Recovery is reaching a new and improved state of functioning.
Recovery isn’t a term you hear much as it relates to functional medical problems, giving the impression that one should have no real expectation of recovery. How is one supposed to have hope for feeling better when there is little if any information out there about recovery from functional medical problems?
There is hope. Recovery is possible. I am living proof that it is possible to recover from even the most debilitating functional medical problem.
I certainly had help and guidance when it came to healing in psychological or emotional ways, but I can’t say I had help or guidance in healing and recovering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Nobody inspired me to heal or told me it was even possible to recover from IBS. I didn’t expect to recover completely; I expected to live with fairly regular IBS symptoms for the rest of my life.
Given the right tools and information, I was able to guide myself step-by-step into a life that feels better to me now than it ever did. It is my privilege and honor to offer you the kind of guidance, support, and life lessons that I wish I’d had when I was having IBS symptoms. I’m here to support you every step of the way throughout your healing process.
What Is Recovery?
Recovery from a functional medical problem is simply reaching a place in your healing journey where you experience overall good health and well-being on a regular basis. Recovery is also having a loving, peaceful relationship with your body that supports the continuation of overall good health and well-being.
Recovery usually implies a return to some prior level of functioning, the way your body used to function before the onset of symptoms associated with your functional medical problem. Most people with functional gastrointestinal problems experience some degree of symptoms well before they start experiencing the acute symptoms they later come to associate with their chronic illness. Becoming asymptomatic when you were never really asymptomatic in the first place becomes a confusing barometer of recovery.
Recovery is in more respects than not reaching a new and improved state of functioning because there is so much learning involved. I would say that recovery from a functional medical problem is:
- A state of ease and health that your body experiences most or all of the time since being acutely symptomatic.
- The ability to re-identify as a healthy person instead of a sick person.
- A greater state of resiliency such that should you encounter symptoms again, you know how to be with them without generating unnecessary suffering.
- Knowing what your body is trying to communicate to you when it is symptomatic.
- Giving your body what it needs not just when it’s symptomatic but in a constant way to prevent future functional symptoms.
- Living without fear and avoidance attributable to the functional medical problem.
Life feels a whole lot better when you are liberated from fear and avoidance.
It’s normal and valid to fear having symptoms again once they have subsided. Once you’ve been living without symptoms for some significant period of time, however, it becomes irrational to fear something that hasn’t happened. Shedding unnecessary fear attributable to your functional medical problem and shedding the avoidance behaviors—of foods, places, people, thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc., anything that we blame for making us symptomatic—takes you to a new level of healing.
Living with fear generates stress, preventing your body from being in a state of ease, not allowing you to live the way you really want to live your life, and quietly undermining your healing. Challenge yourself to work through your fears gradually over time until you have made a full recovery. Life feels a whole lot better when you are liberated from fear and avoidance.