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"knowledge is power. Learn how your body works."

  • Team BLC

The Road to Recovery, Part 2

Recovery from any major illness, injury or depression is like climbing your own personal Mount Everest. It seems impossible, you can't see more than a few feet in front of you and it is lonely.

Below is the list of 10 and then a brief description of why each matters:

1. Eat an inflammation-free diet

2. Create a social circle

3. Be in the moment

4. Develop structure/routine

5. Meditate

6. Accountability partner (non-family)

7. Read/watch positive media/literature/affirmations

8. Spirituality

9. Body movement

10. Support group

Remember: the sicker you are then the stricter you must follow this. Consider it your job. Once you are on the road to recovery you will be much more physically, mentally and emotionally resilient. You'll be able to make leaps and bounds in your health and healing. But for those who are barely crawling, this is where you start.

Part 2 continues with the next 3 on the list:

6. Accountability partner (non-family)

You are going to make promises to yourself and have the best of intentions and then you aren't going to do it. It is difficult for us to create change for a variety of reasons even in the best of circumstances and will seem darn near impossible when you are sick.

That's why you need someone to hold you accountable, and ideally, we don't want it to be family. You can use a doctor, therapist, 12-step sponsor, or friend.

Look for someone who is a non-judgmental listener, is hopeful about your ability to heal and holds you to a higher standard without the use of guilt or shame. Read that last sentence again because the criteria for this accountability partner (AP) is crucial.

You want this to be someone you can have contact with on a regular basis. More in the beginning when you are the most sick with diminishing frequency as you heal.

If your AP is a paid profession (ex. doctor, therapist) then make sure to budget the cost because you don't want to lose access to someone in the middle of a crisis due to finances.

If your AP if non-paid (ex. sponsor, friend) then be sure to ask for what you want while respecting boundaries and spreading out your needs to not burn out one individual.

For this reason it is perfectly acceptable to have more than one AP and may be essential if you are juggling many health issues. It isn't necessary to find one person to be your "end-all-be-all" and is often too big of a burden on the relationship.

Your AP(s) can help keep you accountable to your healing goals such as self-care, communicating with your doctors, developing a social circle...really, everything on this Top 10 List.

Note: It is tough to actualize this when you are really sick, but don't give up your power to any one person, group, doctor or dogma. The goal is to provide you with support so you can be empowered. Run from anyone that makes you feel dumb or insignificant.

7. Read/watch positive media/literature/affirmations

When I was sick I thought I would shoot the next person who told me to write out a gratitude list...really?! Sometimes you want to just have your misery acknowledged - you want recognition that what you are dealing with really sucks.

That being said, you can only wallow so long. If you aren't ready to jump into gratitude, then start with simple, positive messages. Celebrate other peoples victories while you are preparing for your own.

I like the websites Sunny Skyz and the Good News Network. Avoid the news and negativity like the plague.

Watch funny Conan videos on YouTube, heck, watch cat videos if they make you laugh. Often singing or America/Britain's Got Talent audition videos are inspiring.

Daily affirmation books or journaling can be a tool you try. Get in the sun, wear bright colored clothing, listen to uplifting music. This is where you try to impact your attitude even it feels impossible. Eventually this shift will happen and then you will naturally find many things to be grateful for without it having to be forced.

8. Spirituality

If you have this already then it is probably a great relief to you and a source of strength as you work through your healing.

If this is a foreign concept, then having a spiritual connection seems unlikely and far-fetched.

The latter was me when I got sick. I had tried on religion throughout my life and it never stuck. I spent too many years in school and asked too many questions to be able to accept anything at face value and this attitude wasn't helping me when I got sick.

I don't think everyone needs to go through the process I did, but I'm incredibly stubborn and hard-headed. I'm used to solving problems for myself and relying on my own ingenuity. When I got really sick and that didn't work for me, I was at a loss.

Spirituality came to me in an unusual way - I tried fighting what I had, I failed, I surrendered and I rose again like a phoenix from the ashes with more power than I had before. You can read more about this in my story on the About page and in the Body Love article.

I'm far from enlightened, but I'm much closer to that Buddhist concept than I was before. I understand how your attitude about what happens is more important than what actually happens...and I strive to embrace that each day (or moment-to-moment LOL!).

Your spirituality can be a religious figure, a tree, your practice of self-care, the universe, an Indian totem, a mythical Greek god...really whatever works for you.

The goal is to find something that brings you a sense of peace, faith and trust in yourself and the world - that all will be okay. That all is as it should be.

This sense of calm and not holding the burden of the world on your shoulders, even for a moment, is essential to your healing. Let go of the control. You never had it in the first place.

There are many ways to develop spirituality. My favorites are meditation, mindfulness and radical self-care. More about that in the Body Love article.

Click HERE to read the final Part 3 of the Road to Recovery.

Serving Hands-On Healing,

Dr. Zachary

#depression #Top10list #RoadtoRecovery #laughter #holistichealth #inflammation #nutrition #functionalmedicine #mindfulness #socialcircle #spirituality #gratitude

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