Avoid the Comparison Trap by Letting Your Body Heal on Its Own Time

It can be tempting to compare ourselves with others, but it's best to avoid it

Ellijahna Victoria avatar

by Ellijahna Victoria |

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A quote that has circulated online notes, “Healing takes time, and you walk that path in your own way.” While most of us probably would agree that this is true, it’s easy to forget that the process doesn’t always look pretty, and it takes much longer than anticipated.

Since I started sharing about my Cushing’s journey, the most common question I receive from recently diagnosed people is about how long it will take to recover and feel like their old selves again. It’s a valid question that I often asked during my own recovery, but I believe it can also be problematic and lead to what I call the comparison trap.

I had joined many online Cushing’s support groups, where I couldn’t help but compare every step of my diagnosis and recovery with the experiences of others. While at times I acknowledged that other people had it worse than me, I’d often feel jealous because some seemed to have had a dream run with their recovery. I’d grow frustrated with myself because I wasn’t meeting my own expectations about where I should be at a given point in time after having transsphenoidal surgery to remove a pituitary tumor. And the more I compared myself with others, the more resentment and disappointment I felt about myself.

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These Routines Helped During My Cushing’s Recovery

Don’t get me wrong: Before surgery, I educated myself as much as I could about what to expect. I was told I’d be in the hospital for up to a week after surgery and that I’d experience headaches and lose my sense of taste and smell for a while. I might even experience withdrawal symptoms when I needed to wean myself off replacement steroids like hydrocortisone. I knew that losing weight would also take time, but most of the Cushies I came across had dropped their weight quite rapidly, especially after they stopped taking medication.

This made me set unrealistic goals and threw me into a world of grief. The weight wasn’t dropping as fast as I thought it should, I had complications like diabetes insipidus (which I’d never heard about before), and I felt like I’d be stuck with my medication for a long time because I was weaning off it very slowly compared with other people. I felt fatigued all the time, and my sense of taste and smell didn’t return until about six months after surgery.

Healing is a journey and a process — and a continuous one at that. It requires time and patience. It took a while for me to realize that I had to take a step back and give my body the time it needed to recover. I learned that I had to let go of unrealistic expectations and focus on my progress. So rather than comparing myself with others, I began to compare myself with how I’d been a week earlier. I’d celebrate any wins I could find — no matter how small.

In previous columns, I’ve written about the decisions we make and how they can affect our healing. When we compare ourselves with others, we tend to focus on our deficiencies, which ultimately hurts us even more because it’s a self-inflicted wound.

Next time you’re feeling frustrated because you aren’t where you thought you’d be, I challenge you to focus on the progress you’ve already made. Celebrate the wins and you’ll be far too busy to compare yourself with anyone else.


Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.

Comments

Amalia avatar

Amalia

This is really good advice. I am having surgery in just over a week and have had the same anxiety about recovery. What are some of the support groups you've found? I've had a hard time finding any. Thanks for your post!

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