Feeling Useless...

ZcollieZcollie Posts: 138Moderator Moderator
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Hey guys, this post is going to be a seriously one/rant. So I am usually an extremely positive person. I always try to focus on the great things about my life, even finding something positive in a negative situation. There are so many great aspects about my life they usually always outweigh the negative. However, today has been a hard one for me. I have taught myself to block out a lot of the things I can no longer do due to my SCI. I don't understand the point in facing them because I don't see how it will make me better. Reminding myself of all the limitations I now have and focusing my emotional energy on them is not going to help me do them. There are certain things I cannot just do anymore and are out of my control. So I push those thoughts away and don't waste my time being reminded about them. "Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be."

This morning my girlfriend hurt her back extremely bad transferring me to the commode chair to do my BP. The transfer was not even a bad one. She just hit the right spot that made her use her back. She instantly felt it and was in tears from the pain. She was able to get me over the toilet to my business, but kept saying the pain was so bad she felt like she was going to throw up. I called my dad to come over and help finish my program so my girlfriend could lay down. He finished my program and got me dressed for the day. The pain was so bad she ended up having to be taken to Urgent Care. All I can do is just sit here and tell her how sorry I am this happened to her. She can no longer do any of my care right now because she needs to rest her back, which I am totally fine with and understand. What hurts me so much is the fact as a man I cannot care for her when she needs to be taken care of. I am still fucking paralyzed and need help with my care. I know it hurts her that I cannot be there more physically for her and seeing how that affects her makes me feel useless. I know she understands I cannot do some of those things but it still makes her sad. 

Then my dad took me to get a new battery for my car because I needed one. We got to the place and bought one. He came out and started to put it in, but of course nothing can ever go as planned. The car was giving him trouble and took much longer than he thought. While my dad is in the hot sun sweating and getting dirty trying to put in this battery. I am sitting in the car just watching him and unable to give him help. I can see he is getting frustrated and there is nothing I can do about it. Again, I am reminded that I am useless in this situation. I know there isn't really anything I can do about it but it really reminded me of my limitations. My dad ended up getting it in and everything was okay. 

I just wanted to vent and get this off of my chest. I know I should not be hard on myself for the things that are out of my control, it is not my fault. However, sometimes it is just hard not to do especially when you are constantly reminded. For those of you who read this thank you for taking the time. I am not looking for positive comments to make me feel better or sympathy. I know I will be okay. I am also just really worried about my girlfriends back and how it is going to affect her. On a positive note! As I stated in the begging trying to find something positive in a negative situation my dad got me a brand new top end car battery for free! It was still covered under warranty and he asked them to check to see if it was because they didn't. He saved me $250!! My girlfriend Bree is home now and resting. She pulled a muscle really bad and it needs time to heal. I know we are going to get through this together it was a tough day for the both of us. 


Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI

Comments

  • jaarchjaarch Posts: 47Moderator Moderator
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    I have had days like that too. They suck!! I have always been one of those guys that can fix anything. I have a shirt that says "If I can't fix it, it's not broken!" So, fast forward after my accident, there are many things I can no longer do because I can't reach them. I enlist the help of my wife or son to get it done. The trouble is, neither of them is as mechanically inclined as I am and they either struggle to get it done or can't do it at all, even with my instruction. It is very frustrating. The worst part is that they get very frustrated as well and that pisses me off because I can't do it myself. We are all getting better so, I think it is just something that will take some time to work through. 
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 149Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie, I read this whole thing. Since you're not looking for positive comments, I'll just say that I hope some good energy works its way into your upcoming week!
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 138Moderator Moderator
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    @jaarch Haha that is an awesome shirt. Yeah it is frustrating when you know how to do something, but cant and have to ask for help from someone else but they don't know how to do it like you would. I can definitely relate to that. Thank you for sharing.

    @BrookeU Thank you for reading it. I don't mind positive comments! I more so just wanted to get that off my chest and wasn't looking for like an answer if that makes sense, but appreciate the positive energy! I think like @jaarch It is just something that takes time(: 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • garrisonreddgarrisonredd Posts: 102Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie I have days like that as well however I can honestly say the good days out weigh the bad and i'm sure its the same for you as well

  • AskNurseLindaAskNurseLinda Posts: 71Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
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    Some days, everything just piles on. It is helpful to find a constructive outlet for your emotional energy. I hope you find that. I can tell that you are an exceptional person that will work through it. That does not make it better but you do have those skills. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

    Register for my next webchat! Sign up here!

  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 212Moderator Moderator
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    Hey @Zcollie ;

    From my perspective as a WAG of SCI - when something like this happens and we hurt ourselves or are sick and can't perform our duties as a caregiver AND partner, it feels terrible. We feel like we can't fulfil our role properly and all we can think about is getting back to normal. I know myself I really just avoid sickness altogether (to the best of my ability) as I cannot stand how difficult it is sitting on the sidelines while either someone else helps my partner or I can't do what I do for him. One of my biggest fears that I get sometimes is what if I cant do this at some point and we are left stranded? It's an issue we all have to deal with on both sides of a caregiver/lover relationship.

    My advice? Communicate and let her know how sh*tty this makes you feel, but most importantly: let her know that although you cant do much physically to help her, you're there for HER while she heals. Do whatever you can to show her you are there emotionally. Sit with her, rub her back or do her favourite relaxing activity with her. Just let her know you are there in every other aspect that you can be. Show her you care and are sorry that this happened. This is all we really need. As long as you believe in her and her ability to heal, and comfort her with your emotional and mental strength, it will be all good. 

    We all know how bad it makes you feel when we get hurt - we know how powerless it makes you feel. And women who are in this role, we feel powerless in that because we are in a position where we may not be able to help you as we did, even if its temporary. I can tell you we feel so guilty that you may have to receive care for your daily routine from someone else, so make sure you reassure her its OK and you will be fine but you want her to heal to the best of her ability without the stress of worrying about you. Show her that its ok. Help her to arrange things to make her feel less anxious about it all - even if you cant do that much help with little things to reassure her. You're NOT useless as much as you may feel that way sometimes.

    Good luck - this is definitely an undesirable situation but be strong - you guys got this. 

    - Brooke (WAGS of SCI)


    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • Dan_GottliebDan_Gottlieb Posts: 14Moderator Moderator
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    The New Yorker once had a cartoon of two vultures sitting next to each other on a telephone wire. One turns to the other and says: "Fuck patience, let's go kill something!"
    I've been practicing my craft of psychology for nearly 50 years now and one of the many things I've learned is that every now and then we just need to rage. Rage that we don't have what we had yesterday. Rage at our own helplessness as we face our loved oved ones who are suffering.
    We cannot tolerate being confronted with our helplessness over and over, so we rage.
    And then we grieve. We cry over what we lost and what we live with. And when we stop crying? Well, I wrote a poem about that:

    Broken Lives and Open Hearts
    Daniel Gottlieb

    When life comes at you bareknuckled and bloodthirsty.
    And you find yourself lying naked and beaten in an unfamiliar land.
    And you feel the world is watching you broken and vulnerable.

    So you hide your anguish, too scared to cry because if you do you might never stop.
    And everything you thought was true is now gone.

    Without a roadmap, you get up. Frightened and fragile, you take your first tentative step into the unknown.

    You go to doctors to heal your body, but the scars are permanent.
    And you see other doctors to heal your broken heart, but those scars are permanent also.

    After the shock and anger and self-pity and resentment;
    When you are too exhausted to fight against the truth of your life,

    You finally sigh and cry oceans of tears. You cry for all you’ve lost, you cry for this good person who suffers. And then you cry for all who suffer.

     And so it begins. It’s different from before. You find yourself not as strong physically, not even strong enough to hide your own vulnerability.

    And then you become aware.
    The air itself smells sweeter and the sun is brighter.
    Your love is less tentative and more generous.
    And you begin loving more people and then all living things.
    And loving it seems easier and more abundant than ever before.

    And close your eyes and hold your life and you realize all of this love comes through the scar tissue in your broken heart.

  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 138Moderator Moderator
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    Thank you ALL!
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 160Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie

    Man, did your message hit home.  What you described has visited my doorstep many, many times.  One of the things that always gets me and I am sure you will all think it is so minor is Christmas.  It was always our tradition to have dad (me) go buy the tree, get it into the stand so it was straight and then put the lights on the tree.  Now I sit and watch and they don't do it exactly as I would so that makes me feel even worse.  I am going to be 68 as is my wife so the risk of her injuring herself helping me not only can happen but has happened.  I also feel useless.  It's that lack of control.  Powerlessness, man that f*@#ing sucks plain and simple excuse my language.  Like you said, it's getting out that is important.  We all know that it is going to pass and better times are ahead.  Well intentioned words don't help much nor should they.  Life is filled with emotions, good and bad and that is life itself.  It is what makes us human.  Peace and love to all...
  • 619Drake619Drake Posts: 18Member
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    @Zcollie
    I am a paraplegic so I have a little more "independance" than yourself and it sometimes gets me in trouble! I recently bought a car and was in the process of adding some protection to the lower door jam. When I transfer into the driver's seat and pull the wheelchair in after me, it can scratch the paint in that area. I was applying some stick on pieces and I couldn't get it right while sitting in the car. Instead of asking for help from my wife (stubbornness isn't paralyzed with a SCI, am I right?), I crawled onto the ground and finished the job. When I went to pull myself back up into the car I somehow twisted or banged my right knee causing my lower leg to break. I was unaware I had done anything for 24 hours, until I noticed a wet spot on my jeans the next day. I ended up having surgery, was laid up in a rented medical bed in our living room for many weeks causing my wife a whole lot more grief and I required so much more assistance from her, if I had only asked her help in the first place! The moral of this story, accept the help when it is provided/available, it may save everyone involved more aggravation down the road.
    I hope my stupidity can make you feel better about your situation. I know your frustration and I am glad you feel comfortable expressing it here. You feel bad your girlfriend is in pain, but imagine her pain/feelings if you got hurt being stubborn like me. Our families and friends wouldn't be around if they didn't want to help us and we as people with physical challenges need to accept our situations.   
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 138Moderator Moderator
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    @619Drake Thank you for sharing that story. It really did help me feel better! I am sorry you broke your leg and how it caused more complications. You are right being stubborn is not caused by an SCI haha. I am definitely stubborn in ways and my girlfriend would agree with that lol. Thanks for the encouragement!(: 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • AskNurseLindaAskNurseLinda Posts: 71Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
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    Hi, 619Drake. I don't want to pile on to your troubles but being a nurse, I have to ask if you have had your bone density checked. It is an easy but very important test. Anyone can break a bone but often bone density becomes low after spinal cord injury. If yours is low, you can get treatment to avoid further problems. This is important. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

    Register for my next webchat! Sign up here!

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