Injured and One Year On.

I realised today that next month it will be a year since I injured myself. A year since that ill fated decision to lift my toddler son up off the ground while carrying bags of shopping leading to me being unable to run for six months. A year since I injured my back.

Even though the back pain and nerve pain have dissipated, I have been left with the after effects of the injury plus lots of niggles that keep flaring up, preventing me from a much wanted return to regular running. The physical effects have been obvious to me, what was not so obvious were the mental effects.

The longer I was injured the lower I became in mood. When getting back into running wasn’t as straight forward as I liked this was amplified further. Over the last few months especially these thoughts and feelings have been much worse and it’s only recently for some reason that I can acknowledge how I’ve been feeling. Which is ridiculous because, you know, it’s just running. Right?

Well no it’s not just running to me. Running is one of the things in my life that gives me confidence to do other things. Running has been a release for me when I’ve been finding things tough emotionally. Running has been my way to escape the pressures of tough life situations. Running has been a way to make me feel invincible and like I could take on anything. But with prolonged injury things like this have floated through my mind:

‘I’m rubbish, why do I bother?’

‘I should just give up running now, I’m getting too old for it’.

‘I hate myself’.

‘I hate running’.

‘I’m never getting over this, I may as well just leave it’.

‘Who was I kidding trying to be a runner anyway?’.

As my time being injured extended before me, the chipping away at my confidence and self image continued, gradually extending itself into other areas of life. And then last week a couple of things happened which made me realise how low I had become and how unbelievably crap I was feeling about myself. I was put into two situations where I had to talk about myself and had to sell myself both as a professional and as a person. I struggled with both and it was a shock to me. I’ve become so low that I can’t even bring myself to talk about my good points, because right now I’m not totally convinced I have any to share. Pathetic? Probably, but I can only be honest about how I have been feeling.

Have I been depressed? Possibly, my husband occasionally expresses the opinion that he thinks I am. I then feel guilty because my husband has actual clinical depression and all I did was hurt myself a bit so that I couldn’t run. Daft. However I then think about literature I’ve read about pain and how the pain and emotional neural pathways are very closely linked within the brain and I guess it is possible that large amounts of pain over an extended period can affect your mood level. I’ve certainly seen it in patients I’ve treated so why do I think I’m automatically immune?

This isn’t really a self pity post. If it comes across like that I apologise, it’s really not intended to be. I just needed to share how being injured as a runner can affect you emotionally and socially. Bravado and staying upbeat and positive can last so long but injury isn’t just a limp or a grimace of pain. Injury goes far, far deeper. If you are one of those injured runners right now, don’t be so hard on yourself and while you’re letting your body heal, make sure your mind and soul are looked after too.

8 thoughts on “Injured and One Year On.

  1. JenJ

    I so feel your pain on this one. Added to this and my recent new love for CrossFit, I now feel guilty for having found something else. Like I’m cheating on running although it’s not like I’m not running because I prefer CF, but I’m not running because I’m still not fixed. It’s silly, I know. But it just comes to show what an important part running can play in our lives. Let’s hope it’s only onwards and upwards for both of us from now on…

    1. kat_rocket Post author

      I feel the same way about CrossFit. I feel like I’m having an affair, an illicit dalliance while I’ve fallen out with running. I’m hoping though that CrossFit will help with my rehab and make me stronger for running in the long term. We can do this! We’ll put injury behind us, learn from it all and be stronger!

  2. ultraboycreates

    As somebody who runs to keep both body and mind balanced I can very much relate to the themes you have written about here and I understand only too well the negative mental impact that not running can have. There are no easy answers and yet during an injury plagued year myself I have often found solace in doing other things that have then supported my running such as aqua jogging, swimming and even the blogging but everyone is very different and I offer my sincere hope that in the long term you are able to return success. Oh and this doesn’t come across as a self pitying post, infact this has reminded me not to mope about myself quite so much.

    1. kat_rocket Post author

      Thank you for kind thoughts. Funny you mention aqua jogging. I’ve done that a little bit but I think I need to do more. Recently a friend told me to try something that wasn’t exercise and on her advice I started reading again. I bought myself lots of fiction which has definitely helped distract myself from the effects of enforced rest.

  3. Leah

    Thanks for being so honest in this post. I’m tryiiiiiing my best to rehab an injury that just seems to be getting worse and worse, apparently all I need to do is rest – but after about 10 days, the boredom and crazys set in and I HAVE to run. I think the worst part for me is that I don’t feel worthy of being injured – I’m not a “serious runner”, I don’t train for marathons or anything – I’m just your regular 5k plodder. I feel guilty that I feel this way and like I am not legit. If that makes sense?!

    There is definitely a mental aspect to NOT running that we all need to be mindful of – and try and find those things that help replace that running feeling. Best of luck xx

    1. kat_rocket Post author

      Thanks Leah. I know what you mean about not being a ‘serious runner’. But you are legit, just because you don’t run marathon distances doesn’t mean you’re less of a runner than someone who does. We all have the race and distance that we prefer. Good luck with your injuries, hope they settle down for you soon xx

  4. mia79gbr

    Hugs. It sounds really tough. Glad to hear your back is slowly getting better but I can totally sympathise with how you’re feeling. Do you think it is because it is something we have so closely linked to our identities? Who are you, what do you do? I’m a runner. But I don’t run …

    1. kat_rocket Post author

      I think you’re right. Running becomes so intertwined in our lives that I definitely have felt myself unravel a bit without it!


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