Document Type

Handbook, Guide or Manual (Third Edition)

Publication Date (Third Edition)

2009

Abstract

Introduction

A sudden trauma like a spinal cord injury will have a significant impact on you and the people close to you. You may see parts of your life change a great deal. Other parts of your life may not change at all. Regardless of the extent of your injury and disability, being hurt and having a disruption to your life may present unexpected problems or changes. This chapter provides information about services that are available at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and in the community to provide assistance.

Coping with a Spinal Cord Injury

After a spinal cord injury, you may experience many different feelings at one time or another, such as anger, worry, sadness, even hopelessness. These feelings are more likely to occur when you are under stress — as when your body undergoes dramatic changes in its functioning or when you have been in the hospital for a long time. Sometimes they are aimed in the wrong direction, like when your are really angry with one person or situation and you are nasty to someone else.

While you are still basically the same person inside, there are many adjustments that you are going through. Rehabilitation is aimed at helping you learn new things — both physical and emotional, so that you can learn to live with your change of body functioning and all the changes in your life that it may bring.

The emotional changes and behaviors you see in yourself may surprise you. It is important to recognize that what you are experiencing is normal, and also that what is normal for you may be very different from how someone else reacts. Really, if you think about it, it would be unnatural not to have some sort of reaction. Another aspect of dealing with this whole business of coping has to do with change. This is a transitional period for you. What is true for you today or this week may be different next week or next month. People change at their own speed.

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