The stress cycle is a three part cycle. There is
an activating event
the fight or flight response (It’s the response to the activating event) the recovery phase
This Section is on The Recovery Phase
Having an activating event and the activation of the fight or flight response that occurs is an energy sapping series of events. Because of the high degree of tension from that adrenaline rush, one becomes exhausted.
It is not unusual for one’s body to remain on high alert, sometimes for an extended period of time. Tension takes a lot of energy. Anxiety takes a lot of energy. Unresolved issues or situations that drag on and on take a lot of energy. It can end up being a fatiguing series of events.
Needing to take some time to recover from the physical and mental things that have happened is normal. If one has some kind of physical trauma that has occurred, one may stay in a hospital or a nursing home for an extended period of time. One may come home and rest. For the body to heal, rest is important. Rest is a crucial part of the healing process.
Let’s say one broke a couple of ribs in an accident of some kind. One would naturally choose to move slower, reach out more carefully and wait to heal before picking up the pace of life again.
Or one might break an arm falling out of a tree (or bed). One would naturally need to change or slow their lifestyle until the arm became less painful and healed. The dishes are a problem when an arm is in a cast and taking a shower can be a struggle at best.
Society understands the rest that is needed in each of the above situations. There is a big reminder (or cast) that people can see. In the case of the damaged ribs, the caution with which a person chooses to move or breathe is apparent.
When someone is trying to recover from an activating event that is mental or emotional rest is needed for a full recovery to happen, even though there is no pink or green cast to be seen. Activating events can be exhausting. Time to heal from physical, mental and emotional stress that happens can be needed. Just because there is no cast, doesn’t mean that one is able to run right out and pick up life like there was no interruption.
When one doesn’t take or have the time or resources needed to heal, the stress cycle may or can occur repeatedly. This is often referred to as a revolving door (which is a cycle of re-occurring hospitalizations) by people who have this experience.
Needing a long recovery cycle may be why people are still sleeping 16-18 hours a day, unable to drag themselves out of bed. Due to the traumatizing event, rest is needed. Taking time to rest and recover (and needing that time to rest and recover) is a natural part of the recovery process.
This (needing a long recovery cycle) may be especially true if we have ended up with stress as a conditioned response. (Triggers through PTSD is one example of a conditioned response) Unsolvable problems also cause a longer recovery cycle with more rest being needed.
Chronic illness and chronic health problems also can mean that more rest is needed. Having a mental illness/psychiatric diagnosis is often seen as a chronic illness. A chronic illness is one in which little resolution is expected or when through experiences with recurring symptom cycles seem to have little control. That is a continual or constant stressor.
The people changing that are the people willing and able to speak of recovery, thereby instilling the hope of recovery in others.
To go to Stress Cycle–The Activating Event, Click here
To go to Stress Cycle–Fight or Flight, Click here.