TSW warriors hear it all the time:
“With time, you will heal.”
“The only cure is time.”
“There is nothing you can do, except to wait it out.”
The concept of recovery time in TSW is confusing because on one hand, all sufferers want their misery to end quickly. On the other, having the “will to recover” alone often does not give them the speedy results they desire.
Here is my view on recovery time, after close to 2 years of skin troubles:
I remember the repeating cycles of horrid flares and recovery of my skin, on my neck, my arms, my back and my legs. The first few cycles were scary, because I didn’t know what would happen.
What actually happened was that there is ALWAYS a break, a relief, after certain weeks from the initial flare. The skin will heal up, look relatively better, and then the cycle repeats.
After a few cycles, I just knew I had to let time heal me. I was confident enough to know that in XX weeks, I’d be better off than today.
And it probably made sense scientifically and physically. New skin takes about a month to grow and rise from basal layer to the top. Add a couple of weeks/days, together with the expectation that our skin may have some growth/regrowth errors, and the timeframe of such flares and recovery cycles somehow fit into this expectation – a thereabouts of 2 months.
When I have a bad flare, I can expect that in 2 months, things will become better.
When you have a layer of damaged skin, with damaged tissues, broken/vasodilated capillaries, screwed up biochemistry, weird cortisol levels, there is only so much that you can do personally to improve your physical state. Time is still needed for your body to grow and renew new cells, re-regulate your biochemistry and get rid of the damaged stuff. Unless you are Wolverine, there is a fixed limit on how fast you can recover PHYSICALLY.
A thought experiment: Compare a pair of TSW Twins, both used the same amount and type of TS over the same duration. Twin A goes thru his TSW based on what he did pre TSW. Twin B does everything he can – improving his diet and lifestyle, meditating, exercising, being happy and all the good stuff he can do for his body and mind.
It will be interesting to know who will come out better at the end of certain TSW timeframe. (It’s a no brainer answer actually.)
There are so many things one can do to better his body and mind through this period of TSW. Many of them are synergistic to the recovery process.
On the flipside, there are equally many things one can do to make his TSW worse – smoking, drinking, eating badly and so on.
When we accept that time is not the only deterministic factor of our recovery, we regain some controllable aspects of our lives – things that we can actually do to make things better.
I hate taking the fatalistic and deterministic view that “Time is the only factor” in our recovery. I find that some people (especially some TSW veterans) use them as a liberal excuse for them to indulge in less than optimal lifestyle behaviors during TSW. It is worse when people who are new to TSW subscribe to this view, given by veterans based on their experience.
However, as I have mentioned, there are simply some uncontrollable aspects in TSW that requires the passage of time to ease you through.
And here is my current mindset on recovery time:
Instead of thinking how fast or when TSW will end (a specific time endpoint), think of the recovery process as one that takes place within time spectrum. With time, things will get better. There is no specific endpoint, only milestones within the spectrum. As with life and living in general, your goal is not to know when you will die exactly, but how you want to live your life.
Let time be your ally, not your enemy. Every living moment is an opportunity to make your body and mind better. When you decide to focus on happier thoughts now, your mind is already in a better state compared to 10 seconds ago. Instead of thinking why is my skin so bad now, realise that your skin is actually recovering itself at this very moment, and the bad symptoms is just a visible function of the recovery process.
Just commit yourself fully to the recovery process. Tell yourself that you will do your very best physically and mentally. And let time do the good work for you.
Chug on TSW Warriors.