My new biggest fear

Oh dudes. Its been a tough week.

Last time I wrote, about declaring my intention to hike the Bib, I listed my biggest fear as starting the journey and then having to cut it short due to repetitive use injury (pretty common on long hikes). Ive now replaced that fear with a greater fear: to not even start due to injury.

Almost every day this past week Ive woken up with some different sort of body pain. Ironically, I wrote a draft blog post about the movement practices Ive been doing of late, and how great it feels that Im moving so much. And then this week, starting the day after I drafted it, Ive been in struggle town with the whole movement thing. Ive had achilles tendon pain (thats been going on for a while actually), back pain (also going on for a while), random sharp pains in my heel and, for the first time in my life, sciatic pain.

Its pretty hard for me to deal with emotionally, for two reasons:

  1. Obviously, Im planning a fuck-off long hike. This is likely to be hampered if Im not in good physical shape.
  2. Movement is my number one ultimate super tool in my box of how I manage my mood. So when my movement routines are hampered, I really notice how it affects me, mood-wise.

Its a really tricky scenario that a lot of people face,

whether they use movement as their mental health management tool or not – how to keep active when your body hurts. Ive had a bunch of hurts in the past – bone bumps shaved off, torn ligaments, surgery on multiple joints, blah blah. However, I still really struggle with the idea of listening to my body. On the one hand, Im afraid that because I know Im a sensitive person, perhaps Im too sensitive to discomfort, and therefore likely to make a big deal out of nothing. The fact that in the past many of my sensations of discomfort have been due to legitimate causes that were improved via medical intervention doesnt seem to give me any more trust in my own body signals. Because on the other hand, I like moving so much, and its such an important part of my life, I dont want to hear when something isnt working. I just want to ignore it and hope it goes away. I tell myself that its probably nothing and Ill be fine. Then I stress about it. Because of the first point I made. And ironically, the worrying about what could be wrong likely makes it worse. A stressful mind and body does not make for a good healing environment.

If I was a client and I was seeing myself, as an exercise physiologist, I would probably make some suggestion like, perhaps consider a different type of movement that doesnt make your back hurt? Try doing some swimming so whatever is going on with your foot gets a break? But my client self says, fuck that, I dont want to try swimming! I want to do what I enjoy doing! And stubbornly keeps doing it. Largely because Im clinging to it as a mental health flotation device at the moment.

Its kind of odd, isnt it

That my whole message is based on minds and bodies and intuitively listening to your own internal environment to figure out whats right for you, and yet I struggle with that myself? (We could also argue that the very fact that I struggle with the same issues gives me greater insight) Its another situation where I dont really have an adequate answer. Rather, Im just exploring my own discomfort with discomfort and offering it to you, the blog-reading public, for no real reason other than the fact that I think its important that we dont create these online identities where we can come across as perfect beings who dont struggle with exactly the same issues that you do. Im also just a person, trying to do the best I can with what Ive got.


4 Replies to “My new biggest fear”

  1. You can do anything you put your mind to woman! Whether it’s pushing through pain or pulling out because something is telling you the times just not right, I know you’ll do what you need for you.

    Remember that time you broke your collarbone playing footy but didn’t find out until a while later after it had healed itself? Now if that’s not tough I don’t know what is! (Well I hope that was you, I remember one of the girls did and I seem to remember it being you haha)

    On the other hand you seem to have dedicated so much of your life to helping people, including yourself, get the excercuse balance right and do what is right for them that if this time round is not the right time, then there will always be another opportunity.

    So I guess in my round about way what I’m trying to say is maybe don’t put so much pressure on yourself either way. Do your best to prepare properly but if it doesn’t fall into place this time, well imagine how much more you will know when it comes to prep for the next attempt. I’m sure there’s an affirmation somewhere about failure isn’t failure in the sense we think of it. It’s more preparing us for he next challenge in life.

    So don’t stress, do you best with the body and thus life that you have and trust thins will fall into place as you need them.

    Can’t wait to catch up in a couple of weeks

    1. Thanks Jaya, you’re so very right. While I was out walking (practice!) the last couple of days I was like, what was I thinking? Who gives a fuck whether I finish it or not? Haha. Thanks for your support lovely xxx

  2. so eloquently put my darling. I wonder how many others start off on big journeys of one kind or another, NOT in top shape. And how to listen to the nagging but strong body messages… i love that you can name this and not have an answer.
    When I was negotiating with my family to find a home for my ill elderly mother recently, the young committed and excellently trained doctors said to us “we don’t know what to do”. I think its the first time I”ve ever heard a doctor say that. Kind of hard to hear, and also refreshing, because I couldn’t figure it out either. It was a biggie. xxx

    1. Thanks mum. Yeah I would guess it’s quite common – that people wouldn’t be in top shape both physically and otherwise! Nice that you’ve got honest doctors around – we need more health professionals admitting they don’t know either! xx

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