I recently returned to the world of social media after a 4 month break, a break that I felt I had to take in order to figure out if I had shot myself in the foot by being (basically) A BIG FAT LIAR!
Yes that’s right, I lied on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts just like everyone else. I only showed my followers what I wanted them to see by regurgitating pictures taken years ago of my body contorted into phenomenal shapes that I cannot make now. I posed for pictures without telling anyone that half an hour later I had to lie down for 2 hours on a hot water bottle after swallowing a couple of codeine tablets. I smiled and I faked it because the truth isn’t really something I felt that people wanted to see or know about. Occasionally I would have a little gripe, a moment of honesty about the level of pain I was suffering, but follow it with some flippant remark about ‘those who get knocked down always get up stronger than those who’ve never fallen’ and other such (true) but vapid comments.
This would not have been a problem, however it was pointed out to me at the beginning of 2017 that if anyone were to investigate the reality of my situation, social media would indicate to most that I was getting on just fine. That was a massive shock! I mean when it’s pointed out to you of course it makes sense but for me, I guess I just didn’t want anyone to know just how broken I really was and by living a life I wanted to online, I guess I didn’t have to admit it to myself either. I felt that people wouldn’t trust my advice about movement, wouldn’t want to buy my book and essentially my credibility as a professional would be marred for eternity if people knew that I couldn’t get myself straight. For a while there, I couldn’t even teach the disciplines that I am so passionate about. I retrained and went to work in a school, which to be honest I don’t regret for a second. I think I needed a break from my life and now I’ve had it, I’m rebuilding it in a way that I can manage, but doing the work I love.
The Movement Specialist is back and I think all my suffering has only made my appreciation for others’ injuries and illnesses all the more empathic. As a result, I think I’m going to be more honest about things moving forward as I don’t really know why I’m ashamed! I don’t judge others for being injured so why should people be judging me?! And let’s face it, the accident I had WAS NOT MY FAULT. In trying to have the world think I’m not in a much pain as I actually am I nearly (nearly) gave those that caused the damage and ruined my life as it was, a reason not to compensate me at a level at which I can rebuild my life and look after myself for the rest of my existence. That just isn’t fair, but it would have been my fault. I wrote articles which implied that I was still working ‘normally’ and that my pain was improved by the movement practises I teach. I’m not saying that Pilates and Yoga haven’t helped me, but I may have stretched the truth in places because I WANT to be better than I am. It’s positive thinking at some level!
Here’s the truth, I am not as bad as I was at the beginning of this year because I had an injection under CT which has been singularly the most successful procedure I have had for my back pain in 3 years. The consultant said that if I achieved any level of pain relief from the procedure then there would be justification for a joint fusion operation. I am currently, on the waiting list for said operation. Since then I was able to reduce my morphine from a 20 mcg patch to a 5mcg which involved going through horrendous opiate withdrawal symptoms. I take codeine and paracetamol to deal with increases in pain and an anti-depressant as there is evidence to suggest they too can help manage pain conditions. I am still a long way from ‘better’ I am just currently ‘better than I have been’ but ‘not as good as I was’. You know what’s made the difference really? I am able to stay off the meds because I’m only working 7 or 8 hours a week. I sit on a firm floor cushion and I teach private clients and couples. I’m not charging around running a studio, a training centre, managing students, chasing after kids in a school or generally pushing myself and having to take handfuls of analgesics to cope…
I will be taking it easy until I’ve recovered from the operation and even after that, I’m not sure I’ll ever be the all singing all dancing fitness fanatic that I was once, but that’s OK. I’ll just be glad to be able to sleep at night, travel in a car for longer than 20 minutes and carry shopping bags. There is one more interesting development that I was mulling over whilst not sleeping last night, a friend who had a car accident when she was 17 and has lived with the consequences ever since once told me, ‘you get used to the pain eventually’, I thought she was mad. But she was (of course) right. When people ask me how I am and I say ‘I’m fine’, I am! Although, I am in pain, constantly. The aches and sharp stabbing sensations that travel from the left side of my lower back, through my left buttock, down my leg and into my heel are ALWAYS THERE, sometimes to a greater or lesser extent than other times, but it’s always there. I’ve just ‘got used to it’. This was most apparent when I was still enjoying the anaesthetic effects following the injection; I had the weirdest feeling that I’d forgotten something for 2 days because there was NO PAIN AT ALL. So I don’t notice that it’s there as much anymore on a daily basis, but I certainly notice when it’s gone. I guess being in pain is my new ‘normal’. Fingers crossed the consultant’s optimism about the fusion comes to fruition.
So from now on expect me to comment if I’m having a particularly bad pain day and I’ll try to be more explicit than ‘I’m fine’ in conversation. If you don’t want to know, don’t ask! 🙂