Long term recovery from serious illness

Long term recovery from serious illness
11th October 2022 Richard Stuttle

Long term recovery from serious illness

When I first got admitted to hospital (Bacterial Meningitis and 1.3cm brain abscess) the pain was so intense all I could feel was the trauma within my body. It took over and I was 100% human, descendant of mother earth. The painkillers, antibiotics and high dosage drugs took the pain away, my body started to slowly repair itself. I felt completely disconnected from who I was before, it felt like I had separated my mind from my body and soul.

After a few weeks in hospital the doctors felt my body was healing and I could continue my recovery from home. Walking through my front door, I felt like everything was slightly different, I was no longer connected to my processions or my home itself. I felt like I was an observer in a place I knew well but did not recognise. I was home but a part of me was experiencing my old life as an observer.

Over the following weeks, administering intravenous antibiotics from home I began to rebuild my strength. My body was healing, I could feel a reconnection to loved ones and the world around me. I started to feel myself again. I understood my mind had become so focused on the life of my body it had blocked out the parts that weren’t essential for my survival.

One step at a time

It took time for me to build up my strength again, going from walking slowly around the block to longer walks down to the beach. I felt that I had lost a little of who I was, a had the realisation, “My body is ill not my soul.” I had somehow forgotten who I was, there was a part of me that was gone and maybe it was meant to be. Afterall, I am incredibly lucky to still be here! Life is about evolution, letting go of things that don’t serve you and moving forward. I walked on the beach and paddled in the cold English waters. My body felt the pain in my feet and not my soul.

Physically I was recovering well, but mentally and emotionally it was different. I could feel my thoughts physically, it was difficult to understand. I sensed emotion in different areas of the body. In my head the greatest sensitivity, every emotional surge had a physical reaction. It’s not pain but a build-up of pressure, like the contraction of blood vessels before a release. There’s a wave of energy running over my body which offered an energetic knowledge that felt to me closer to the knowing of truth. I could feel the same within the people around me. The distinction between feelings and emotions, feelings were in the moment and offered an insight into myself and the world around me. Emotions were the build-up of feelings over time both positive and negative. I needed to process my emotions; it was hard to understand but I knew my level of sensitivity had dramatically increased.

One step forward

Finally, I was clear off all medication. I started to do more. It didn’t take long before I felt myself going backwards. I had anxiety, no confidence, and a constant awareness that I wasn’t as quick minded as I used to be. I had always thought of myself as mentally strong and had overcome a great deal of adversity over the years. I withdrew and started to cut people out of my life. I didn’t want the responsibility or to feel their emotions, I could feel the trauma they were going through in their lives. It was becoming too much for me.

I simplified my life as completely as I could. Finally, after forty-five years I gave my body the respect it deserves. Meditation and stretching daily, eating healthy and spending quiet time with my own thoughts. I had to accept the person I was now, in one way new and improved. Another unbelievable experience that I had made it through. The other side was letting go of the past, the person I used to be. Over time I was happy to do just that, but the biggest thing was time. The doctor initially said six to twelve months, I thought I’ll be fine in six! I didn’t even consider my mental recovery, the PTSD and paranoia of every little ache and pain. These conditions are real and incredibly serious, belief and mindset I feel has a lot of do with recovery. I found myself thinking about what I believed in life. Why we are here? What is our purpose? What are my talents? What is important to me? What have I achieved and what did I never get to achieve? Considering these questions in a quiet space really helped to build myself back up and create a strong foundation for mental recovery.

What is working for me

We are never the same person from moment to moment, it can be incredibly difficult to define who we are and what we want out of life. Most of us are too giving and this can sometimes be at a detriment to our own wellbeing. Its only after you become close to death do you really consider life. I took everything for granted which I think is completely natural. Been forced to slow down allowed time to think and process.

A few things that I feel really helped

Daily Action

  • Do something creative – give yourself permission to do creative things and see what you can come up with.
  • Enjoy nature – whether walking on the beach, tracks though woodlands or just down to your local park. Enjoy fresh air and the great outdoors.

Thoughts and contemplation

  • Taking time in the silence – processing your own thoughts and feelings, allowing them to pass though freely.
  • Acceptance of who you are now – I think we all have an idea of ourselves from who we were many years ago.
  • Appreciation of self – we are so lucky to be part of this world, know and appreciate the aspects of yourself.