Recovering from an injury isn’t a straight path. It curves like the picture to the left. So how can you tell you are getting closer?
In many, many ways recovering from a physical injury is different from recovering from a psychological injury. The reaction of others, the types of professionals you will see, the time frame and the strategies can all be vastly different one from the other. There is one way that is nearly always the same though.
Recovering from an injury will usually involve being held back by your own body just at that point where you feel you are getting better.
It’s that point where you start walking distances again and you get a sharp pain in your leg, or the absolute tiredness you experience during that day when you were confident you could get out of the house again, or it might be a small injury which is multiplied despite it being one you would have shrugged off before you were injured.
When you talk to your medical team they will call it a “bump in the road” or something similar. What it feels like is quite different, it feels like you are going straight back to square one.
These feelings are normal but you are unlikely to be going back to the beginning. It is more likely that you are travelling a bit beyond what your body is capable of. That is frustrating but is not the end of the world because it also means you are getting better.
We like to think that recovering is a straight road, that if we do x and y we will keep improving. The reality is that it is a curved trajectory, one part of our body starts to get better but the compensation our bodies make for that injury means another part of our body has had to take more pressure than it should and deteriorates as well, as we get better we start to concentrate on those parts, this can feel like we are falling back. Or if you have a psychological injury it can feel worse, you may have a week, a month even a year of being “normal” then something happens to re-trigger the injury and we go back.
If we recognise that this is happening and its just a part of the recovery process it is easier to deal with, thinking that you are going back to the beginning is not just wrong, its unhelpful.