Earlier this year, I was involved in a car accident. When I say it, my mind goes into a completely horrifying warp, near-death experience kind-of-place. Which is sort of the case regardless of the actual outcome when you have watched that Mystery of Natalie Wood documentary too many times and spent too much time contemplating, “How DO I think I’m going to die?”
Truly, it could have been much, much worse than it was, and I’m very grateful it wasn’t. For example, when medical professionals have asked me about my bath room habits, they’ve had to specify, “Has this accident made you incontinent?” and I’ve thankfully been able to say, “No.” The first week after it happened, my body was still absorbing the shock, so I kind of felt like I had taken a fork and shoved it into an electric outlet. When it occurred, I was also a week into some weird cold/flu that I’d avoided going to the doctor for or staying home, so when I went to urgent care after it happened, they informed me that I was running a fever, and I should be lying down regardless. When I went back to work, none of my co-workers were aware I’d been in a motor vehicle collision since our entire office was suffering from mild to extreme cases of the plague, and they all greeted me with, “We’re so happy you’re not dead!” to which I replied, “Me too. You have no idea.” From now on, these two gifs will represent my only forms of transportation: laughing, animated horses and skateboarding and…birds? Just kidding, I’m terrible at skateboarding.
One of the outcomes was that I had to go back to physical therapy. This was scary for me, because when I was told I had to go to physical therapy a year or so earlier for a work-related injury, I became oddly convinced that at some point I would have to return to PT since I have ongoing health conditions that aren’t just going to disappear. This made me super depressed and nervous about going in the first place. The primary reason I eventually went was that my pseudo-step dad told me that I could either go now and avoid surgery or have to have surgery and be forced to go to PT to help myself recover AFTER. Pop culture also played a role, because I had to make it sound awesome, so I began to channel Charles “Professor X” of X-Men Xavier and John Locke from Lost.
The cool thing about PT is that the process forces you to take an active role in your own well-being, and if you are sort of a control freak like me, it’s nicer than just sitting around being anxious. Going back a second time also brings about that whole hindsight 20/20 factor, where you begin to realize both your limitations and also your strengths. You have to spend each week assessing your body on your own time so you can go back to “class” with questions. I’m a query-based learner, so it’s imperative for me to know which muscles I’m stretching, brain-storming/pictures/examples that I can use to remember how I’m supposed to be moving in order to do the stretches when I’m not accompanied by a professional, and where I’m supposed to be in the whole “healing” process (it’s in quotations, because sometimes it’s not as straight-forward and continuous as I hope it will be).
Yesterday, my instructor was all, “Okay, we’re going to use the equipment in here today!” and to avoid physically shuddering and looking weak, I was like, “All right, let’s do this!” I decided to accept the challenge. First we started with leg-based strengthening, and I was mentally, self-congratulating. See? I can do ALL the stuff. I am a bad ass, rock star.
Dean distracted me with talking while I tried not to boast too hard that I do all this stuff, and aren’t I cool? As if to prove the opposite, he was like, “Okay, now let’s work on your upper body.”
That’s when I remembered I was not Popeye, even if I DO try to eat spinach (but not out of a can because that’s disgusting, you guys). I started to feel it while I was doing it, and the discomfort became more obvious in the minutes to hours afterwards.
Here’s where my mistake came in. Dean told me to trust my body and not overexert it. I said, “Should I do any more stretching when I get home tonight?” He said, “No.”
Stupidly, I went home and did aerobic exercise for another 20 minutes.
Because people are always telling you you can out-think your problems and it’s mind-over-matter, but when my instructor tells me not to do something, I don’t say, “What if I just exercised a little more and didn’t stretch?” Because I really, really want to be infallible.
Also, I’ve been:
A) Rewarding myself with tv for exercising. Consequently, doing the thing I love without the thing I don’t love felt lazy, like I was cheating, and…
B) I’ve been using exercise to dismantle the bomb that is my paralyzing anxiety. Because it quells it into silence. While I don’t love the action-based part of it, I like the result.
Except now I am sitting at home in pain losing money by not working which is significantly less intelligent than just listening to the advice of the wise.
Adults are always saying that teenagers “think they are superheroes,” and are untouchable, but I for one definitely fall prey to that kind of idiotic thinking now more than I ever did when I was young. Because as an adult, you are expected to have “all this shit figured out,” do everything all the time, and never, ever show weakness either emotionally or physically.
It’s hard to explain why I do this without using these amazing Friends quotations that are supposed to represent different astrological signs. Although PERSONALLY, I would swap Cancer and Virgo’s, and come up with different ones for Taurus, Leo, and Capricorn. The most accurate ones are Aries, Libra, Scorpio, and Aquarius (except for my friend JR who is always the exception to that sign). I will rework this later. Check out Libra’s.
I’m aware that some of you don’t believe in astrology, and that’s fine. But “I couldn’t say no twice,” completely describes why I’m trying to no longer be a part of customer service, and also why I actively seek to never, ever, EVER be anyone’s boss. “I guess I’m going to Yemen.” But not really, because my back hurts.