As a fitness professional and athlete, one of the most difficult things I’ve had to go through was an injury that required surgery…and a lot more. Injuries can occur from a sudden instance or from something repeated over time. Injuries don’t just hurt you physically; the mental and emotional stress, and even financial burden, can be more painful. Everyone gets injured, but not everyone recovers.
Emotionally Shutting Down
The last 12 months have been a little bit of a physical and emotional roller coaster; I injured my shoulder, then later, my knee. Having both my upper and lower body injured, made it much more difficult to train the way I wanted to, so I lost motivation to workout. It became a daily struggle to deal with the physical pain; everything from not being able to do familiar workouts, to how I got dressed in the morning. I had to adjust many aspects my life, and as a result, found myself “shutting down” emotionally to conserve energy and protect myself. I made work my top priority because work was familiar and easier to do…healing my injury was not as familiar, so making myself the top priority, fell to the waste side. I didn’t realize how much I had emotionally withdrawn until I started to see some of the people closest in my life withdraw from me as well. Once I realized these people were fading from my life, it shocked me into an emotional shift and I got off my ass to really address my injuries and make “me” the top priority. Things have completely changed for the better now; my surgery was a success, I’m training again, and I feel like my old self.
Positive Lessons Learned
So even with all the pain, stress and frustration of my injuries, there were positive and irreplaceable lessons I learned. I not only discovered a lot about my physical limits; I also gained a deeper appreciation on how to “listen” to my body, how to have a new trust and respect for my body, and I changed how I workout. The experience has made me a better fitness professional, a more knowledgeable trainer, a more compassionate person, and a great reminder that getting out of pain or helping people get out of “pain”, is a gift.
Should or Should Not
You should go through pain first to learn how to heal it.
You should acknowledge that you have an injury instead of denying it.
You should put your ego aside and seek treatment because that’s what your body needs.
You should do your treatment with love because that’s what your mind needs.
You should do your treatment consistently so your injury will heal and not become irreversible.
And you should be open to making major adjustments in your life, like changing jobs or going into debt…but your physical, mental and spiritual “health” is more important than anything else.
My last bit of advice… don’t give up. There’s always someone out there going through what you are and can help, but ultimately you are the master of your health. And when you do heal, pay it forward. Share the wisdom from your healing, it will come back to you ten-fold. If you are “injured” or have been injured, here are the 6 steps I believe will help you in your healing.
Recognize you have an injury
Step 3:Start therapy
Apply what you learned to prevent future injuries…turn knowledge into wisdom
Pay it forward
What are lessons you’ve learned from being injured?
Thank you for the invaluable insights- I think that the emotional stress and financial stress that is concomitant with injury is all too often ignored despite the fact that these are major areas that can hinder the healing process (or vault it forward if dealt with accordingly).
I have had a few injuries but 17 months ago I broke both of my feet.
The treatment was (no pun intended) one step forward and two steps back as I had to “take turns” rehab-ing each foot bit by bit. The pain was so awful I would stay in bed 1-2 hours each morning not wanting to take the first steps of the day (those were the worst).
Accupuncture, yoga, and physical therapy kept me from needing surgery- following my routine was something that helped me emotionally as much as physically. I was told I would walk with a cane for a year, and that I could expect it to take 2 years or more to return to pre-break strength and healing.
The cane I used for 6 months, and at 12 months I was back to 90% mobility and strength (which I was told was “medically impossible” as my doctor’s smile was beaming).
1- Keep moving forward- sometimes it is baby steps and sometimes giant leaps but keep moving forward.
2- There is a difference between pain and suffering. Twenty years of meditation helped me to incorporate this lifelong lesson into this healing process.
3- Humility and compassion- Setbacks happen, so do tears- meet them where they find you and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Thanks, Brett. I think your should and should nots apply to emotional and financial aspects of injury as well, as do the steps you provide. You’re awesome!