We all know what the physical side of injury looks like and how you deal with this. You find the problem, let it heal, strengthen it, make changes, and continue to look after it. However, the mental side needs similar treatment, but is often neglected, mostly because it is not visible. When you get injured, your mind does as well, because dealing with injury can be just as painful as the injury itself. I thought I would use this blog to explore what the emotions of injury look like, how they have changed, and how I have dealt with them.
Whether you are someone that just loves to move your body, or a professional athlete, there is a sense of loss when you get injured. I was losing something that holds a massive place in my life. Having this taken away, left me with a feeling of sadness. Suddenly my mode of release/escapism was gone.
As a result, I had to look elsewhere. I had to uncover other hobbies that I perhaps don’t usually have time for. I also tried to do some form of training each day. Whether it was simply stretching, or as time went on, getting in the pool/on the bike, I made sure to enjoy other modes of movement to give me a sense of purpose.
I also found it helpful to fill my time with other positive things, such as seeing friends and spending time with my dogs. This helped to prevent me from dwelling by spending too much time on my own.
When my foot started to hurt, especially at the time that it did, I felt very confused. I would constantly ask myself, why me and not someone else? I did not understand why I had to be taken out with an injury whilst at the biggest race of my life so far. What did I do to deserve this? However, overtime, I have come to understand this.
I now see that every journey is different. Nobody is destined to follow the same path as somebody else. Whilst it may not have been the one that I would have chosen at the time, I truly feel that everything works out in the end and this is just part of my journey. Rather than forcing things, injury has shown me to appreciate every step and to go with the flow of my body, because you never know what is coming next for you. If you force anything in life, it is less likely to flow naturally.
Can’t put my finger on it.
Some days I just feel out of sorts. My brain feels up then rapidly down. I don’t feel sad, but I don’t feel happy. I want to cry then I feel fine. These sporadic and unexplained emotions have been difficult to deal with. I have felt confused by my own emotions because I don’t understand what I am actually feeling.
However, I have began to realise that it is ok to feel whatever I am feeling, even if it doesn’t make sense. We are allowed to feel whatever emotions strike us. Therefore, I chose to roll with my emotions, not beat myself up over how I feel, and know that every feeling will pass. It is only natural to go through the motions.
I find it easier to move through the emotions by talking about how I feel. Sometimes the feelings do not make sense inside my mind, but as soon as I put them all out in the open, however disjointed they may seem, they make a lot more sense.
When injury struck, one of the thoughts that flooded my mind was, ‘Am I wasting my life?’. I have chosen to give a lot of my life to running, which can be a gamble, because you never know when you could be taken out with injury. When running was suddenly taken away from, I began to question my decisions and whether I was doing the right thing. It can be risky giving so much to one thing.
However, these doubts that come with injury have only ever done one thing for me. They have always confirmed how much I love this sport and how much I want to chase after my dreams. I am not willing to give up on my dreams, and injury only confirms this. In the end, running brings me an immense amount of happiness, and if this is all it ever does, that is enough for me. No time is ever wasted spent happy, therefore no time spent focusing on running is a waste, regardless of the outcome.
I find that these heavier emotions, such as doubt, always tend to lead towards feelings of happiness. I have started to believe that injury is something to embrace. It is my opportunity to become a stronger and better athlete.
If someone came up to you and said, do you want to become a stronger, faster, and better athlete, both physically and mentally, you’d 100% say yes. Chances are, they would probably then throw an injury at you. If you can get through these difficult moments, you can overcome anything. Therefore, injury is opportunity disguised as upset.
As my injury has progressed, and the end has become in sight, I feel very determined. Don’t get me wrong, some days are still a lot harder than others, but I am SO ready to tackle whatever is thrown my way. I am ready to work hard and chase down my goals, but by enjoying every step of the journey, because as I said, you never know what is going to happen next.
When I feel determined, I know it is important to embrace those emotions, but also to remind myself that patience is key. The route to becoming a great athlete is not just through hard work, but also by being smart and sensible. This is something I have definitely come to learn more and more.
There are a whole host of other emotions that accompany injury, but I hope this blog shows you, that whatever stage of your journey you are at, whether you are going through an injury or not, it is ok to feel any emotion. They are all valid feelings, and they all have a positive to them however uncomfortable they may feel at the time.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!