I talk a lot about full recovery and how I believe it is possible; however, I recently realized that I have yet to define what I consider full recovery to be. If you are a regular reader, then you are aware of my recent injury to my hamstring. For those of you who don’t know what happened, about a month ago I pulled my hamstring – one wrong move while doing the splits and SNAP! – Needless to say, it was incredibly painful.
In a recent conversation with my brother I came to somewhat of an epiphany regarding my hamstring and my recovery from ED. See lately I have been slightly confused as to what I mean when I say ‘full recovery’.
Throughout this whole journey I have always believed it is possible, and I have heard and read others talk about what being fully recovered means to them, but until this point I have never defined it for myself. While discussing the topic of overcoming habits and addictions with my brother I realized that ‘full recovery’ as I see it can be paralleled with my hamstring.
Here is how…
When I was seeing my physiotherapist right after my injury, while everything was still inflamed and sore, she told me that I need to go easy on my leg for awhile; that meant no intensive activity such as biking, running, or squats, and definitely no doing the splits. As a fairly active person, this concerned me as to my future regarding exercise – running is one of my favourite things.
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I asked her if this was forever. If I would always have a sore hamstring, if I would always have to avoid running, and if I would ever be able to do the splits again.
To this she replied that all of these restrictions are not permanent.
She explained that right now my leg is in a very vulnerable state and is going to need a chance to rest and recover, however, she assured me that this was only temporary and within a period of time it will seem as though nothing had ever happened.
I was filled with relief – I was going to be OK! My leg would fully recover!
And then she added that although my hamstring would fully recover after giving it the proper rest and treatment that it needed (in the form of stretches, ice, and heating pads), my hamstring would always be a weak point for me. Yes, I would be able to do all of my favourite activities such as running and I would even be able to do the splits again – for all intense and purposes, I would be able to get back to living ‘normally’; however, I simply would need to be aware of the fact that if something was going to go wrong while exercising or playing sports or simply spending too much time walking around the mall (which is something I am definitely prone to), it will be my hamstring where I feel the strain.
The important thing, then, is not to prevent myself from living normal by avoiding things I enjoy like running or weight lifting or doing the splits, but by understanding the vulnerability of my hamstring and learning how to prevent flare-ups from occurring and, in the case of something unpreventable like a trip or fall, learning how to react if or when it does flare up.
I now know the specific stretches that I can do before any intense activity so I can prevent any further injury, and if my hamstring does flare up I know how to treat it with ice and/or heat.
See, the important thing is not to live in fear of another flare up, neither is it to ignore that I ever had an injury. The important thing is to acknowledge that there was a time when I was limping around the house due to a fairly serious injury and that there was a time when I was in a lot of pain, but that pain will be over soon, and my leg will be healed.
When that time comes I will simply need to remain aware of my activities – if I know I am about to face a situation that may put me at risk of damage I can prevent such an injury by doing the stretches I’ve learnt, and if I do something or something happens that causes my hamstring to flare up again, I now am equipped with the knowledge of how to bring it back to normal.
I believe that the same thing can be said of eating disorder recovery. Yes, full recovery is possible; however, I do not think that means you should carry on with your life as if it never happened. Eating disorder behaviours will always be a weak point in me – but that doesn’t mean I am not recovered anymore than the fact that my hamstring will always be a vulnerable point means that it is will never be ‘fully healed’.
When I get to the point where I am fully recovered, I will be able to live normally without ED.
I will be able to maintain my health by utilizing the knowledge that I have acquired to prevent my eating disorder from flaring up again.
In the event that it does flare up, at least I will know what to do about it.
Here’s to full recovery!
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