Blog 2: It’s OK, not to be OK
I should have written a long time ago, but I couldn’t organise my thoughts into anything that made sense…I wasn’t ready. In fact, I don’t even think that I am now.
As an elite athlete, getting injured is one of the worst things that can happen. From full training one day, to nothing the next. The physical injury is relatively simple to deal with; rest, ice, compression, elevation, exercises and then the excruciating wait for surgery. But it’s the mental component that is the most difficult to deal with.
I have had my fair share of injuries, so you’d think I would be great at dealing with them! However, it’s not something that you perfect down to a fine art; it is on a case by case basis.
I suffered a ruptured ACL and meniscus damage mid March, a day after being named to the Rio Olympic Test Event Team. What are the odds?! From the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows…
After the initial shock of being injured, and the whirlwind of flying to different places to get scans and a diagnosis. The reality began to sink in. “Injured again”, “will I ever get back?”, “no Olympics…again,” these are just some of the thoughts that flooded my mind.
The only solace was that it was by no fault of my own, I had no regrets in the way that I had prepared myself for the competition, and I knew that I did everything in my power to ensure the results were not the same as in 2012, when I was named as one of the reserve athletes for the Olympic team. I had to keep reminding myself that “everything happens for a reason,” I truly believe that, even if sometimes we don’t know what that reason is.
The first 6 weeks were the most difficult to overcome. 6 weeks of no weight baring through my leg at all, I nearly went insane, feeling trapped within my own home. It doesn’t sound like a long time, however actually going through it, felt like it would never end. My usual positive, happy self, was nowhere to be seen.
That is when I started to think that I had to try and be happy, and positive and enthusiastic. So I started pushing negative thoughts and all of the emotions I was feeling, away. This did not help at all, it just prolonged the inevitable. You have to put your guard down every once in a while and let yourself feel everything. It wasn’t until I let myself feel the hurt, disappointment, frustration, anger and pain, that I actually began to move through it. Notice that I didn’t say, “move on” because I don’t believe that it is possible to “move on”, or “get over” something that you’ve put a whole lifetime of work in to.
What I learnt, is that it is OK to think and feel what are usually regarded as “negative” thoughts and emotions. They are normal! Especially after traumatic events. So if you’re going through a hard time, just know that it’s ok to not feel ok. Thankfully, I had the love and support of my family and closest friends to help me through this time. Even though sometimes those who are closest to you are the hardest to open up with, they love and support you no matter what.
I guess what I am trying to say is that time heals everything, your body, your mind, your heart. Be patient and kind to yourself, everyone deals with things in a different way.
If you need to reach out there are a heap of very helpful websites: Beyond Blue, Sane and many more. Don’t be afraid to speak up, it could be the very thing that sets you free.
Written by Mary-Anne Monckton © 2016
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