Injury Update and the Five Stages of Grief

Ok guys — here’s the scoop.

I went to a foot & ankle doctor yesterday to have them look at my foot. It’s been injured since the beginning of August and what I suspected was a stress fracture is, in fact, a stress fracture.

It’s not something that caught me off guard or out of the blue; I just didn’t want to deal with it until now.

I knew what it was and I knew what I would have to do and I wasn’t prepared to slow down yet. I wanted to pretend that my foot was fine in the hopes that it would heal itself and I could keep doing what I was doing.

As silly as it sounds, in order for me to learn how to process situations like this, I had to have someone tell me that it was ok to feel my feelings. I spent so long pretending I was always ok that it came as second nature to me and eventually I skipped right over acknowledging any negative feelings I may be having.

When I was given permission to feel them, I didn’t even know what I was feeling. It’s something that I still work on, but I’ve made leaps and bounds from when my only response was “I feel anxious.” That was only word I knew to describe any kind of emotion that was happening.

Now, when I encounter a situation that I don’t like and that I know will impact my day to day activities, I almost always go through the five stages of grief to a T:

Denial

I hurt my foot three weeks ago. I tried not to complain it about it as much and continued exercising as I normally would. I slowed down some on my running, but when given a choice to modify it, I continued to run if it was included in a workout.

Anger

When I realized it wasn’t getting better and I told some of my friends, they immediately told me to make an appointment to have it looked at. I got angry at first that no one would agree with my decision to keep working on it as if nothing was wrong.

I was angry that it wasn’t getting better. I was angry I would have to spend money on a doctor’s appointment. I was angry at myself for not being more careful. Angry angry angry.

Bargaining

I bargained with myself, others who knew my foot was bothering me, and even the doctor. I said fine, I’ll wear the boot, but how about I still do a little bit of running? Or before I even went, I told my friends that I would find out what was wrong, but would not wear a boot. Anything to avoid actually accepting the inevitable.

Depression

Even though I knew my diagnosis was likely a stress fracture, I was still bummed out about it when I got the official news. I thought about all the things I would be missing out on, the boot I would have to wear, and the fact that I still had a month until I was hopefully back to normal.

Acceptance

I’m taking this week off from exercise and will likely only be doing upper body work when I return next week. There’s nothing I can do except take it easy, wear my stylish boot, and rest my foot.

 

The last three steps all happened yesterday.

Although it took me about three weeks to get there, I finally made it to acceptance. That’s a win for me because in the past, I never got past denial. I didn’t know how to express or feel anger, so it got buried and I denied anything was wrong at all.

Here’s my point.

Feelings are important. They tell us what’s going on and give us the opportunity to evaluate what’s happening. They’re a way to process and think about a situation, which we are unable to do if we don’t acknowledge them. Figuring out what’s happening allows us to move on, another thing we are incapable of if we don’t go through the process.

Most of the time for me, happiness is a decision. (Other times I need a little help). I can decide to let things bring me down or I can shift my perspective to find the positive in the situation. On that note, here’s my plan for the next month:

  • I’ve been slacking on my pull ups and only recently decided to work on getting more than a couple in a row, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to improve them
  • I can take more breaks, which will help give my body more time to repair and rebuild going forward
  • I can revisit this post from when I was injured last year and remember the world’s not going to end
  • I can make more time for sitting and reading — another thing I’ve been meaning to do lately

I’ll make sure to keep you guys updated, but the main thing to take away from today’s post is that without going through the tough feelings, you’ll never be able to get to the good ones.

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14 Comments

  1. David
    August 23, 2017 / 5:51 am

    the boot. Where’s the BOOT!? was hoping for a stylish photo with the boot adorning you! lol

  2. August 23, 2017 / 8:10 am

    THIS –> “without going through the tough feelings, you’ll never be able to get to the good ones.”
    Thank god for therapy because I’m finally learning this too. 🙂
    Totally relate to not renting admit something’s wrong and slow down. Hope your foot heals quickly and that you find this down time relaxing and purposeful.

  3. August 23, 2017 / 10:18 am

    Acceptance, especially in trying moments, is never easy. Sometimes acceptance in general isn’t easy, but it’s part of the process, and the only way to make it through is to go through said process. Wishing you all the best! And heck yes to pull-ups. I can’t even do one!
    Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass recently posted…Ways NYC Will Make You Want to Live Your Best LifeMy Profile

  4. August 23, 2017 / 10:30 am

    So awesome to hear that you’re in a good place with this. Injuries are TOUGH, no question about it, especially for us gals who consider working out as imperative as therapy. Your goals sound absolutely wonderful, and I am sure you can accomplish each one. Rest up, and remember, Donut needs her mom with both working feet 😉
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday {Weekend Edition}My Profile

  5. August 23, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    Oh Erin! Stress fractures are the WORST! I haven’t had one in years, but the ONLY way to heal them is rest. And when you walk as much as you do — that’s not going to be easy. I know it totally sucks, but this is really just a SMALL amount of time you will have to stay off of it — and you are right to think about upper-body workouts and maybe even enjoying a little extra time away from the gym. It will make you love it more. Sending you some healing vibes!
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…How to create a better sleep environmentMy Profile

  6. August 24, 2017 / 7:52 am

    I just hurt my foot too. Without going through the tough feelings you won’t make it to the good ones- YES. That’s where I am at right now too. Thanks Erin.
    Alyssa recently posted…Thinking Out Loud 8/24My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 24, 2017 / 8:07 am

      I hope your foot feels better!!

  7. August 24, 2017 / 8:26 am

    Sad that your foot has a stress fracture, but thankful that you are able to accept it. It is pretty amazing how God so wondrously knits our bodies back together, and I hope it heals well, and that you can get some good rest. <3
    Emily recently posted…How Other Bloggers Have Helped My Recovery JourneyMy Profile

  8. Leticia
    August 24, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    Hi Erin,

    This is all so true, I hate stopping also! I hope you have a fast healing, I know how frustrating it is to be injured and even the smallest of injuries needs rest, time and can still be very overwhelming! I had a broken ankle in september and now I am recovering from a broke wrist and I honestly did not know how emotionally draining breaking a bone could be until I went through it! But I know it is temporary and I just need to learn to slow down and be patient. All the best and thank you for sharing these important things we need to acknowledge to get through these tough emotions!

  9. August 26, 2017 / 7:40 am

    Ugh! I was hoping it wasn’t a fracture. I can relate to the phases for sure. All set backs make us better in the long run. Hang in there and get those arms working!

  10. August 26, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    Reaching acceptance can be a piece of work, but the sooner we accept, the sooner we’ll be able to move forward again… I am glad you’re taking the break that you need.
    San recently posted…Review | Berkey Gravity-Based Water FilterMy Profile

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