There’s a significant effect brought about by scoliosis not only on the person suffering from it but to the family, friends, and relatives of the person as well. The following guide will help us better understand our loved one who is living with scoliosis and allow us to gain better knowledge on how we can support them.
Be Mindful Of Your Words
Our words can be very influential so we should use them to provide a positive perspective in life. “Harsh words are just as damaging whether they come from someone else or whether they come from you,” says licensed psychologist Cindy T. Graham, PhD. Instead of negative references like “hunchback” or “hump,” it is better to use “arch” or “curve” as these words sound better.
Be Supportive And Encouraging
In the United States alone, up to nine million people are believed to have scoliosis, and an estimate of 100,000 people are annually diagnosed with it. Let them know that they are not alone and scoliosis can happen to anyone even to famous athletes, celebrities and many others who didn’t allow it to hinder their success.
Joining support groups for people with scoliosis can help us learn more about the concerns they encounter daily. These support groups also welcome the family and friends as their members. Getting involved in these groups will allow you to achieve better knowledge about scoliosis and its impact on the lives of other people. The sharing of experiences, ideas, and points of view are essential tools for you to be able to support your loved one better.
People who have scoliosis deal with the condition either openly or reserved. However, there’s no correct way to deal with it. There are just some people who are not afraid of talking about it but let’s not tell the others that they should be doing the same. It is necessary to learn how they feel about it first before taking matters into our hands which they may not appreciate. Ask permission first if you want to bring it up. Listen to what the person with scoliosis has to say and learn their state of emotion. Remember that it is up to them to decide if they want to share it or not.
There can be times we tend to offend a person with scoliosis without realizing that they are living with it. It is difficult to take back a misspoken word. The person who heard it will get hurt. Your intention may be good asking them to sit up straight until you realize the case afterward. Remember that posture is something more natural than being controlled.
Be Alert For Signs Of Depression
The University of Minnesota conducted a study that teens with scoliosis are more susceptible to depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, we often disregard the impact of scoliosis on the emotional state and self-image of the person. If you know someone with scoliosis who shows signs of depression, take time to ask them if they want to talk about what’s bothering them. Understand that “Depression is different from passing sadness or temporary frustration with life’s issues. There are number of common signs for depression and they tend to be persistent.” Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC said.
However, if their state of depression seemed severe or they show no signs of recovering, then help your friend seek immediate professional counseling. If you notice that your friend with scoliosis is struggling with mental health issues, it is best to acknowledge it and get professional help.
Be Compassionate But Not Condescending
Some of us may have thought about scoliosis as something not severe, or it is just a little “curve,” but we are gravely mistaken. Scoliosis can cause muscle pains and difficulty in breathing. It lessens the ability of the affected person to do daily chores, and these chores become more difficult and stressful. People with scoliosis may have been complaining about it but think about how long they bore with it and stayed silent.
At this point, they may be at their limit and need to say how they feel. In this situation, your pity may not be helpful and may even make them feel sorry for their condition, and we don’t want that. As much as possible, try to encourage them and help them overcome their challenges.
Be Honest And Optimistic
At some point, we all need to know the truth about our loved one’s condition. We can be afraid and unsettled knowing about the facts of their scoliosis. However, we should not be crushed by it and instead keep a positive outlook. We must believe that there are plenty of things to enjoy in life and these “curves” should never stop us.