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The Emotional Toll of Personal Injuries: Coping Strategies for Survivors

coping with injury

Any trauma can have serious emotional and psychological impacts. That’s especially true if the trauma also involves physical injuries that require life changes–even if those changes are temporary. When you’re in pain, dealing with physical limitations, and worried about finances, self-care may be the furthest thing from your mind. But, it’s never been more important for the injury victim and their family to take care of themselves and one another.

Here are some tips and strategies for managing the emotional and psychological aspects of your accident and moving forward.

Dealing with Depression and Anxiety

If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, irritable with your family members or experiencing other mood changes, the first thing you’ll want to do is determine whether those symptoms are psychological or physical. Some injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), can cause depression and other mood changes.

Regardless of the cause, it’s important to get help with these conditions. That may mean medication, counseling, a support group, some combination of the three, or something else. What’s important is that you work with your medical providers and your support system to find what works best for you. Even a partial solution to depression can lighten the load and help you see possibilities and take steps toward a better future.

Find a Support System

Family and close friends are the most immediate support system for most people. Remember that they aren’t just there to bring you lunch and give you a glass of water when it’s time to take your medication. They are likely also suffering emotionally, and it’s important that you are honest with each other about what you’re going through and support one another as well as you can.

You should also recognize that the people in your day-to-day life may not be able to provide sufficient support for you (or you for them). For example, if you’ve suffered a serious injury that will confine you to a wheelchair or won’t allow you to return to work or will have some other long-term impact on your life, you may need to talk to other people who have been through something similar. At the same time, your spouse or other close friend or family member who is helping you may need to talk with other caregivers about their experiences.

Your medical provider may be able to offer you options for support groups, or you may search your type of injury along with your city and “support group.” You may be surprised by how many options are available. You may also be able to find resources by calling 211, a centralized helpline with information about a wide range of services for people in need.

Get as Physical as You Can

Of course, you’ll have to follow your doctor’s orders. But, it’s easy to slip into inactivity after a serious injury, for many reasons. You may be depressed and lack motivation to get active. You may be in pain and find that pain is aggravated when you’re more active. You may not have adapted to new ways of moving if you are physically limited. But, exercise is critical for both physical and mental health, so you should make an effort–even when it’s hard to find the motivation–to do what you are able and is permitted with any medical restrictions you have.

As a bonus, if you can get out in the sun. Sunlight improves mood, strengthens your bones, improves sleep quality, and increases energy, among other benefits.

Think Positive

There’s nothing more annoying than being told to “think positive” when you’re angry, depressed, worried about your future or just generally not positive. But science backs it up. Several studies have shown that maintaining a positive outlook strengthens your immune system, reduces anxiety, makes you happier, and has other benefits.

It’s tough to get started when you’re feeling down, but consciously working on breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and focusing on the positive can help in many ways–in turn making it easier to stay positive. Smiling and laughing are good for your heart and your blood pressure, so take any opportunity to do so.

Get the Help You Need

Getting the help you need starts with finding the right medical providers and getting the best possible care. That includes mental health providers. You also need to be realistic about what you can do for yourself and where you may need additional support. While this seems like a practical issue, having the right people and systems in place will reduce stress and frustration. This may include things like:

  • Help with housekeeping
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Support in caring for your children
  • Modification or rearranging of your home to make it easier to get around

Get an Experienced Florida Accident Lawyer on Your Side

Hiring a local personal injury attorney is a practical consideration. Your accident attorney will take steps to protect your claim and pursue compensation that you couldn’t take yourself, such as investigating and gathering evidence, negotiating effectively with the insurance company, managing deadlines and exchange of information, and preparing your case for trial. But, handing off to a trusted personal injury lawyer does more than take that burden off your shoulders.

Knowing that your claim is safe in the hands of a knowledgeable accident lawyer can eliminate a significant source of stress and anxiety.

Harrell & Harrell is Here for You

At Harrell & Harrell, we have extensive experience working with Florida injury victims. We understand the stress and emotional difficulties surrounding a serious accident, and we’re here to support you and make the fight for compensation as simple and painless as possible. When you schedule a free consultation with a Harrell & Harrell personal injury attorney, we will answer your questions thoroughly and help you understand your options and the process that lies ahead. We’ll fight for compensation while you focus on recovery and rebuilding.

To learn more about how we can help you, call us today at 904-251-1111 or fill out our contact form.