Cultivating Resilience After Spinal Cord Injury Trauma

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on February 16, 2021 # News

When an individual sustains a spinal cord injury (SCI), there is no one path for coping with the emotions and the adjustments that need to happen. Many people have feelings of being lost, isolated and angry as they adapt to how best to navigate their changed lives. We have partnered with the Shepherd Center to bring a new video series, Cultivating Resilience After Spinal Cord Injury Trauma.

In this video series, individuals express how they felt about their injury, the challenges faced along the way and the impact it had on them. In addition, the insights from counselors and medical professionals provide a roadmap for processing those feelings and building resiliency.

The topics covered in this series include:

Process of Emotional Adjustment after SCI – The Emotional Rollercoaster

Since sustaining a spinal cord injury, do you feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster? Do you feel like you are living someone else's life? The process of emotional adjustment after spinal cord injury can take many paths. Connect with other people, like you, who share similar feelings by exploring shock and disbelief, feeling overwhelmed, denial, spiritual distress and gratitude. Learn how to define your feelings, build your confidence, and allow yourself to heal emotionally.

Re-Connecting After Injury

Do you ever ask yourself, "Who am I now"? Do you struggle with relating to yourself, your family or friends? Changes in your role in life and who you are now can be very challenging to your identity, confidence and relationships with other people. Discover who you are now and allow yourself to be redefined and to build relationships.

Re-examining Values and Beliefs

Have you ever asked, "Why me?" or "Why did God let this happen to me?" After a traumatic injury or illness, it is normal to reflect on your values and beliefs. Finding solace in your current situation can be very challenging. Learn to redefine your values and priorities with who you are now. Rediscover your beliefs and faith by connecting with others with spinal cord injury. Get advice from counselors and spiritual leaders.

Is it Normal to Feel Sad or Depressed?

After sustaining a spinal cord injury, feeling loss, sadness and even depression is a typical experience, but they can seem overwhelming and take the joy out of your daily life. Have you ever thought about hurting yourself? In this video, hear from other people who have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts and discover how they coped with helpful advice from counselors. Learn about new resources and how to get the help you need.

Anxiety and Fear

Have you ever had a panic attack or been overwhelmed by fear or anxiety? Anxiety and fear can dominate your life after a traumatic injury. In this video, learn how to calm your fears, cope with stress and what to do if you experience a panic attack.

Feelings of Guilt After Injury

Do you feel guilty that you survived or caused the accident? Do you feel guilty because you cannot financially provide in the same way for your family? Do you feel like a burden? Guilt is a common feeling that can overwhelm your daily life. Learn how to cope with these feelings and empower yourself to ask for help and negotiate your role and responsibility in your everyday life.

Feeling Alone After Your Injury

Feeling isolated and alone is not uncommon after sustaining a spinal cord injury. In this video, explore and connect with individuals who discuss their experience of isolation and loneliness. Learn how to cope, build your confidence and reconnect with those around you.


Do you feel angry about the accident, your current situation and changes in your life? Are you angry about surviving and for having to rely on other people to help you? Anger is a normal emotion to feel after a traumatic injury or illness. In this video, learn effective ways to express your anger, cope with daily life challenges, and use the anger to motivate you productively.

Finding Your Voice - Advocacy

Do you know how to advocate for yourself and effectively speak up for your needs? Do you know your rights and how to ask for accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Advocating for your needs can be tricky. Learn from the experience of others with spinal cord injury. Get advice from counselors for practical approaches to express your needs as you find your voice to take charge of your life effectively and respectfully.

View the full series on our YouTube channel.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.