Every injured worker is unique, however we (workers) define a majority of ourselves by the work we do. Some of us have worked very hard and long to obtain our job status and our personal investment in our work can be enormous. For this reason alone, “career” people have— probably— the worst time when they become seriously injured and disabled. For those who made massive efforts to climb the “career ladder” only to lose what they accomplished due to injury/illness can be shattering.
Challenges seriously injured workers face – part 3: loss of self esteem
Once injured workers have lost the job they have worked for so hard and so long due to a serious injury and/or disability, they all sooner or later realise the worst thing about their new state: IT IS BORING!
As discussed in our previous article, this is why it is extremely important that you create a new structure and routine for yourself to keep yourself busy and sane.
However, just because you are disabled, it does not mean that you cannot be “busy”. You will obviously be more physically (and or mentally) limited than before your work incident, but you will need to try to make the most of your time.
Many seriously injured and disabled people feel, at least initially, a sense of shame due to their ‘new’ state of being [disabled].
You must remember that it was not your choice to become seriously injured and/or disabled. However, it is your choice whether to give into depressive thoughts and attitudes and thinking that you need to remove yourself from society just to avoid having to tell anyone you are disabled and are having problems. There are countless seriously injured and disabled people, many just like you. For this reason alone, you need to get out and interact with the world. The TV (and your bed) should not be your best and only friend. Chances are you will have the opportunity to meet new people and be exposed to new ideas that you never would experience if you were still working.
If you (or your family/close friends) believe your condition is overwhelming you should seek psychological counseling. It is also a good idea to take part in support groups with people suffering from a similar sort of injury or disability. Misery loves company. You will find out from other injured and disabled workers that there are (some) solutions to many of the problems you are experiencing.
Whatever you do, try not to lose your sense of humor, especially about yourself. Try to find some humor in your disability. As you probably will find out, self-deprecation is a very humbling and attractive personality trait. Everyone appreciates honesty peppered with humor!