What Is Recovery Mode?
After a 20-minute 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 its 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 for those battling mental health challenges, like SGB, talk therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and medications, can lead to excellent results. However, despite the fact that these treatments often bring rapid relief for trauma symptoms, the road to recovery is multi-layered and may take time.
Recognizing that continued care, even after a successful treatment like Adam’s, is one of the most important steps to living the life you deserve.
Recovering after treatment
For some, years of failed treatments can lead to hesitation on new modalities. In some cases, this hesitation can become a barrier to fully benefiting from an effective new modality.
For example, after experiencing emotional numbing from untreated trauma for many years, some people may find new thoughts and feelings confusing. These feelings are often expected and can be a part of “recovery mode.”
Recovery mode is what your body and mind experience after treatment. It can be a multitude of things – new thoughts, feelings, emotional releases, and even recognizing when something is different about how one’s body feels.
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, actions to take this time, and steps to promote healing for years to come.
Some things to expect during a healing journey
We often suppress our emotions due to the debilitating symptoms brought on by these mental health challenges without knowing it. Once we experience a successful outcome from treatment, a flood of unfamiliar suppressed emotions may emerge.
This is a normal reaction to many different types of treatments.
Emotional Acuity: The ability to recognize and correctly identify your own emotions, critical to navigating new thoughts and feelings.
Assessing our emotional acuity is vital in continued care after treatment. With emotional acuity, we can recognize our emotions more than before treatment. A way of getting in touch with these emotions is by asking and describing to ourselves what we are feeling.
- Is it something we’ve felt before?
- What words can we use to articulate this?
- Are we experiencing a single emotion or the combination of more than one simultaneously?
Assessing and understanding our feelings is the first step to navigating new emotions.
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, 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 and remember that perceptions, feelings, and emotions come and go.
Mental health challenges can take a toll on the body. Unfortunately, we can be used to feeling one way for years or decades before treatment that we often forget to check in on our physical well-being.
Whether or not it’s a good or bad day for our body, 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 the right steps in continued care
We can take many actions to help recovery post-treatment, but the first and most important action is to remember that you are not alone.
Whether or not you have a support system of friends, family, or colleagues, medical and mental health professionals are here to guide you through your healing journey and give you the resources you need to recover.
Here are five things that can be done today to improve treatment outcome and daily life:
Talking to a mental health professional
A typical step in a healing journey is working with mental health professionals like psychologists, counselors, clinicians, therapists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, or mental health nurse practitioners.
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 be a daily occurrence for most of the world and directly impacts symptoms of mental health challenges. For example, stress can heighten symptoms like anxiety and depression and harm a good night’s sleep. It can also lead to physical pain, like headaches and muscle tightness.
According to NAMI, “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.”
Take note of when these stressors occur to spot patterns or triggers and leverage that knowledge to better ourselves and our surroundings.
Mindfulness habits and physical health
Exercise and eating well are good ways to reduce stress throughout the day. In return, these can help with better sleep and balance our minds.
Ask for healthy food suggestions from medical providers or nutritionists to help find the best foods for our bodies and minds.
Meditation has great benefits for ongoing care, especially during an emotional release. Meditation helps us gain new perspectives on our past experiences. It helps someone focus on the present and allows one to walk into the rest of the day with a calm, cool, and collected mindset.
Assessing old, new, and future relationships
In creating a new normal, we may sometimes realize that certain situations and relationships are no longer healthy for us. In some cases, it is important to consider whether continuing to engage in these situations, behaviors, or relationships 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 is a necessary step.
Trying out old hobbies and exploring 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 vulnerable 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.
Ongoing maintenance and care
Given the innovation occurring within the mental healthcare field, there are many treatments that can help with trauma symptoms. Innovative treatments like SGB, Ketamine, and DTMS can help with mental health challenges, including innovations like SGB and ketamine infusion therapy.
These innovative treatments can help reduce the symptoms of mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, sometimes within 20 minutes. In addition, they can work both separately and together, administered by a medical professional.
SGB, or a Stellate Ganglion Block, is an injection of a local anesthetic into the stellate ganglion, a nerve bundle in the neck connected to the fight or flight system, to help people feel calm again in their own bodies.
Ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, can enter the body in a few ways: intravenously, intramuscularly, intranasally, or orally. Stella stays apprised of the latest and best protocols for administering the most innovative treatments available.
Though these are new modalities for trauma symptoms, a robust and ever-growing body of research shows the promise of these treatments. As mentioned in a previous blog post, research about SGB is compelling. Studies consistently indicate that it can reduce symptoms following trauma by 50% and that it’s particularly helpful in improving symptoms of irritability, surges of anger, difficulty concentrating, and trouble falling or staying asleep. And, The American Journal of Psychology called ketamine infusion therapy “one of the most important breakthroughs in antidepressant treatment in decades.”
Continued care is of the utmost importance
Continued care is vital to recovery from the symptoms of mental health challenges. Though there may be some hesitation, remember that these treatments work for most people experiencing symptoms, and the changes you may feel after treatment are normal.
Like mental health professionals, Stella is here for you. We’re dedicated to walking you through the steps to get you the care you deserve. We feel that continued care, during and after recovery mode, is one of the most important models for prolonged recovery.
Whether it’s talking about treatments, finding mental health professionals, or just checking in to see if your feelings are normal, Stella is dedicated to you.
Speak to a Care Advocate today to see if Treatment by Stella is right for you: (773) 923-1754.