Recovery Requires Positivity

Attitude is everything.

One thing I have learned from my experience is having a positive mind-set will speed up recovery – I believe my healthy attitude towards the illness contributed to my body responding healthily.

I was a fortunate patient in the fact that my recovery time was quicker than other patients, the doctors would call me "miraculous M".  After moving to the neurology ward from ICU and the high dependency unit, I was eager to maximise the use of services in the hospital and was excited to take part in occupational health activities and physiotherapy. I hadn’t let go of my passion for baking and my favourite OT activity was baking brownies for the ward - whilst in physio I would play mini games of tennis. In contrast to “normal life”, the only time I haven’t looked forward to weekends was my time in hospital because it meant no OT or physio sessions!

As I became stronger, I treated the coming and going of encephalitis as me being “re-born”, perhaps because I had to re-enforce basic skills after being bed-bound in ICU for so long but I used my recovery time to also cognitively re-fresh. I revived my childhood love for puzzle books and Sudoku was a puzzle I’d do regularly throughout the day every-day. I’m not sure if adult colouring books were “the thing” before 2016 but I certainly hadn’t heard of them pre-hospital; they helped me to channel my creative skills. At the time I had become so pedantic about neatness which sometimes frustrated those around me so it was nice having an activity where I could channel that “perfectionism” without feeling judged.

The pedantic attitude was natural of course, I’d just had an illness where the cause was not fully known so everything around me had to be meticulous in terms of cleanliness and order; I had to be fully aware of everything around me.

My family were by my side seven days of the week, they are one of my biggest blessings, their constant encouragement and praise when doing well in an activity reminded me that encephalitis didn’t and would not define my future abilities. I knew that when I’d leave hospital I would have to implement lifestyle changes to ensure my development continued and my family made this possible.  

Overall, the motivation to get me through my hospital journey stemmed from the constant positivity instilled in me by my family but also by my own positive mind-set. I live by the statement "you are not given a test in which you cannot bear, and after bearing it you come out stronger". So, remain positive and take time to overcome this challenge which was given to you so you understand just how resilient and capable you are, as well as the extent of your ability to overcome hardships and accomplish.

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