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Thread: Is it normal . . .

  1. #1
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    Is it normal . . .

    When do you know its time for serious intervention?????? I mean what is normal "feeling bad" about this insane situation of paralysis as opposed to its time to talk to someone time! We have recently hit a new all time low in our household! We are 4 years post injury and it feels as though we are just now facing "real" reality on so many levels I couldn't even begin to go into all of them now. They range from intimate sexual issues, to normal(?) parenting issues, to daily running a household of six, to serious financial concerns. Its as though we've just completely hit bottom . . . does anyone know what I'm talking about out there . . . I mean is it normal to feel like one minute you're kind of holding your own to just having the bottom fall out on you - literally just like that! I'm probably not making any sense because I'm so overwhelmed by my emotions right now. We have sought help in the past but at this very moment I'm feeling as though no one can really help us except those who have been where we are now. I'd appreciate any comments you all have to offer!! I'm feeling very lonely and sad tonite!

  2. #2
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    Obieone,
    There are others here far more qualified to steer you towards resources that can help you than I am, but I wanted to let you know you are not alone. This whole experience is so overwhelming to both the SCI and the family, physically, emotionally, financially and every other way I can think of. When people see someone in a w/c, they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. I certainly didn't in my prior life. And I think the timing of the "meltdown" varies in individual cases. But again, you are not alone.

    martha

  3. #3
    We're almost four years out now, too. I think we go through 'levels' of crashing, as our abilities to cope develop. Piaget described levels of childhood development as a spiral, rather than a staircase; children go through a learning phase where everything is off-kilter and awkward, then level out as they become 'comfortable' with what they've learned, and then begin another spiral toward a new level of learning.

    I feel like we've been going through that, too. We have a huge 'learning curve' during and shortly after the injury. Learning all that medical jargon and the immediate physical aspects of caring; learning how to deal with insurance companies; dealing with contractors to accommodate our homes. Then comes the learning to deal with our changed relationships with our family members, and the whole dynamics of living day to day. And because the dynamics of living change every day, just as they do with any relationships, we're constantly in a state of rearranging, changing, adapting.

    I know I'm reaching my limit when I hear a little voice inside just schreeching- then it's time for me to do whatever it is I need to do to regain my 'center', my ability to cope and live life with joy and satisfaction again.

    If you've sought help in the past, and it's been rewarding and satisfying to you, then by all means go for it again. It's not a sign of weakness; it's a sign that you've recognized a glitch in the wheel of your life, and want to fix it!

    Know that you have the support of everyone here; we HAVE all been there. Feel free to email me if you like! Jackie

    _____________
    Tough times don't last - tough people do.

  4. #4

    If you think you need help, get help.

    One thing I say is that there IS no "normal" timetable for feeling bad, or grieving. Everyone reacts individually according to their own circumstances. There is no "statute of limitations" on grieving; it's more like what Marmalady was describing as a spiral - it's normal for these feelings to recur periodically no matter whether you're 4 years post or 40. If you're lucky you'll eventually find enough activity in your life as time goes by so that these episodes become less frequent or intense.

    Speaking as a proto-professional, it sounds as if these feelings are making it really difficult to do the things you need to do to get through your day and take care of yourself & your family. I think it might be a good idea to see if your local rehab has a family therapist who is familiar with SCI issues.

    In the meantime, I think it might be a good idea for you to mentally disengage from your family for a moment. It sounds as if you are carrying the bulk of family responsibility, playing caregiver, primary parent, and emotional caretaker as well. No wonder you feel overwhelmed. Do you get any time for yourself at all?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jeff's Avatar
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    Obieone

    Things get easier. Right now you're experiencing pressure from a hundred different directions. It's overwhelming. The more problems you find solutions for the less you'll have bombarding you all at once.

    I've done something for years that has helped me tremendously. I keep a file on my computer and write down things I need to change and what I think I can do about it. I write the problem in detail. I think about courses of action and record them. This frees me from keeping my problems in my head. Sounds too simple to be of value but it has really helped me. I've also been able to get more accomplished this way, in addition to improving my outlook. It just makes life more manageable.

    You can't solve everything at once. It takes a long time. But focus on the worst things first and take action. You'll feel better. Some things just work themselves out but most do not. Separate the two and tackle what you can. Get help when you need it.

    This kind of injury is devastating. It takes digging deep at times to get past the darkness and come out on the other side. But it can be done.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

  6. #6

    A "WISE" man recently reminded me

    To break my big problems down into smaller solvable ones. I am finding this to be the best tool for approaching overwhelming feelings... also, Jeff takes and inventory and writes it dowm as I do, then highlight only the things you can change and control...all else is just noise. Above all take time to care for yourself...in all areas...

    Take care,

    Mary

    I am so far behind I think I am first....

  7. #7
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Your taking time to reply has lifted my spirits alot - thankyou for doing so! One thing I find is that at the change of the seasons I often find myself dealing with a deluge of feelings because of the many physical challanges that come with each one (for my husband I mean)! Winter on the Canadian prairie is daunting enough for able bodies nevermind being in a wheelchair!

    As for time for myself I do try to escape when ever possible. When you live in a rural part of the country you have to be pretty creative to come up with ideas and especially if you just want to be alone. (Not to mention low finances and 3 teenagers to keep an eye on) This forum is often my best hope for sanity!!
    Isolation can be a terrible thing and in a town of 800 souls it most certainly is isolating when you're the only SCI family. Thanks again for your support!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member kate's Avatar
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    Obieone--just wondering

    if your meltdown was related to your birthday, which I noticed happened the day before your post. If so, hey, happy birthday. You might think you're not handling this bizarre life as well as you could, but it's obvious from what you wrote that you're perfectly sane and even capable of laughing at yourself. You know what I wish? I wish we could each somehow take a true break . . . a day as careless and confident as the "before" days. I remember when everybody was healthy, and it was possible to be casual about ourselves. I'm not saying I waste time longing to go back to that, or that I can't accept what's happened, but if I could have just a few hours of heedlessness, I'd sure as hell know how to savor them now.

    Instead I savor the good news about how unimaginably tough I am, how strong my kids are, how sweet and good my marriage is--none of which I quite "got" before.

    Happy birthday again!


    Kate

  9. #9
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    I definitely felt my age this b-day . . .

    You are very perceptive Kate!!! Thanks for the birthday wishes - you could be right I think!!

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