with seemingly small things that are actually quite important, like making sure your prosthesis fits perfectly.
The people in your support network should be empathetic, but they shouldn’t treat you like a baby. Instead, they should focus on staying by your side as you move through the stages of grief, encouraging you when you reach the point of acceptance, and exploring new possibilities with you as you move into your new life.
New to Limb Loss? Contact a Top Prosthetic Company Today!
If you’re looking for dedicated, passionate professionals to help you recognize your possibilities after limb loss, look no further than BioTech Limb and Brace in Birmingham, Alabama. Contact us today!