Ask the Experts: Giving Up

Written by Samoana Matagi on December 20, 2021

About "Ask the Experts"

In this advice column for Burn Support Magazine, a panel of experts draws on their personal and professional experience to offer guidance. They do their best to make it good advice, but remember that their opinions and views can never replace the diagnosis, treatment, or care of a licensed physician or mental health professional.

For this issue, the experts shared their answers to "frequently asked questions" they often encounter in their own practices.

Frequently Asked Question: What if I no longer want to fight?

As a Phoenix SOAR peer supporter, one of the questions I often hear during peer support visits is, “What do I do when I no longer want to fight?” Other forms of this question are “I want to give up!” or “I don't think I can do this anymore.” It is a very difficult question, and I don't have a perfect answer, but I can share what I did in my own recovery.

I got to this point after leaving the hospital. The hospital stay had been easy for me because anytime I needed help, I could just ring for a nurse. I didn't feel bad for ringing for a nurse—it was their job and they got paid for it. When I got home, I had to ask my mom for help in the bathroom. Of course, she was willing to help me without pause but I felt so bad for having her do something she had done when I was a baby.

The first thing I did was cry. I cried in the car, at a group meeting, on the couch, in a meeting with my psychologist, etc. I had to find a safe place where I could grieve.

Secondly, I was encouraged to advocate for my needs or ask for help. I had grown a great support system with social workers from the hospital, peer supporters, family, friends, and a psychologist that was a perfect fit for me.

Acceptance also played a crucial role in getting out of that funk. In the beginning, I wanted everything to go back to what it was before. Those expectations were unreasonable. I wasn’t going to grow hands back. Accepting the prosthetics as hands was essential to remove that psychological dam that I had placed in front of me.

It doesn't end there, but that was a good start.

Samoana Matagi
Burn Survivor + Phoenix SOAR Peer Supporter

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