Written By: Sarah Reedy- “Road To Recovering”
What is recovery? By definition it is ‘restoration or return to health from sickness.’ In theory it seems simple; you get sick and stay in bed for a few days. Day by day you get better, eventually you forget you were even sick. If only this was the case for me. I wake up hoping my sickness will be magically gone and my health will return 5 times better than it was, unfortunately every morning when I open my eyes I am disappointed.
I’m only 17 years old, young people aren’t meant to get a sickness most older adults get, this is what they led you to believe. This is what I too believed growing up, oblivious to the fact that it can be a reality. I suppose I should explain. To spare you all the medical bullshit I will cut right to the chase. I was diagnosed with glandular fever – a viral infection that can not be treated with medication. Yes it is the 21st century and some sickness’s can not be cured by modern medicine. You simply rest and gradually you get better, well for most cases. However, I was a rare case. It didn’t go away and I didn’t get better- in fact I got worse. I was diagnosed in September last year and have not had a healthy day since. Fast forward 6 months later and I got diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). To sum up CFS it’s an illness that affects how you function: exhaustion, loss of appetite, nausea, nerve/chronic pain and of course severe fatigue. Most days I feel like a 17 year old trapped in an 80 year old’s body. My body can no longer function the way it used to. Because of this my whole lifestyle has changed. The toll on my body isn’t the only thing this sickness had taken from me. I have lost a lot in a short amount of time, something I never could have predicted- but that’s for another post. I’ll leave it here with my own interpretation of what recovery is. A complete lifestyle change, I believe that’s what recovery is.
If only getting to the recovery stage was as simple as its definition.
Recovery is a process, a very long one at that. Honestly I thought recovery was pretty straight forward- you get sick, you recover, you get on with your life. By hell I was wrong..
It’s been a rough few months health wise, with some really good days and some really bad days. There were times where I thought I was getting close to the recovery stage, I was getting a little more energy and achieving a few more things. To say I got my hopes up was an understatement. And when hopes are high, there is a hard hitting fall. And when I fell, I fell hard. I relapsed and relapsed.. Only then did it dawn on me that I wasn’t anywhere near the recovery stage and it’s going to take more than the odd good day to get there. Naturally, that got me down and that’s when anxiety/depression hits me the most.. When my body decides to pack up on me, so does my mind. I’ve come to realise that you’re allowed to feel sorry for yourself, you’re allowed to have those days when you think, “What is happening to me isn’t fair”. As long as after that day you pick yourself up, brush yourself off and you readjust your mindset/attitude because that’s the only way you’re going to come out the other side.
Now, I’m at the point where I am excited for recovery. I’m excited to see what is next and I’m also excited to learn more about myself. Throughout this illness I have learnt more about myself than some people do in their entire life and that is something I am thankful for. I know who I am, I know what I want and I know what my body and mind can do/take. I’m so much more self aware and I’m so proud of how far I have come and the fight I have put up. Some people may think, what fighting are you doing? My answer is, I’m simply fighting for my health. You only see me on days I’m up to doing something. And after them days I have gone out, I spend the next few days recovering and building my energy back up, whether that’s in public or private. More often than not I don’t like burdening people, I make out like I’m OK, when I’m really not and that’s something everyone does at some point.
A sickness should not be defined by the seen- meaning you shouldn’t decide someone is/isn’t sick by the way they/their body looks on the outside and the same goes for recovery. For some, recovery can be harder than actually falling sick. Recovery is fragile, but it’s worth it when you come out on the other side.
I’m Sarah Reedy, 18 years old from New Zealand. I look like your average teenager, however I’m not. I live and struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS.) I’m a chronic illness advocate with a blog ( www.roadtorecovering.com) I would love for you to share my story to help other chronic fighters out there. Find my story below.
Social Media Links: Click on the links below
Youtube channel: Sarah Reedy
Website: Road To Recovering