The Long Game

Hurting my back has brought back a lot of bad memories. Although I know that it's a "traumatic" injury instead of a "repetitive" one – like my neck/shoulders – and will heal much more quickly with far less effort, it still dredges up the frustration and stress of being injured. (Click here to read about what happened to my back.)

I'm not sure how everyone thinks of themselves, but before I got injured I didn't think too much about myself as a whole physical being. So much of our self-perception comes from our brains – we are thinking creatures. But the reality is that we are extremely physical as well. Perhaps we've strayed too far from our animal past, that we forget we are not just little thought bubbles bobbing around without bodies.

Anyone who has been really ill probably understands exactly what I'm talking about. Until you've experienced chronic pain or illness you don't realize how much you should appreciate good health. I'm very lucky, however. I found a physiotherapist (a physical therapist for American readers) who had a method that allowed me to get better. And although I'm biologically at a disadvantage, being hypermobile (scientific-speak for very flexible), my hypermobility is not pathological – meaning there are some people for whom it's actually like a disease. They are so flexible that they cannot build up enough strength to prevent injury.

Last night I felt really mopey. I was exhausted and needed to rest so took myself out of the game, like I sometimes need to do. Going home straight after work and doing my back exercises while watching TV, I felt sorry for myself that I couldn't be doing an aerobics class or be out with friends. I think I feel more down, and anxious generally, when I'm not able to do much exercise. But the truth is that I have to be fit for the long game. If I want to be able to do the activities I enjoy at some point, then I've got to put the work in now to fix my back. I was strong enough to do things I wanted to do before and I'll be strong enough again. But sometimes my brain forgets.

It would be nice to have a quick fix, but hey, it would be nice to have a quick fix for most annoying/difficult things in life. Sometimes what I do is just allow myself to wallow for a bit (what a good friend of mine calls "having a pity party") before realizing things will be OK and I'll get through it. (Also, last night, a few episodes of MasterChef really helped cheer me up -- click here to read my post on MasterChef and perfectionism).

I'm interested to hear if you have any solutions for getting yourself out of the quick-fix mindset. And do you have a good tool for dealing with feeling down and mopey about a problem with no easy solution?


  1. My way of getting out of a quick-fix mode is to imagine that I still get to live in the same miserable Russian town I was born in, and where most of the people I grew up with still live. Compared to that horror nothing is that bad anymore. At least I know what to do to make things better (back-pain-wise). I'd say - just put things into prospective...

  2. That's a good one. Growing up in the 1980s in the suburbs of New York I certainly don't have a similar reference -- but I think we can all imagine that things could always be worse.


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