Updated: Oct 25, 2022
You may remember me from my blog about fluctuating conditions (here)
It’s now been six months since my ‘flare up’ and I’m happy to report that I’m making really good progress in terms of recovery.
The thing is, I’ve probably been in the recovery phase for about 4 out of the 6 months.
It’s just a very slow process, and nowhere near over yet.
When you start to feel better, people sometimes want to know how did you do it? I recently wrote a post on LinkedIn about using the physiotherapy services in my area. They have been fantastic, and I am truly grateful for them. But the thing about physio is, it requires you to do the work away from your appointments. I’ve been happy to do this because I want to feel better and stronger, but there are so many other elements to my recovery, and a lot of them I find people just don’t want to know about.
I guess the reason for this is that people like to believe there is a quick and easy fix to everything. We see it all the time in the media we consume - easy fix for weight loss, easy fix for hair loss, easy fix for relationships.
The truth is most of us know that that just isn’t realistic, however uncomfortable that may be for us to accept sometimes.
Our physical and mental health takes time and dedication to take care of, especially when we’re recovering from injury, illness or trauma.
So, in the same vein as my last post, here are 5 uncomfortable truths about my recovery:
1. Therapy. Regular therapy has probably been one of the most important things in my recovery this time around. Discussing how this relapse made me feel has changed my perspective in such a way that it is now much easier for me to communicate, educate and ask for support – all leading to improved management of my condition.
I realise therapy is not accessible to everyone due to affordability, and this time around I needed to invest in a more experienced therapist; but it’s something both myself and my partner prioritise due to its impact. It’s a cost I am happy to pay because it pays for itself every day.
2. Cancelling plans. Sorry, but it happens. A lot. When I agree to something, there is little to no way I will know how I will feel on the day. Pain management and energy conservation is a full-time gig, and if I have enough energy to eat, bathe, manage my condition and go to work – there is a good chance I wont have any left for socialising. That being said, socialising is important, and sometimes I rely heavily on my support network to help me achieve that. My partner might take some responsibilities off my plate so I can go for a coffee with a friend, that friend may come and pick me up to save me walking or driving, and I might not be up to much the next day. I often find that I have to do lot of apologising and explaining about why I’m not able to attend something. Please know that cancelling is not because I don’t want to, it’s always a tough decision, and at the end of the day, it’s me who is missing out. But, it helps me manage my condition so it’s probably not going away any time soon.
3. Early nights. I have a lot of early nights. I don’t know why people are often so resistant to early nights? They’re so good. But, I do lose out on evening time with my partner, watching TV, playing games or chatting. Sleep is vital to recovery, as is a decent sleep pattern. I think a lot of people suffer with poor quality sleep. Think about what your body is doing when you’re asleep. It’s repairing, resting, helping our brain and body function. We all need decent sleep and forgoing it to scroll on our phones does us no good.
4. Early mornings Sorry. They’re needed. I wake up early, and it takes me around 2 hours to feel like I’m ready to start the day. Now I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I suspect a lot of you late nighters are cheating your way to the end goal with coffee…!
I go to bed early so I can rise early, feeling refreshed. It gives me time in the morning before the others are up to drink water, stretch, use the bathroom, make a healthy breakfast and take any medication needed before the day starts.
5. Crying Yeah, there is a lot of crying involved. Sorry parents of small children, but I think my partner has beaten you for ‘most tears wiped’ over the last 6 months. Dealing with this illness has been emotional. It’s painful emotionally as well as physically. You’re constantly dealing with a huge range of emotions and some of them are pretty big to feel, they overflow a lot. I’ve cried at the doctors, the physio, I even cried at the gym last week. (Shout out to my first therapist who taught me how to actually cry – it’s funny how you lose the ability for it to work as it should if you spend years trying not to do it…)
I’m not suggesting for one minute that any of this is easy, or at that it’s an exhaustive list by any means.
If any of this brings up feelings for you, I see you, and I’m right there with you. If you’re someone who is supporting a disabled or unwell person, thank you. You are so appreciated, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
Recovery is hard. Please be gentle with yourself and others around you.
You’re doing it.