I have been injured many times before.
Some would laugh that I have spent nearly 4 years of my life on crutches (if you add them all up). I spent most of my time as a therapist trying to help people though the loss of their sport, even though it might be temporary, injury hits everyone a bit different. The depression, the loss of self, the longing, the grief are all things we know can happen psychologically when someone is injured and experiences some loss of function. Especially if this loss of function is a big part of their lives or how they earn their wages. Although I have recovered 8 times, I have never been “injured” like this before.
I am talking about being sick. Any type of sick. Unfortunately for me, they can’t tell me yet what type of sick I am. There is no plan; no end goal. No idea how to make myself feel better. And this time, there are no obvious outward signs like crutches. For the most part, I look fine. People close to me can tell something is “off” but not really. It is in this “sickness” that I have understood more than ever the loss an athlete feels when they lose their livelihood.
There are so many aspects of my work that I enjoy: travel, watching sports, inspiring students, researching new skills, motivating and leading others. All of these things have been stripped from me in the past two months. My team is currently traveling Europe without me. My courses have been given to someone else to teach. My research is being presented at a conference without me because I can’t go. The struggle is real.
As a therapist it’s too easy to ignore the subtle signs and symptoms. It easy to say “don’t worry, we’ll get you back out there”. I have said it and I truly meant it. We talk about psychological readiness to return to sport. However, there are people out there who love what they do so much, that being separated from doing it (even for a short while) is devastating. I found myself sitting here saying today ” I wish I had never told anyone I was feeling sick. I’ve lost out on so much.” I felt…hopeless.
However as a Facilitator of Danielle Laporte’s work, I read my core desired feelings and asked myself “did you get up today to feel sad, victimized and hopeless? Or did you get up today to feel Calm, Bountiful, and Passionate?” Yeah, it was the latter. I got into my car and went to my happy place: Chapters. The first book I opened was a book of poetry from Humble The Poet. The first page I read said:
“The negative feelings we all have can be addictive, just as the positive. It’s up to us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed.”
You don’t choose injury over strength. You don’t choose sick over healthy. But in a world where so many choices are out of our hands, we can choose to do something that infuses our day with a tiny amount of happiness. I am grateful that I can recognize those negative thoughts when they show up. Most of the time, I can catch them and choose something different. Not always, but way more than I used to. So, I’m drawing a mid-day bath to soak my aches and pains. I’m finishing that book from Humble the Poet. And I am eating a butter tart. Not because I am eating my feelings. But because right now I am choosing BOUNTIFUL.