The Stages of a Medical Setback

Unfortunately, as with a lot of medical conditions the affect that it has on our bodies is not constant, it can fluctuate, it can flare up, it can misbehave and it can happen at any point. The most recent example of this for me occurred due to a fall, having a significant effect on my walking. It doesn’t matter how many setbacks you’ve had, it never gets easier and regrettably it won’t be the last. One thing I do know is that there seems to be ‘stages’ that we have to go through in order to overcome a big obstacle in health, to move on from it and carry on the lives we live.

1. Denial
Things can happen in a split second. Your health can be doing pretty well, minus the normal aches and pains, which you consider your version of normal. Suddenly you are in the back of an ambulance, things going wrong that are completely out of your control, beeping machines and lots of new faces wanting a response from you. The only word that make sense in the hospital are “not again” or “this can’t be happening”. A few days may even have past, the pain is there but it is yet to actually hit you, what happened has merged into a blur that you don’t want to think about. In this situation it may be hard to believe what has happened, with it all going so fast. You are running on adrenaline and medication, you may sleep a great deal which doesn’t help with days turning into nights and nights turning back into days- they are just the same thing.

2. Sadness and frustration
When things finally hit home it’s upsetting, of course it is! You may have just got over the previous setback, completely knowing the long road you are now faced with again. You’re upset that all the hard work you have previously invested in improving your health seeming pretty pointless at that moment. It’s upsetting how you thought for once you might have beaten part of the issues you are facing. This could lead to frustration, and that’s okay. Be annoyed at the fact you are in hospital, be irritated by the fact that you feel no one is listening to you and be cross at the fact you can’t even rely on yourself to function ‘normally’ for a short period of time. As cliched as this sounds, you just want to be like everyone else, and yet again you are reminded that this is not the case.

3. Why bother?
You have been in the position before, and you know you will probably be in it again. The cycle of recovering from something never seems to end. Is there much point putting the time, energy, pain and so much more into getting back on your feet if you can’t seem to keep hold of it? As soon as things start looking up, your health has other plans. Every time you think it’s going well, you have to be proven wrong. You question it more times than you care to admit, yet never quite decide what you want to do. Why bother if you know in the long run you will be in the exact same position?

4. let’s do this!

You’ve reached the final stage, and despite how long this has taken you are glad to have got this far. The stubbornness and determination that may have been overpowered during the other stages is back. Having a long term condition is by no means easy, but that is what makes you stronger. Why give up now? You want to gain back control of the whirlwind you have been pushed into and enough is enough! You want to prove to yourself that you cannot be beaten and are aware that won’t be easy, but that it is possible. If you have managed to come back from all the past setbacks, then it is possible to come back from the one you are now confronted with. Remember everything you have overcome, look at everything you’ve beaten that should have knocked you down, and get ready to do it all again because it is something that your future self will be extremely grateful for. 

Do not doubt yourself for even a second because I know you can do it!

~ Chloe x

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