Have you ever been at peak physical shape and then one small swoop of an injury took you completely out of the game?! Well, that’s me folks! I had been doing Crossfit for 5 years and have always been a competitive runner and I was in the best shape of my life. I was stronger and faster at 28 than I was at 17! I could run a 5:45 minute mile, bench 160#, do strict pull ups and muscle ups, and I just felt strong. I was a fast runner in high school but I was running even faster over 10 years later. I was living in cloud 9 in terms of physical strength. Or at least what I thought was peak physical strength. Little did I realize that I was much older now and bouncing back after injuries was definitely going to be a thing in the past. Plus, my emotional disconnect with using exercise as a means of control was doomed to be a recipe for disaster.
In a previous post When fitness becomes an obsession I talked about how my competitive and perfectionist tendencies combined with my need for control led me down a dark path. That dark path soon led me straight into a brick wall when I injured my low back for the 3rd and final time. It was a huge slap to the face and I had no idea how to emotionally handle this type of injury. I’ve dealt with pain before but this type of pain had an emotional component to it that I was unfamiliar with. Working in a chiropractor’s office I see so many people coming in with chronic pain that they have dealt with for years and years. Ladies and gentleman, chronic pain is no joke! Pain loves to mess with your psyche and it has, what feels like, this death grip over you. All you think about is everything you used to be able to do and can no longer enjoy. Enjoying life is truly a thing in the past. Sitting, laying down, walking, standing, sleeping, dressing, bathing, having a love life, driving, and working all become unenjoyable. I felt like there was never an end in sight and a life without pain was never going to be for me.
I could easily write on and on about the depressing nature behind chronic pain, BUT that’s not what this post is about. I am living proof that time, patience, and trusting the process will lead you on the road to recovery. If you ask me, “Well how long am I supposed to wait?” or “When will I start feeling better?” I will answer with, “That’s a good question!” Everyone’s injury and recovery time is very different. Even how people perceive pain is completely different from one person to another. What I do know and what I have personally lived through is, there’s hope! I had given up on hope for quite some time but I woke up one morning and said to myself, “STOP feeling sorry for yourself lady! GO and start living your life again!” I have once again taken a challenge life decided to throw my way and beat it! Facing your fears head on and looking at them in your rear view mirror as you move forward is quite a liberating experience!
I had said before, things always happen for a reason and my injury forced me to stop, think, and truly find myself again. I was lost. I was unhappy, and my need for control was completely out of control! While I was working in the chiropractic field I noticed something. I noticed that the chiropractors and staff did a fantastic job at helping to correct the physical ailment but never really touched the emotional component that followed suite. I saw patients coming in with horrible pain and we were doing a darn good job at relieving them of it, but never provided emotional support during the process. Stripping someone of being able to perform the basic needs of daily living is demoralizing and stress ridden. I wish I would have had someone there with me who could have helped me with the depression that came with the chronic pain. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to go through so much emotional distress. BUT through my struggles I can provide others with hope. Hope that there is an end in sight and a life without pain IS possible!
It took me some time to finally find joy again BUT I never gave up! I wish I could say I am back at running and doing all my fancy Crossfit moves BUT that’s just not the case. For me, getting back into exercising meant I had to find a different mindset. A mindset where I now view physical movement as a means to a healthier living and not always worrying about how many calories I burned. NOT using it as a means to relieve myself of ‘guilt’ after eating bread or indulging in a delicious dessert. I will be honest with you all, I do find it hard to imagine a life without being able to run again BUT I am not going to let that idea ruin my progress! I had to get back into exercising very slowly. I started with just walking. I began with 15 minutes at a time and slowly worked my way up. I am able to bike now for 20 minutes at a time and I am SUPER excited about that! I have also been able to incorporate some body weight movements as well with NO back pain!! This progress might seem minor to some of you BUT it is major for me! I went 2 years without being able to do any real form of physical activity because any little thing would cause pain. Pain while standing, sitting, driving, walking, sleeping… NOW, no pain while I bike and do body weight exercises! NO PAIN! I am not fully recovered but I am back to enjoying life. One day I hope to run again, BUT if that day never comes, I know I can still find joy elsewhere!
Well guess what guys? I am here to help you get your life back! I will be honest, it is not an easy road to travel down, but having the emotional support while you travel down your road to recovery is an important piece of the puzzle. I am just one example among many others who have recovered from an injury and got their life back. So join with me while we experience life again and all the joys that go with it!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook and join with me on my journey to recovery! I would love to hear how you all have gotten through an injury and found joy again! Share your stories on either my Facebook or Instagram page!!