It took me a while to realise that recovery was not the straight line I thought it was going to be. I started off expecting to wake up one morning feeling all better, like I’d had the flu. Then after it arrived at my house courtesy of the NHS I adjusted my expectation to include a bit of time in a wheelchair. After using that for a while I assumed I’d be up and about and back to work, picking up my old life where I left off, just thinking of it all as a couple of months off.
If I’d known anyone else who had been in my situation before me, I’d have probably been told to expect something slight different. That life doesn’t run in straight lines. That there would be a lot of bouncing back and forward to different stages of recovery.
The most extreme example was when a treatment worked so well I went from being just about able to sit upright in the chair-to being able to walk completely normally. This treatment method worked amazingly well for 6 weeks. For 6 weeks I actually thought I was all cured. Then it stopped working, instantly. And never worked again. So back into the chair I went.
That nearly broke me. It certainly broke my heart. It shook my faith a lot. I had to dig fairly deep to keep trying. It was the worst kind of betrayal I’ve ever felt. All l could see ahead of me was endless rounds of shattered hopes. What made it worse was that the treatment itself had been physically very painful. Which I didn’t mind so much when it worked-but just seemed utterly pointless when it stopped.
I did try so many different treatments that I get my timings a little confused-but at this stage I was about a year away from finding what would permanently work for me. So I continued going from bed to chair, without walking again.
At this stage something wonderful happened to me. I finally learned to switch off the inner voice I’d automatically listened to my whole life. The one I’d always assumed was the voice of reason. The one that was telling me right now how stupid and deluded I was being. That it was time to stop breaking my heart with false promises. To accept what I’d been told for years. That this was the best I could ever hope to feel again. I couldnt cope with this “inner widsom” anymore. I was too broken down, there was no energy to give it attention. I just cut it off for the very first time.
It turned out that in its place came quiet, calm whispers instead. Telling me if a cure worked for 6 weeks I’d already done what I was told was impossible. This whisper would continue to comfort me as I lay in bed or sat in my chair feeling utterly beyond saving. It would tell me that if I could do this one thing-get my life back-I could also do all sorts of things with my life, things I had never even entertained because the bigger voice inside of me had alwaysinsisted I wasn’t good enough for. Even before I got sick. That I didn’t deserve a great life, or nice things, or someone who loved me. That l wasn’t good enough, never had been, never would be. But this was so different. These little whispers would comfort me through the dark times and reassure me enough to make me believe the brighter times might be here to stay.
I did find my cure. I did have my faith restored. I do live a completely different life to the one I had during and before my years of being unwell. And I still give the little whispers the headspace the loud logical voice used to get automatically. For me the little whispers are what make my Life After such a magical place. Taking me down roads I would never have seen before, showing me my life through new eyes. I know the little whispers will never shatter my hopes, I know everything always turns our right in the end. My own recovery is the only testament I’ll ever need.