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Thread: I don't know how to help anymore!

  1. #1

    Exclamation I don't know how to help anymore!

    Hi everyone,

    I'm using my wife's account to try and find some advice, I'm not sure what to do anymore. My wife Sam became a T11 para a little over six months ago while snowboarding with friends. After the initial shock she was hopeful and confident in herself. She always made jokes and tried hard at PT and set high goals for herself. She is funny, smart, outgoing, adventurous, and has never been one to sit back and watch life pass her by!

    She was discharged from rehab in late May and seemed to be happy to be home, but that was short lived. She had made so many plans for us this summer and was excited to try things that she loved before like kayaking and camping. Now I can't even get her to leave the house most days. I have tried everything I can think of to give her motivation. I know she is upset and hurt but her lifestyle is becoming destructive. She has been skipping PT sessions, not watching for pressure sores, and eating unhealthy. She refuses to hang out with friends even though they are over all the time, and chooses to hide in our room.

    A couple of nights ago I woke up to her sobbing around 4 in the morning. I tried to console her but she just kept saying that I'm going to leave her and I can have my ring back if I want it. I have no idea where she is getting this idea, she is truly the love of my life. It is breaking my heart to see her so upset.

    I know she is depressed, that much is easy to tell, but I don't know how to break it. I don't want to push her to hard, but she can't keep living like this, it will send her straight back to the hospital. She is only 22, has a low injury, and is only one semester away from graduating with a dual major in business. I know things in her life have changed, but how do I make her see how much she still has going for her?!

    Any Advice is much appreciated in advance.

    Thanks,
    Ayden (Sam's Husband)

  2. #2
    Senior Member SuprSi's Avatar
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    This is just guess work, I'm trying to imagine myself in Sam's situation...

    Sounds like everything's getting to her and it's a bit too much at the moment. Perhaps it's worth taking some time away from all the PT, just the two of you somewhere where you can just enjoy each other's company. Try to make her realize how far she's come and what an amazing person she is. I think if you can make her see how much she means to you, and how her accident has changed nothing.. I think then maybe she might start to cheer up a bit.

    Don't push this on her, but it might be worth focusing on wheelchair skills to help build her independence. That is what I focused on during my rehab and now when I go out I feel confident that I can go pretty much anywhere. (ie backwheel balance, small curbs, steps...) Feeling more 'at-one' with the wheelchair will help her immensely. Has she got a decent lightweight chair at the moment? Rolling around in a crap chair is horrible! I didn't want to be seen in mine, and as soon as I had a good chair I became so much more outgoing and happy.

    I hope this helps in some way,
    Simon
    T11 Asia A after near-fatal bike crash.. Just happy to still be here

    No, I didn't loose my mind... It got scared and ran away!!

  3. #3
    One of the best things is to get her around others in her situation who have attitudes that are positive and looking forward to future.

    Maybe download or watch on Sundance The Push Girls and Teal Sherer's My Gimpy Life..to see how other young woman are dealing...maybe she can relate to some of them?

    She needs to get back to school too.
    "The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” ~Carlos Castaneda

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    So she has been home for about two months? She is in secondary shock (the reality of life at home). I agree that focusing on your relationship is primary. As long as she is willing to do her stretching and exercises at home for a few weeks, I would let that be, but not for too long.

    She is feeling very insecure in your relationship and this has nothing to do with you. I disagree with the concept that nothing has changed. Everything has changed but that does not change the way you feel about her. The life she had planned for herself and for the two of you will not happen as she planned. That is a fact. That does not mean that the life you have going forward will not be even more rewarding than the one she had planned. She need to know that you are on this ride with her. She needs to hear it regularly. Hopefully, it will not be too long before she believes it. She sees herself right now as a liability to your life. She is planning on you leaving her because of her injury.

    It sounds as if you have friends over regularly and she hides in your room. Maybe tell your friends that she needs to take it slower. Maybe coordinate your friends so that you two have time alone and she can interact with one or two friends at a time instead of a room full.

    You may also want to consider medical intervention for her depression. By that I do not necessarily mean drugs, though they can be a huge help. Therapy can go a long way. I do not know where you are but any opportunity she has to interact with similarly situated individuals, in a positive manner, will help her. You and I cannot relate to her feeling because it did not happen to us.

    Plan an outing for just the two of you that you know will be successful (dinner not Walmart). Most importantly, try very hard to treat her like you did before her injury. Go out of your way to make her feel more like your wife and less like a patient. Get her best girlfriend to take her for a girly thing (a manicure, a facial, something indulgent).

    Do not push her to go back to school right now. When she has adjusted better, open the discussion by asking what her plans are about completing her degree. While she can probably finish with online courses, she needs the socialization more than the degree.--eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

  5. #5
    Hi Ayden,

    I am T11-12 para. I also became injured at 22 (8.5 years ago now). I was also a semester away from getting my degree when I had my injury. Unfortunately, my injury was in January and I was still covered under my parents insurance so I ended up needing to take a full load of online courses while I was still in rehab. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do!!

    I remember when I came home, I was completely overwhelmed and was afraid to do anything outside of the house. I tried to make people believe that I was fine and go about my day while on the inside, I was screaming and just wanted out of this body that I wished was no longer mine. I was extremely depressed up until about 4 or 5 years post. I had no direction in life, etc...

    I think that focusing on your relationship right now is extremely important. If Sam knows that she truly has someone in her corner no matter what happens, someone who won't judge her, etc.. Then slowly she should get her confidence back. I also would suggest some counseling for both her/you/and possibly together. I wish that I had done this. Maybe if I had, it wouldn't have taken me so long to feel ok with me again.

    Feel free to PM me if you would like.

    Becky
    T8-9 according to latest scoring.......
    since 1/3/04

    I am the best at being me. No matter how that happens to be!!

  6. #6
    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for the responses, lots of good insight and advice.

    Eak - I have tried to do the therapy route for both of us but she refuses. She just keeps saying that if I havr so many problems that I feel therapy is needed I should just save my money and leave. I guess I dont know how to prove its because Ilove her.

    As for friends around all the time, we live with four of our closest friends. We rent the spare rooms out for a little extra money and to cut utilities down. She told me she didnt expect anyone to leave. Im not sure how to fix that because they all have leases till nextmay.

    As far as an outing to leavethe house and show her I love her, I have no idea how to get her to come. I havr set up a few outings to cheer her up, spoil her, and show her I love her.

    At this point Im thinking of getting a cabin on the lake, set the mood, and try to get her to go. If she say no, i cant really force her unless I throw her over my shoulder and carry her.

  7. #7
    Make an appointment with a good counselor (psychologist or clinical social worker) who has experience with both disability and depression. Make the appointment for both of you.

    Tell her you need help dealing with her disability and her reaction to it. Tell her that you need her to attend counseling sessions with you in order to help you. Insist that she go.

    Is she seeing her physician at all? You need to go with her and talk with the provider about her depression and withdrawal. It is at the point where she needs treatment. 2-3 months post discharge from rehab is a very low point for many people...it has finally hit home for her, and she needs help or she will continue to spiral downward. Please keep in contact with the community, and try to get her back on-line here too. It can help.

    (KLD)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Ayden, don't know you, don't know your wife. But I am empathetic to the story you posted.

    Couple thoughts. One, you both have had a recent major change in your life circumstances. It is normal and expected that it will take time to adjust.

    Two, your wife has lost a lot of the control she formerly took for granted. Her fear of losing you is rational, even if don't see it as such. Pushing you away is a way for her to confront her fear, be proactive and gain some feeling of control.

    What to do about the above? Hang in, tighten your seat belt and expect that there will be some bumps and scary parts until you both figure out how to ride this bucking bronco. There will be ups and downs. Be patient and try not to read too much into day to day changes in your moods and attitudes. Reaffirm your commitment, and demonstrate it with your actions. Don't be afraid to fight, but agree to fight fair. Keep your focus on the long haul.

    Getting professional help and seeing how others have gone on with their lives are both good ideas. Life is life. We don't always get to pick our problems. We can pick the way we cope. Good luck to you both.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  9. #9
    SCI-Nurse - She went to a few of her follow up appointments after she was released, but sees no reason to go now. She has stopped going to PT all together with the reasoning that there is no point to it. I can usually get her to do stretches with me, but it takes a lot of convincing on my part. She says she never has energy and everything drains her. I make appointments and she agrees to go, but the day of she always has an excuse to cancel. I don't know how to make her go, I am more than willing to go with her and see what options we have.

    I don't expect to just wake up and be okay with everything, God knows that there is no way I would be able to do that with such a major change in my life. But I don't want to see her give up. I have all the time in the world to help her adjust, I just feel like she has no will anymore. I've done everything I can think of from making everything in the house accessible for her, offering to have hand controls installed in her car, and just being there for her.

    I'm going to make another appointment with a psychologist for both of us to go to. I will try telling her that I need the help with adjusting to everything, I just don't want her to feel at fault. I was reading another post that she had on here about her feeling guilty for everything. I don't want her to feel that way, and I'm thinking that she is putting the blame on herself for everything. My roommate said she had made a comment one day about not wanting to go to PT because then I have to leave work early to take her, and she is sick of me having to make sacrifices for her.

    I guess I just need to think of a way to show her that I don't have to, that I want to. Shes my one, my other half, she just needs to believe that herself. I'm hoping a psychologist can help her see that.

  10. #10
    Senior Member flying's Avatar
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    I think that it just takes time. Its a big transition to except that this is who I am now. It takes a least a year, for it all to start to sink in. So try to have a whole lot of patience with her, and try to take it one day at a time. After a while, it may be helpful to find some upper body exercise to take ones mind off of the (everyday). Wheelchair sports or paddling or hand cycling. But for now it sounds like, doing stuff just reminds her of what she has lost, so she just stops doing stuff, to quit being reminded all the time, of her new reality. Can you really blame her? It just takes a lot of time to adjust. Hang in there, its a big adjustment for you as well, just ask my wife about that.
    T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old

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