Almost everyone experiences some type of “blues” during the winter months. This can be related to the holidays, the shorter days, or the gloomier weather – but hardly anyone is immune! For a new amputee, though, these already difficult months can feel even harder than usual. What are these emotions, and how can you deal with them?
Look for Symptoms
The first thing to do is look for signs that you are experiencing some form of depression. These symptoms may include:
- Changes in appetite or eating patterns
- Low energy levels
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Poor concentration
- Decreased interest or enjoyment of activities you used to like
- Loss of interest in sex
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Feelings of hopelessness, unreasonable guilt, or worthlessness
- Emotions expressed without genuine feeling
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s possible that you are dealing with depression, which may be compounded by the winter season.
How to Deal with Winter Depression
Physically speaking, there are certain things you can do to make the season easier for you. Get plenty of rest, make a point to get out of bed and get dressed every day (and leave the house if possible), and eat healthy foods that won’t give you a sugar crash. Do whatever kinds of exercises you are able to do without pain – get those endorphins running! Avoid alcohol and any other drugs that you don’t absolutely need for medical reasons. And whatever you do like about yourself – now is the time to really focus on those things!
Emotionally, it’s important that you tell someone how you are feeling, and let them remind you that you’re not alone. This may be a licensed counselor or a trusted friend, but you need a confidant. Spend time doing things that bring you some amount of joy, like watching a movie or getting takeout from your favorite restaurant. You don’t need to try to force yourself to “be happy.” Take a little while to do what you need to do in order to feel better. You can also contact an Amputee Coalition Support Group. If you’re not sure where to find one, contact the Amputee Coalition office toll-free at 1-888-AMP-KNOW for information and help.
Mentally, try to avoid making big decisions during this time. Make a commitment to working with your medical professionals, even when you don’t feel like it, so that they can help get you back to feeling normal. Speak positively instead of negatively about yourself and your body. You may not believe what you’re saying right now, but you can change your thought patterns – and it starts with deciding to change them. If needed, consult a psychotherapist to help you with this.
You’re Not Alone!
Here at BioTech, we’re so much more than just a prosthetics and orthotics company. We love our patients like family, and if you need some friendly advice to help you get through the winter, we are more than happy to help. Contact us today for more information!