There are a variety of amputees-turned-empowered these days. I mean, great if the public supports that but really, there is not as much heroism as there is stubbornness and patience required to stick it out.
Personally that is not the type of attitude I have. I don't feel this disability empowers me. Life does, generally, always did and always will empower me - but not this shit. Don't get me wrong here. I was always empowered and I always had stuff going on. Sports and activities are not new to me, I always liked them. But I find that the loss of a hand is a nuisance, a negative vector as such, and not more to say about it. Yeah, one gets used to dealing with it, to the point where one can attempt to reduce the negative effects a bit. But getting used to it still doesn't take away some worrying aspects. And dealing with them is something I find relevant and important.
Based on the report by Georg Bakalim about the deaths of 4738 Finnish war amputees [PDF], suicide rates can be calculated based on the numbers of deaths given, for each amputee subgroup. Suicides are 20% of the deaths in the below elbow amputee group (14/69), whereas suicides represent less than 10% in the other groups. More concisely they are 8% (below knee, 26/323), 7% (above knee, 13/196) and 5% (above elbow, 5/99), respectively.
And so, maybe hanging in there is indeed about survival after all.
Below the elbow amputation is distinct from other amputations as issues that arise are very peculiar. They are not the same as other amputees. There are overlaps but differences are massive. At least I will say it feels that way.
Indeed, after I had lost my hand some people thought I was going to kill myself. I wasn't going to do that though. Over the years and from the many reactions of other people I must say that depressive episodes, depression and suicide risk are real issues. And so from everyday experience these suicide rate figures (see above) make sense to me. They are plausible.
Now, it is a fact that missing an arm below the elbow amounts to a real tangible disfigurement, similar to a facial disfigurement. And it is a real fact that no prosthetic arm fixes that - if anything, a prosthetic temporarily might relieve some symptoms. But for real life issues, a prosthetic will not achieve a lot. I can choose to be a guy with a disfigurement, or, a guy with a disfigurement and a plastic to cover it. - So with a below elbow amputation, you will feel similar to a person with a disfigured face. Not the same, obviously - but similar. That particular disability, visually, resides deep down in the U of the uncanny valley.
We are - in terms of social identity - what we look like, and so that is what one has to deal with.