After sustaining a serious physical injury, most people don’t consider the mental and emotional ramifications of this type of accident. Getting to a hospital and getting immediate medical care is the primary focus, followed by follow-up care and physical recovery. But how does a serious injury affect your mental health?
According to a 2016 study conducted by the peer-reviewed medical journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (SPPE), unintentional injuries have a significant long-term impact on the health of adults. The study indicated that depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common post-injury, and that identifying and managing depression after a major injury is essential in clinical care.
If you’ve recently suffered a major injury, you may find yourself forced to stay partially or even completely sedentary, limited to a small range of rehabilitation exercises. Regardless of your pre-injury level of activity, this can make a profound and negative impact on your mental well being. What can you do to regain not just your physical fitness, but your mental health as well?
Rather than thinking about what you used to be able to do that you can’t do at the moment, stay focused on what you can do, and what you can control. Re-evaluate your objectives and create new goals to strive towards. Something as simple as striving to maintain a modified exercise routine can help you recover from your injury as well as alleviate feelings of depression.
To help deal with the physical pain, discomfort and negative emotions that one can experience post-injury, turning to meditation can help. Although you may think that to sit still and concentrate on your breath might amplify your negative feelings, meditation has the opposite effect. Through meditation, you can begin to reduce stress, calm your nervous system and alleviate depression while supporting optimal physical healing.
Journaling your thoughts and feelings is a great way to connect with forgotten or buried thoughts and emotions. Journaling daily can help you let go of negative emotions, find things you can be grateful for, and remind yourself what makes you truly happy. You might even want to try creating a blog, to share your stories with others who have experienced or are experiencing the same thing, as you chronicle your path to healing.
It’s important to understand why you’re depressed and discuss ways to alleviate that feeling. Even if you’re not able to physically go to someone’s office, you can get therapy online by chat, webcam, or on your smart phone. Talking to a therapist can help you overcome the negative emotions you’re dealing with, while providing you with support and encouragement.
Have you suffered from a serious physical injury, and are in need of mental and emotional support on your road to wellness? An experienced, licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today and let’s set up a time to chat.