Caring for an injured person can put stress on their families, and disrupt relationships — research shows that divorce is more prevalent in couples where one partner suffered a brain injury. It is obvious, then, than one of the main goals of rehabilitation should be to reduce stress — not just for the injured, but for the family.
But how can you reduce stress in life after injury?
No guilty feelings
The first step to coping with the stress of your new “normal”, is to realize that you are not to “blame” for anything you might feel.
It can be easy to grow frustrated, even angry, with an injured person. Our drive to see them recover — to see things go “back to normal” — can set off emotions in everyone involved. This entirely, and completely, normal. You are not a bad spouse, parent, child, or friend, for feeling these emotions.
Communication is key
In dealing with life after injury, communication is key. Help the injured — and yourself — by keeping clear, simple instructions to tasks the injured needs help with.
This can greatly reduce frustrations, since everyone can quickly refer to the written instructions when in need — even the injured person. It can be a very small step that reduces a lot of the everyday stress those caring for the injured face.
With a little help from our friends
Pride can sometimes be exactly what is holding us back. When facing life after injury, you might feel like you need to “do it on your own”. That this is a test, and you have to prove how strong your family is, by overcoming this without anyone’s assistance.
Allow yourself to accept help. Network, make friends. Working together, so that no one person bears the entire burden of keeping things together, can reduce everyone’s stress.
It’s not always easy
Life after injury is not always easy — as many say, it is a journey in discovering a new definition of “normal”, with many ups and down. There are, however, things you can do to help you and your family cope.