During my recent 3 months in Spain I experienced an amazing improvement in my health. Although I was very careful to continue with all the health supporting things that had got me there, I felt as though I could now function almost like a healthy person. I was able to increase my stamina, walk further and was much better able to tolerate things that a year ago I would have been really sensitive to. My hopes for a full recovery were heightened. Even the dehydration headaches I experienced hardly seemed to impact on my ME/CFS. I felt so much more resilient.
And whilst the greater part of me kept in mind the reality that after 9 years of illness, recovery isn’t going to happen overnight I chose to focus on what I was aiming for. So, when last week I experienced a characteristic ME setback I couldn’t help but feel extremely disappointed. Full health wasn’t quite as close as I thought, my body was still responding from a state of dis-ease.
However, I quickly chose to focus on the fact that it was my resilience that had led to my heightened hopes. So what, if my health was behaving like I had ME again! I’ve still been far more resilient recently. I chose to believe that I would bounce back quickly and soon be back on track for building my vitality and stamina again. I guess it took a little longer than it has done recently, but if I think about the fact that I wasn’t able to immediately jump into recuperation mode at the first sign of being below baseline, actually I’ve done really well.
In the past, if I’d have had to spend 3 days packing up all my belongings and putting them in storage, followed by a day of 13 hours travelling, and then the following day attend a 21st birthday party for a couple of hours, all whilst fighting some kind of viral infection, I would have wiped myself out for weeks. Even if I am very skilled at pacing and relaxed effortlessness, the fact that I managed all that and it only took me a week to get back to baseline afterwards, really is resilience! I may not quite have the sense of great health that I was in touch with regularly a few weeks ago but I can function at a really good level again and I feel pretty good!
It can be so difficult to get the balance between the kind of positive thinking that invites your body to cooperate with healing, and staying detached from the goal that you are aiming for. It can be so tempting to get excited about full recovery when you experience those glimpses of vital health. However, if I focus on my proven resilience, I can still feel really hopeful. All I need to do is pay more attention to celebrating the evidence of my improvement and focusing on the next small step to take. Of course, I want to be completely better, but I’m extremely happy to be where I am right now! I don’t need to get hung up on that outcome!
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