Thoughts For Thursday

To be honest, I was really really freaking kind of depressed yesterday. You see, on Saturday, I went for a nice long run, and during the last half mile or so, I got this pain on the side of my butt. I thought it was just a spasm or a cramp, so I pushed through and didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t go for a long run again until Tuesday, and for the majority of the 5 miles I did, I was in pain. Pain in my calf, pain in my knee, pain in my ass. Once I got off the treadmill, my butt/hip area was hurting so much, I could barely walk. I tried stretching, I tried walking around, and nothing helped. I hobbled home, sat on the heating pad, and tried not to sulk. I woke up in pain, and made an appointment with my General Practitioner (GP). My GP had me do some stretches and determined that based on the location of the pain, I had bursitis. She prescribed me an anti-inflammatory, and told me to make an appt with my orthopaedist to get x-rays. Oh, and she told me not to walk unless absolutely necessary. No walking, no running, no biking, no elliptical. Umm, excuse me?

photo cred: sportlink.co.uk

To say that I took her advice lightly would be a flat out lie. I was immediately overcome with feelings of anxiety, guilt, and depression. Doesn’t she know that running is one of my biggest stress relievers? How can I go from doing cardio 5-6 days a week to nothing? Why me?!

I think my responses were pretty standard of someone who has established (and become addicted to) an exercise routine. The important thing to do is to challenge those emotions, so that you can return to thinking rationally. I don’t talk about my job or internship that much, but I’m currently interning at an Eating Disorder Outpatient Program, so I facilitate group and individual therapy. On Monday, I led a group about distorted thoughts and the importance of recognizing and replacing negative self-talk. There was a lot of discussion about All or Nothing thinking, and ways that you can compromise with yourself to accept alternatives. I did a lot of emphasizing on the fact that behaviors do not define a person: this is something I had to remind myself of yesterday.

Just because I can’t run for a few days/weeks/whatever, does not mean that I am a bad or lazy person. The amount of exercise I do, what I do or do not eat, and how messy I allow my apartment to get during midterms is no indication of how good a person I am. In a society in which those who have a “healthy” diet or frequent the gym for hours at a time are deemed “good,” I think it’s easy to lose track of what actions and activities make us feel good about who we are. I also think that we focus on our exterior more than our interior because not only is it easier to make changes, but it is the side of us that people see more. Receiving validation from external sources is a huge self-esteem booster.

photo cred: coachbetty.com

So what’s my point in all this? That we are a society of labels, and it is up to the individual, not their peers, to determine what they want their labels to read. Instead of letting one label, that may or may not have a negative connotation, define us, I think we should embrace the multitude of things that we do. Someone with a psychiatric diagnosis is not bipolar, they have bipolar disorder. I am not an injured runner, I have an injury. There are so many more activites that I do in one week than run, and I will not let an injury disregard the rest of the challenging and rewarding things that I’m capable of.

–Ariel

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