Body Image and Amputation

Amputation can have a big impact on how you might feel about your self-image. After surgery, you may experience a dip in your confidence, lower self-esteem and a sense of loss. Some amputees find themselves going through a grieving process for the loss of their limb. Everyone will experience things in their own way, but whatever you feel, it’s ok. We’ve all been there in some shape or form.
If you’re a prosthetic user you might choose to have one which looks as much like a ‘leg’ as possible so it doesn’t stand out, or you might want it to be the brightest colour to wear loud and proud! Either way, it’s important you do what’s right for you to feel as comfortable as possible.

You might also be adapting to using mobility aids such as a wheelchair or sticks. If you’re feeling a bit self-conscious about them, start small and plan ahead. Start with smaller journeys to build your confidence and get used to being out and about.

A lot of people refer to a ‘normal’ body. What really is ‘normal’? We believe that everyone is uniquely different,  so different is normal!

Here are some tips to help you come to terms with the changes to your body:

?  Remember you are still you! An amputation doesn’t change who you are as a person.

?  Talk to someone about your worries – particularly other amputees. You’ll soon realise you aren’t alone in your thoughts, but you will overcome them.

?  Give yourself the time to process and come to terms with the changes to your body. It’s normal to feel loss, sadness and anger.

?  Think about what your body CAN do, rather than focussing on what you can’t, or think you can’t do. Where there’s a will there’s a way…

If you are in the position of preparing for an amputation, ask as many questions as you can and try to process what things will be like after your surgery. Most people who experience amputation have never met another amputee… that’s where we come in!

There is help out there if you’re thoughts are becoming overwhelming. There’s no shame in asking, contact the FYF Well-being team here or check out the Body Image website.