My Bijou

Spouse Care

My wife is "able bodied". Yet, the accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down permanently injured her too. Only someone who has almost lost a loved one can fully understand the damage it can do to their mental health. It can cause panic, uncertainty, depression, and a whole host of other destructive feelings. The effects are long-lasting. I actually believe my wife was injured worse than me. My injuries are mostly physical, hers are psychological. Here then, are some tips on caring for your spouse's hidden injuries. For brevity I will use "she" here.

Learn to do everything you possibly can for yourself. No matter how small the task, if she doesn't have to do it, she will appreciate your effort to help her.

Let her be angry. It probably wasn't her fault you were injured and she has a right to be angry that her way of life got changed completely. (It probably wasn't your fault either.)

Acknowledge your spouse's feelings. She will feel depressed, angry, guilty, regretful, trapped, the list is almost endless. It doesn't help to explain that she shouldn't feel "that" way. She does feel that way. Let her know that you are aware of her feelings and accept them. She has a tough task and deserves for you to make allowances for her frustrations.

She needs to participate in therapy for herself. Chances are she will be so involved with taking care of you - she will deny herself help. She will feel that she does not have time for her own feelings and problems because you were the one injured. She won't realize that she was injured as certainly as you were. It will be a long time before she understands the extent of her own injuries.

Make sure she takes time for herself - even when she knows there are a hundred things that have to be done. She can't help you if she doesn't give herself some loving, caring attention. It may be as simple as sitting on the porch doing nothing or reading a chapter in a book or going shopping for her socks. She has to take some time for herself to remain healthy.

She will need time away from you. Chances are she turned into a protective Mama Bear who doesn't want to leave your side for fear she will lose you through inattention. She needs time away from you to recharge herself. Shopping with a relative. Seeing a movie. Going to the library. Taking time for physical exercise. She needs some time away from your problems. The more seriously you were injured - the more important it is for her to have some time away from you. If you need to, get someone to stay with you while she gets away for a while. She needs some time away from you for her mental health.

These are mostly just common sense ideas that apply to everyone regardless of whether you are injured or not. But they become even more important if you have been injured. If you are lucky enough to have as loving a spouse as I have - she deserves every consideration you can give her.