Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pain Heals, If You Let It.

I sprained my ankle recently. Badly. I was playing tennis, jumped to get a shot (which I still missed) and fell. It hurt. I am sure I heard something rip as I fell. Cue the "Are you ok?" and the "Can you walk?" questions. My first thought was "Don't cry, be brave. It's not that bad."

"I am fine," I replied. "It hurts. It actually really hurts." But I got up. I simply gritted my teeth,smiled and said it'd be okay with a bit of ice and a good nights sleep. I limped home from the bus stop, I put said ice on my foot (which by now was a little blue and swelling up) and then went to bed.

I woke up Monday, felt okay, it was still sore, but by this time the bruising was beginning to show. And it was spectacular. My entire foot was a plethora of different colours. I had to function so I couldn't just do nothing. I gritted my teeth and kept going.

In short, by Wednesday I was in pain. I was still able to limp but the shooting pains across my foot and periodic pins and needles were agony. It was time to admit defeat: perhaps I needed the hospital. My very good  BEST friend drove me to A&E after my lectures and we sat and I waited to be seen to. By this point the pain was excruciating and I was beginning to see the extent of the injury. I was scolded numerous times by friends, and by family for not getting help when it happened, and even then my overwhelming thought was "I didn't cry. Not once." When my friend (with one of the highest pain thresholds I've ever seen) said "Why? I would... it looks awful," I was speechless.

I didn't fall apart, I just carried on. I thought that's what you were supposed to do. Pick yourself up,wipe yourself down and keep going. That is how life goes right? Something bad happens and you just move on. You just keep going. You have to.

After being told that I hadn't broken my ankle, but sprained it I was relieved. I just needed to rest up and look after it and use the crutches reluctantly given to me by a nurse. But I have hated every day I have had to use them. They produce a wealth of concerned looks, pitying voices and "Are you okay?" questions, which meant I couldn't just get on with everything. I couldn't just pretend like it was all fine. I was faced in the form of a blue/purple/yellow ankle, to admit that I needed help. And I hated that. Every single concerned voice seemed to hit a nerve, seemed to feel like salt in the wound. Mainly because I felt like what I'd been so good at doing for so long (burying it and carrying on) was not possible anymore... even if only due to a physical pain/injury. I have to let people look after me. I have to ask people to help me out. That is something I find physically painful to do. Somewhere along the line I have started to believe that if I don't cry then I am a big girl, if I don't show pain then I am a grown up. Right now, I know a lot of people who would simply call it stupidity.

In short, please don't let it take you a painful injury and a beautifully bruised foot to realise that tears aren't weak and that it is in fact perfectly okay, and even expected to seek help when you struggle. Trust me. I found out the hard way, that wounds won't start to heal unless you start to admit that you are hurt.

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