Injury Rehab – The Mental Process

It’s time for another long winded physical and mental update on the progress of rehabilitating my body. In spite of there still being pain, I can see improvements. I can feel my back straighter, I can see my pelvis straighter and my doctor reported a visible improvement today. I also wore rather high heels last week and the recovery afterwards was pretty quick. There are good days and bad days, days when it feels like it’s a dark black tunnel and others when the light shines brightly at the end. It is both a physical and mental challenge to persevere.

The gym sessions at Niumee are a blessing, besides improving the situation, they give me a semblance of the activity that I want to hold on to. The system Steve (Stephen Moghrabi), my personal trainer uses does not always feel natural or obvious. His idea is based around engaging the nervous system and muscles to act in the right way whilst performing movement. This involves repetition of highly boring exercises that require a great deal of concentration to get right. My contradictory self wants to argue but I’m training myself to shut up.

My rehab journey is a story that begins 11 years ago, I had just left uni and started my first full-time job and my body began to crumble. A year of misdiagnosis (there was nothing wrong with my back in the end back then at all ) too many pain killers, too many scans and physio sessions followed. Followed by an endometriosis discovery and a small operation. At the end of that story, my back was given a clean bill of health. It was a tough year, I would say it was the most depressing year of my life and it was one I hoped I would never need to repeat. In the 11 years that followed, I’m not sure if my injuries were fully healed, I did feel a twinge in my hip, occasional pain in my knee was there but I thought maybe it was just a small twinge, my back never really complained so I never thought to check myself out, I guess I wanted to stay as far away from it all as possible.

I believe that dealing with an injury is much like dealing with a breakup or a death of some sort. Denial is the first point of call, denial that it even exists.

This isn’t like having a broken leg or anything visible. The thing about an invisible injury, is that sometimes, it feels like it might not be real..maybe I’m imagining it, maybe I’m using it as an excuse, maybe it’s a crutch of sorts……is the pain even real? It is also really hard to diagnose, symptoms need to be explained rather than seen.

Maybe I have been in denial for a while? It sounds strange though – wasn’t I going spinning 3 times a week, doing as many core and fast paced classes as possible? That’s where denial comes in, the foam roller was my best friend back then and if you convince yourself that the pain is mild, well the brain is very powerful. I knew it was getting worse, the fact that I felt my knee give way every time I tried to use it to climb up something, the fact that sleeping on my side meant pain in my hip and so forth.

What’s next? Acceptance, rage, acceptance, frustration and eventually hard work? I’m angry, I’m very angry. I’m angry this wasn’t fixed 11 years ago, I’m angry I didn’t take care of it more, I’m angry at my body for letting me down, for not being able to fix itself, for being weak. I look at other people who seem strong and able to do everything and anything and I get envious and just really plain jealous. It doesn’t help that, of course, my hubby turned into a gym bunny this year, I’m insanely proud of him but I waited 15 years for it to happen – did it need to happen when my body broke down again?

My reaction so far has been to attend all the gym sessions and do what Steve tells me I need to do..but I realised the other day that I am not yet mentally invested. A part of me is still in denial and still waiting for it to just mend itself, for it to go away. Any therapy can only go as far as the individual will allow, if you don’t work hard, if you don’t persevere in spite of the frustrations, then half the effort is lost. I keep saying – in your hands, don’t explain things to me which is not the way it should be. I see progress but I don’t want progress, I want it to simply go away.

In all honesty, I pity my poor trainer, it’s definitely not fun to fight against someone like me, to be greeted with a mixture of frustration, indifference and grumpiness….oh well there’s still light shining at the end of the tunnel.

 All Photos shot at Niumee Gym – rehab gym sessions at Niumee

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