Handling Injuries and Illness – or not

The first months of the year have been full of injuries and illness and to be honest I am quite frustrated. Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed or something because I want it so badly and I can’t do anything (or in this case enough) about it. I haven’t really been the best with handling injuries and illness so I am in no position to tell you the perfect Plan X – how to do it. I’m just sharing how I got through it or actually to be more accurate, how I am getting through it.

The New Year started with an injured wrist from December. The ligaments were inflamed and every little movement hurt. I still don’t know how I managed to hurt in the first place but I’m guessing playing Guitar, Piano and Cello more than usual didn’t do it any good and since I needed to study a lot for exams I started switching hands a lot while writing (I’m a bothie ;P). So swimming was out of the picture for at last two months, which really sucked. Remember a time you couldn’t do something and therefore wanted it even more, like right in this second? That is exactly how I feel every time I’m injured or ill and I need to take a break. I want it so badly that I make tons of plans for when I actually can execute them but on the end it is too much all at once and I am back at the beginning again or hurt which leaves me even more frustrated. Wanting too much all at once has always been a bad habit of mine but when it comes to handling injuries and illness I’m probably the most stubborn person on this planet!

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Bringing the later in consideration, January was a dark moth for me. Coming down with the flu (or part of it) I had quite the high fever for two weeks and making matters worse I had to study even more in order to not fail the exams in the first February week. SO when I wasn’t bed-bound I was desk-bound which meant I couldn’t train though my body was ready again.

After the exams a different problem occurred. I was so exhausted but I tried to overcompensate all the missed time with 3 sessions a day, thus something was bound to go wrong. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not stupid, I know that you can’t overcompensate and need to heal first and afterwards take it slow and rebuild your strength or you will have a setback. But I had another, far more important exam coming up on the 15th – the Sports exam in Koblenz and quite frankly I was overwhelmed with fear of failing it. I so badly wanted to pass that I yet again injured myself in the process. Suddenly my right heel hurt so much I could barely walk. A case of beginning calcaneal spur forced me to slow down yet again. My physiotherapist and my mom (who is an alternative practitioner/traditional healer) managed to make it much better so on the day after Valentine’s I was able to participate. That being said it was no surprise that I didn’t pass, though I feel like I wouldn’t have passed anyway, but that is a story for another day. I’m going to try again though in summer and I am certain the third time’s the charm – right?

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After I got back from Koblenz all I wanted to do was relax for just a weekend, just enjoying my time not being sick, injured or studying/working, but than I came down with another flu. That was three weeks ago on Friday. The weekend, Monday and Tuesday were spend in bed, trying to sleep myself healthy with steam baths and hot baths to sweat out the sick. Because we’re having a Lacrosse game this Sunday and due to the January and February “incidents” I haven’t been to a single practice in 2018 which is/was not only frustrating but an utter pain in the ass. So Wednesday I decided to go to practice anyway, ignoring the death cough and the runny nose. Not my best decision but somehow I felt a lot better on Thursday. In fact I felt so good, I went to the running session with my mom and even muddled through it with barely a cough. On Friday I felt like I was born again in with a lot of enthusiasm made my way to Mainz for the next Lacrosse practice. To my dismay the German train system kept me from ever arriving at my destination so instead I got on my bike and had a good 45 minutes indoor session.

I felt like I’m finally out of that nasty spiral and then it hit me, literally. I wasn’t concentrated and managed to get my face in the place of my stick. My nose hurt but I didn’t mind. Monday night I had a really bad nosebleed that didn’t want to stop and Tuesday morning I couldn’t breath properly and had a headache and a dull pressure behind my eyes. I thought it would be saver to visit the doctor, so after the CT he ordered it was official – my nose was broken. Though I have to say that I was slightly irritated that there was barely any swelling visible and almost no bruising at all. I never bruise easily in my face but seeing nothing when your nose is broken is just weird. Anyway I won’t let that stop me. I might not go swimming for a while but I went to practice Wednesday, yesterday and have every intention of going today.

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I don’t know what to tell you how you should handle your frustration because I am really bad at it and get frustrated and irritated quite easily. My mom always says it is important to heal first and go slowly and rebuild your strength step by step, little by little. For the frustration part I tried a new strategy lately: Don’t watch others do sports (on youtube, instagram or other social media). Read a book instead and avoid reading about others success or progress. Focus on yourself and if you can’t help it and do come across others stories try and channel the envy and frustration into setting goals for yourself. But keep them realistic, otherwise you will get even more frustrated when you fail them. Looking back on all the time I have been ill or injured these past months I came to think of them as re-centring/re-focusing period, to find myself and my motivation again – trying to come out of it with as much motivation and drive as when I couldn’t do a single thing.

Channel my energy on healing instead of thinking of all the things and sports I could be doing. It is by no means easy but I guess it is kind of the only way to stay in the game. Dealing with this huge setback only made me more determined to get healthy for good and also caused me to change down my goals and aims for the upcoming season. Mainly because I don’t want to be disappointed when I set my goals to high. If I reach them anyway – even better! But if I don’t I won’t break down.

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What I learned from this illness and injury spiral is that it really doesn’t matter how long you need to achieve your goals. Live happens and therefore injury and sickness is just a part of the process (though a nasty one). You can’t plan anything with 100% certainty and you can’t expect everything to work out perfectly. Sometimes life forces you to take a step back and listen to your body. I need to remind myself of that every day. There is a reason for everything and someday we will understand it. For the time being I am focusing on getting back into my rhythm and just do the things that are important to me – as long as I listen to my body and what it is telling me.

 

 

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