How do I deal with my friends and family who don’t understand my spinal cord injury?—That’s one of the issues that people in our private Facebook group loves to discuss. One recent thread had more than 40 responses, in which members offered support and shared personal experiences.
Question: Name some ways you cope with friends or family that just don’t understand your paralysis.
Here’s a sample of the answers:
Emily: “To a certain point, if they don’t get it– oh well, it’s their issue. But if it’s specific, I communicate and advocate for myself.”
Mike: “I like to randomly yell ‘OMG I can’t feel my leggggggsssss!!!!!!’ really loud just to make sure they are all on the same page as me ?”
George: “Move on — T9 50yrs.”
Don: “It’s interesting to review after 5 decades. Half of them either had little understanding or the compassion of a dead log, and the other half always were and still are supportive and loving.”
Tammy: “Trying to explain how I feel pain below the injury is the hardest part for family and friends to understand.”
Rebecca: “That’s a hard one. Sometimes I get mad but mostly I just try to remember they cannot understand.”
Stephanie: “Going through the journey with them has seemed to open their perspectives on the things we go through. My best friend was the only old friend who actively stayed in my life. She always strives for the best for me, and always considers accessibility for any places we want to visit or eat out at or places or events we want to go to together– always wants me there. My family went through the stigma of nasty stares and bullshit accusations for using handicapped parking until the wheelchair came out. So I’d say it’s more the wider community that needs to understand, more than close friends or family.”