Finding positives after having a burn

This section covers:

  • Re-evaluating what matters
  • Becoming stronger and more resilient
  • Helping others in similar situations

People who have been burnt, or have children who have had a burn, will experience lots of different emotions whilst they are recovering and beyond. We spoke to some people who, with time, felt that there were some positive outcomes throughout their lives, which were often unexpected.

Several people recounted how, over time, they reflected on their burns and began to see them as a source of positivity in their lives in various ways. Claire’s approach was to “try to look for the positives because there always are [some] in any situation and [in] how you’ve come through it”.

Though she recognises that feeling positive about a burn may seem “crazy” to others, Helen Y says she is glad the burn happened now.

Re-evaluating what matters

Many people shared stories of personal growth and positive behaviour changes after a burn. Frazer told us that at the time he was burnt he was a smoker. He was told by a doctor that he would likely need a skin graft on his burn unless he gave up smoking, because a side-effect of smoking is constricted blood vessels and less blood flow due to nicotine. As he did not want a skin graft, he quit smoking and saw this as a positive outcome of the burn. In general, Frazer says he now is “taking better care of myself”, including moisturising his skin more.

Frazer quit smoking after he was burnt to avoid having a skin graft.

Sarah told is how being apart from loved ones whilst in hospital, or attending many appointments, made them value time spent together all the more. Charlotte said she is “so grateful” for her life and the people she values in it, including her family.

When Gary was burnt as a teenager, he had to reevaluate his career choices due to the severity of his burns. He could no longer pursue his dream of being a professional footballer as he had to have a lower leg amputation. Initially, Gary found it difficult to accept his burns, but he now views them as a blessing.

Gary believes he would never have experienced certain opportunities if he hadn’t been burnt.

Some people were able to accept their scars and their appearance more generally after they were burnt. They saw this as part of their uniqueness, and they viewed this as a positive. Many of the people we spoke to told us that having a burn made them view appearances as “unimportant”. Charlotte believed that it is what is on the inside of a person and their personality that makes them “beautiful”.

Rhian sees her scar as “part of me”, and an experience that has made her more confident.

For Justyn, a turning point was exploring tattooing options. This helped him realise “that my scars were beautiful”.

Becoming stronger and more resilient

Many of the people we spoke with believed they were more resilient because of their burns. There was a sense of life being easier after being burnt because, by comparison, other challenges would be significantly easier to deal with.

Jasmine, whose child had a burn, feels more equipped to deal with challenging situations as a parent.

Raffaella and Helen Y both spoke about how being burnt has helped them to be more independent and resilient.

With time, Mercy came to accept that her burns make her who she is, and she is more resilient because of them.

Some parents whose children were burnt believe the experience had made them a more resilient parent. Gary believes his burns have made him a better parent because he is more open to learning about new things.

Helping others in similar situations

Some people we spoke with told us they felt their burns had guided them into careers and volunteer roles where they can help other people.

Gary volunteers with the fire service who saved his life after he was involved in a road traffic collision.

Several people told us how they were more empathetic because of what they had been through, and this helped them to understand the feelings of others better.

Charlotte views her empathy as a gift.

A few people we spoke to expressed how “giving back” to the burns community was important to them. Claire believes that having a burn has made her stronger and more equipped to help others.

Justyn explained how he uses his social media platforms to connect with other people who have scars.

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