Experiencing the Stages of Grief as an Amputee

Experiencing the Stages of Grief as an Amputee

February 14, 2020 0 By Jose Scott


welcome everybody to today’s session this video is going to talk specifically about how the stages of grief are experienced when it comes to a limb loss or being an amputee when one loses a limb this is a loss and you experience the same stages of grief as one does when they lose a loved one through death and so I want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what the stages of grief are and again what to expect as you move through it just like I said in the video on understanding trauma and amputation how everybody experiences trauma differently this is the same one experiencing grief as well everybody goes through and experiences the stages of grief in their own way and in their own time so this video is just gonna give you a brief overview of those stages and again what you may expect as you go through them the stages of grief can be viewed like this graph unfortunately though it’s not this linear it’s gonna be quite different once we start looking at it so let’s look at the stages of grief the first stage of grief is shock and denial everybody that experiences an amputation experiences shock and denial this can come in a lot of forms but a lot of it is just that initial I can’t believe this has happened or is going to happen and it just doesn’t seem real life seems very surreal and so in this stage it may take a while to really grasp the finality of what’s happened and to realize how life is going to be different forward because that’s the reality life will be different moving forward it can be a good life still and it can be great and you can thrive it just will be different the next stage is bargaining probably those that are experiencing an illness like diabetes and know that the amputation is coming up may go through the bargaining stage and a lot of people do their bargaining with God or their higher power kind of saying something to the effect of if you can just let me keep my limb I’ll change my life I’ll do this or I’ll do that and they go through this period of bargaining hoping that the inevitable won’t happen those that experienced an amputation from an accident and have it done suddenly and unexpectedly probably don’t go through the bargaining stage all that much the next stage experienced is usually anger and this is where we really just start to get angry and resentful and these angry feelings can be towards a lot of people from an illness it could be towards ourselves for not taking care of ourselves it could be towards our family for our genetics it could be towards our doctors who maybe didn’t do all that we thought they should do to keep us from losing our limb but regardless of where the anger is at or towards we do experience a lot of anger and you need to know that this is very normal again don’t get upset with yourself for being angry I tell people all the time give yourself permission to be angry it’s part of the grieving process and if we try to skip it or we try to say we’re not angry or we’re not experiencing any of that at all we might be fooling ourselves now again you may not be angry and that’s okay too it doesn’t mean you have to experience every one of these stages but again most people will experience them in one way or another or at some point or another and then it’s said in one of the other videos it may not happen right away you may have feel really positive in the beginning but as time goes on people find that about a year later they start to feel some of these feelings and start to go through the grieving process a little delayed but it does come so if and when it does don’t be alarmed allow it to happen and going through these experiences it may be useful to talk to a professional as you work through these stages and it’s also important as we talked about in the coping strategies video to have a good support team around you and to have good self-care skills that allows you to deal with these emotions effectively the next stage in the stages of grief is depression and so once we’ve experienced anger we can experience some feelings of sadness depression and even hopelessness at times and again this is very normal part of the grieving process we have just lost a part of us and that is huge so as you go through the stages of grief and you experience each one of these stages you’ll know that you’re you’re going through a very specific process and again each one of these is important for the healing process to be complete the final stage in the stages of grief is acceptance this is where we get to the place that we’ve accepted what’s happened we’re moving on we really are an emotional and physical stable place and we’re no more bothered on a regular basis by what’s happened and we’re functioning effectively and we’re thriving again in life now I wish I could say that going through the stages of grief is a linear process as shown here on the board if it were that easy that would be great then you would know oh I’m at this stage then I’ll be at this stage and then eventually I’ll get acceptance or if I’m there I’m there to stay but unfortunately that’s not the case and if there’s been any time since you’ve had your amputation you know that this is the case it really looks more like this it’s kind of a roller coaster and you might stay in one for a little bit then bounce out stay another one for a little bit and everyday you can go through a wide range of emotions and if not every day every few days every week but the process goes like this for a little while and so if you’re feeling like you’re going crazy or that you thought you were further along and then all of a sudden you’re back to crying or being angry or experience shock and denial again that’s okay too that’s how the grieving process works it is a roller coaster and it does take time how much time well I don’t know again everybody is different some people can get through it rather quickly others can take a long time now it’s important again that you if you feel you’re stuck in any one of these stages I would strongly encourage seeing a healthcare professional that going to counseling talking to a therapist can again help you manage and understand how you’re going through the grieving process it is a process and it does take time just know that you’re not alone and then anybody who has lost something and especially all those in the amputee community really know what this is all about so that’s what I want you to understand in this video is that there are stages it’s not linear it does go forward and backward and up and down and again it is a rollercoaster of emotion and if you feel that way that’s okay that’s normal allow yourself to feel these feelings give yourself permission to have these feelings it is okay so here are the stages of grief and how they relate to experiencing an amputation and yes these these stages also for a lot of other losses and grieving in life but again losing a limb or a digit or any part of our body is again a traumatic experience it’s a real loss and it takes time to heal so at the end of the day what I really want you to do is to have hope I want you to have hope that life can get back to some normalcy again it will be different you will have to cope with a new way of living for the most part or for many but that you can live a full exciting and thriving life in spite of your amputation I’ve worked with many people that have done this and I’m sure you’ve talked to many people that have done this and if you’re at a place that you’re feeling a little hopeless I hope this gives you hope if you’re already there where you have hope and fantastic give back and help others who are feeling hopeless where they’re at I hope you’ve liked this video please add a comment share with me how you’ve experienced the stages of grief or more importantly share with the community how you’ve experienced it and give hope to those who may be watching and struggling until next time make it a great day and make it a great week