At the beginning of last week I had to go to A&E.
Anyone who knows me knows I am incredibly active. Most of the time healthily so, and, though I hate to admit it, sometimes excessively so.
The excessive side comes out when I’m stressed, and when I need to study, it becomes my way of procrastinating. Because, though I love the way working out makes me feel, I especially love the way it becomes the only thing I can think about in the moment I am doing it, taking my focus off what I might be worrying about in ‘real life’ and giving me a chance to escape, even if it is just for an hour.
Well, after ignoring a niggling knee twinge for more than 2 months (please don’t copy me lads, it’s a bad idea) I ended up sat in A&E at 4 in the morning, surrounded by people who had been in drunken fights and were bleeding from their faces.
And I was complaining about my knee. I felt so pathetic.
Turns out, I shouldn’t have felt bad. I had damaged a ligament in my knee and torn another, and I wanted to cry when I saw the nurse’s lips form the sentence ‘No gym for a week.’
I actually laughed it off and said I’d be able to swim or do light exercise, to which the nurse looked at me like I had three heads and scoffed.
‘Catherine, you can barely walk, let alone swim. Embrace the time off and rest.’
I started to cry. And not just because I was in excruciating pain, but because I was basically being ordered to refrain from doing something I love.
I got my leg wrapped in a splint, got my crutches, and spent £10 on an Uber to take me home because all I wanted to do was snuggle in my bed and cry. Which I ended up not being able to do, because a splinted leg means a stuck-out-in-an-awkward-straight-line-leg which prevents anyone from regressing into the foetal position.
I cried for 2 hours. Petty as it sounds, I wanted to be running. I wanted to be squatting, and I hated myself for allowing my body to hurt itself in this way. After some breakfast (where I continued to cry into my scrambled eggs) I started to accept the fact I wasn’t going to be exercising for at least a couple of days. I made myself comfortable on the sofa, popped a couple of the prescription strength painkillers the nurse had given me, and watched 4 consecutive episodes of Ex on the Beach (so trashy I know, but there is something about that show that has me hooked.)
That evening, my boyfriend came round and presented me with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream – my ultimate guilty pleasure and something I can never buy myself because I know I’ll demolish the entire tub in one go – and peanut butter to go with my apple the next morning. Blame it on the painkillers or my natural emotional state of being, but I actually teared up and had to take a moment to remind myself it’s not normal to cry about ice cream. We spent the evening watching Hell’s Kitchen and chilling out, just enjoying being on the sofa with no cares, and being in each others company. So yeah, injured knee meant a cute night in, and probably a well-needed rest day.
With Wednesday came cabin fever.
5pm rolled around and I hadn’t stepped foot out of the house. As someone who is usually up and out of the house doing something by 7 in the morning, I felt terrible. I was trapped in my own house. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good duvet day, and I really enjoy watching television, but only when I want to and decide I need a day off. The Real Housewives of Orange County is only entertaining when you’ve set aside time to binge watch people yelling at each other and falling out over the most ridiculous situations. This whole being forced into taking time off wasn’t for me, and my brain was fighting everything my body needed in order to make a speedy recovery.
I hobbled about as much as I could in the house, trying to make myself feel like I was being active without hurting the ligaments even more, but it was no use. So, I strapped my leg into the splint nice and tightly, and limped my way to Tesco. My ‘walk’ lasted approximately ten minutes, not including the awkward stumbling in the supermarket as I loaded up on a few days worth of food, but I have to say, it felt absolutely unreal.
Cliched as it may sound, there is nothing better than feeling crisp fresh air on your face, and I felt like it revived me, restoring some energy that lying about the house had drained from me.
Isn’t it weird that lying about the house and resting can actually make you feel more tired?
However, I genuinely think the walk did me the world of good. Being outside and aimlessly hobbling about for even less than a quarter of an hour lifted my mood instantly and made me properly think about my situation.
If I continue this way of thinking, I am going to do permanent damage.
I came to the realisation that if I want to be active for a long time, I need to rest up sometimes, otherwise I’d be forced to be ‘out of the game’ for more than a week at a time, and potentially have to give up running.
It sounds silly when I type it like that, and you’re probably thinking ‘Come on babes, you should have known that before,‘ but the problem with a brain battling disordered eating and distorted self image is that, unfortunately, it usually takes something as horrible as being injured to make your realise that the lifestyle you’re leading is not only ruining your mental health, but seriously affecting your physical health too.
The last few days, I’ve been able to take the splint off-thank goodness, because that bad boy was seriously taking away from the outfits I’d been wearing- and I’ve been able to walk relatively pain free during the weekend. Yep, I’ve had to keep myself from going to the gym, and yes, I’ve taken solace in ice cream, but if it means I’ll get better quicker, it’s worth it.
Lesson well and truly learned. Rest is good. Injury is sore.