How do you know?

How do you know if you are recovered? How do you know that you are cured? After 1.5 years, I don’t remember how it is to be well. Actually, I think I have never been well, even before the concussion. For years I suffered from anxiety disorder, I have had depression, I lived my life by doing everything all at once. I might have never actually LIVED a day at a time, even though I believed I did.

Monday was a new day for me. I translated an article from one language to two others. I posted it on the website and on facebook. This is part of my volunteer work on an NGO project that I have been a part of for four years, but for the past months I haven’t been active at all. On Monday I decided to start writing articles as a brain exercise. The results were astonishing!

For the past 5 months I have done NOTHING. I gave up my volunteer work. I have spent my days at home, going for walks, going to the gym, binge watching series, binge reading books, eating, sleeping. Basically what holidays should look like. The only brainy activity I have done was writing articles in my For Equal Rights blog, which forces me to articulate and make sense of my thoughts and ideas. On Monday I translated an article from Spanish, which I am not fluent in, to Portuguese and English. On Tuesday I summarised and analysed data, which I managed to scientifically put together into a coherent article that I published today. I am excited that I managed to do this without feeling anxious, freaked out or with a throbbing headache in the end of it. It wasn’t as hard as it used to be.

Does that mean I am cured? I still think it is too soon to tell. What I learned in the past days is that, yes, I can manage writing an article, but that is on my free time, alone, and at my own accord. If it was a job, where there are expectations, where there are deadlines, my anxiety might have risen, my brain might have blocked, and my head might have been throbbing in pain, ultimately, I would be exhausted from the exercise.

What I learned from this whole experience is that my previous life style bad for my health and that from now on I have to take more control over it. I don’t like the word “control” – I find that it doesn’t let people be free to live – I think I mean more, aware. We need to be more aware, more mindful, not let things get out of hand, listen to your body and make adequate changes.

I am now living stress free, I want to continue to live stress free. But how and when do I get back work, and what work? Should I even work full time? Should I get back to studies? What studies? Should I change my degree, my Master thesis? Something has to change, but what? How do you know when you are recovered and can go back to living a “socially accepted” life of work and studies?

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