Lately I’ve been getting a lot of comments from people that have really made me think about why my situation is so different now than it was in the initial months of me getting sick. People are starting to assume that I am getting better because I am doing a lot more than I was to start with, but that could not be further from the truth. I am most definitely sicker than I was to start with, but my body has just adapted to my symptoms and learnt to function with them.
Imagine that you lost a finger; at first you would really struggle to do anything with that hand and you’d start to rely on your other one more but eventually you’d have to start using it again, right? Your brain will retrain itself to pick things up and write and whatever else it needs to do because it’s a basic survival instinct to adapt to your circumstances.
That’s basically what my brain has done with all of my symptoms and keeps doing so with my new ones too. I now can function with symptoms that would have once made me completely bed bound, I now wince at the same pain that used to make me scream out in agony. My symptoms are not going away or improving, I am simply learning how to function and survive with them.
I finally understand what my doctor meant when he told me to just start doing little things and eventually I’d be able to retrain my brain. While I assumed he was saying ‘it’s all in your head so just pretend you’re not sick and you’ll get better’ he was actually telling me to start training my brain to adapt to my circumstances (sorry Doc!).
When you think about it like this, it is amazing what our bodies can do. I always put my body down because it’s not like everyone else’s but really, I should be talking about how incredible my body is. The strain I have to put on my body just to take a shower, brush my hair or grocery shop is so much greater than the strain I used to put my body through in an intense workout.
If you are in the initial stages of a health condition or going through something emotional, please hold on. You may not get better, but you will get used to it and eventually learn how to manage. Eventually you will be able to function again to some extent. Our brains are incredible things that can adapt to almost anything.
So, while I am able to do more now than I was a year ago, I am most certainly not getting better. I am simply better adapted to my symptoms and learning how to function with them.