Yep. Humperdinck…you got it right, my man.
So a very wise person and I spoke for quite some time on Monday (*cough*my therapist *cough*) and I knew she was gonna force me to talk about my dumb leg. The last time I’d spoken with her was the day before my MRI and I was positive there was gonna be some bad news.
I realized on the drive there that I just really didn’t want to talk about my leg, but there was no way around it. Why didn’t I want to talk about my leg? Because I just really don’t want to talk about it. With anyone. Because talking about it places importance on it. When I place importance on something, I start to think about it. A lot. When I start to think about something a lot, I get overly emotional when it’s not going my way and I turn into a GIANT TURD MONKEY.
Of course she asked right away and I told her I had a tibial stress reaction and blah blah blah I haven’t run in almost a month, I’m out for an indefinite amount of time, my leg still throbs by around 5PM every day, I have to wear this boot yadda yadda yadda.
And I sat there stone cold speaking about it. Emotionless. She saw me cry in my last session when the very idea of not running was terrifying me down to my inner core. Now that I know what it is, I’m emotionless. Why? Because the old me turned into a very bad person when I was injured. Nobody wanted anything to do with me. In fact, I’ve been working with her for almost the last year on coping skills in situations and how to react appropriately in stressful scenarios. The difference is…she’s taught me coping skills and how to deal with people and situations I don’t have control over. This injury is something, while I can’t fix in a hot second, is something I CAN CHANGE for the future.
The nature of my job has me in the midst of other people’s crazy lives on almost a daily basis. I see the really REALLY BAD that this universe can throw at people and it makes me feel slightly “TURD MONKEY-ISH” to make my tibial stress reaction a giant 1st world problem when people are dying of cancer, homeless, drug addicts, being abused by their family members, and dying of full-blown AIDS at 33 years old because they needed a freaking blood transfusion years ago. Ya know? I mean for serious. So I’ve been having a hard time letting myself really mourn the idea of not running. I’ve been in constant flight mode.
And then there was the convo I had with my coach on Sunday night. I kept telling him I was sad about it, but handling it well. This concerns him. Why? Because I’m not fighting. Not in the slightest. Sure I wrote that post about being a warrior last week, but I did it because I thought that’s what I was supposed to say in this situation, not what I actually feel. *gasp* I’m sorry I sorta lied to you all, but I think I was mostly trying to get myself to a point of being downright peeved and ready to fight.
You know why there’s no fight in me? Because I have literally not allowed myself to FEEL this loss. Yes, running is a loss. I need to go through the stages of mourning. I realize it is not a person, it’s not a family member, it’s not a loss of life, but it’s significant to me and I need to allow myself to go through the stages of grief. How can I get to the point of needing to fight if I haven’t even acknowledged the pain, anger, frustration and physical pain that I feel?
Picture this scenario: I get on the phone with my doc the day after my MRI and I’m told I have a 6 cm tibial stress reaction…you know the drill… Unfortunately I’m at work on a nursing unit and have to hold myself together even though really I’m being hit through the phone with a runner’s “kiss of death.” I turn around and see all my co-workers staring at me with bated breath because they all want to know what I found out. I say the diagnosis. I pick up my clipboard and I go to our conference room to run rounds with all the MDs I work with…just like I do every single morning. No emotion. No time for it. Dust yo’self off and get on with it.
The questions start coming at me when the boot makes its first appearance in my world. The ignorant comments of “Maybe you shouldn’t run anymore.” “Maybe you should take up another sport.” Blah blah blah. Take that for an entire day and you start to feel like total crud; especially when it comes from those you hold in high regard. I cried on the way home, but somehow I made it not about my leg, but a personal attack on my lifestyle; which it was, but I still didn’t allow myself to think about my tibia.
I told her about the triathlon and how in that moment I felt for the first time that I was really upset about my leg when people were running by me. I also admitted to her that I started to tear up, told myself this day wasn’t about me, but my friend, and I did the “Suck-it-up, Buttercup” maneuver and called it a day. No tears. No crying. Move on.
I’ve been biking my ever-lovin brains out. It’s boring. While on the bike every day watching mindless TV, I don’t ever allow myself to think about why I’m actually on there and not out running mileage in the heat worrying about heat stroke. No. I just act like this is totally normal that I bought a stationary bike and I’m watching “Rachael Ray” while spinning my legs off. Totally normal. Not out of the ordinary at all.
I haven’t let myself FEEL in weeks. I’ve been in constant flight mode instead of fight mode. She made me sit and really think about my injury for the first time on Monday. It took all of 8 seconds before I burst out into ugly cry tears in her office.
The assignment? I need to take 5-10 minutes every day and just sit and think about my injury. I need to let myself FEEL it. I will not resolve to fight it until I acknowledge it. I cannot understand it, nor can I accept it until I let myself think on it. The issue I need to work on here, once I allow myself to feel, is to not hyper-focus (as my coach likes to point out to me repeatedly) and to keep a good head on my shoulders that will put me in fight mode, but in a positive way.
Monday night this statement flashed across the screen as I was mindlessly stalking people on facebook. Holy smokes…could this be anymore perfect?
I promise you all…I have let myself feel for a solid 10 minutes today. Still not angry, but it feels good to be real.