As I’m driving to my physical therapist office I realize that I don’t have any questions on the ready. What I mean by that is, I haven’t figured out what I actually want to get out of the session? It’s 7:15 in the morning and I am on my second cup of coffee. All I can think about is getting through the appointment. But I have to go in there with a question or two, right? Maybe I haven’t brought them to the forefront of my mind, but they are there. My ribs are broken. I should be asking how I can continue to do the exercises for my leg with broken ribs? Maybe I should ask how I can speed up the recovery for my ribs? Are there stretches? None of these seem to ‘stick’ in my foggy brain…Why?
I’m uncomfortable. I’m in actual physical pain. That pain translates into a lot of self-questioning, bringing up a lot of emotions that clog your brain. I’m so caught up in how I’m feeling physically or how a situation is making me feel that I can’t think past it to get to those questions that can actually help me.
I’m sure many of you have been in this situation, whether due to physical injury (like my present situation), or because you’re stuck in a situation or environment that you’d rather not be in (also like my present situation of clearing out my father-in-laws home while dealing with the loss of his passing). All of our brain power seems to be spent on trying to get out of whatever we are feeling. We can’t think straight. Everything takes longer and feels harder. All of our energy is in escape mode, “how do I stop this discomfort,” instead of helping us think beyond it to what could truly help us.
Our minds are held hostage by our anxiety that this pain or discomfort we are feeling won’t ever end.
In these situations, I find it is really helpful to remind myself that this pain will not last forever. It’s hard to believe that when I am actually experiencing physical discomfort. But I am no stranger to injuries or pain. So, I know first hand that it really will not last forever. Eventually, the injury will heal and the pain will go away, even the pain from losing a loved one eases over time, especially when we seek the help we need to work through these things.
This reminder lessons the anxiety. It doesn’t stop the pain, but it helps reduce the emotion that clogs my ability to think and reason. I take a moment to remind myself that I am going to the physical therapist’s, I’m not just sitting around doing nothing. I’m taking reasonable action and getting professional help to address my pain.
Another thing I remind myself is to consider: how can I use this time to think about what is really important to me? How can I use this time for things that I might not have otherwise done? What advantage can I find from this injury? What things am I not able to do right now that I really miss? I can remind myself that it is important for me to get healthy, so I can get back to doing those things. Also, what have I been missing or not getting to because I have been so busy with the thing that my injury is now preventing me from doing—I can do those things during this time that I heal. Use this time to self-reflect so that, when I do get better, I’m better for it!
It’s ok for me to go into my appointment and just let the physical therapist help me work through what I need to be doing to address my pain. I don’t need to do her job for her. I can let her know what’s going on and listen to her advice. I can focus on my healing, because I know it will get better. And, while I’m doing the exercises she gives me, I can focus on eating better, sharing time with my family, and focusing on all the little things that I usually take for granted.
If you would like to learn tools and skills to help you improve your emotional aptitude, reduce your emotional isolation, lessen your avoidance of shame, fear, and anxiety, and enable yourself to reach your goals, break old habits, or create new ones, I can help. I provide emotional resilience coaching, so you can achieve your goals. We can meet either virtually or in person at my office in Waterbury, Vermont. Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk.
Click to Select a Date & Time for your free consultation.