Losing an arm or a leg in an accident can be excruciatingly traumatizing. Not only will you probably have to learn how to function with a prosthetic limb, but your way of life has been changed permanently. Things you used to do without even having to think about them may now loom as big challenges that can feel insurmountable.
Getting past the initial shock is hard, as is dealing with the aftermath. You may go through so many emotions, some immediately, others as you proceed with your healing process. Anger, frustration, grief, sadness, depression and isolation may well up inside you without warning.
One expert summed it up poignantly: “You might feel a sense of loss the same as if you lost a person you love.”
A distinction can be made between losing a limb expectedly if you have a medical condition that necessitates amputation and losing a limb with no warning in an accident. The former you can brace yourself for; the latter, you certainly cannot.
What can happen to you psychologically following an amputation?
People can go through different phases of mourning for their lost limb and their old life.
- Depression may set in as the reality of what took place sinks in. Medications can be useful. If your depression is so overwhelming that you are thinking of hurting yourself, reach out to 911 right away.
- The period of grieving may last a while. That is to be anticipated. You may find it helpful or cathartic to meet with a counselor to work through your feelings or to join a support group where people can express their emotions freely.
Are there solutions? As your adjustment progresses, you may see that certain activities elevate your mood and give you a feeling of accomplishment and structure in your life. Developing an upbeat attitude when you are able to, working towards milestones, and having a schedule are all hopeful signs that you are starting to accept your situation.
Do you have recourse?
No amount of compensation will replace your limb or restore your life to exactly what it was. However, you may want to investigate whether you can file a claim for the incalculable suffering you have endured.