• Making Sense of your Recovery

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Making Sense of your Recovery

14 March 2022

One of the most common questions I get in clinic is “Why am I suddenly feeling worse?!”.

As we move through the recovery process and become aware of our mind/body connection, one of the most common things to happen is to suddenly experience increased or new symptoms.

As we learn how to regulate the nervous system it’s very common to experience waves of anxiety, heightened emotions or other uncomfortable symptoms such as increased anxiety & fatigue, depression or other physical symptoms.

This process will be different for everyone, but what typically happens is that anxiety (or other symptoms) will flare in an erratic and seemingly sudden way. This can happen early on in your recovery process, or after a period of time, triggered by digging into certain memories.

What is actually happening is quite simple nervous system science; when we move through the healing process and work on accessing our “reservoirs” of old stored biological sensations our nervous systems are unsurprisingly shaken-up, as all of the dormant layers of fight-or-flight energy are finally allowed to come up and out.

This commonly happens after a period of working through your issues and we are no longer defaulting to that frozen or collapsed repressed mode. Our brains are getting the message that our shut-down self is no longer required.

This sudden onset is referred to as the Symptom Imperative, and can be interpreted as a positive sign – you’re on the right path to healing, the brain is realizing that it’s allowed to feel your unfelt emotions, before it levels out and fully recovers.

Our initial response to this onset of symptoms is to naturally run away and stop the process! But it’s really important that we work with a knowledgeable therapist that understands how the autonomic nervous system works & that these phases are part of the process. If this is where you’re at, don’t give up.

Your body is adjusting. It’s been keeping you safe all these years and it needs time to know it’s ok now.

This is why it’s important to go slow – years of suppression of emotions take time to heal. The more we “force” the healing, the more we interrupt this process.

Slow and steady wins the race.

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