It took me one year to figure this out. Twelve months in which I was certain I wasn't making any progress at all. Every time it seemed like my hard work, dedication and commitment payed off, I was relapsing back to the point where I had started...
My worst week
I remever one week in which I felt so miserable and was in so much pain that I just couldn't bare the thought of having to continue to live like this.
What made it this week the hardest week of my entire recovery is the fact that the week before I had done 'great'.
I had been able to move around, I even went to the beach the pain and anxiety had diminished and I believed I was on 'the right track'.
But *surprise*; I wasn't. I was laying in a dark room, unable to move, let alone walk the stairs. I was extremely anxious and had vivid nightmares.
The recovery chart
One morning tuned on a podcast one of my friends had just uploaded; in this episode he was was speaking to a doctor.
I payed little attention to what they were saying; till they reached a point in which they discussed the ''Healing Chart''.
The doctor said that every recovery after a non-acute injury (so no bone fracture) had the same recovery chart.
And this didn't limit itself to injury or illness; this chart was also applicable to mourn or grief
He explained that recovering from a depression was similar to recovering from a concussion or eating disorder, bowel pain or grieving for a lost one.
It all had to do with the 'highs' and 'lows'; the 'good' days and the 'bad' days, that every recovering individual knows so well.
He explained how during your recovery the good days will become better and better; they will last longer can come more often. However, the bad days will be just as bad as they used to be.
This to me was mind blowing.
All this time I had used the bad days as 'parameters' for my recovery. Every time I 'relapsed' it meant to me that I was still not making any progress (I was ill, in pain and exhausted after all...).
So this miraculous podcast learned me to use my good days as parameters for my recovery and just 'survive' the bad ones. Instead of what I was doing; which was the other way around...
This turned my view on recovery upside down and gave me the hope I needed so badly.
My amazing drawings will make everything clear.
So what you see is that in the beginning there are mostly lows.
If there are peeks (they might also not be there) you might not notice the difference because it's only a very slight and short improvement of your health.
In the second phase you notice that there are moments where you are feeling a bit better. But you don't feel 'great' and the improvements only last for a short amount of time. For the remaining of that time you feel just as bad as before recovery/ in the beginning of your recovery.
In the third phase you will notice that the peeks are getting higher and higher and they might also last a longer than in the second phase.
But (!) the lows remain just as low and might also last as long as in the first phase of your recovery.
Overall: Peeks get higher and higher while the lows stay just as low.
This may feel like you are not making any progress (because you feel like you're constantly relapsing).
And the lows might also feel lower because the highs get higher. (which is what I felt.)
This chart really helped me a lot. And it still helps me, because even though my highs almost bring me back to the women I was pre-illness, my lows still tear me down from time to time.
Will I ever fully recover?
Recovery is hard and it might never be 'over'. Depending on what your condition is and what life has in store for you, you might never be fully recovered.
And that's okey.
Remember that you are not the only one, that you deserve the time and rest your body asks you. Remember that you are going to a process.
You will tumble and you fall, maybe on some days we will run and the next you'll crawl.
But that's okey.
I am not telling you tomorrow will be better, because maybe it won't.
But I want you to know that what ever you are feeling right now is okey, it is normal and it is deserving your love and attention.
I also want you to know that we are here for you, at what ever stage you at right now.
We will always be here to give you a virtual hug. We're happy you're here.