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Depression – The Slippery Slope by LuAnn Kleemeyer

Depression is a dangerous slippery slope. Once you start letting yourself go down that slope, it is hard to get your fingers around something to pull yourself back up. It is a hard way to live and it is hard for people to always understand. When you first become an amputee you can expect to feel depressed. After all your entire life has been turned upside down. It doesn't matter if it was a planned amputation or one that is from an accident; it is still hard to deal with.

What is really important to do first, after your amputation, is find someone to talk to that understands what you are going through, and that is another amputee. This site offers counseling and links to other sites that can help you with that. Find a support group and join it! While there you will hear some of the best information you will ever get from amputees who have been there and done that. I didn't have that kind of luck, a support group, but I did have other amputees reach out to me. They let me cry, they let me ask questions that I thought may sound stupid, but most of all, they gave me a hug and let me know things were going to be OK. I needed to hear that and so will you. It is a scary time in your life and to see another amputee walk into your hospital room is a very reassuring thing. I have since become a Certified Peer Visitor with Amputee Coalition and take great pride being the one helping others now.

Writing your feelings down too can help, get your thoughts out of your head and down on paper. I enjoy writing these blogs as a form of therapy. As I write about what helped me to not be depressed, I realize how far I have come. Another thing I started to make me feel better is I learned how to swim and swim at least 2, if not 3, times a week at our local Y. The water is caressing and I feel normal in the water. I don't need my cane, crutches, or wheelchair to swim. I am FREE! It is also a way to keep your body in shape and flexible. I sleep better at night and it has helped me to keep my weight under control. A win-win.

I have found if I get out of the house and around other people that I feel better. But be around people that fill you up with Joy and not bring you down. When you are around negative or complaining people it is hard to stay up beat. I have had to let a few friends go because they only wanted to compare illnesses and I wanted to move on. So I did! I have found real, true, caring friends at my church.

I volunteer for things I love like teaching a bible study, offer to give your testimony to organizations, (there is always a need for speakers), I joined a coffee group, I take a few classes at our local university, and I get my grandkids as much as I can. My motto even when I had two legs was this: If I must be mad or full of self pity, than do it good. In private, scream, yell, throw something (soft), and mumble about it. THEN- ENOUGH!! I had 24 hours and then I would move on and forget it! This life is too short to waste, so find something that makes you happy and do it!

Blessings on your day!

LuAnn Kleemeyer

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