I highly recommend talking to someone. anyone… but especially someone trained. When the quad was injured, we saw someone (together and separately) at the Shepherd Center, while he was going through rehab.
She was a trained psychiatrist and had tons of experience dealing with spinal cord injuries, family caregiver and everything in between. When we left, we thought that we had to get a therapist specific to a spinal cord injury.
Well, you don’t.
Finding one isn’t hard… It’s not. You should not over think it like we did. You just need to find someone that you click with and can open up to and talk to… It’s extremely important to have that trust in that person.
I initially saw a woman who made me feel very uncomfortable. So much so that I stopped opening up and instead talked about what she wanted to talk about and that didn’t help either of us.
After more searching, I found a lovely woman in my town who was licensed counselor and was warm and friendly and listened. She was just what I needed. I’d moan and complain and then she’d make me figure out how to deal with it. She’d obviously give me plenty of ideas when I got stuck but in the end, she made me realize that I knew what to do… I just needed to do it.
If you are married, either to someone with a spinal cord injury, or a married parent of someone with an SCI, find a marriage counselor. And again, they do not need to know about SCIs. Most of the problems that arise in our marriage are not about the injury.
We blamed the injury but, after talking with our counselor, we realized that the issues were there BEFORE the injury. And without talking about them and getting to the heart of the matter, they would make things so much worse.
When looking for a counselor, think about what you really want… do you want to talk to a man? a woman? someone older? younger? Someone at a large practice? One (wo)man show? All of these are extremely important since you need to feel comfortable.
Do you want to sit in a waiting room with 10 other people? Or do you want to not worry about anyone else waiting with you?
Look at their hours. Look at the insurance they take. Look at their availability. If you need to see them every week, they need to be able to fit you in! If they cannot, they may not be right for you.
And if you think you cannot afford counseling or do not have insurance coverage, there are many options for free, short-term services. Help is always available. Please find the time to talk to someone.