Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The 5 Stages of Loss (of Movement Freedom) by Meredith Koch

If you are accident prone like I am, then you have a basket full of stories about injuries and recoveries. Like the time I twisted my ankle while sliding into 3rd base (in case you were wondering, I was safe). Upon looking back at those injuries, I can laugh at them. But what happens when you get injured as an adult and your body simply refuses to heal in the normal 3-6 weeks?

I’ve been struggling with peritoneal tendonitis for the past 6 months due to a combined ballet and running injury. Like Maria, I am an active individual. Running, dancing, swimming, biking, skiing – movement is my natural stress reliever, my anti-depressant, my generator of happiness, a way of life. So through my denial (it can’t be that bad of an injury), my anger (no activity and in an AirCast for 4 weeks), my bargaining (with doctors for some form of physical activity), and the feeling of worthlessness (due to inactivity and thinking others see me as a lazy slacker), I have come to accept the healing process of my injury.

What does it mean to accept a prolonged healing process? Just like losing a loved one, the loss of movement freedom leads to methods of coping and rebuilding. I have chosen to prioritize my health over my research and pride. I have come to appreciate my body for what it naturally is, not what I want it to be. I have become more willing to try new things, like yoga, in order to optimize my physical limitations. I acknowledge that I cannot do everything yet, but I am doing what I am able to at this stage of healing.

And that could be the best lesson I could have learned from this lengthy recovery because now my body dictates what I do, not what my mind or pride says I should be doing.

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