Deepak Chopra, MDHealth Blog - Wellness
Ask Deepak: Evaluating Healing Progress
Published on 2009-03-02 by Deepak Chopra, MD
I’m a little uncertain and i was wondering if you could help me out with something. I’ve endured a lot of psychological & emotional trauma as a kid and have also ended up creating a variety of different physical health issues as well…things from urinary issues, to chronic fatigue, to depression and constant anxiety and I believe a lot of this comes from the way I have thought over the years.
Over the last 5 years I have gotten myself into self-help, cognitive behavioral therapy and personal growth programs, I seem to be guided by an unseen force into things that may make me overcome my health issues. The only problem is that after awhile i start to doubt whatever it is that I’m doing and I don’t see the benefits in continuing. I want to feel healthy, I want to feel alive and passionate as well, so I guess my question is, do you have any advice when it comes to keeping myself certain that if i follow the path i’m on, I’ll achieve my goal of being healthy?
When we begin a self-help program or therapy, we do so with the expectation of getting benefits, but it is important to not set the expectations unrealistically high or else we will be setting ourselves up for disappointment. On the other hand it is reasonable to expect some results as a means of evaluating which programs work for us or don’t. On the areas you mentioned: urinary issues, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety, there will be some overlap in treatments and time frames involved, so there isn’t a simple formula that will apply to all of these. Suffice it to say that you will need to speak to your health professional about reasonable expectations, and time frames within which you can evaluate your progress and make adjustments. The more fully you can distance the assessment of your progress from your fluctuating moods, the more likely you will continue the treatments long enough to accomplish their aim.
Look for obvious markers of progress, and keep a journal to keep track.
• Are you sleeping better?
• Has your appetite improved?
• Are you having more positive social interactions?
• Have others commented on any changes in you?
• Are you having more good days than bad days?
• Are you accomplishing more tasks, or doing them more easily?
There will be ups and downs in any healing or recovery process, but overall, if the treatment is effective, there should be obvious improvements in these basic areas of life.
Also, the better you understand the treatment, its mechanisms and principles, the better you will be able to match your expectations to what is supposed to be happening at each stage. That prevents you from simply desperately moving from one treatment after another, hoping for a miracle, and then being emotionally devastated when on difficult days you feel it’s not working, and want to quit. It’s fine to try something else if what you are doing isn’t effective, but that determination should be made independent of your moods. This is especially true in cases of depression where one is predisposed to disappointment.
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