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10 Tips for Coping with a Spinal Cord Injury

Coping with life after a spinal cord injury (SCI) can be incredibly difficult. However, you don’t have to go through this adjustment alone. Mason Ellis, a spinal cord injury survivor, has made a series of videos to help other SCI survivors.

In his latest video, Mason highlights ten tips for coping with a spinal cord injury, including:

  1. Know the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Sadness, Anger, Bargaining, and Acceptance. Knowing the stages of grief can help you move through them so you can get on with your life. Mason points out that it took him a while to reach acceptance.
  2. Give Your Injury Time. Recovering from and adjusting to a spinal cord injury takes time. You don’t need to rush things. Yes, being motivated and wanting to get on with your life is important, but you also need to give yourself the time you need to get better.
  3. Know That Not All Spinal Cord Injuries Are the Same. Don’t feel that you have to compare your injury to others—even those who have the same kind of injury. For instance, if you have a C5 complete SCI, you may experience more or less paralysis than another person with a C5 complete SCI.
  4. Have Patience. After a spinal cord injury, you’re not going to be able to do everything you could before right away. It’s important to be patient and give yourself the time you need to adjust. This tip is closely related to #2, as it emphasizes how things will take time.
  5. Realize That You’ll Need Help. You shouldn’t face a spinal cord injury on your own. Accepting help after being partially or completely paralyzed isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s better to ask people to help you out than to be silent and go unaided.
  6. Get into a Routine. In the first year or two, you probably aren’t going to be used to your injury, which can leave you feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to get used to being in a routine for catheterizing, taking medications, planning restroom breaks, and more. Settling into a routine helps to make things a bit easier to manage, and the sooner you set these habits, the easier they’ll be to maintain.
  7. Stay Positive. This is a piece of advice you always hear, but it’s still important. The more you can stay positive—the more motivated you can be—the more likely it is that things will eventually go your way.
  8. Take Control. Mason points out that “nothing’s going to get better until you take responsibility for your actions.” By being positive, taking control, then setting and following through on personal goals, you can do a lot to lead a fuller, more productive life.
  9. Look Ahead. You probably had plans and goals before getting injured—spinal cord injuries don’t necessarily mean having to abandon those future plans. Set goals for yourself, or revise your existing ones and work toward them. Staying active like this can help improve your ability to adjust and your positivity following a SCI.
  10. Have Faith. Mason urges SCI survivors to “Believe in yourself.” Know that you are more than just your injury. Faith, whether in yourself or in a higher power, can help you cope with your injury and make you the best version of yourself.

From everyone here at Spinalcord.com, we hope that you enjoy Mason’s video and that it helps you and your loved ones!

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