When we are faced with any very challenging circumstance in our lives, whether it’s emotional financial or physical there comes a time after the initial period of intense grief, loss, or anger when we have to take stock of where we are, readjust and move on.
We overcome any barriers with change, change to our lifestyle, change our relationships or change our position of state mentally. Mostly this is a journey we have to travel ourselves, it’s not easy, a lonely journey often that requires us to look deep into ourselves but at the same time look outward for inspiration from others who might have walked that way before and come out the other side.
You are not Alone
When I lost my leg in 2013 and while I was in hospital I felt very well-supported and cared for. A team of physios helped get me back on my feet with a temporary leg within a few weeks, they encouraged me to push myself further and further physically every day… until the day came when I left. At that point when home by myself I could wear my leg for 30 minutes a day but the rest of the time was legless in a chair or wheelchair, simple things like going to the toilet or having a shower suddenly became very different.
Sharing moment :Two good bits of advice for amputees I’ve never forgotten.
Always try to think one step ahead of what you’re going to do (IE : OK move to here. But what’s the plan for the next move)
Don’t get up in the night to go to the bathroom without waking up properly, and remembering you’ve only one leg!
Since then, I’ve come up with a fair few more believe me.
There must be some newly amputees out there reading this so here’s a heads up with something else that was a big problem for me. My Brain
No one tells your brain that your leg is not there anymore and it reminds you of that by testing the nerves, sending electric like shocks occasionally which almost jump you out of your seat. Or you suddenly feel an itch on your non existent leg of foot. The worst though was waking up every night drenched in sweat sometimes shouting out as a nightmare involves you in a battle with a Bear attacking your leg one night, a Great White the next, a tree falling on it, or any number of possible scenarios. I thought it was just me and put off going to the doctor for a long time, but apparently it’s not, it’s quite common and a kind of Post Traumatic Stress. Your Brain is trying to work out what on earth has happened. So don’t worry it’s normal but a course in Mindfulness technique will help. That and looking at your stump in a mirror often to let it sink in to your brain.
I would have welcomed meeting other people in the same position as me at the time but there were no local groups, sharing experience, and giving advice and tips, as to how to deal with the various challenges you face in your new you life.
If enough people out there think that there would be value in sharing our experiences or dealing with any areas to overcoming barriers with change. Or, to do with adjustments in your lives, products or equipment or courses that have help you please feel free to let me know in this Community and I’ll find a way to share it with everyone.
I’ll share one now. As an amputee who works in an office environment I can’t really wear shorts or tracksuit bottom so I found a good local sewing shop around the corner from work who put a zip in my suit trouser leg which zips up to the knee. I can take my prosthetic leg off for a rest anytime I need to now without having to take my trousers off. It has been such a good idea I have zips now in all my jeans and leisure trousers, it doesn’t cost much about $20 a time, but I feel good being able to dress smartly and easily, so it does my self-image good.
Mental health issues
A difficult subject to discuss, but one that affect most of us at some level at some stage of our lives. So you are definitely not on your own here.
It can be overwhelming at times, and it’s easy to get into a routine of negative thoughts and voices in your head dominating conversations. I have been down there and there is no one answer to fix things. I suppose the first thing is to recognize where you are and again begin the processes to overcoming barriers with change. Visit your doctor first, it’s helpful to say to someone you are not feeling so good about things, finding the right words can be tricky but once you’ve reach out that action alone can be the start of a journey to help. I bet there’s not many of us with disabilities haven’t been to some dark places at some times. As this subject is becoming more easily discussed it is amazing how many stories, techniques and ideas are surfacing, from exercise meditation yoga mindfulness to books CD’s and online help, it’s growing, it’s not quirky and it would be interesting to hear from people who have been able to benefit from any methods of help to consider. There’s a lot of power and empathy in sharing with others going through the same challenges
The power of simple things and steps
We have some amazing examples of people with a disability achieving phenomenal results in sport, business, theater and music. It would be great to have a conversation with some of these people to find out what drives them to overcoming barriers with changes in their lives. Maybe that is something we could develop on this site, I will work on that.
For most of us not at the peak of performance there is an enormous amount of benefit from simple things like just even being in nature, eating better by putting the right things in our bodies, trying new hobbies, listening to music or watching theater. Taking an interest in learning, if we can get involved in new sports accessible to us like sailing or archery all of these areas of life make us fuller people, we get chance to socialize and make new friends.
I would welcome hearing your experiences on any topic, issues you’ve overcome, equipment that helped you, achievements you’ve had in our field, good and bad they all count and someone somewhere I’m sure will appreciate you raising it.
All the best to you my friends