Someone that possesses a physical disability experiences a constant feeling of sadness that can lead to depression. The chance of developing depression in a person with a physical disability occurs more often than in someone with no physical impairments. People in life take their state of health for granted, and when it disappears, they experience a loss of identity, which in turn leads to periods of prolonged sadness. Sofia Bergbom stated in a physical therapy magazine about the significant impact of disabled patients and their feelings of stress and depression. The results stress the importance of assessing and targeting prognostic factors.
Moreover, the results suggest the need to tailor treatments to match patterns of prognostic factors and the need to target depressed mood and pain catastrophizing in physical therapy interventions. “(Bergbom, 1)This entire experiment done proves the mental illnesses shown are in direct relationship with people who have become physically impaired. In a story about a professional climber, Deines-Jones describes John Donlou’s physical condition after the climbing accident that took his left arm. John Donlou lost his right arm in a mountaineering accident, but more damaging than his physical disability was his loss of self-esteem”(DeinesJones,1). The accident that disabled Donlou causes his psychological state to be affected, which remains very common among survivors of such events.
When humans have a problem with themselves, even if not noticed by another human, have a sense of insecurity due to the fact that they do have a problem. This idea can be shown in people that have eating disorders and constantly force themselves to lose weight. Although they possess no actual problems, they have a constant feeling that hey do. People who suffer from a physical disability feel this sense of insecurity also, and a diminished self-esteem can cause a wide variety of psychological problems. In The CrazyHorse Electric Game, after Willie’s injury, he runs in the morning when nobody can see him because he is insecure about his looks and the way he moves.
“He has a purpose running this early in the day: It’s dark; no one will see… He envisions the neighbors looking out their windows at the Weaver Cripple stumbling by; shaking their heads, telling each other what a shame, he had so much potential. No way. Willie will run in the dark. (Crutcher, 65) Depending on the severity of the injury, someone may have to rely on others to help them in their daily lives. Some people while recovering from a serious injury have to learn how to eat, drink, and even talk. During all of this, the victim feels like a burden to the people helping him. In the novel, Crazy Horse Electric Game, Crutcher shows Willie’s frustration with the pity that his friend’s demonstrate.
“Willie’s old buddies are gathered around him, wanting him to feel comfortable, trying too hard, and Willie feels the added burden of trying to make them comfortable with his condition. (Crutcher, 72) The insecurity remains not the only thing victims have to worry about. Many times, when a person goes through a traumatic event that leaves them injured, they will have temporary flashbacks, which can also be called post-traumatic stress disorder. This also leads to future issues that prolong the actual pain of the injury sustained. In addition to the depression and flashbacks a person may have, there also becomes fear factor in everything a person does from there on in their lives.
Constantly worrying about being hurt worse, being over protective about certain things they do, and living in constant fear of the traumatic event happening again. Although someone will be depressed due to the nature of their disability, a major wall to overcome for a victim exists the withdrawal from their former lives. This leaves many people wondering if they can return to their former selves. Someone who formerly lived an active, healthy, outgoing lifestyle is now sentenced to do things according to if their body can handle it or not.
Crutcher shows how Willie misses his former life as an athlete many times and how Willie cannot accept the fact that he no longer can be the star athlete. “… He’d give anything to step back over that tiny sliver of time-the point of impact with the water ski-and just be a hair more cautious; back off the edge just enough. But the circumstances that allowed the Crazy Horse Electric Game to be will never happen again, because he can’t step back. “(Crutcher, 87) Willie would give anything to return back to the moment when he became the hero of the baseball game, he wants to return to his sports. Those are the most important things in his life.
A person wanting to remain active becomes just one of the actions they can no longer partake in. There may stand multiple activities they can no longer participate in. Returning to John Donlou, he had to quit his former job because his body could no longer handle the position he was in. “Donlou candidly talks about his bitterness at having to retrain for a new career (previously an anesthesiologist, he became a psychiatrist) and his despair that he would no longer be able to lead a physically active life” (Deines-Jones,1). Someone having to completely change their line of work can take a major toll on their self-esteem.
Many times as a child, there would be days when children were not allowed to go out and play like the rest of the children, and as a child, there was a definite sense of isolation. In the novel Crutcher produces Willie as extremley jealous of everyone who is able to be physically active, which becomes another issue for impaired peoples. She’s getting all the stuff you used to get right? And she wants to share it with you like you used to with her right? And that would be okay if with you if you were still getting it, but now it just taps into what you’ve lost and you get angry at yourself and angry at the world right? Crutcher,98) People who are physically disabled have this feeling of being alone, all the time. There are many psychiatrists that attempt to council the victims and people attempt to support them, but there is always a sense of being alone because nobody is there to feel what that person is going through. Crutcher displays Willie in this situation when he receives therapeutic help. “A guy gets a little twisted out of shape and everybody decides he’s crazy.
He looks at his watch; he’ll give this Mr. Wheat, M. A. , five more minutes. And he’ll tell him right off. (Crutcher, 83)Willie shows here how he dislikes that he needs to be spoken to about his issues. If someone is placed in some sort of hospital with people of similar circumstances, this can sometimes make the situation worse. The treatment of the disabled is not always the best in the United States. This essentially imprisons a person and can easily lead to major depression, which is hard to recover from. . When someone becomes affected by a severe illness, not only are they physically affected, it also has a major affect on the people around them, mainly their family.
Researchers have shown that parents that have become physically disabled are more likely to become isolated from the families, mainly because they feel like they are not strong enough to support them and are embarrassed of themselves. (Kanyusik,2) The victim of the injury is not the only one having to adapt to a new lifestyle, the family members are also impacted. Family members will have to help with recovery and depending on the severity of the disability, have to help with simple household tasks. If the person injured is the caretaker for the home, they may be out of a job and are no longer able to support their family.
Not being able to provide for one’s family leads to a feeling of guilt which can then snowball into more severe mental problems. In a story about a disabled male veteran, Will Kanyusik portrays the difficulties Homer Parish faces when he returns home from war after losing his hands in ombat. “Homer Parish returns home after losing his hands in an aircraft carrier fire that ends his military career, and faces difficulty negotiating newly altered relationships with his loved ones while adjusting to the physical limitations faced by a double amputee. (Kanyusik, 1)
Homer felt the impact right of his impairment right after he returned home and he had to cope with the fact he could no longer provide for his family. When someone feels like they cannot fulfill what they were meant to do in life, it can cause major psychological problems. This can be explained by the Hierarchy of Needs created by Abraham Maslow. This states the needs for a human in order for importance, with the need for safety, self-esteem, and selfactualization being the most important.
He stated that if you fulfill what you are destined to become in life, you should have no problems, but for someone who has been dragged down by physical disability, it becomes much more difficult. (McLeod,1) People in their lives work to achieve a certain goal, once becoming physically impaired, they can no longer experience, or work towards that goal. It will also crush one’s sense living. A crushed sense of living will be the downfall for a person experiencing this. Chris Crutcher shows some dark thoughts that Willie has after his accident.
“He has thought of suicide. Seriously. And it’s scary. (Crutcher, 93) Having this state of mind shows the deeper, darker side of the psychological problems that Willie faces. Many people facing the problem of disability will turn to the worst possible thing anyone could do. In the novel, Crutcher displays the psychological effects of physical disability through Willie Weaver, the main character. Willie begins the novel off as the popular, outgoing, and athletic kid that everyone loves to be around, but after a terrible skiing accident that left his speech impaired, and the left side of his body less active than the right, his life slowly goes downhill due to his loss of self-esteem.
The worst part about this is that Willie is pushing away not only his friends, but his mom and dad also. When a human is around someone who is disabled, the natural response is to feel sorry and empathize for them, which is exactly what Willie dislikes. It causes him to easily be upset and he even lashes out on his girlfriend once because he was sick of the sympathy. Chris Crutcher describes a moment when Willie’s girlfriend watches him suffer and describes the pain she seems him go through.
She had watched him work so hard for his words, felt the pain of wanting to help, to talk for him in those long silences when he struggled to get what was in his head out through his mouth; watched the beads of sweat break on his forehead as his stomach tightened, his throat constricted, pushing, forcing the words out. (Crutcher, 64/65) Also, many times Willie would be sitting alone, he would be thinking about whether or not the people around him would be better off without him. This was the major example that proved that there was a major psychological impact on Willie from his accident.