Written by: Beth Hudson, LBKA
Happy New Year everyone! Hope 2023 brings you everything you are willing to work for! I came across this short and was actually thinking about this very topic - serendipitous maybe?
Please watch the short, and then continue to read…..
I 100% agree with this video even though I've been known to be that positive person where people perceive me to never be down, never be hurting, never feeling like I’ve taken two steps backwards, etc., etc., etc. But Jo is right - we must be willing to acknowledge that life with a limb loss/difference is not all rainbows and unicorns. We are setting ourselves up for massive failure if we think that nothing will ever be less than a positive experience - that’s true in the larger picture of what we call “life”; it certainly does not apply only to the LL/LD community.
Jo says, and I quote, “I do not believe for a single second that positive thinking is worth a damn unless we are also willing to admit and feel the depth of what we are pushing through.” As we continue on our journey, what we need to “push through” changes. At the beginning, we have to push through everything, relearning even the most basic of skills. If you read my last blog, those are a lot of “somethings.” As we learn to deal with our situation, which is unique to each of us, we may need revision surgery, we may need to switch which kind of prosthesis we need, and there are very few amputees I know who don’t deal with tertiary problems that arise directly from their amputation. Not acknowledging setbacks is emotionally damaging to both us and our loved ones.
I read a FB post the other day about a fairly recent amputee and their partner - they stated that they just “lost it” and cried until there were no more tears. They were able to acknowledge the difficulty from both an amputee’s and a caregiver’s point of view. Amputation is hard and scary, we discover who our “good” friends are and which family members are truly supportive. (Someone at one of my support groups actually was given a “due date” at which time the family would withdraw all support because they demanded that the amputee be fully healed and functional by that date!) Crying allowed this couple to acknowledge the difficulty of their situation. Posting it on FB, acknowledging the hurt and difficulty, and asking for support was the key to getting themselves back on track.
Putting on a positive face while internalizing the negative can create disastrous results. Both my husband and I sought therapy after my accident, and it was helpful. As I’ve said before, if you break a leg, you get it casted and let it heal; same goes for your mental health - let’s all help remove the stigma.
Need a day? Take it. Need an outlet? Find one. Rethink failures as learning opportunities. Try again when you’re ready. Find someone farther along in the journey and pick their brain. Find what works for you.
Watch Jo’s short as many times as you like. Think about her philosophy and decide for yourself if you agree with her. There is nothing wrong with positivity and reaching your goals, but it is an empty victory if you never acknowledge the other side of the coin. And in my opinion, her video short portrays a very healthy attitude.
And remember: You never know how much strength you have until you are called upon to use it.