When you are living with a spinal cord injury (SCI), it can be incredibly lonely at times. You may be on bed rest for months at a time following operations; you may no longer be able to participate in the sports and activities that you once enjoyed; you may feel isolated from your friends. It is important for anybody dealing with a long-term health problem or disability to take equal care of their mental health as of their physical health.
Mental health and loneliness
When you are feeling lonely and isolated, any depression you may already be feeling can be heightened. However, even when you don’t want to socialise, sometimes it can be the best thing for you.
But what do you do when you can’t get out to see your friends? Or when your old friends no longer understand aspects of your life now?
Many people who have sustained a spinal cord injury find that they can take solace in online communities. For some people it might be a community that they were a part of before, and for others a community found later. Good places to start are charities like the Spinal Injuries Association, Aspire, and the peer support website, Apparelyzed.
One thing that is often advised by administrators and moderators of online forums is to never invest more of yourself than you can afford. It is possibly for this reason, why online support is so successful for many people. You have a wider circle of people on whom to lean for support, and they are often people who are in similar situations to you.
Of course, as with any friendship or relationship that begins online, you must always keep your safety as a priority. Especially true for people with SCI is to remember to never take medical advice from the internet. Always check with your doctor first, if you have any questions about your medication, or your physical therapy.