Last year, 10 years after my accident, marked the point in my recovery where I have been out of pain longer than I was in pain. It seems silly, but that was a big deal for me. In my mind it felt like I could start over from zero. Not like it never happened, but like I got a do-over equipped with better skills.
Then unexpectedly I was thrown back into recovery in the middle of last year after experiencing neurological complications from a surgery. I didn’t expect what would manifest since. It was slow at first, almost sneaky. I started to avoid going out or doing certain physical activities I enjoyed. l was getting more and more afraid of waking the monster, because the slightest misstep and the consequences would be unbearable.
Over the last year and a half, without even realizing it I eliminated almost all unnecessary movement from my life. I found I couldn’t even do movements that had previously been my saving grace when I was in the most pain. I was lost and terrified of where I was headed…down the slippery slope of pain.
Every day I teach people how to overcome that little voice that keeps them fearful of resuming their normal life after injury or illness. Somehow though I couldn’t hear that voice in my own head. I refused to hear that voice, but somehow I still gave it the power to take over.
Finally I am aware, and have started to resume normal life again, but I am also reminded of how incessant pain truly is. It envelopes every aspect of your life, and every fiber of your being. I have always endeavored to be empathetic of my clients’ experiences with pain and their recovery journey, I understood where they were coming from, I had been there. What was missing though was the ability to be sympathetic to myself. That would mean I had to put myself in the equation, to realize my own ongoing journey. I can help anyone feel better in their body, but for a moment in time, I was unable to help myself.
I write this as a reminder to myself, not today but to my future self when this happens again. It will, but every time it does I will get stronger and smarter, and that voice will have less power over me.
Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
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