The similarities between Physical and Mental Recovery are AMAZING!!!
For those of you who know me, you are aware I broke my collarbone on March 9th. During my prolonged and painful recovery I have learned so many life lessons once again. These include perspective, gratitude, resilience, and the importance of mindfulness.
But something I have learned for the first time, is the similarity between physical and mental recovery.
When my doctor first gently suggested I think about starting physical therapy (since I couldn’t move my arm more than a few inches), I flat out denied I would need that level of help. I told him I could do it myself and would be fine. Two weeks later, when he recommended I seek assistance from a physical therapist (as I could move my arm only slightly higher and still with great pain), I resisted again – this time stating I could not take that much time away from work and I did not want to spend that much money. Three long and painful weeks later, I went for my next follow up appointment waving the white flag. I openly begged for help from physical therapy, admitting I could not do this on my own, and that I would do anything to feel better and resume some degree of normal engagement in my active life. He quickly wrote the prescription and I sprinted across the hall to deliver the prescription and make an appointment.
Joyfully, they had an opening if I was willing to wait 20 minutes and I did – little did they know I would have sat for 2 hours if that’s what it took to get started. I heard the receptionist tell another patient if his insurance didn’t cover PT then it would be a $95 co-pay per visit. I thought, “Holy hell” if I have to do that and I have to be involved for 10 weeks at one session a week, that would be $950”. But, I simultaneously thought, “I am sure my insurance will cover it”.
I loved my physical therapist, Melissa (at ATI, by the way!), right away and she made appointments for me for the next 12 weeks, twice a week. So, to help you with the math that entailed 25 sessions, which at the self-pay rate amounted to $2,375!!! About 4 sessions in they informed me my insurance only paid partial coverage for a maximum of 15 sessions a year. So, I knew, then, I would owe some money for the first 15 visits and then be on my own for the last 10 or more (if necessary). Now, let me point out for a minute several key points here:
1) I am not rich (and I have two kids in out of state colleges – need I elaborate on my financial status further?)
2) I love to spend what money I do have leftover on myself (I am a 7 in the Enneagram world!) and
3) I hate to spend money on necessary things like plumbing, new roofs, taxes, and therapy!
COMMIT TO FOLLOW THROUGH
But, because my quality of life was so impaired and because I was sick and tired of being hurt and in pain, I decided I really could not afford to care how much this impacted me financially and I would just have to find a way to allocate the necessary money. And, this my friends, is exactly what it takes to invest in treatment for mental health issues in general, and absolutely, for resolving addiction issues of all kinds. You just have to recognize it is going to take a lot of time, and
unfortunately, a lot of money to get the quality of sustainable change you desperately want and need. The similarities between physical therapy and mental health therapy are amazing! Not only are both time consuming and expensive, they each also rely on the patient’s ability to stay involved consistently. and to do the work in sessions and ADDITIONALLY on their own. Both types of therapists can show us what to do, talk to us about how to do it by ourselves, and encourage us to do so on a regular basis. But they can’t make us do it. If we don’t commit to helping ourselves and staying committed to the process – no matter how much the time and financial costs start to niggle at us – they can’t get us to the level of improvement we so desperately stated we wanted at the beginning of the process. If we don’t do the work or don’t stay engaged in our own recovery – that’s on us. If we don’t, then we need to readjust our expectations for future life and the limited results we will most likely have to accept.
It can be easy to forget how badly you need the help once you start to feel better or see a little change. But, just like with my arm, feeling better doesn’t stick if you don’t keep working hard in therapy. Similarly, it can be hard to stay engaged if you don’t see the change you want fast enough. However, ceasing therapy will most likely only allow the problem to get worse and then you might have to deal with your physical, or emotional pain, in an even more expensive way – like surgery or residential treatment.
To me, both in treating my own sons’ addictions and in taking care of myself during this period of being injured, therapy and outside help have been worth every penny. Five months after falling I can now lift my arm over-head virtually pain free, I can get all my dresses and shirts on and off by myself again (you don’t know how important that is until you can’t do it!!), I am taking ballet and Pilates again, I can drive totally pain free (I still smile when I use my right arm to steer to the left!), and most of the time I don’t think about being hurt. Am I done? Not quite, still can’t sleep on my right side or work in the yard – so I have decided to invest another $200 to $400 and stay in physical therapy a few more weeks – or longer if that is the professional recommendation.
HOW BADLY DO YOU WANT THE CHANGE?
If you are thinking about seeking help for yourself or a loved one impacted with addiction, self-harming, lack of sense of self, or any of the other issues we deal with at Hope For Families, I would recommend you think about how badly you want the changes, how much time and money it is worth to you to get the changes you want, and then make the decision to commit to following through until the end. Just like with physical therapy, most weeks involve a feeling of one step forward /one-third of a step backward. Sometimes, with both, things actually get worse before they shift gears and start to move more consistently forward. It wasn’t until I hit the two month mark with physical therapy that I truly noticed a significant shift with pain reduction, mobility, and strength. And that’s is definitely how it’s going to be with getting your loved one or yourself to shift out of negative behaviors and thinking patterns. But, with persistent and consistent involvement, application, and patience, I am pretty sure you can get what you want so badly.
I hope you do.