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May is National Mental Health Awareness Month! Mental health struggles can be an issue for anyone but it’s not nearly as much of a struggle for abled people as it will be for someone who is stuck in bed and can’t do a whole a lot because of a surgery that requires bedrest. In a few months I am going to have another surgery to fix my fractured femur and with that comes with weeks of bedrest. Depression is common amongst disabled people but it is even more likely for people on bed rest to become sad and struggle with their mental health. I am no stranger to depression after surgery because I have dealt with it after most surgeries but for more major surgeries it’s a little bit more of an issue. When I had my hip replaced I was on bed rest for several weeks which is not something I have never before but it was different this time. I had more pain than I was expecting and because of the my mental health took more of a hit than it normally would have. I get a lot of visitors but people can’t see with me all the time because they have lives and I don’t expect anyone to stop their life to make me happier. In this post I am going to talk about how I manage my mental health while being stuck in bed and prevented myself from getting severely depressed.
Surround yourself with positive people- The people you hang around when you are stuck in bed is so important for your mental health because it can either help you cope and improve your mental health or do quite opposite. In the past, I was not comfortable with sharing details about any surgery publicly I because I was in toxic friendships that would complain to me about how horrible the flu was which irritated in ways I didn’t think was possible. Surgery recovery and having the flu are not even in the same ballpark and if you think there are similarities you have never had to experience both because if you had you’d be begging for sickness. Some people are not going to understand how sickness and surgery are different and you shouldn’t expect them to but it’s a little insenstive to complain about your life when someone is in the hosptial with pain and needs your support. If someone is not good for your mental health give yourself some space from that person because there is no one on earth that you need to talk during your recovery that is worth worsening your mental health. The people you follow on social media is even important because if you are consuming negative content while your stuck in bed it will change your whole mindset on your situation and it won’t be good change. I don’t think I would have gotten through the last year because support doesn’t end with people you know personally but also the content you consume online.
Unsubscribe from all fitness channels- Fitness has always been a priority for me because when you have Spina Bifida because you are more prone to things like osteoporosis which sometimes is preventable if you are eating well and strengthening your body. When had hip replacement surgery I was subscribed to many fitness channels and worked out five to six days a week but after I had surgery I unsubscribed from them all because there is nothing worse than getting a bunch of workout notifications that you can do. I still keep up with my exercises during my recovery but it has not been the same because I can’t do the same workouts I once was able to and it’s not as enjoyable. Instead of subscribing to a bunch of fitness channels where I can maybe do ten percent of them I search for specific body parts that I know I can work and have not been affected. I still get sad when I think about how much less mobile I am especially when it comes to fitness but it’s not nearly as bad as it would be if I was seeing every single workout and wishing I could do them. If I get my movement I will subscribe to fitness channels again because they have truly helped me improve myself but until then it’s better to do things the long way and search for them manually.
Find other activities to entertain yourself- TV marathons are great if you are in severe pain and don’t feel like moving but after a while it gets old and want to do anything but watch tv. For the first two or three weeks after my surgery I watch a lot of tv because I am hurting too much and don’t feel like doing anything that requires more energy than hitting buttons on the tv remote. Aftter that I get bored with tv and it doesn’t matter if all my favorite shows are at my finger tips I don’t care to watch any of them. When I am expecting to be on bedrest for a while I look for other activities to entertain myself becuase if I didn’t I would feel like there is nothing to do which would drive be crazy and make depressed. You are never going to feel like you are having fun while stuck in bed but new activities can make the process go by a little quicker than if you were just sticking to one thing.
Talk to a therapist- I have gotten depressed for almost every surgery I have had and sometimes even cry a little but I have never gotten so depressed that I can’t function. Some people who have had less surgeries than I have may struggle with their mental health more and that is okay because we all have our own struggles. Surgery recovieres should not make you so depressed that you don’t see a point in life anymore and if you are getting that depressed it may be time to consider calling a professional. If you are on bed rest you probably can’t your home and that is okay becuase there are tons of online therapy options that can help you through your state of depression. You should never use being stuck at home as a excuse to not take care of your mental health because there are options!
Write to cope with your emotions- For minor medical procedures, my blogging schedule often does not change but for bigger surgeries, it can because I am in too much pain and would be comprising quality which is never a good idea. For the first few weeks after a major surgery, I don’t always create as much but I still write even if I decide not to publish it. Some people find joy in sharing their thoughts publicly to help others which is great because we need those kinds of people but it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Writing can improve your mental health whether you are are sharing your thoughts publicly or keeping it private and you are the only one reading it. I started my blog from things I was writing privately that I thought I should share but even if you are a public figure it’s okay if you are not comfortable sharing every single detail about your life becasuse even people who do it for a living deserve a little bit of stress-free writing.
Remind yourself it’s going to get better- When you have had such a long surgery recovery sometiems you get a little anxious and start to focus on everything that is bad about your situation. My hip replacement recovery has been over a year which is longer than any other surgery I have had and sometiems it’s hard to see a light at the end of tunnel. When all your independence is taken from you it’s easy to become negative and start telling yourself it’s always going to be that way. I keep reminding myself that things may not be improving anytime soon but one day it will and my life will be so much better because of it. My hip replacement recovery has been much longer than I ever thought it would be but my mindset has been everything and because I have been working on looking for all the good things about my recovery it doesn’t feel like it has been that long. When are stuck in bed and bored it’s easy to have a negative mindset but you want to try not to because it will make things go by faster and improve you mental health.
Surgery has always been part of life and always will be but is necessary for some people to improve their quality of life. I struggled with my mental health after having hip replacement surgery, but my mental health struggles were from loss of movement not because I was lacking a support system. I am so grateful that I have a wonderful support system that gets me through all my surgeries because not everyone has that. I have gotten depressed with almost every surgery I have had but my mental health struggles have not been anything like hip replacement surgery. I wish doctors would start requiring thorough mental health evaluations before surgeries because if you are in the wrong mindset before a major medical procedure, it might not be the best idea to do it immediately. If your health is not a medical emergency, it’s okay if you put surgery off for a few months to improve your mental health because there is nothing worse than having poor mental health to begin with and putting yourself in situation where it could get worse. How do you manage your mental health when you are recovering from surgery and on bedrest?