What Can I Do About Concerns About My Appearance?

If your scars are visible or if you are returning to work with adaptive equipment or other treatments that are visible, such as pressure garments, splints, or bandages, you might worry about how people will react to you.  Gradually getting back into the community and being around other people is a positive step in your recovery and gaining your life back.

It is a good idea to have some planned responses to questions about your appearance and the accident. We recommend having different responses ready for co-workers, customers, casual acquaintances and complete strangers you might encounter on the bus or in the grocery store. Rehearsing your responses ahead of time will help. You might also think about how you want to handle stares from others. The free online tool “Behavioral & Enhancement Skills Training (BEST) –  Life Strategies to be Comfortable, Confident, and Competent in any Social, Work or School Situation” is designed to help people with burn injuries to develop the responses and skills they need to feel comfortable in social situations and returning to community life. You can find this on the Phoenix Society website at www.phoenix-society.org/programs/bestimageenchancement/.

Counseling can also help if you are feeling worried or fearful about changes in your appearance or having to answer questions from co-workers. Feelings such as these are normal, and people with burn injuries often find counseling very helpful. Your health provider can help you find a counselor who has experience working with people who have had burn injuries.