What Is Recovery Mode?
After the 20-minute Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) treatment, Adam's life changed.
Adam, whose real name was changed for privacy reasons, suffered from mental health challenges for years created by consistent, repeated traumas throughout his life.
Finding the right treatment was a long journey, but SGB's impact was quick.
"I no longer have continual pressure in my head, defensive in difficult conversations and arguments, impatient with people or situations, or have negative thoughts. It's like a huge dark cloud was lifted from me."
Treatments like SGB, talk therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and prescription medications can lead to excellent results for people battling mental health challenges. Even though these treatments can bring rapid relief from trauma symptoms, they don't mark the end of the road to recovery.
For many people, there's still work to do after a major breakthrough. Continued mental health care after treatment allows us to live the most fulfilling life possible.
Life after treatment
Recovery mode refers to the changes someone notes in their mind and body after treatment. Recovery mode can include a surge of emotions, new thoughts and fresh perspectives, and physical differences.
Recovery mode is our mind and body's way of laying out the best steps forward for a beneficial recovery.
Let's explore how recovery mode presents itself, the immediate actions to take, and how to promote healing for years to come.
What to expect during a healing journey
It's common for people living with debilitating symptoms to suppress their emotions without realizing it. After they experience a successful treatment outcome, they're likely to experience a flood of unfamiliar emotions.
These thoughts and feelings can be confusing and overwhelming. However, this is a normal reaction to many different treatments.
Emotional Acuity: The ability to recognize and correctly identify one's own emotions, critical to navigating new thoughts and feelings.
To get in touch with these emotions and really explore them, we suggest asking the following questions:
- Is it something I've felt before?
- What words can I use to articulate this?
- Am I experiencing a single emotion or a combination of emotions?
Assessing and understanding emotions is the first step to navigating them.
Gaining new perspectives
Many people have a new perception of themselves during a healing journey or after successful treatment. This perception can impact daily life, employment, and/or relationships.
It can take time to fully allow your emotions to shift into what feels like healthy 'new normals.'
Make sure to validate the truth behind what is being experienced, like when you experience happiness or sadness, it's not wrong to feel that way. Don't try to change or recreate the truth. Instead, remember that perceptions, feelings, and emotions come and go.
Mental health challenges can take a toll on the body. Unfortunately, we can get so used to feeling one way for years or decades before treatment that we often forget to check in on our physical well-being, like when the stress we hold in our muscles tenses up and leads to pain and soreness.
Whether or not our body is having a good or bad day, take the time to check in and do a full body scan. Ask questions about our posture, take deep breaths, and think about the best way to get our mind and body through the day.
Though these life adjustments may seem minor, checking in on ourselves is a habit worth forming. Helping our bodies and minds adjust to the relief from symptoms can normalize these new experiences and create new baselines for our mental and physical health.
Take steps toward continued care
Regardless of what one's healing journey looks like, it's important to remember that no one has to go it alone.
Regardless of whether someone has a support system of friends, family, and/or colleagues, mental health care providers are always willing to help. Here are five key steps:
Talk to a mental health care provider
A typical step in a healing journey is working with mental health professionals like psychologists, counselors, clinicians, therapists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, or advanced practice providers.
Once the right fit is found, these professionals can help us better understand the thoughts, feelings, and actions we may experience while feeling the impact of symptoms. They also teach how to adjust thought processes, give the right resources, and recognize the best paths on a healing journey.
Awareness around stressors
Stress can exacerbate mental health challenges. For example, it can heighten symptoms like anxiety and depression and hinder one's ability to get a good night's sleep. It can also lead to physical pain, like headaches and muscle tightness.
According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness, "When experiencing long-term stress, your brain is exposed to increased hormone levels called cortisol. This exposure weakens your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick."
Mindfulness habits and physical health
Exercise and eating well are good ways to reduce stress throughout the day. In return, these can promote better sleep and balance in the mind. Ask a doctor or nutritionist for healthy food suggestions.
Meditation has great benefits for ongoing care, especially during an emotional release. Meditation helps us gain new perspectives on our past experiences. It promotes a focus on the present and allows us to approach the day with a calm and collected mindset.
Assess old, new, and future habits and relationships
In creating a new normal, we may realize that certain situations, behaviors, and relationships are no longer healthy for us. In some cases, it is important to consider whether continuing to engage in them is helpful to our growth.
It can be hard to break away from activities or relationships that may have been part of our lives for a long time. But it can be a necessary step.
Try out old hobbies and explore new ones
Explore new hobbies or activities once enjoyed. For years, our minds may have tricked us and said that the activities we enjoyed weren't as positive as we thought.
The truth is that joy and positive experiences are just as powerful and valuable as any other feeling. When we experience an emotional release of joy, follow the instinct, especially if it comes at a time of sadness. Like many emotions, sadness and joy can happen at the same time.
Revisiting old hobbies opens channels for escape, an exploration into our feelings, distraction, and a wellness reset. Hobbies can be somewhat therapeutic and can change our perception of ourselves, our loved ones, and those we interact with daily. Old or new, exploring passions and hobbies can help our recovery process.
Start your healing journey
Stella is here for you. We offer industry-leading biological interventions for symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression.
Our care plans begin with an assessment by a trauma-informed Advanced Practice Provider who will review an individual's symptoms and health history to create a custom recommendation. Our wrap-around care plans include cutting-edge biological interventions – like SGB and/or Ketamine Infusion Therapy – plus regular follow-ups over a six-month period to ensure that our patients achieve their desired outcomes.
Call a Care Advocate at 908-293-7559 to schedule an initial assessment.