What’s the most challenging part of recovery for you? For me, it’s when I’m better but not back to normal.
The acute phase is over, which brings a lot of relief. The severe pain has subsided. Self reliance is emerging in everyday life with a little bit of time and energy available to give to other people and projects. More normal patterns of schedule, diet and exercise are being reestablished.
With so much progress, why is this stage of recovery the most challenging?
The temptation to complain: The inspiration to fight against a big, bad crisis brings a rush of hope and adrenalin to push through the beginning stages. After time, low-level physical and emotional challenges remain that still bring pain, time, attention and adjustments. I’ve been crabby about all that and more. And it impacts what I say and how I say it. Even if I were superwoman, which I’m not, positive thinking only lasts so long before it needs a recharge. This is the time when I’m looking for mine.
A tendency to make excuses: I’m wavering between a sick world and a well one, and this is a place filled with temptation to use sickness as an excuse. I know what you will say, and you’re right. Don’t be hard on yourself. Listen to your body. All of that is right and true. But at some point, I can’t just take a pass to avoid returning to real life. And maybe that’s the challenge. Everyday life is as much work as recovery; it’s just different work.
The draw of idleness: The antithesis of work is idleness, not rest. We all need rest, and I’m all for that, especially now. But at some point in the last couple of weeks, the three hours of television each day felt more like idleness than rest. I recognize that and can admit it to myself. Still, shifting into more mentally productive but still restful activities requires desire plus action. And the end of available episodes of the show I am watching on Netflix.
The anxiety of the unknown: By far the hardest challenge of recovery is a lack of confidence that good health or prosperity or whatever positive outcome will return. Every little or big setback seems to indicate that it will escalate rather than recede. And in reality, we honestly don’t know the outcome. Without faith in the future, I tend to feel I’m falling apart and won’t ever go back together. But little signs, too, have come, extending my vision beyond just now to a time of strength and productivity and joy for the future.
We are more vulnerable in times of trial. And we know that feeding the negative can stop progress. But seeing it for what it is and wanting to change shows that you and I are already closer to the point where we want to be.