If you follow me on social media you probably know that I broke my wrist and had to have surgery last week. I did gymnastics from age 6 until I was about 16. You could say that I was trying to prove to myself that I’ve still got it... Although I landed the round off back handspring, I’m ready to leave my gymnast days behind me! Lucky for me, I captured the whole thing on video so that I can rewatch this cringeworthy moment and remind myself that I’m now in my thirties and need to approach things with a bit more caution.
Sooo... I’m not going to lie, I contemplated whether or not to write this blog post, but I know how important it is to be honest with yourself and to share your struggles.
This has been an incredibly hard journey for me. I’m right hand dominant and broke my right wrist. The break was pretty severe and I had to have a plate put in. I have a two-year-old daughter, so you can imagine the challenges that this has brought just in taking care of her. Changing diapers and dressing her is pretty comical.
And then there’s the things that just make me sad and emotional… I can’t pick her up, and she’s pretty nervous around “mumma’s boo-boo,” so she doesn’t want to get too close to my arm. Ever since she was born I have put her to sleep every single night. Because I can’t lift her to put her in her crib, my husband has been putting her to sleep. Although I know that this is temporary, it’s still difficult and emotional.
After surgery, I felt extremely tired, sore, and discouraged. I didn’t expect to experience the amount of pain that I have. I was given pain medication which only made me feel nauseous and spacey. I haven’t been able to exercise for a week, and not being able to move my body for 30 minutes a day always has some negative effects on my mental health. I also haven’t been able to do simple tasks like put in my contacts, wash my hair, and open a bottle of water.
In the three days that I didn’t leave my house I felt so many emotions. I felt sad, angry, overwhelmed, and not in control. Although I know that my body just needed rest, my mind had a really difficult time accepting my reality. My husband would call during the day to check in on me and there were lots of tears. I’ve always been an achiever, and not being able to fully take care of me and my daughter, go to work, and create meaningful and helpful content for you, made me stop and revisit some lessons that I so needed.
1. You and your mental health always have to come first.
Although I have a husband and a daughter, unless I put myself first, they will never get the best version of me. I needed to rest mentally and physically. I needed to acknowledge that my body just needed me to stop and let go of all of the daily tasks.
You and your mental health have to come first, always. Whether it’s a spouse, children, a loved one, work, school, or anything else, you are most important. You have to make time for you and take care of yourself. You are what is going to push you forward (or keep you stuck).
2. Accepting where you are needs to happen before you can move forward.
I had to accept my new reality. I needed to accept that I'm currently not capable to do all of the things that I normally am. I needed to accept that I had to take a step away from work and from creating. I needed to allow my husband to do 95% of the work around the house and with our daughter. I needed to accept that it will be weeks before I’m fully recovered and able to do everything that I was before. All of this doesn’t mean that I’m not in control, it just means that I’m limited right now. And that’s okay.
Remember, you are in control, and a big part of this is accepting where you are. You can’t push forward without accepting your current reality. It’s okay if you are currently not leaving your house because you are consumed by fear. It’s okay if you are experiencing panic attacks daily. It’s okay if you can only go places if someone is with you. It’s okay if you aren’t able to go on long car rides or trips. This may be your current reality but it’s not your future reality. This is temporary. You are capable of pushing past this.
3. The importance of giving yourself positive messages and being kind to yourself.
Trust me, I’ve had moments where I’ve questioned my capabilities, and moments where I’ve felt like I’m not making progress. Three days after surgery, I was so frustrated and upset because I was still experiencing a significant amount of pain, even though I was told that it was to be expected.
We often downplay the small steps that we are taking and our progress because we don’t see immediate results. It’s the small steps that get you to reach those big goals, and the small steps take time, practice, and dedication.
All of this has been really hard, but I am making progress and I’m doing a good job. Your brain needs to hear that you are making progress and are doing a good job!
4. Asking for and accepting support doesn’t mean that you are needy or dependent.
I am not one to ask for help. I love to get things done and in my own time, so having to lean on my husband has been a serious challenge. But he is my husband and wants and loves to support me. And I know that I’m not going to heal and recover unless I do.
Leaning on your loved ones and friends only makes you stronger and more capable. And asking for and accepting support is healthy. Right now, you may be needing a little extra support like me, and that’s okay. This doesn’t make you needy, annoying, a burden, or dependent. Share what you’re struggling with, and ask for and accept support. Trust me, it really actually helps!
This journey has also reminded me of how incredibly strong and capable I am. I broke a bone and had to go into surgery BY MYSELF (because of COVID), and I did it, free of anxiety and panic! I am capable of so much, and SO ARE YOU!
Remember, you might not be where you want to be right now, but keep on taking those small steps forward. The only way you’ll remain stuck and consumed by anxiety and panic is if you choose to stay stuck. You are in control. You are making progress! Keep pushing forward.